Kentaro Sakaguchi—Almost Mature
Head of Production
I had the pleasure of interviewing Sakaguchi Kentaro, and despite our distance, I could tell he was passionate about his work. Sakaguchi’s presence in person is warm and balanced, exuding a comfortable and fitting sensation that can be described as “warmly cool.” His laid-back demeanor, unruly hair covering his forehead and ears, and fresh, vulnerable eyes reminiscent of his Side by Side character Miyama all contributed to his allure.
Sakaguchi’s fashion sense is straightforward and well-balanced, mirroring his personal style. He prefers simple, soft materials to flashy, showy outfits, favoring clothing that reflects his simple inner thoughts rather than following any particular trend.
This seamlessly plays into his deep understanding of his characters’ inner worlds as an actor, and he portrays them with great sensitivity. Despite playing a variety of roles, such as the extreme Murooka Hideki in Hell Dogs, he prefers not to pursue specific roles, and ultimately, tries to be an actor who is needed by society and the audience. We’re looking forward to see what’s next for Sakaguchi.
Can you talk about your views on men’s fashion and outfit matching?
I enjoy coordinating various outfits for every season, and this brings me joy. For work, I opt for clothes that are easy to put on and don’t feel heavy. Additionally, I prefer clothes made of lightweight materials.
Where do you get your inspiration for outfits, and how do you express it?
On occasion, I derive outfit inspiration from fashion magazines. As an actor in movies and TV shows, I strive to select costumes that align with the characters I portray. Over time, I’ve found myself increasingly drawn to these styles for my personal wardrobe.
Are there any fashion elements or fashion items you like these days?
Previously, I used to dress stylishly. However, during the summer, I now tend to just wear a T-shirt and head out. In the winter, I opt for basic yet well-made clothing, rather than anything too extravagant.
So far, you have acted in many excellent films and TV dramas. What kind of role would you like to take on in the future?
Over the past few years, I’ve portrayed many roles as a young man. As I’ve aged, the roles presented to me have shifted, potentially due to my maturity, societal changes, and audience demand. Instead of dictating the types of characters I want to embody in the future, I aspire to be a versatile actor that fulfills the needs of both the industry and society in the present era.
Could you briefly introduce your new movie, Side By Side?
I had the opportunity to portray a truly unique character with a distinct perspective.
As viewers watch a film or TV drama, they tend to form opinions about the protagonist’s role as the story unfolds. In the case of Miyama, the audience may struggle to connect with his experiences and be intrigued by his thoughts. Miyama’s emotional state is influenced by the sentiments of those around him. My goal for the film is to elicit an emotional response from the audience, rather than simply relying on easily understandable plotlines.
How did you enter the realm Masato Harada described in Hell Dogs, where “97 percent was the mind of a psychopath, but the remaining 3 percent was the original innocence”?
Had Murooka Hideki been the sole character with such a dark personality in the story, I might have portrayed him in a more straightforward manner. I could have exaggerated his actions to convey his internal turmoil. However, since Okada Junichi’s character, Kanetaka Shogo, was Murooka Hideki’s partner, and the narrative aimed to explore more than just violence and gore, a different approach was necessary. Perhaps it was Murooka Hideki’s innocence that made him dangerous, and his partnership with a boss-like figure that emboldened him to make unconventional choices. To truly immerse oneself in the story, the audience should be able to sense the character’s pure pathological tendencies. When I consider the role as a whole, I believe it was a collaboration with the senior actor Okada Junichi and Director Harada that helped me to shape my portrayal of the character.
In The Last 10 Years, in which you cooperated with Komatsu Nana, you acted on the detailed changes from 20 to 30 years old. Where did you discover these details?
In The Last 10 Years, Takabayashi Matsuri, portrayed by Komatsu Nana, struggled with a gradual decline in her life. On the other hand, my character, Manabe Kazuto, had a healthy body but desired to end his life, although he was unsuccessful. Upon encountering Matsuri, I aimed to depict how Kazuto’s outlook improved, and he adopted a more positive attitude. However, Matsuri’s life was on the brink of ending. The story of The Last 10 Years revolves around the love that Kazuto had for Matsuri and how it manifested. During my performance, I made a conscious effort to convey Kazuto’s vulnerability before meeting Matsuri, and how he gradually gained a sense of purpose and hope through their interactions. The shift was evident in the light that appeared in Kazuto’s eyes, symbolizing his newfound sense of purpose.
Time Limit Battle has been your attempt at a novel genre. What similarities do you see between your personality and that of Koshobu Tsutomu? When playing this role, how did you manage to place yourself in the story?
I believe there is a similarity between Koshobu Tsutomu, who works for the Fair Trade Commission, and myself. When investigating something, he thoroughly analyzes all the details from different perspectives, even if there is an apparent conclusion. He starts with a seemingly unnecessary investigation, finds problems, and solves them. Playing the role of Koshobu Tsutomu, I realized that he was a person who always kept an open mind and avoided getting trapped in a corner. In that sense, I find myself to be quite similar to him.
Besides the films, are there any new TV dramas that you would like to introduce?
I will be appearing in several unannounced TV dramas this year, portraying a range of characters that differ from my past roles. I’m excited for the audience to anticipate my performances, and I also have high expectations for myself.
Hair and Makeup Artist
If you were asked to describe 2022 in three words, what would they be?
One will also do if you find it difficult to decide on three words.
The word that stands out to me is “Past.” While I will be involved in numerous projects that require me to focus on the future, I believe it’s important to take a step back, reflect, and look at the work I’ve done, especially now that 2023 has just begun.
As the year 2023 has just begun, do you have any expectations for this year?
From my current perspective, it seems that this year is going to be very hectic. As I mentioned earlier about reflecting on the “past,” I believe it’s important to pause and not worry about the distant future for now. For instance, I only focus on today’s shoot, and plan for the next day based on the film and TV production schedule. Planning too far ahead can be exhausting. Even though there are significant projects to undertake in 2023, I prefer to take it one step at a time. I prioritize my tasks for tomorrow, the day after, and the upcoming week. I anticipate accomplishing things gradually.
In your new movie, you play Miyama, a young man with the superpower to heal wounded people. In your real life, when people around you have troubles, how do you help them digest these troubles?
Personally, I’m not skilled at giving rousing speeches like “Let’s go, team!” When those around me are feeling exhausted or troubled, I believe that a reassuring pat on the back or a comforting embrace can be much more meaningful.