EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

Exclusive Interview #29

  • from "Love Song"
  • Masaharu Fukuyama

Japanese Heartthrob Masaharu Fukuyama takes the leading role in Fuji TV's eagerly-anticipated spring drama series "Love Song." One of the most popular and exceptionally talented actor, musician and a photographer, Masaharu Fukuyama has long been running at the top of the entertainment industry and is loved by people of all ages. In this interview, we asked Mr. Fukuyama how it feels to play the role of ex-professional musician Kohei Kamishiro, as well as his impression on Sakura Fujiwara, a rookie singer-songwriter playing the heroine role.

Q

It's been three years since you last starred in a drama series. How has it been for you so far?

A

Actually, it feels like three years have passed before I knew it. *laugh* Since it's been a while, naturally I have this mixed feelings of fresh excitement and all sorts of anxiousness. The director and I discuss over and over again how we shoot the scenes and develop the characters. Now that we've done filming several episodes, I think I finally got back the feel of what the whole drama production process and schedule were like.

Q

How do you intend to play your character Kohei Kamishiro?

A

Although Kohei once debuted as a professional musician, he now keeps a certain distance from music. I've been having countless discussions with the production staff on things like how much passion he still has for music, if he still wishes to get back in the music industry, and perhaps the reason why he's keeping himself away from music is because his passion for music is too strong, and so on. Even after we started shooting, sometimes we still go back and rewrite the script. This is an entirely original drama, so we are creating the characters from scratch. If the heroine weren't Sakura Fujiwara, the story might have been very different. After Sakura's casting, it was decided that the story would depict a girl having a crush on older guy.

Q

What does music mean to Kohei?

A

If we were to ask, if all he ever wants is to be a professional musician, I don't think that's true. In today's day and age, it's possible for him to make music without being a pro. He can just stream his music online or put on live performances at small venues. All I can say at this point is that music is something that Kohei can never ever let go of.

Q

Kohei currently works as a corporate counselor. What are your thoughts on that?

A

As a job for any "ex-professional musician," you most likely think of something that has some sort of connection to music, right? But Kohei chose a career that has nothing to do with music. I myself also know nothing about this field of work, so I needed to learn what this occupation was all about. In order to do so, I talk with people who are currently working as corporate counselors and ask them about the nature of their job and how they interact with their clients. I also ask for their advice on things like Kohei's fashion and hairstyle, as we want to keep some "musician" taste, like a leather jacket or a bit messy hair.

Q

What is your impression on Sakura Fujiwara who plays the heroine role of Sakura Sano?

A

The first time I met her was at the audition. I guess she didn't know that I was coming, so when I entered the room, the first thing she said was, "Gosh, what a surprise!" so it wasn't like the typical greetings like "Nice to meet you" or "How do you do?" as you would normally expect her to say in that sort of situation. Her candid, natural reaction struck me as very fresh and nice. Then, when she sang with her guitar, she made little mistakes here and there, but including that, her music felt very real and impressed me a lot.

Q

Lastly, could you give out a message to the viewers?

A

Whatever the catalyst, people's lives can change at any moment. Catalyst could be a job or romantic relationship, or it could even be a song that you unexpectedly heard. I think Kohei also has this desire to turn his life around, but because of his age, he has come to compromise with life and reluctant to take any action. It's going to be interesting to see how his views on life will change and what decisions he will make. Sakura, on the other hand, is very young, but she bears certain loneliness, and like Kohei, she has given up on her potential and possibility. However, she is gifted with this amazing singing voice. Their background and life situations are completely different, yet they are similar in many ways. As they meet and start to connect through music, both of their lives start to change. Though this drama starts as a simple story of a girl having a crush on a guy, the story development and implementation are quite unique and elaborate. I'm looking forward to exploring how we can incorporate music into the story. It's not a musical drama, but there will be live performances in some episodes, so we hope viewers will enjoy watching these scenes along with how the relationships develop between the characters.