I first met Kiko when we shot the cover for a Japanese magazine three years ago. For the Editorial, we wanted to take control and do something fun together — we had our friend Christine Lai style the shoot and asked Yuka (Kiko’s younger sister) to join. We shot in a nightclub in Omotesando during the day. The neon signs say “women” and “love.”
Kiko started her modelling career at age 12, and began acting in major Japanese dramas shortly after. She also designed a clothing line for Opening Ceremony. Christine owns the clothing brand UNIF. Christine and Kiko have been a huge inspiration for me and both have helped me with my first short film which will be premiering in May. Kiko has a dance scene in it. I sometimes feel there is a lack of bold feminist voices in Japan, even now; Kiko is one celebrity here that is clearly a strong, outspoken woman.
What are your other passions besides modelling and acting?
Buying clothes and making clothes.
Is there another actress or strong female character that inspired you to start acting?
Angelina Jolie in Gia blew my mind in a way. She is so beautiful and so strong in every moment.
What is your favourite thing about being an actress?
When people tell me that they felt emotional watching my films, it’s my favourite thing. That makes me really happy.
You are currently learning Chinese for a role…how do you prepare getting into character? Were there differences between getting into character for your role in Norwegian Wood vs. your character in Attack on Titan?
For Attack on Titan I needed a lot of physical training because it was an action movie. I had to have a lot of energy and listened to “Army of Me” by Bjork to keep me strong. When I was filming Norwegian Wood it was my first experience to ever act in a movie and I was still a teenager. I was very nervous. I don’t even really remember preparing for that character because it was a really difficult time for me. I think there’s a different attraction between big movies and independent film. For me what is important is the character and not the budget.
I want to ask your views on media and feminism in Japan. I personally feel that Japan as a country seems incredibly behind, say North America or Europe, in terms of feminist politics. Is this something you feel as a Japanese woman who has been working for so many years in the public eye?
If you watch any Japanese TV show, there is sexism everywhere and it’s sad but it’s almost accepted as just a part of the culture. In Japan, a lot of young women’s dreams are to become a good wife…which can be kinda sweet but we are definitely brain-washed by media and in school to feel this way. I don’t know what I can do right at this moment but hopefully continuing to be strong-willed and ignoring the negativity will inspire girls! One time this guy told me if I stayed single for too long (I’m 25), that in a few years men would not be interested in me because I’d be “old.” I told him I will be even more attractive when I’m 50!
List 5 of your favourite films of all time:
1. Bound by The Wachowskis
2. Spirited Away by Hayao Miyazaki
3. Bridget Jones’ Diary by Sharon McGuire
4. Kids by Larry Clark
5. Fallen Angels by Wong Kar Wai
List 5 songs that you can relate to at this moment:
1. “Always on my Mind” – Brandy
2. “Glow” – Kelis
3. “Strange Magic” – Electric Light Orchestra
4. “Sex with Me” – Rhianna
5. “Really Love” – D’Angelo
List 5 places in the world you’d like to visit:
List 5 things you like about Japan:
1. Lots of geeks
2. Good food everywhere
5. Hot Spring Onsens
© 2017 The Editorial Magazine