Okuyama talks about her current role for her new comedy-drama.
Kazusa Okuyama talks about her role in the newly released drama titled Mahjong Hotoki in The-TV Interview.
Have you ever played mahjong?
When I was in college, a lot of people I knew played the game but I never even touched a set. I am familiar with the term “Pure Double Chow,” as well as mahjong terms used by college students as their nickname.
So you weren’t too surprised when you ran into mahjong terms in your script?
I’ve heard some of them before but other than that, it’s all new to me. There’s a scene in my script where we did a give-and-exchange of tiles and I didn’t understand any of it.
When reading the mahjong hands and plays, I needed furigana (basic Japanese alphabets written next to kanji or Chinese Characters), or else I couldn’t read them. The scorekeeping is also gibberish to me.
Since you are a mahjong player, you have to be extra conscious of how you hold the tiles.
It’s because my character is a skilled player. I was called out whenever I wasn’t holding them right.
I managed to get by while taking on lessons from my supervisor. but other than that it was really hard.
What are some points that you had to be conscious of on top of being super straightforward when talking to Masshiro (played by Oto Abe)?
My character Chiko has an intense disposition, but I wouldn’t say she is boyish. She is very strong-willed. Her clothes are a bit revealing and there is a hot spring scene, but I was conscious of bringing out Chiko’s own allure.
What’s a fun conversation that you and Masshiro have?
There are two sides to Masshiro. She “awakens” whenever she enters a hot spring. It was fun portraying Chiko’s reaction to her.
What are your thoughts on your co-star Oto Abe?
She’s very cute, especially the way she holds her mahjong tiles. She’s very much like her character.
Is there a switch in you that you activate when you “awaken”?
I’m the type whose switch is on when I say “alright!” Which is why it’s important that I have a tension releasing switch. There are times when my switch stays on. In order to reset, I make time to see the mountains or the beach and find time to just relax my mind.
In the film, there’s a development with an intense battle. Are you the competitive type?
That’s a tough question. I do have a determined personality and I do hate losing. But I suck (laughs).
Right now, I’m addicted to playing Momotaro Densetsu. I have the mindset of a wealthy person. But whenever I lose, I get so upset. I’m so bad at the game that I’m in debt (in-game).
This isn’t your first Toei-related project, you made your debut on Kaitou Sentai Lupinranger vs Keisatsu Sentai Patranger. What are your thoughts on the show?
It’s been about two years since it ended. While it is still in my heart, there are those who call me by my official title, Tsukasa-Sempai (sempai is an honorific in the Japanese language, used to address upperclassmen or those with a higher status).
I do keep in touch with the cast of the series and we encourage each other in our lives. It’s a series that I hold dear.
Filming LupiPato (an abbreviation of the series) must’ve been a great experience for you.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that I learned everything important to an actor on that show.
Besides the acting, I got to experience things like the explosions, the hero shows, and the studio dubbing. The filming schedule was unbelievably strict. I carry with me the experience of being on LupiPato as my base. And that I have the courage to get over any hurdles I’ll encounter moving forward.
What are your goals in the future?
I’ve played a hero before so I’d like to try playing a villain who is sort of shady. A very bad villain who is beyond any help. Maybe someone with a rising dragon tattoo on their back! (laughs).