EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Actor & Kis-My-Ft2 singer Taisuke Fujigaya

TheReviewGeek Interviews: Actor and Kis-My-Ft2 Singer Taisuke Fujigaya

Star of Japanese rom-com Unexpected – Love Story in Maison Ginseiso and singer in J-pop group Kis-My-Ft2, Taisuke Fujigaya talks to TheReviewGeek about the subtleties of Japaneseness and how much of what he’s done through his career has been for the benefit of his group.

In an exclusive interview, 36-year-old Fujigaya, a self-proclaimed romantic, is now at a point in his music-idol career where he’s choosing things he’d like to do and confides that he’d be happy to offer love advice. For his international fans and TRG readers, he shares some of his ponderings on the nuances of Japanese vs. other countries’ cultures in what feels like a delve into the concept of humanness.

Fujigaya stars in current 10-episode Viki rom-com Unexpected – Love Story in Maison Ginseiso  (Hamaru Otoko ni Keritai Onna). His character, Koichi, is an arrogant guy who has everything and loses it all, then through the course of the drama, bravely faces his misconceptions. A return to a genre he hasn’t done in a while, Fujigaya chose it to invite overseas viewers to get to know Kis-My-Ft2 through his work.

© Johnny & Associates


“When it comes to acting, each project is a brand-new experience. It was difficult to find the balance for Koichi. He’s a hard worker, but somehow also very silly. I tried to play him simply – not overly dramatic, but not monotone either. Koichi wants to apologize for his mistakes, but he doesn’t really recognize what was wrong with his behavior in the first place. I wonder if the way this plays out in the drama is as easily understood elsewhere as it is to Japanese audiences.”

Part of Koichi’s road to redemption is learning about the importance of doing work that’s needed – of being needed. When asked about his special ‘home-making’ skills, should he ever need to run a boarding house like Maison Ginseiso, Fujigaya, completely aware of our audience, wonders about house sharing in different cultures.

“While sharing with roommates is pretty common here in Tokyo, I live alone, so I don’t have the opportunity to take care of other people that often. I actually love to cook and do laundry in real life, so if I did live with someone, those would be my preferred chores. Especially if I’m living with a woman I like! However, if I had to live with my fellow group members, things would get pretty interesting. Some are good at cooking, some have other skills, so I think it would either be a very exciting experience – or terrible!”

You can hear the chuckle in his words. But speaking of women, Fujigaya tells us about meeting his romantic counterpart, Nagisa Sekimizu, for the first time at the promotional photoshoot.

“We just got to chat for 30 seconds before she had to straddle me and get her face really close to mine. I was embarrassed but tried hard not to show it. And when I think about it now, it all seems very funny. It all worked out in the end! Maybe it was good to get so close at the beginning.”

‘Unexpected – Love Story in Maison Ginseiso’ © tv asahi All rights reserved.


Fujigaya talks enthusiastically about the differing styles of his recent work, including Japanese cinema hit And So I’m at a Loss. Unfortunately, it’s not yet available outside Japan, but the glowing appraisals make us itch to see it. As the main character, Yuichi, he plays an introvert in his twenties who can’t seem to get it together, fleeing any friends and family asking too many probing questions.

“It’s a typical Japanese story and I often wonder how people from other countries feel when viewing Japanese language subtleties or fluctuation of emotions. For example, in Japan, it’s rather typical for people to just avoid uncomfortable situations, but I wonder if such avoidance is the same elsewhere. At any rate, it’s interesting to compare these two recent projects and their very different characters despite being played by the same person.”

Fujigaya was said to have been possessed by the spirit of the character, determined to become Yuichi again for the film, having performed the role on stage in 2018.

“I guess you can say I was kind of obsessed. I went all in for this role, which the director also kind of demanded. He didn’t want a character that I just played on the surface. I tried dozens of times – hundreds. Since it’s a story written by director Miura, he had a lot of specific input on the character. It was difficult to tune into exactly what he wanted, but honestly, that made it all the more worthwhile. As an actor, it was a great environment where I could really immerse myself in that world.”

