Takeru Satoh (Hanbun Aoi Photobook 2018)


From behind-the-scenes story of his first attempt at the “morning drama”, his feelings for Ritsu, who has been acting for about 10 months, and the future as an actor that has been seen after spending exciting days. At the end of his twenties, a life-size special interview that shows Takeru Satoh’s “now.”

After saying goodbye to Suzua at Natsumushi Station, it took about a month before Ritsu reappeared. “Ritsu Loss” was also happening, but during that time, how did you see “Hanbun, Aoi” without Ritsu? Satoh: When Suzume got married and was happy, I watched it while thinking, “That was great”, but there were many scenes of her fighting, getting angry, and having a lot of trouble. I thought, “How pitiful…”. Suzume’s husband, Ryoji spent a lot of money at home, got drunk and made a big fuss outside, and there were quite a few. There were happy days even if she hadn’t drawn. Ryounosuke (Yuma Yamoto), Nao, Akikaze-sensei (Etsushi Toyokawa), Makoto (Jun Shison), and Yuko (Nana Seino) made an appearance, so I was happy.

What are your thoughts on Suzume’s choice of Ryoji? Satoh:  I was convinced. After all, the biggest factor was that you said “like” me. For Ritsu, who doesn’t have much experience, if someone that handsome wants you to get married, I think that’s enough. As far as I’m concerned, it’s probably the same as Ritsu, but I wanted to support him.

However, after about eight years, Suzume got divorced and returned to her parents’ home in Gifu. There, she reunites with Ritsu, who has temporarily returned to his parents’ home in Osaka. How was the shooting of the reunion scene? Satoh: Actually, I was away from filming for about two months and then came back, so I felt a bit nervous for a moment. It was the same with Suzume, but I also felt nostalgic for the performance with my classmates like Ryunosuke and Nao, and the people of the owl shopping district.

Ritsu, who has been acting since high school, is now around 40. Is there anything you keep in mind when playing a role that is older than your actual age? Satoh: As for small changes, when I was in high school, I often ate okonomiyaki, but since becoming an adult, I haven’t eaten much even when I’m drinking. I don’t think I can live with the momentum of the past (laughs). Other than that, even if the appearance of the hair and costume changes a little, the tone of voice and the atmosphere are different expressions in the script. If so, the play will naturally change as well… Depending on the work or role, there are times when I’m intentionally conscious of the age of the characters, but this time, I wasn’t particularly conscious of it too much.

How was the play with Suzume? Satoh: She got married and had Kana-chan (Ririna Yamazaki), but she broke up with her husband. It makes sense for Suzume, and since one of them is said to be married and have a child, it’s only natural that a “grown-up” conversation that would have been impossible up until now would naturally emerge. In the past, I don’t think there was even a conscious idea that they were a man and women in the back of my mind, but when it comes to four, I don’t think that’s the case (laughs). The change in our relationship and what they were refreshing to me.

When Suzume reveals her feelings for Ritsu, she has a moment where she sees him as a man. The law was at play but… Satoh: Well, Ritsu is married… It would be nice if you could see the exchange between the two as usual, but it seems like it’s a little more powerful (laughs).

Does that mean that Ritsu’s feelings for Suzume won’t change? Satoh: That’s right. For Ritsu, there is only one Suzume, so no married if she gets married or divorced, nothing will change. That’s why it’s wrong to keep a distance from Ritsu because she got married, and she didn’t have any conflicts or hesitation.

I think that many viewers probably feel that Suzume and Ritsu are destined partners, and it is inevitable that the two will get together. Satoh:Looking at it objectively, I don’t know if it’s true or not, but I personally don’t get the idea that Suzume and Ritsu are destined partners. There is a sense of incongruity when I am told. If I were to say Ritsu’s destined person, I think Saya (Seika Furuhata) would fit better. Suzume and Ritsu have been together since they were born, and in a sense, they haven’t even met. It’s hard to explain in words, but to me, rather than the word destiny, I think it’s more like together.

Well, that’s a deep thought. Nagano-san, who plays Suzume, feels the same way. Satoh: I don’t know if it matches when I try to verbalize it, but I think we feel the same way.

So, what do you think of Ritsu, who has a presence like Suzume? Satoh: I don’t have someone like Suzume for Ritsu, and I don’t think anyone, not just me, has one, so I’m envious. If I had someone like Suzume, even if there are some hard times, I think we would have had a different life (laughs).

Has there been anything you’ve gained from playing Ritsu’s life? Satoh: If it was influenced by my outlook on life, it may not be. regardless of the life of Ritsu, the relationship between Suzume and Ritsu, they are just them, I think they are people who live a special life. I think they are people who can not get it even if they try to get it.

What kind of thoughts do you have? Satoh: After all, I am simply attached to it. there are some cute places and some bad places, and I put all that out and say, “He’s a sweet guy.” There are some characters like Ritsu in the first place, but I think that if you play for a long time, I think that will happen. I have also felt the feeling of being happy in other works, but since we’ve been together for almost a year, I feel stronger than others. It feels lonely to end it. I will crank up soon (*at the time of the interview), and it will be very lonely that the work will end soon.

Did you have a “Ritsu loss?” Satoh: I wonder if I’m actually shooting other works, so I wonder if I will forget it immediately (laughs). But now I’m definitely lonely.

What kind of experience did you have with the “Morning Drama”, which was your first time? Satoh: I was able to experience the national morning drama, and I have gained and felt various things. The scene of the morning drama has a feeling like a presentation somewhere where I can demonstrate all of this. In general work, I thought about just living my life, and in response to the director saying, “I play here like this.” It’s a matter of course, but the morning drama is prepared by everyone, brought to the site, announced, and it will be aired as it is. I learned a new experience, but when it comes to performing, I feel scared because there is an impression that I will demonstrate it rather than I can get it. I felt that everything as an actor for 10 years is appreciated. I always felt that I was exposed. The pressure to get it is immeasurable.

