Takeru Satoh turned 30 in March, celebrating his 15th debut anniversary this year. What was the beginning of his career like? We asked him to look back on the 15 years since his debut and trace the trajectory of his thoughts and changes. The reason for his debut was when he was scouted in Harajuku when he was in the second year of high school. You were interested in acting. Satoh: Originally, I liked watching dramas and movies, and I watched whatever was being done at that time. I especially liked “TRICK”. I also liked “Dancing Great Search Line.” That’s why I was scouted and started working with a positive attitude. However, at that time, there was no image of an actor that I was aiming for. I was invited to the audition, so I went, and when the work was done, I went to the scene. After going to the scene, tell the director I’m going to do my best what I’m told. It was a series of overcoming the work in front of me.
Turning point? Satoh: Well, it’s all a turning point, but the first one is “Kamen Rider Den-O”, isn’t it? It was around the time when I became a member of society from a student, so I guess I got a job. I was 16 at the time, but my life has clearly changed. Of course, I was very busy during the shooting period, but it was fun because it was a series of new things.
Until the middle of the 20’s, Masaki Suda-san and Sota Fukushi-san were produced when speaking of the “Osaete, Katsu” and “Kamen Rider” series. Satoh: A gateway to success for young actors.
It is “Kamen Rider Den-O” starring Satoh. The main character, Ryoutaro Nogami, is a difficult character who is timid and prone to misfortune, which is not a hero, and is set to be possessed by four invaders called “Imagine”. Sato played five characters, including Ryoutarou himself, and his high acting skills became a hot topic among viewers. Well, it must have been difficult, but he had almost no experience playing a single role, so it was natural. So,it was nice to start there. As for the turning point after that… Part 1 of “Rurouni Kenshin” will be included. After all, it seems that this work is the trigger to receive various starring offers. Satoh: I feel like I’ve become “Rurou”. I was 24 years old, and from there until my mid-twenties, I thought, “I always have to win.” My stage as an actor must go up one notch after that work. If that doesn’t change, it’s better not do that work, so I held back on my work. I was holding back and choosing works like if I was going to win. After that, from around my late twenties, I started to feel that I was okay, so I guess I was able to play around a bit. I have come to be able to choose the work I want to do because I want to do it without worrying about what others think of me.
It may be because of that that I appeared in “A”. In 2018, the last year of my twenties, I worked for the first time with morning and TBS dramas, saying, “I want to leave my current self in the video.” In 2019, he consciously expanded the range of his work, such as starring in the movie “Samurai Marathon” planned and produced by Jeremy Thomas, known for “The Last Emperor” (1988), which won the Academy Award for Best Picture. Even after entering my 30s, my stance of “doing what I want to do” hasn’t changed. It’s becoming clearer within me. That’s why I feel like I want to make more interesting things. Until then, I was mainly appearing in the work I was asked to do, but I’m starting to think I wish I could participate in the creation more actively.
For last year’s “Koi wa Tsuzuku yo Dokodemo”, I was invited to appear on TBS by someone who I was indebted to for a long time. I wanted to make it as good as possible, so I gave various opinions.
For example? Satoh: There are many things, but I wonder what they are… After all, it’s called a “love story”, so I’d like to see more of these two (Mone Kamishiraishi-san, a nurse, Nanase Sakura, and Satoh, a doctor, Tendo). If these two are not loved by everyone, the work will never succeed.
Let’s introduce two people first. I went in from there. As Satoh thinks, “Koi Tsuzu”, which focuses on the love pattern of a new nurse and a do-S doctor, is “Kyun Kyun” and continued on SNS. Hope overflowed, and the free missed delivery after the final episode was broadcast recorded the highest 368 million views in TBS history, a record. The average household audience rating rose from 9,9% for the first episode to 1565,4% for the final episode, making it a huge hit (based on video research in the Kanto region). You have created a new vein of “romantic comedy” that will spread to all generations of women, but how did Satoh himself feel about this reaction? Satoh: It was covered on TV, and the reaction of the fans, I felt the great response. However, there was no reaction around me, and LINE did not reach my mobile phone. On the contrary, I was the one who contacted the fans.