When the DVD is available, it will include interviews with the rest of the cast by Fujigaya, but he claims to have been so absorbed in the role that he doesn’t remember doing them.

“Whether it be the film itself or the DVD bonus footage, I do hope a lot of people are able to watch and enjoy it. I know it unfortunately was rather restricted in its mostly domestic release, but I’d be very curious as to what people outside of Japan think. I have an image that in other countries it’s important to say Yes or No clearly while in Japan there is Yes which is a bit close to No. While this flexibility contributes to a lot of what is good in Japan like politeness and always taking others’ feelings into account, it can be a bad thing when you want a clear response from someone. I really want to hear the reaction of people overseas.”


Talking about the entertainment industry as a whole, Fujigaya shares some of his experiences outside Japan.

“The Japanese admire Hollywood and a lot of overseas music, theater, fashion, food, and more. At the same time, I’m touched that so many people love Japanese culture including idols, manga and games. When it comes to the major differences between the two, I think artists from other countries tend to focus on the fruits of their training and accomplishments, whereas Japanese artists prioritize involving their audiences in their growth and development and kindling an intimate two-way sense of connection and mutual support, which requires a little more time and attention to become a fan.

However, I’m very happy that there are fans around the world who are willing to take that journey. For example, when we performed overseas a few years ago, at first, we thought it would be better to sing in English or Chinese, but when we sang in Japanese the fans sang along too, having taught themselves so they could be a part of our show.

It’s important to admire and absorb from the outside, but I want to cherish the goodness of Japan and share it with others. To me, the entertainment industry is not a collection of rivals, but fellow performers trying to brighten up people’s lives.”


Continuing on his goals and growth trajectory, Fujigaya describes the shift he was able to make with the support of his entertainment agency, Johnny & Associates.

“When I was in my twenties, Johnny’s gave me so many opportunities to explore by helping me get acting work and on variety shows in addition to my music work with Kis-My-Ft2. I really enjoyed acting and loved engaging with other talents of the same age who were in the movies and TV shows that I personally enjoyed. But I knew that, for the group, it was better to focus on variety and music shows and not take away from that for more personal work.

Now, in my 30s, I have more freedom to express myself. In Japanese, there’s a saying that “you can’t catch a rabbit if you’re chasing two at once,” but I’ve always thought that maybe if I chased 5, I could at least catch a few. I’m the type who doesn’t want to have any regrets at the end of my life, so I want to try everything I can. I’m confident that thanks to everyone who has supported me, I will. That’s a great feeling.”

He goes on to compare his 20+-year-old thinking to his mid-30s self. After debuting at 24, he felt the need to take on a specific persona to be memorable but his beliefs changed into his 30s when he started to ‘unwind.’

“My world gradually expanded. After that, things got a lot easier. I’m more confident now and can more easily convey when something moves me or touches my heart – or even when something is serious. Basically, I’m a lot less stressed and having a lot more fun now that I’m in my thirties.

As to where he’d be confident giving advice, he shares, “I would like to be asked for love advice, so if any of my juniors are reading this, come talk to me if you’re having romantic troubles. I like love stories because I’m secretly a romantic at heart.”

Taisuke Fujigaya closes the interview with a personal message to our readers at TRG: “I’m one of the members of an idol group called Kis-My-Ft2 in Japan. I would love you to know more about us. If you’re interested in me, please check out some of my series and films. It may be difficult, but it would be great if you could come to our live performances at some point as well. I want you to feel the unique entertainment of Japan and Johnny’s first-hand. Also, if we have the chance, we would like to go overseas again to see our international fans in person.”

We await an opportunity to catch And So I’m at a Loss. What Taisuke Fujigaya movies or dramas would you like to see? Which (international release) would you like us to review next? For more reviews of Japanese movies and dramas, click here. For more interviews, click here.

Read the full Q&A with Taisuke Fujigaya here. Watch Unexpected – Love Story in Maison Ginseiso on Viki and read the review here.


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