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Japanese Actress Makes Film Debut in Korea

Posted September. 09, 2008 16:13,   


“The cup in my mind has lots of holes. No matter how many times I try to fill it, I cannot remove all of the emptiness. This is why I`ve been inquisitive about everything since childhood.”

Japanese actress Chizuru Ikewaki, known for starring in the film “Josee, the Tiger and the Fish,” has a mysterious face, making it difficult to guess her age. She has teenager’s white and clean facial tone with the cold eyes of a woman in her 30s.

Her latest film "The Musical Note and the Seaweed" is being screened at the second Chungmuro International Film Festival in Seoul, which will end Thursday. The Dong-A Ilbo recently talked to her in downtown Seoul.

Achieving stardom at age 16 after being selected in a fashion model audition among 8,000 contestants, Ikewaki showed impressive performances in Japanese director Isshin Inudou’s "Josee, the Tiger and the Fish," which was released in 2004 in Korea. She rejected a request to smile for the cameras, something which her character Josee would have also done.

Unlike other actresses trying to get away from being typecast by their previous roles, Ikewaki seems unburdened by the vestiges left by the role she performed at 22.

"Josee takes things in her life like a philosopher due to a disease that left her legs paralyzed," the actress said. "She thinks, ‘Happiness couldn’t come to me, and even if it does, it won’t last.’"

"Her thought isn’t resignation but something much stronger. I got a really strange vibe with Josee, who is able to leave her first love whom she anxiously waited for.”

In “The Musical Note and the Seaweed,” she plays someone with Asperger’s disorder, which is similar to autism.

“I have long known this disease from books,” she said, recalling her character Josee, who enumerates an endless list of complicated disease names.

“A person with Asperger’s disorder finds it hard to understand others. I think everyone has some degree of this disease. I also often find myself involuntarily hurting other people’s feelings when I am immersed in something. I have been always interested in film stories of strangers associating with each other," she said.

The joint Korean-Japanese movie "Oishi Man," in which she made her film debut in Korean market, is about a Korean male and a Japanese female who gradually open their hearts to each other.

Japanese director Haruo Inoue, who accompanied Ikewaki to the interview, said, “Ikewaki is an amazing actress who has the hearts and faces of a grandmother, mother, geisha and high school teenager.”