Keiko Kitagawa interview article in “Steady” February 2014 issue (English translation)

“Even 10 Years after My Debut, My Job is Still Fun!”

This year your latest movie, “Judge!” releases in January, right?

“When I watched this movie, it was honestly so interesting that I felt two hours had passed by in no time (laughs). The protagonist is portrayed by Mr. Tsumabuki, and his character is kind of a useless bum. I play opposite him as his love interest, a really pretty and naive girl. Even though she’s a really kind person, she always falls for unreliable men. I think if I were in her shoes, I definitely couldn’t go for the kind of guys she likes. But I’m sure to a certain extent guys like the ones she runs into really exist out there, right? (laughs)”

What are your impressions of Mr. Tsumabuki?

“Actually, we spent only about 10 days together on set during the film shooting, but he was a really bright and cheerful person so I had fun. He was a real joker, always making me laugh behind the scenes in between takes (laughs)”

In this movie, the audience gets a glimpse into the advertising industry, but you actually work in it – so what are your thoughts on how that was portrayed, Ms. Kitagawa??

“The commercial scene in the movie is a crucial point, and I was scared by it at first actually. (laughs) But I thought, you know, since this has to do with what I do for a job, I should really make sure that it’s done authentically and faithfully, so I put effort into helping develop the scene and make it as genuine as possible, and I think I was able to do that.”

In the movie, where the word “crazy” is written, you read it as “chance”; in fact doing that was kind of your character’s catch phrase, but what did you think about that?

“I guess I never really thought about her reading the word ‘crazy’ as ‘chance’ before, but even going off the deep end offers its opportunities. In the scene where Mr. Toyokawa plays the commercial director, he goes nuts, and I thought that Mr. Toyokawa was really funny, personally I liked his character a lot (laughs). Even though I didn’t actually see him on set even once.”

The wheelchair bride from the movie is based on a true story

In February, your movie “I want to hold you” co-starring Ryo Nishikido comes out right?

“This movie is based on a true story, about a woman who loses her memory after an accident, who falls in love with her taxi driver, who in this case is portrayed by Mr. Nishikido. When the taxi driver learns about the woman, he thinks she’ll be a gloomy character, but she’s actually quite the opposite – very bright and cheerful. Even though she isn’t completely coherent, and her body limits her independence, she’s the kind of woman who is always smiling like the sun. Even though it’s a drama aren’t any wrenching scenes.”

Was it really cold when you were shooting on set in Abashiri, Hokkaido in the middle of February?

“In the movie, Abashiri is where the lovers both were born, grew up, and lived their lives together even underneath all that snow, which is much, much colder than what we are used to in Tokyo, but I got the impression that the location really made an impact on the foundation of the couple. In the movie, my character is really courageous; she overcomes her disability, she gives birth to her lover’s baby, and the couple has to learn to be parents together, which I thought was amazing. At the same time, I think my character is the type of person who manages to live their whole life with one other person, and their romance is almost like a ‘fated meeting’, I think. I think this work is something women will really enjoy and relate to.”

“This year I aim to do more than I accomplished the year before!”

What kind of year was 2013 for you?

“In terms of work, it was my most fulfilling year yet. I did a serial drama, a film, released a photo book, and got to participate in a few meet-and-greet events too, it was a full year and I got to do everything I wanted to accomplish.”

“This New Year My Favorite Color is a Cheerful, Charged Blue.” – From Keiko

“During winter I like to wear knit materials in different colors. Since blue is my favorite color I always enjoy wearing blue knits. Western fashion is simple this year: lots of leopard prints worn with a coat along with monotone colored boots, so I’m really enjoying this winter’s styles. Even though it’s so cold outside, these styles have a vibrant tone that keeps you cheerful day after day!”

“Because a New Year has started, a New Challenge is here!” – From Keiko

“Now that it’s 2014, and a New Year has begun, I think I want to take on new challenges. I think people in my generation have a fear about doing new things and failing, they’d rather be safe and steady. For the sake of all of Steady magazine’s readers, I want to try out new things. After all, none of us know what the future holds, right? My main goal this year is to grow (laughs) though maybe people will say I’m already too cheerful for my own good every day!”

(Translated by Miss Dream under their “Hire Us!” program. Paid for by this blog to the benefit of all English-speaking and English-learning Keiko fans)

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