Keiko Kitagawa interview and Q&A article in “Bijin Hyakka” February 2016 issue (English translation)

The Aspirations of a Woman Approaching 30 years old: Reasons for Keiko Kitagawa’s beauty

She spoke with us about her favorite shopping spots, favorite foods, her home, and why she believes the future holds much happiness ahead: This is our first time speaking about them with the legendary cool beauty whom everyone aspires to be, Keiko Kitagawa! We sat down to talk about everything from fashion, her daily beauty routines, her thoughts on turning 30…and how it is Ms. Kitagawa manages to make “beautiful” part of her everyday life!

I never thought that I’d really become an actress.

I am frequently asked, “When did you decide that you wanted to become an actress?” And it’s funny, because when I got started I was just a teenager who was kind of shy, and I couldn’t even imagine what it would be like to be in the public’s eye. Originally I intended to go to college. I worked hard through middle school and high school. But when I was a sophomore in high school, I was studying hard for exams, and I ended up being recruited to do modeling for an agency near my home. At first I wasn’t even interested. I asked my mom, “Is it worth it to keep up with this?” Because I had to give up all of my extra studies and extracurricular activities, like calligraphy and swimming, in order to find time to do modeling and keep up with studying for my exams. That being said, I kept going to the agency office. And within a week of my photos being sent out, I had an audition to be a model for the magazine “Seventeen”. Soon after that, I debuted in my first acting role in the series “Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon”. Since then it’s been like fate. By the time I was 20 years old, I was getting more and more work…but I thought, I can’t compete as a model forever, so I wanted to go into acting. There have been a lot of setbacks for me along the way, but the drama series and movies that I did in my 20s have given me the opportunity to get experience portraying a wide range of roles. I feel very lucky that I’m able to do work that I love. Even though it’s my job, it feels like fun. So I’m very grateful that I’m so lucky.

There’s nothing I can do about turning 30 except have fun!

I know that this magazine’s audience is mostly folks my age, all people about to enter their 30s. This year I’m turning 30 years old. “I don’t want to gain another year!” I keep saying to myself. From my earliest days, I can remember wanting to grow up and be an adult. I wanted to be serious in my profession, to get more powerful in my career, to become more senior in my role, and to get more and more serious roles. When I think back to my college days, I don’t think I’ve changed much inside since then. But of course there’s the fact that being 30 sounds terribly adult (laughs). It’s hard to mistake my age though when it comes to my body. I get tired from working more these days, and if I don’t sleep enough or take care of myself I definitely feel it harder than I used to. My health is really good and so I’m thankful, even though I’m getting older. My career is just one thing I want to continue with. I want to experience marriage and have children, and to take on new roles. Let’s all enter our 30s together, look forward to our bright futures, and have fun with it.

“I want to pile up the fun this year, naturally just as I am in my 30s!”

About Fashion

“My favorite things don’t change much. I’m the type who stays center-of-the-line.”

You could say that Ms. Kitagawa is the epitome of cool fashion. But with her commitment to plain clothes, she had to really think about what her favorite shopping spots and favorite products are.

Q1: Are you into keeping up with trends?

Actually, I’m usually pretty ignorant about them…Even though it’s easy to find out about trends via magazines or Instagram, I’m pretty happy without keeping up with them (laughs). I really prefer to have a monotone wardrobe, even pieces that lean on the mannish side, because my favorite things don’t change. They’re based on classic styles. Sometimes I’ll include a piece with a trendy color to incorporate the latest fashion, but I’m really moderate about doing that.

Q2: What are your favorite colors?

White, black, sometimes grey. I’ve loved wearing monotones for a long time. I usually wear black bottoms and white tops. Sometimes I switch it up with grey items.

Q3: What are some of your most recent loved items?

Saint Laurent Riders. I’ve known about them for a while. They have really clean lines, and I love them. Leather accessories aren’t usually my style but I like them more and more lately. I just have to be careful about taking care of them.

Q4: What’s something that you want right now?

I would love a knit blouse from Varier. It’s a basic wardrobe piece, but the silhouette this specific item creates is gorgeous. I love to pair Varier items with simple black items and let the tops and accessories also from Varier be the statement pieces.

Q5: Do you prefer pants? Or skirts?

Definitely pants. Whenever I’m working, I wear leather pants and denim whenever I can. It’s only when I get to go out with my female friends, or when I go to launch events for movies and dramas, or to a formal occasion that I can get away with wearing a skirt or dress.