If Suzume is wonderful, then Mei Nagano-san is wonderful, and at the same time, if Suzume or Ritsu sometimes thinks that? Satoh: It’s also our responsibility. I think that 18-year old Nagano-san, who is exposed to the actors and wins a reputation in Japan, is doing wonderful things. This time, I understand why the talented people are cast in the morning drama. Actually, I think that there are many difficult parts without a certain degree of ability. In particular, the heroine Suzume seemed to be doing something really amazing because the part that Nagano-san was carrying was too big. I don’t know how much she was aware of, but she’s doing a good performance.

Nagano-san said that she was often helped by Satoh-san. Satoh: That’s not the case. I can’t play alone, and I can’t play without Nagano-san. It’s just a team, including other co-stars, so it’s not just me, but I want to support the heroine who thinks simply because it has a lot of dialogue, and the schedule is the most difficult.

Out of the many co-stars, who were you particularly impressed with other than Nagano-san? Satoh: Kana-chan. We were the most together in the second half. To be honest, I may have the loneliest parting with Kana-chan. Other actors may be able to co-star again in the future, and we can meet again. But Kana-chan will continue to be a child. For example, even if we can meet again in the future, it will have changed… When I think so, even when I’m at the scene, I suddenly think that bye bye with her is the loneliest.

Don’t you think you want a child like that too? Satoh: No, it would be really hard if there was such a cute girl (laughs). In my spare time, I made paper planes and flew them, and that was fun and relaxing, but for a while, I was addicted to “high, high”. Since I did in the scene, every time I met her, she would say, “Do it high!” My arms… (laughs).

This is your first morning drama, is there anything you do in your routine? Satoh: In the NHK studio where we are filming, there is an antechamber outside the set where the cast and staff wait. I sat there without ever changing my seat, and if I were to say it was like a routine, no matter where I went. I will definitely sit here (laughs). However, when I came back about two months after the shoot was vacant, I thought, “I’m sure I’ve changed,” and I was able to take a break (laughs). I was happy.

Are you conscious of your position at other sites or at home? Satoh: I don’t know… if it’s another filming location, and you don’t shoot in the same studio all the time, so it’s unique to morning dramas.

Isn’t that, right? Satoh: Certainly, I tend to be biased (laughs).

Some private questions along the way. Satoh-san looks cool but when do you get excited? Satoh: I don’t know much myself. Do people get excited because of something? Of course, there are times when it goes up, and there are times when I think, “Oh, it’s delicious.” I guess it depends on my condition.

Do sweets sometimes lift your spirits? Satoh: I don’t think sweets will make a difference. I’d rather eat delicious sushi or rice than that.

I’ve seen information that you like strawberry shortcake, but it’s outdated. Was it news? Satoh: Well, it’s not even old (laughs). Someone asked me, “Do you like it?”

What inspires and influences you now? Satoh: I would say movies. In particular, there are a lot of very interesting films from overseas that inspire me. So, when I calm down, I want to take it easy.

What kind of role would you like to play next after the morning drama is over? Satoh: When I play such a life-size role in everyday life, I want to play a heavy role that is very elaborate. So now, if anything, I would like to do a work with a solid feeling, whether it’s a human drama or an action.

Ritsu was a role that the screenwriter, Eriko Kitagawa-san, had written, so it was more life-size. Satoh: In a good way, I was able to relax, so I didn’t get tired. It’s not the right way to put it, but compared to other works, it’s a role that I can continue. When I played the role of a chef before, I had to study cooking and acting very hard for months (because I played all the cooking scenes myself), and halfway through I said, “I can’t do it anymore.” If I was asked to do it, I would still be able to play it, and since he is a character that I’m attached to, it makes me want to see him beyond the final episode.  

Once again, what is the charm of “Hanbun, Aoi” that Satoh-san feels? Satoh: I keep saying this all the time, but I like everyone, starting with Suzume. I’ve fallen in love with the characters, so that’s enough, I just want to see everyone’s lives. They all have unique characters, so I want to support them in their lives, and I want to see them through, even though I feel various things, such as “I’m doing my best” and “Why are you doing that?” It makes me think. I think that’s all there is to it. I’m sure the viewers will feel the same way, nd there will be times when I get frustrated. I think it will be, so it’s okay to look forward to it. that said, I haven’t filmed it to the end yet, so I can’t be sure (laughs), but I’m planning to make it last, so please look forward to it. Also, I thought it would be great if one episode of the morning drama was 15 minutes long.

What do you mean? Satoh: A 15-minute drama is about the same as a morning drama on terrestrial TV, but I was watching it as a viewer, and I thought it was a kind of “addictiveness” because it was 15 minutes long, so I couldn’t stop watching it. It’s suitable for today’s age where even Internet videos are getting shorter and shorter, and I felt once again the possibilities that 15-minute serial dramas can do so much. In terms of it, it’s condensed, isn’t it? It conveys more than enough, and you can do it in 15 minutes. In that sense, this is also a stimulus.

Finally, could you please give a message to the readers and viewers? Satoh: I like the development after Suzume and Ritsu meeting again as adults. I thought so, and I’m sure everyone will too. A proper catharsis awaits Suzume and Ritsu, who have been passing each other all this time and have given the viewers frustration. As I said earlier, I must make it the last one that makes people think, “I’ve been waiting for you.” I want you to see it by all means.


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