Meisa Kuroki adds swordplay to her list of achievements

Meisa Kuroki adds swordplay to her list of achievements Meisa Kuroki PHOTO BY KOHJI SHIIKI/METROPOLIS

TOKYO —

The first thing you notice about Meisa Kuroki is her gorgeous hair and skin—not surprising for one of Japan’s rising stars. Then as she starts to relax and chat, her smile widens and it is easy to see why the 21-year-old Okinawan singer-actress is so much in demand.

“When I was younger, I wanted to operate a cake shop because I used to bake with my three older sisters for Christmas and Valentine’s,” Kuroki says. However, at 14, she was scouted and by the time she was 15, Kuroki was acting in Tokyo.

The last six years have seen Kuroki appear in numerous films (“Crows ZERO” and its sequel, “Subaru”), TV programs (“Kaze no Garden”), TV commercials (Kirin, Toshiba, ANA, Tsubaki) and theater productions. This month, she is appearing as the title character in the play “Onna Nobunaga,” which looks at what might have been if the famous feudal ruler Oda Nobunaga (1534-1582) had been a woman.

Kuroki displays her swordfighting skills (her profile lists “fight scenes” as one of her specialties). “I’ve been practicing swordfighting for about three years now, so I’m fairly good at it,” Kuroki says. 

“Since many actors have played Nobunaga before, I did feel somewhat pressured, as I am probably the first actress to attempt the role. 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.”

Kuroki’s other big venture this year was the April release of her debut album “Hellcat,” even though she had not released any singles previously. The CD, a blend of hip hop and R&B, debuted at #5 on the Oricon chart. Kuroki says she started writing songs about a year before the release of the CD. “There wasn’t an official release date, so I continued writing until I was satisfied. The end product was eight songs that reflect my current thoughts. Rather than choose one song out of those eight for a single release, I decided to release them as an album.” Kuroki adds that she has always liked music and dancing and was inspired by Janet Jackson after seeing her perform on TV. 

Always fashionable, the 165-cm-tall Kuroki says she prefers monotone colors like black and white, nothing too bright, and likes shopping in Daikanyama. When she is out and about, Kuroki has to beware of overeager fans. “I wear a hat, but people still take photos of me on their cell phones. Shibuya is especially scary because I’ve had people actually tug my arm asking me ‘You’re Meisa, right?’ I always excuse myself and run away.”

The days can be quite long depending on what Kuroki is doing. “Lately I’ve been finishing around 9-10 at night. I go straight to bed when I get home,” she says. Whenever she has time, Kuroki goes bike riding. “I typically go for about an hour. Cycling in the morning and coming back with a cup of coffee is very refreshing. I’m still practicing cooking…I’m good at baking cakes though.”

Kuroki receives a lot of questions from fans on 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 consider regarding the U.S. bases issue. “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.”

  • 0

    tkoind2

    I like her closing remarks. A "talento" with an opinion about something other than food or fashion. I think she just filled the long vacant spot as young talent I hope to see make it big.

  • 0

    Hopfly

    Female swordplay, now that's entertainment.

  • 0

    fatfrenchfool

    The first thing you notice about Meisa Kuroki is her gorgeous hair and skin

    not the first thing I looked at

  • 0

    Beelzebub

    Her Wikipedia bio says her father is half American. The surname "Kuroki" is more likely than not to have originated in mainland Japan, so the "Okinawan" connection still fits if you talk about her home town (Nago City) but not necessarily to her ethnicity.

    Moderator: Her father was in fact Japanese-Panamanian, but as he died on May 11, Ms Kuroki did not wish to talk about her family too much with our reporters for this story.

  • 0

    vajra

    J-Fox supports the US troops = winner in my book !

  • 0

    jonnyboy

    Her Wikipedia bio says her father is half American.

    which guarantees any opinions she expresses (good on her) will be completely ignored. so much for blazing a trail for thoughtful tarento

  • 0

    shakakhan

    she is fine....and seems to have a good head on her shoulders!

  • 0

    dishdash

    Those are nice comments she made. Seems to be a well rounded person. She should be around for a long time.

  • 0

    soldave

    My God... someone famous coming out against all the negative press the US armed forces get in Okinawa. Talk about bucking the trend!

  • 0

    Osakadaz

    I offer my sword to the dazzlingly beautiful meisa.I didn't particularly like her acting in Crows Zero though.

  • 0

    beowulf

    She is incredibly beautiful and judging from this article, quite sensible. She also seems to choose a variety of roles for herself, which augurs well for her acting career. The more I learn about this woman the more I like her.

  • 0

    kirakira25

    When I read the title of this I was about to say "List of achievements???! She's 21 for Gods sake! When did she sail round the world? Dig wells in Africa? Get her degree?" But you know, having read what she has to say I have to say I am impressed by a 21 year old, plucked out of what she knows at 14 and yet still with a good head on her shoulders. My husband is crazy about her. This time I approve of his taste!

  • 0

    WilliB

    The lady is hot, has style, and apparently even a brain, making her an exception among Japanese talentos.

  • 0

    oberst

    i willask a very japanese question.......... what's her blood type ?

  • 0

    Fairne7

    This is the first interview of Meisa Kuroki that I read. Thank you very much: it was quite interesting to hear about her thoughts. I'm glad to see she seems a nice and clever person as I thought she was.

    To oberst: Her blood type is A

  • 0

    jeffrey

    vajra at 11:40 AM JST - 4th June J-Fox supports the US troops = winner in my book !

    That's a book I won't be reading.

  • 0

    OneForAll

    Looks a lot like my wife:) Will have to look up her music.

  • 0

    nightvision

    Kuroki has the same aura as fellow Okinawan Yukie Nakama; just a little more work with her acting skills and she definitely has what it takes to follow in Nakama's steps.

  • 0

    Namiefan

    I love her! Hard-working and smart.

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