Metropolis Magazine
Issue #805 - Friday, Aug 28th, 2009
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Past Issues

804: Rent, The original stars of the Broadway musical
803: Roland Emmerich, Director
802: Miss Universe Japan, Emiri Miyasaka
801: Dog days
800: Bolt
799: Actor, Hiroshi Mikami
798: Yuko Aoyama
797: Return of the bots
796: The Terminator cast
795: Actress Saki Takaoka
794: Okinawan actress Meisa Kuroki
793: J. J. Abrams and Star Trek cast
792: Zac Efron
791: Science Friction
790: Junichi Ishida
789: Daisuke Nakata, Trampolinist
788: Kazuaki Kiriya, Director
787: Nana Natsume, Former AV star
786: Eugene Otani, Newscaster
785: Love at first bite
784: Miki Mizuno
783: Tom Cruise
782: Jun Hasegawa, Model
781: Moe Oshikiri, Model attitude
780: Grace Park of Battlestar Galactica
779: Where there's a Will
778: Jolie good time
777: Age before beauty
776: Streep talk
775: World of difference
774: Shocks and Bonds
773: Viva La Revolucin
772: Jacqui Bayne
768: Beyond the universe
767: Yasuhito Endo
766: Aroon Mahtani
765: Dr. Hidemi Akai
764: Badr Hari
763: Mizuki Kubodera
761: Patrick W. Galbraith
760: Jean-Pierre Felix
759: Philippe Grau
758: Emi Kashiwara & Elekiteru
757: Aura Virginia Chirculescu
756: Aaron Davis
755: Happy days
754: Bryan Au
753: Martin van der Linden
752: Qinggelete
751: Chuck Johnson
750: Mike Applegate (aka Magic Mike)
749: Yukie Kito
748: Steve Kaufmann
746: Samira Zarghami
745: Raising the Bar
744: Pierre-Gilles Delorme
743: David F. Hoenigman
742: Miwa Gardner
741: Kevin Cooney
740: Kyle Cleveland
739: JJ
738: Bruce Stronach
737: Yoichiro Dennis Ide
736: Mike Garrett
735: Hiroki Suehara
734: Rise and Shrine
733: Patrik Washburn
732: Michael Bumgardner
731: Patricia Bader-Johnston
730: Darin Maki
729: Hiroshi Fujimaki
728: Misha Janette
727: Jon Mitchell
725: Hokuto Konishi
724: Rita Lamah Hankach
723: Kisui Nakazawa
722: Angela Jeffs
721: Simon Wood
720: Yasuko Yokoyama
715: Jason Kelly
714: Dominica Serigano
713: Erik Gain
712: Genevieve Maylam
711: Masahiro Gono
710: Eikou Sumura
709: Eikou Sumura
708: Malcolm Thompson
707: Makiko Tsuji
706: Dominic Allen
705: Maria Heitanen
704: Beckie Cassidy
703: Jett Edwards
702: Yoshinobu Furuichi
701: Silvestre Jacobi
700: Jah-Light Sound System
699: Daniel Velazques
698: Lynne Charles
697: Eric Bragg
695: Susan Nichols
694: Anna Kunnecke
693: Kenneth Pechter
692: Kazu Wakui
691: Antonio Inoki
690: Hiroko Noguchi
689: Richard Bysouth
688: Eric Bjorndahl
687: Andrew Shuttleworth
686: Sayuri Suzuki
685: Yurie Hatanaka
684: Miogi Takii
683: Thierry Cohen
682: Ahmed M. Elmardi
681: Aya Kitagawa
680: Suzanne Ng and Yoriko Soma
679: Ricco DeBlank
677: Takenari Shibata
676: Kirk R. Patterson
675: Satoko Yahata
674: Flavia Nishimura
673: Ryo Shoji
672: Chip Eckton
671: Yuko Ito
670: Marja Kullberg
669: Laur Meyrieux
668: Slavomir Stanislaw Kowalewski
667: Ryan McGuire
664: Life force
663: Steve Marshall
662: Jeff Klein
661: Ahn Soon Han
660: Straight shooter
659: Marcello Pietrantonio
658: Glitterball 2006
657: Alison Roberts-Brown
656: Girl on the go
655: Rob Hoey
654: Kahori Ochi
653: Ed Wells
652: Haruka Orth
651: Laura Cook
650: Uleshka Asher
649: Full speed ahead
648: Katsumi Namekata
647: Top talent
646: No heels, no life
645: Joanna Roper
644: Lu Nagata
643: Kirill Konin
642: Gabriele Roberto
641: Carlos Gibbs
640: Blair Falahey
639: The Three Waiters
638: Simon Woodroffe
637: Tony Virili
636: Paul W. Creager
635: Randy Channell
634: Mari Takeuchi
633: Stephanie Schueller
632: Tara Tan Kitaoka
631: Katherine Mok
630: Bob Tobin and Hitoshi Ohashi
629: Tommy Kullberg
628: Toshio Nagashima
627: Eiko Kondo
626: Embrey Ramon Williams
625: Neil Day
624: Mong-Lan
623: Tor Hideki Kashio
622: Elizabeth Heilman Brooke
621: Louis Carlet
620: Theo Panagiotoulias
619: Lionel Gougne
618: Sarajean Rossitto
617: Christian Hassing
616: Kiho Takashima
614-615: David Wagner
613: Heather Stuart
612: Erica Angyal
611: Jack McLean
610: Fumine Yakumo
609: Yasutoshi Hirabayashi
608: Yoko Hijikata
607: Jim Frederick
605: Yuka Murakami
604: Chayne Ellis
603: Marco Antonio Nakata
602: Kicking Back
601: Stand by your man
600: Hero worship
599: The Candy man
598: Heart strings
597: Sweet and sour
596: Subtitle subtleties
595: The right moves
594: Mother’s day
593: The clone ranger
592: A career kicks off
591: Woman of substance
590: Final conflict
589: World Ready for ‘War’
588: Fun in the sun
587: New life for an old hero
586: Fun and games
585: Knockout punch
584: Patrick’s day
583: Marcia marches on
582: Brunch break
581: Kingdom come
580: Gentle as a beast
579: Prime time
578: Devil of a time
577: In first Gere
576: Bright spark
575: Rei of sunshine
574: A star is reborn
573: In search of geisha
572: Marshall law
571: In the Nic of time
570: Holding a grudge
569: Bourne again
568: Soap opera
567: Alexander and friends
566: Oceans apart
565: A night at the opera
564: Just joshing
563: McPain in the neck
561-562: Hanks for everything
560: Reading between the Klines
559: Risqué business
558: Sky highs
557: Korean boom
556: Queen Victoria
555: Glitter Ball
554: Peter Miller
553: Ralph Frehner
552: Dimension K
551: Tokyo Game Show
550: US Embassy
549: I, Robot Premiere
548: Mauve
547: Xterra Japan
546: Earth Celebration
545: Idée R-bar
544: Laforet Museum
543: Hara Museum
542: Fuji Rock Festival’04
541: Bunkamura Museum of Art

