Confronting her roles honestly and squarely:
Haruka Imou’s theories on acting

The young 21 year old actress Haruka Imou has taken on many roles since her debut. We asked her about her reasons for pursuing acting, her theories on acting, and her future aspirations as an artist.

From expressing her feelings through self-portraits
to expressing her feelings through acting

For this second interview, Haruka Imou is dressed casually in a denim two piece outfit in combination with bright yellow sneakers. “A two piece outfit comes in handy as it is easy to wear and looks good. While thinking about how to move to highlight the sneakers, I started to feel like I was acting like a boy.” Rather than showing off the clothes for a fashion shoot, she puts on an act in line with the taste of the clothing. While it seems that this 21 year old has been acting for much longer, she did not originally dream of becoming an actor. “I had been doing only karate until junior high school, but I gradually became frustrated in my performance. Just at that time, I experienced some bullying. I had only done karate until then, so I suddenly felt I didn’t belong and didn’t have anything to call my own. At this time, I had the occassion to draw a self-portrait in art class and was praised for my work. I was awakened to painting and went on to paint in fine arts class in senior high school.” Haruka says she was unable to externalize her feelings very well, so she expressed them through painting self-portraits. In the course of observing her various expressions objectively through her art work, her desire to further express herself was kindled.

“I didn’t have any interest in film, so my desire to express myself emerged suddenly. As a finalist in the Junon Girls Contest, I recited lines from the play Romeo and Juliet. When I began reciting my lines on stage under the spotlight, I realized that I wanted to act. It was the first time for me to act.” She takes an interest in many things and becomes engrossed in pursuing them, but she is also quick to give up on them. She finds things bothersome. Asked about her personality she remarked, “I am not particularly pretty and do not think I have any outstanding attributes. I am not different from anyone in any particular respect, but it would be nice if I could build character so that I will make an impression in someone’s mind.”

Her dream is to challenge herself as an actor on the world stage;
To become an actor who can move people and influence someone’s dreams

Since her debut, Haruka Imou has played diverse roles in a number of much-discussed TV shows and films which continue to be released. Among them, her role in the stage play “Gokeyasu and His Younger Sister” particularly left an impression on her. “The woman named Oto who I played in the stage play ‘Gokeyasu and His Younger Sister’ is at first sight a wicked woman, but as I played her, I began to understand her and empathize with her humanity by imagining just how much she suppressed her feelings while carrying so much grief in her life. That said, she is a wicked woman when seen from the outside. Seeing this character from the inside is very different from how this character appears from the outside – that is interesting to me. By the end of the production, my impression of this character changed from my initial reading. I have never felt about a role that way before and it remains in my memory.” To prepare for the role which was set in the Edo Period, she wore a yukata at home and turned off the lights and lit candles. She also blocked all cell phone calls except for work-related ones. “During the production, there was one performance of which I have no memory. I was on the verge of fainting and remember Tomihara-san telling me ‘pull yourself together!’ I had put myself into character so much that I was unable to see myself objectively. It was the first time that I immersed myself so thoroughly in the world of acting that I lost sight of myself. I learned that I should be careful to maintain a balance between being subjective and objective.”

What she is most interested in now are hollywood movies and overseas stage productions. She studies English everyday, and would like to study acting overseas in the future. We asked her about what kind of an artist she sees herself becoming, not just as an actress. “I heard that there are fewer and fewer people going to the theater to watch movies. I think that a movie is the product of many people coming together to make a singe work, so we should watch and experience it on as big a screen as possible. It would be nice if I can express my attitude to life through my work so that those who see my work can be inspired and take something home with them. When a major earthquake struck my hometown of Kumamoto, I thought about how my performances as an actress can provide earthquake victims dreams and hope and a reason to smile. The movie, fashion, and other creative industries can provide people with dreams, and I hope to fulfill that role. I will dedicate myself so that I will be an inspiration to someone.”

All at some point admire the actor at center stage. Haruka Imou will continue to be exemplary of someone in the limelight. As she continues to hone her craft, she will no doubt build confidence as an actor.

DIRECTION : Shinsuke Nozaka
PHOTO : Masato Moriyama (TRIVAL)
STYLIST : Kosei Matsuda (SIGNO)
MAKE-UP : Marino Asahi (Y’s C)
HAIR : Miho Emori (kiki inc.)
TEXT : Mai Okuhara