Q6: What’s most important to you about fashion?

For me, it’s important to wear items that have a great vertical line to create a slender silhouette. I wear slimming bottoms, and wear colors that emphasize a thin silhouette.

Q7: What’s your favorite trend in fashion?

I like boyish styles. Plain clothes make me the happiest. I love anything that has a “London Girl” aesthetic.

Q8: Where is your favorite place to shop?

Ginza. I always go shopping in Ginza’s shopping malls. My favorite place is the Mitsukoshi department store.

I can always find simple, monotone pieces for my wardrobe.

About Beauty

“I can’t give up! So I practice simple maintenance and care every day.”

For more than five years, Ms. Kitagawa has kept up with the same skin care, bathing habits, and gym exercises to maintain her look. It’s a simple routine, but highlights her dedication in maintaining her feminine features.

Q9: Tell us about your skin care routine!

It’s really simple. All I do is this: “Wash my face -> apply moisturizer -> exfoliate”. I’ve been doing this routine since middle school. I’ve thought about adding in upscale cosmetics into my routine, but they just make my skin oily and it’s more upkeep…So I don’t do anything special.

Q10: How do you keep your skin looking so beautiful?

In the morning, I don’t use any cleanser; I just use water on my face. I don’t use cleanser in the morning in order to prevent my skin from drying out too much. And it helps that I had nice skin to begin with! I’m very careful about which night-time cleansers I use – I make sure they’re additive-free because additives can really damage your skin.

Q11: Tell us about your hair care routine!

I do a treatment to my hair once every 10 days, and upkeep my color every two weeks. Because I have long hair, I have to do a lot of upkeep at the salon. I also spend a lot of time at home doing treatments and soaking in the bath. It’s a simple routine, but it works wonders!

Q12: How much sleep do you usually get every day?

I’m on and off about that. When I’m filming a drama, it’s really busy, and I might only get about 3 hours of sleep a night. But during my off time, there are times that I’m asleep by 9 pm at night. So, it really changes a lot based on my schedule.

Q13: Do you use any special bath products at home?

I use a nano-hydrogen solution in my bath water. You don’t want to take too long of a bath otherwise you get hot flashes. But if you add natural nano-hydrogen solution to your bath water, you can work up a good sweat in a short period of time. During the winter, I try to take a soak in the bath with this solution in it every day.

Q14: Are there any other beauty habits that you have?

I’m becoming interested in photofacials! I have many friends whom I feel self-conscious around…people I want to be more like. Recently, they were telling me about photofacials; it opens your pores and prevents the skin from sagging. Since it’s had such great reviews I think, “I want to try that too!”

Q15: What are your favorite parts of your face?

My eyebrows and nose. I think I have really nicely shaped eyebrows. I also have a really straight nose. I’ve felt confident about those two parts of my face for a long time. (laughs)

Q16: What are your best style secrets?

The most important one is regular exercise! I’m always running at the gym. In my early 20s, I used to go out late at night to various restaurants and I could eat pretty much whatever I wanted. But during my mid-20s, I noticed that my skin was getting rougher and my upper arms would get saggy if I didn’t go to the gym regularly. “I don’t want to look bad!” I thought. So I do some muscle-toning and I run on treadmills in the gym. It’s a dull routine but it works. I go running three or four days a week, and since I started the routine, the condition of my skin has improved too.

Q17: Do you take any supplements?

I’ve never taken any. (laughs) It’s not a supplement exactly, but one time I tried out Chinese herbal medicine and it made me really sick to my stomach…so I decided that it’s one more thing I don’t really need. (laughs)

Q18: What’s your makeup like on your days off?

I only do it if I’m going out with my female pals. In my private life I usually don’t wear any makeup at all. But when I go out with the girls I co-starred with in Sailor Moon, especially when I’m around my friend Rika Izumi, I do put on makeup – for the benefit of the other women around me (laughs). I usually just put on a little concealer, adjust my eyebrows, and add some beige eye shadow with some eyeliner. I keep my makeup really natural.

I think that in order to stay beautiful on the outside, you have to keep beautiful on the inside too.

About Life

“Even before I turned 30, I was always very stable in my working and private life.”

Ms. Kitagawa has to move between public and private lives every day. From her diet, her anxieties, her personal friendships, and to her latest movie to be released, we discussed all about her aspirations for this year.