By Chris Betros and Satomi Honda

Play Girl
Okinawan actress Meisa Kuroki finds success on stage and off

KOHJI SHIIKI

The first thing you’re likely to notice about Meisa Kuroki is her gorgeous hair and skin—which is not surprising, as she’s one of Japan’s hottest actresses. But as the 21-year-old Okinawa native starts to relax and chat, her smile widens and it becomes even easier to see why she’s so much in demand.

“When I was younger, I wanted to run a cake shop because I used to bake with my three older sisters for Christmas and Valentine’s,” Kuroki said during a recent interview in Tokyo. However, she was scouted at 14, and the very next year she was acting in Tokyo.

The last six years have seen her appear in numerous films (Crows ZERO, Subaru), TV programs (Kaze no Garden), commercials (Kirin, Toshiba, ANA, Tsubaki) and theater productions. She is currently starring as the title character in the play Onna Nobunaga, which looks at what might have happened if the famous feudal ruler Oda Nobunaga (1534-1582) had been a woman.

“I did feel somewhat pressured, as I am probably the first actress to attempt the role,” she admits. “You know, men assume that women are being hysterical when they are angry. Since Nobunaga was known for his violent character, I think a female version would be able to portray that part of him very accurately. I did some research into his personality, but in the end, I tried to create an original character.”

The role also allows Kuroki to display her sword-fighting skills—her official profile lists “fight scenes” as one of her specialties. “I’ve been practicing sword-fighting for about three years now, so I’m fairly good at it,” she says.

Kuroki’s other big venture this year was the April release of her debut album, the hip-hop and R&B-influenced Hellcat. Somewhat unusually for a new singer in Japan, she hadn’t previously released any singles, though this didn't stop the CD from debuting at No. 5 on the Oricon chart.

Kuroki says she started writing songs about a year before the album came out: “There wasn’t an official release date, so I just kept writing until I was satisfied. The end product was eight songs that reflect my current thoughts. Rather than choose one for a single, I decided to release them as an album.” She adds that she has always liked music and dancing, and was inspired by Janet Jackson after seeing her perform on TV.

Depending on her current projects, Kuroki’s days can be quite long. “Lately I’ve been finishing around 9 or 10 at night. I go straight to bed when I get home,” she says. Whenever she has time, the actress tries to get out and ride her bike. “I typically go for about an hour. Cycling in the morning and coming back with a cup of coffee is very refreshing.”

Always fashionable, the 165-cm-tall Kuroki has a distinctive personal style. She prefers monotone colors and black-and-white outfits—nothing too bright—and likes shopping in Daikanyama. When she’s out and about, though, she has to beware of overeager fans. “I wear a hat, but people still take photos of me on their cellphones,” she says. “Shibuya is especially scary—I’ve had people actually tug my arm asking me, ‘You’re Meisa, right?’ I always excuse myself and run away.”
A better way for fans to interact with Kuroki is via her blog: “They ask me about makeup, fashion, cooking. I try to answer as much as possible. The ages of my fans range from middle school to women in their 40s and 50s.”

And what sort of man is her ideal? “Guys who have just the right amount of muscle… someone like Usher. But I definitely feel that people who possess qualities that you don’t have are attractive. Contrary to how I may seem, I have difficulty getting to know new people. I think people who are naturally social are very attractive.”

Kuroki says she takes a keen interest in the news. Having grown up in Okinawa, she feels there are many sides to the issue of the US military presence on the islands. “Despite the negative incidents, there are also positive aspects to their presence that need to be considered as well,” she says. “What concerns me most now is the dark period Japanese society is in—the economic downturn as well as poor public safety. I hope that in the long run, we’ll be able to look back and view the present as a brief dim period.”

Chris Betros is the editor of Japan Today (www.japantoday.com).

Got something to say about this article? Send a letter to the editor at letters@metropolis.co.jp.

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