Action movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger, 65, hugs Olympic wrestling champion Saori Yoshida during an event to promote his “comeback” movie, “The Last Stand,” at Roppongi Hills on Thursday. Schwarzenegger, who is popularly known as “Schwa-chan” in Japan, praised Yoshida’s achievements which he said were an inspiration to young athletes all around the world. He gave her a sheriff’s badge and she gave him a kabuto samurai helmet (see photo below). Schwarzenegger, who has been coming to Japan since 1972, said Japanese fans were his most loyal.
This is Schwarzenegger’s first visit to Japan to promote a film since 2003, although he has been back during that time as California governor. He said that he had learned a lot as governor and that it had a big effect on him as an actor. He also said that he intends to stay involved in politics through his USC Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy which brings together leaders from around the world for brainstorming sessions on political, economic and social issues.
In “The Last Stand,” which opens in Japan on April 27, Schwarzenegger plays the sheriff of a small American town on the Mexican border, caught up in a bloody battle with the leader of a fugitive Mexican drug cartel and his gang. “It’s got chase scenes, fight scenes and shootouts from beginning to end,” he said. “And for once, I play a vulnerable character.”
Schwarzenegger ended the event with his trademark message to Japanese fans: “I’ll be back.”