Q19: What are you careful about in your diet?

A good meal is well balanced. I eat a lot of meat, vegetables, beans, and soups…whenever I’m cooking for myself I try to maintain a well-balanced menu. There aren’t any foods I try to avoid altogether. I’m stoic and consistent about my diet, and eat a variety of foods as long as I’m not unreasonable about quantities. I think the timing of meals is important. I don’t eat within a few hours of sleeping in order to aid digestion and to sleep better.

Q20: What’s your favorite food?

I love meat. My meat habit is from my childhood. I love grilled meat when I go out to eat. When I was younger I would only eat white rice and meat, but now that I’m getting older I’m more responsible and make sure to eat more vegetables too.

Q21: What do you think of your own personality?

I’m lazy. (laughs) There’s a massive gap between my work life and private life. When I’m on site I’m a hard worker, but when I’m at home I like to lounge around. If left to my own devices, I don’t do much…I just sit around and stare. (laughs) Sometimes I go out with stores with a couple of friends.

Q22: Could you share some of the highlights from your new film, “No-younamono Noyounamono”?

It’s just breathtaking. It’s that kind of movie I think. I’ve never been the type to have anxiety about the future, to think – “What’s going to happen next?” If you’re a woman approaching your thirties, you need to watch this movie, especially if you’re the type to be really worried about your career. It takes place in a suburban area, but it’s also a really deep comedy sandwiched in between some comical scenes. It’s a totally original work I think – and I get the chance to play a different kind of role than I’ve done before. I think the scenes where I’m running are the best – but you’ll have to check it out; I think I’d spoil it if I said more.

Q23: What do you think about guys like Mr. Matsuyama, the actor who portrays the film’s protagonist?

I think they’re cute. A guy like Shinden (Blogger’s note: the name of Kenichi Matsuyama’s character in the movie is “Shinden Defunetei”) has a very warm heart. He’s working hard every day as a rakugo storyteller, just going about his day-to-day life. He’s kind of single-minded and clumsy, but he gives off an aura of “don’t mess with me!” It’s great to watch. He’s kind of a dangerous character but he’s definitely not boring to be around.

I get the impression that Shinden isn’t a very dependable type of guy.

Q24: Tell us a little bit more about the “Sailor Moon Women’s Group”!

All four of the ladies are my beloved childhood friends. All of the members were women I co-starred in the drama series “Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon” with, and they’re all my good friends. (Rika Izumi is a member from this group!) We try to get together on a regular basis, especially for each other’s birthdays. It’s been 10 years since we were on that TV drama together, and we’ve all grown up. They’re totally irreplaceable ladies to me. When I’m in a group, when it’s all five of us together, I turn into the listener. For everyone (laughs). But it’s cozy and nice to be the listener, and to reconnect with them all.

Q25: What do you think you would have done if you didn’t become an actress?

I think I’d be working for a company somewhere. Originally I was really inspired by math and science. I had planned on a career in mathematics and physics; I originally intended to go to university and then to find a job in the field.

Q26: What kind of year was 2015 for you?

It was a year rich for my private life and my work. Last year was the first year I felt comfortable in having private time. I’m kind of a workaholic…and I had a lot of anxiety around taking a break in my work. For a long period, I hadn’t had time to spend with my family. So we went on a vacation together to Taiwan and to visit family graves. It was a great trip and very refreshing. I love my job, but sometimes I need to not be so busy and to relax. And I learned that in 2015, so that’s important.

Q27: What do you want from this year?

I want to become a great actress, and to enjoy myself. Taking advantage of the things I learned last year, I want to focus on myself this year and not only on my development as an actress. I also want to make sure I have a lot of experiences in my private life too. Since turning 30 years old is a milestone year, I want to work on becoming an adult woman. This year my goal is to be the best Keiko Kitagawa I can be, thank you for your support!

My goal in 2016 is to expand my experience as an actress!

(Article translated by Fandom Services. “Bijin Hyakka” means “the lovely woman whose beauty is like a hundred different flowers”. Paid for by this blog to the benefit of all English-speaking and English-learning Keiko fans).


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2 Responses to “Keiko Kitagawa interview and Q&A article in “Bijin Hyakka” February 2016 issue (English translation)”

  1. tyn123 Says:

    Wonderful article. Thanks for the effort in getting it translated.


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