Yes (laughs). What made the topic even bigger was communication with fans using apps such as LINE. Especially new was the use of “SUGAR”, which started in 2016 and became a hot topic during the broadcast of “Koi Tsuzu”. “SUGAR” claims that “I can call that person I admire”, but at first it was rarely used by famous celebrities like Satoh. When the selected Juan’s smartphone ringtone rings and the app is launched, Satoh appears on the other side of the screen, and you can talk to the real person, so it was covered by the media a lot. An official YouTube channel was also opened. As soon as the distribution started on March 18 last year, the number of channel subscribers exceeded 1 million in 3 days. Since then, he has shown his private side, such as delivering a drive with Ryunosuke Kamiki and others, and enjoying his hobby “mystery solving” and the mystery game “Werewolf” with Ryo Nishikido-san. Turned into “friends” rather than “fans”
Satoh: LINE started as part of the promotion for the movie “If Cats Disappeared from the World”. Before that, I had seen someone else’s official LINE. When I send a message, the other party will automatically reply to me, and I thought it smelled like AI and I didn’t like it. However, fans replied to my official LINE. When I did it, I was told that I could not automatically reply to anything. I thought that would be fine, so I started SUGAR. If you use LINE, you’ll want to make a phone call, don’t you think? I thought it would be nice if I could do it because I’m just like a private friend. At the time of “Koi Tsuzu”, he asked me, “Would you like to do it?” This job doesn’t always involve exposure. Once a year or a serial drama, and during the period there is exposure, but during the other periods there is nothing at all. In that sense, I think it would be nice if there was one thing like YouTube because we could put it out at our pace. I think it’s a bit different to shoot something for YouTube, but I shoot in the same situation as what I usually do, such as “Werewolf” or solving puzzles as a hobby. Well, if you upload it to YouTube and the fans are happy, then there’s no burden on me (laughs). Then I thought that everyone would be happy, and I started thinking that there was something I could do.
Using modern tools, he communicates with fans and conducted branding himself. Some people in the same industry say, “Actors shouldn’t show their true face”. That rare talent is an element that makes him a star of the new era. Satoh: In particular, I have no intention of connecting YouTube to the acting industry. If you ask me if I want to communicate with my fans, I want to. Above all, it’s fun, and I get motivated when I hear positive feedback about the work I’ve done. But rather than wanting to communicate with fans anymore… the times have evolved, the internet has developed more and more, and the sense of distance with everyone has become closer. That’s why for me, rather than “fans”, I’d say “private companions”. Honestly, it’s the same as keeping in touch with friends. It’s like, “How are you?” in my current sense (laughs).
Producer Masako Miyazaki-san’s TBS drama “Koi wa Tsuzukuyo Dokodemo” romantic comedy is so much fun when a talented actor does it. Last year, “Koi wa Tsuzukuyo Dokodemo” became a bit hit. What is the challenge of Satoh-san’s love comedy as seen by Miyazaki-san? Miyazaki: The original manga of “Koi Tsuzu” is a royal road romantic comedy by a hard-working rookie nurse (Nanase) and a super-S handsome doctor (Tendo). Takeru-san was the first person who came up with the role of Tendo-san. He’s an actor that I’m really into right now, and I thought, “People in the world want to see Takeru Satoh’s tsundere. I was aware that he was a great actor in “Ryoumaden”, and the dramas such as “Tonbi” and “Tenno no Ryoriban” were wonderful… I didn’t expect to receive it. It was good timing, as Takeru-san also wanted to do a romantic comedy when I asked him to do it. Regarding this work, Takeru-san has a strong enthusiasm that he must make the women of the world feel their hearts pounding, and on the site, everything from gestures to lines to how to show movements.
It was acted out. First, Takeru-san’s ideas and the staff’s ideas were put forward, and we all discussed and created it. I’ve never seen him in agony on set. But Kamishiraishi-san was also the first lead in the Golden Obi, and I thought she had a sense of responsibility that he had to lead her. And what he felt was that he really knew what he was seeing. In the scene where I want him to look like this at this time, he has never removed it. For example, in the crying scene in episode 9, even if I don’t say anything, the expression goes beyond my expectations. Nowadays, romantic comedies are on the rise, but I think that Takeru-san showed us with “Koi Tsuzu” that when a powerful actor puts his all into a romantic comedy, it became such an interesting story. In the future, I would like to see you do something that only Takeru-san can do, and someday do a romantic comedy. If it were me, I’d like to ask for a really lame person next time (laughs).