The Tokusatsu Network staff translates an intimate interview with iconic actor, Hiroshi Miyauchi. The interview was published in the March issue of Hyper Hobby magazine, entitled, “The Hero Hiroshi Miyauchi: What is Justice? It Is A Hero’s Job to Answer This Question.”
Hiroshi Miyauchi is best known for playing, in addition to Shiro Kazami/Kamen Rider V3, Himitsu Sentai Goranger‘s Akira Shinmei/Aoranger, JAKQ Dengekitai‘s Soukichi Banba and Ken Hayakawa/Kaiketsu Zubat. Commemorating the airing of these three works on Toei Channel, Hyper Hobby magazine interviewed Hiroshi Miyauchi.
Low Budget and Ideas on the Spot
HH: We hear that Shotaro Ishinomori convinced you to participate in Himitsu Sentai Goranger.
Miyauchi: At that time a lot of my work overlapped and there were times in which I felt my schedule wouldn’t allow for that much, hence affecting the work of others. I knew I couldn’t play Red and I didn’t want to play someone who just said “Yes, sir.” to whatever Red said. Mr. Ishinomori just said “Come.” and took me to his office. There, I was asked “What needs to be changed for you to like it?”. “What about two main heroes?”, he said. “We’ll have Red as Musashi Miyamoto and you will be Kojiro Sasaki, you pick the color.” (Miyamoto and Sasaki are the quintessential rivals in Japanese culture) I picked blue, because I liked it. It started since episode 1, with greeting each other with a simple “Hey.” Also, while everyone called him “Kaijo-kun” (with the honorific), I just simply called him “Kaijo”. After a while, someone in the staff told me “Everytime we knew Red and Blue would be together, the air got really thick because we knew how you guys could not get along.” We were completely oblivious of this and used to have dinner and drinks together. Why would we even be in the same agency if we didn’t get along? (laughs)
HH: What was attractive about Goranger?
Miyauchi: Firstly, I’d say it’s the gathering of experienced actors. They are all cool and do cool poses. It’s not only strength and technique, but teamwork as well. And when that teamwork became a focal point, we had one issue “What if it becomes bullying the weak?”. We’d defeat the foot soldiers and then face the boss together, and that’s when we feared it would be unfair. We consulted with our stunt coordinator, and decided that a cooperative form would not end up being bullying and what you see is what came out. We were on a tight budget, and we had to think of many things right there on location. The fact that we were all adults and the message of justice and teamwork are the focal point of Goranger.
HH: Kaiketsu Zubat is famous for being a series that would not have been possible without you and, in the past, you have said that Ken Hayakawa equals Hiroshi Miyauchi. What makes you feel that way?
Miyauchi: I have talked about this a number of times. Hayakawa’s eyes and shoulder movements are Hawaii. Kamen Rider V3 is very popular in Hawaii. There’s a department store called Shirokiya who invites me for an autograph signing event every other year. The lines go all arount the building and extend to 4 or 5 hours. V3’s popularity is still high even after almost 40 years. It was during one of those visits, right after V3 had ended, my English is awful and I tried to have a conversation with a child. He just stood there, eyeing me with a question mark over his head. I thought I could used that body language somewhere and found it perfect for Hayakawa. The character is made from these bits and pieces.
Being Impertinent Was a Privilege Shared with a Crew that Grew Together.
HH: Seems that many of your own ideas were used in Zubat. Was it like that from the beginning? Perhaps it was an arrangement from the start, you being a Toei actor? Or was it something you wanted to participate in personally?
Miyauchi: Hiroshi Miyauchi happens to be a very impertinent actor. I asked that, unless I was filming, I participate in the creative meetings. During V3, I’d tell the director, who had just finished giving instructions: “Sorry, this line V3 has here, even though I’m delivering it myself in voiceover afterwards, doesn’t really fit. I want to do it as Shiro Kazami.” I’d give suggestions like: “I speak to children directly in this scene. That needs to be done by Kazami.” Or requests like: “I want to ride my bike when infiltrating the enemy base” or “Not only that, I want 10 explosions.” They’d say there was no budget for 10 explosions, to which I’d respond: “I’ll go to the production office myself and negotiate.” This kind of cocky actions were only possible because we were all a crew that grew together. I was spoiled to a certain extent in that sense. Any other established actor would just be told “Shut up. Who do you think you are?”. But in this case they’d stretch the budget and give in to my requests. In Goranger, instead of just simply running, I’d run carrying the bike’s sidecar, or ask for a puddle to be there so some water splashed. I’d join the staff and ADs and dig the hole for the puddle while everyone waited.
HH: So both you and the staff made every effort possible, right?
Miyauchi: Yes, the teamwork was incredible. The staff always gave their best.
HH: You joined JAKQ Dengekitai as the 5th hero just after you wrapped up Zubat. What kind of character was Sokichi Banba?
Miyauchi: I was sort of tricked. The producer had heard I was about to finish Zubat and told me to join in. “You’ll play a commander” he said. I thought it’d be easy, then, just sitting around and giving out orders, but it turned out to be a field commander (laughs). I tried to keep Hayakawa’s cockyness and Banba’s cockyness separated.
HH: Part of Sokichi Banba’s character was his multiple disguises. You seem to have had a lot of fun with that.
Miyauchi: Yes, it was a lot of fun. I could do anything I wanted. There was no director who told me to knock it off (laughs). I may have been a bit too excited at times, but that was when the acting (should I call it acting?) was more interesting. I get told I’m cocky and overconfident, however, Hiroshi Miyauchi is not cocky at all. I’m more of a comedian. My roles may be that way, but that’s just acting. The nearest, I think, would be Ken Hayakawa.
HH: Finally, we’d like you to send a message to your fans.
Miyauchi: The heroes played by Hiroshi Miyauchi are always played thinking of the children on the other side of the screen. A child’s eyes are bright. A child’s eyes do not lie. What is a hero, you ask? A child will always try to emulate a hero. Heroes are not only people on the screen, like us. They are teachers, dads and mums, anyone who gives an example to a child. They’ll imitate their heroes. I invite everyone to give a good example. Also,
“what is justice?” you ask– what the hero will always appeal to, that is Justice.
Source: March issue of Hyper Hobby Magazine
All English translations are accredited to The Tokusatsu Network staff members. Please do not repost without crediting and directly linking back to the original Tokusatsu Network article.