Mahiro Takasugi look.1

An actor who is stubborn and hates to lose!?
A popularity built on unique sensibilities and hard work

Mahiro Takasugi started down his path in acting after being scouted in elementary school, and has spent half his life – 12 years – as an actor. His skill and sense of presence are evident in numerous works wherein he has played both main and supporting characters. Playing the role as the subject of this photo shoot, he showed off the appeal of Onitsuka Tiger clothing. In two separate interviews and photo shoots, I talked with Takasugi about his sense of fashion, his job as an actor which he has become absorbed in, and his hobbies which allow him to revert to his natural self.

Winter weather makes him feel like wearing fashion that stands out in town

After putting on the clothes and from the moment he stands in front of the camera, Takasugi makes the clothes a part of his body and transforms himself into the optimal subject of a photo shoot. He delivers himself in different ways which show off the design and silhouette. It is like he is coming to a mutual understanding with the clothes over and over.

“Ordinarily, I like to throw on subdued colors like black, but in the winter I feel like wearing vivid colors and patterns. The weather and cityscape become drab, so I borrow the help of my clothing to boost my spirits. The down jacket is a patchwork of different colors and materials and looks cool just throwing it on. The sweatshirt that I wear beneath the down jacket also has color, so each item asserts itself but goes well together. I also like the wide silhouette — I want to incorporate this sense of balance into my own wardrobe. I now know that Onitsuka Tiger makes clothes that suit my mood, so I would like to incorporate it into my everyday clothes and enjoy fashion more.”

He moves his body and shows himself from different angles according to the style of the ensemble which possesses various faces and features the down jacket. He seems to move his body naturally without much thought, but in point of fact, his posturing is actually an expression of a resolute intent.
“What I want to achieve in my work is to fully reveal what is called for. I want to commit to the character so that the passion I have been honing through my craft fully comes through in the work.”
He takes on his roles by facing up to his true feelings while also keeping a spirit of improvement in mind. He says weighty things with a worry-free smile without hesitation. Therein lies the young man that we love so well.
“People often tell me that I do things at my own pace and that I am stubborn. As I act according to how I feel and there is a part of me that does not bend to the will of others, I am grateful that my friends stick around (laughs). Also, I hate to lose and do not compromise in my character development, so my personality affects my work. But having too strong an ego is not good either, so I try to think more flexibly.”

Developing a character to find out how to act with what feelings is fun

When asked about the time he first made his debut, he replied diffidently “at first I was not that interested in acting and continued with it like a school club.” However, judging from the works he has appeared in, the awards he has received, and his career, I sensed something of the talent and the work that goes into his craft behind the scenes. He has played a variety of characters — from the protagonist who is the main focus of the story to supporting characters who serve as a foil. I can imagine how they are the outcome of his process to fully reveal what is called for from the character. What are his motivations?
“Developing characters is a lot of fun. And the people I meet are great and I receive a lot of inspiration. After making a film with director Keiichi Kobayashi called ‘Bon to Rin-chan,’ I started to think more deeply about character development and discovered the joy of acting.”
I like the process of discovering what I should do so that my character can fulfill his role in the film, and how the character’s feelings move him to act in the way that he does. What is written in the script is everything that is to be played. I feel that if the character’s feelings (= start) connect smoothly to action (= goal), then this will produce the single story line of a character and the role will naturally work itself out. I act so that the role I am playing functions well as a part of the overall work.”

Takasugi’s unique sensibilities and logical thinking underpin his detailed character development. He himself states, “I don’t know what is correct and incorrect. I continue to explore this now.” It seems as though he has discovered one guidebook on his path as an actor.
“When I write down what I am thinking about in terms of character development, the image of the character becomes clear and allows me to produce feelings. I was the type of person who would work things out in my mind and was dubious of the significance of writing things down. But when I started doing this, it just seemed to sit well with me, and acting has become more enjoyable.”
Making an effort is enjoyable. This is something that is obvious and important because one does not easily become aware of it. I feel as though in getting to know the person called Takasugi, I have received a hint on how to live well.

→In look.2 to be published in November, we will discuss his private life such as his hobbies and lifestyle.

DIRECTION:Shinsuke Nozaka
PHOTO-MOVIE:Genki Nishikawa(mild)
STYLIST:Daisuke Araki
HAIR MAKE:Sayaka Tsutsumi
TEXT:Hisamoto Chikaraishi