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Becoming an actress in Japan

Talk about the culture and entertainment from Nihon.
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AshanishiLynn
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Becoming an actress in Japan

Post by AshanishiLynn » Jul 11th, '07, 06:05

edit
Last edited by AshanishiLynn on Feb 4th, '13, 21:46, edited 1 time in total.

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Noale
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Post by Noale » Jul 11th, '07, 16:29

Wow, nice goal. And you sound like you're willing to work very hard to get what you want. So thumbs up :thumright:

I think the first thing you'll have to do is learn Japanese and make sure you learn it perfectly. That does sound like an impossible task though ^^
It might be best for you to start taking acting lessons in America and focus on your American acting career. Once you become slightly more succeful, you could move on to the next level, which would be Japan. Just go to lots and lots of auditions - tell them about your succesful acting career in America and how you're willing to put that aside for Japan - they'll be flattered and impressed - and perhaps you might get a small part. And once you've done a couple of small parts you can take it even further, if you know what I mean.

But the two most important things are talent and motivation. I can see you already have the last one, but you need to be unique and talented as well. Make people love you :cheers:

Good luck :whistling:

PS: It would also be wise to have a plan B, in case things don't work out.

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Post by Pandemonium » Jul 12th, '07, 06:39

oh good luck. in a realist sense, it's almost impossible. but good luck.

to be honest, japan thrives on these racial stereotypes of black people and white people in general.
there are many gaijin talent that emerge in japan that are african american, but they're usually males who are into fighting sports like boxing or muay thai...

good luck really, a good grasp of japanese is really impressive enough by japanese people's standards.
also, there are actors and actresses are known for having 'late starts', if that's worth anything.

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EBP2K2
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Post by EBP2K2 » Jul 12th, '07, 07:12

if anything, i'd think being non-asian armed with japanese conversational skills puts one in better position (still talking lottery numbers here) to be in the biz than if one were japanese/asian.
still, i'd think you'd have to be unique...

a most recent notable case is Leah Dizon. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leah_Dizon)
she's a filipino/chinese/caucasian mix who found greater "success" in Japan after a niche import racing model career here in US. it helped her that she happened to be extremely attractive..

then there are wrestlers, MMA fighters, the oddball variety show circuit staples, and actors who do small extra bits in dramas and movies, forced to come up with something ENGRISH to say without being given a script.

so yeah, if you want anything decent out of acting career, it's probably the wrong place to go.

while on topic, korea is probably the same.
while your mission to portray blacks and latinos in a respectable manner is admirable, that's like wishing Hollywood to fund a Summer blockbuster starring Jackie Chan without any kung-fu in it.

Not happening in million years.

asking a homogeneous society to see beyond their perceived stereotypes of other cultures is unrealistic. it's wrong, yes, but, there's just no motivation for them to fix them.

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Crazy Penguin
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Post by Crazy Penguin » Jul 12th, '07, 08:15

Pandemonium wrote:to be honest, japan thrives on these racial stereotypes of black people and white people in general.
So's Hollywood with Asian characters. Most of the Asian characters in Hollywood productions are martial arts super masters (Zhang Ziyi isn't playing anything else in Hollywood (except memoirs of a geisha, but that POS doesn't count as real movie)). Either that or they get killed off within 10 minutes. Or you end up with... "Asian" stuff. Then you have Asians, who speak not one single word Japanese play Japanese characters and have such a horrible Japanese pronunciation that you can only run away (as seen in some scenes in Pearl Harbor). Or the "cunning" script writers add racist "jokes", as seen in "Rush Hour 2" The black guy hits Jackie Chan and says "hey, you look all the same!" Haha, very funny, not.

You can apply those points to European productions as well.

Leah Dizon is a bad example. She became popular with certain photos and that takes no real skill (I can pose "sexy" in a school uniform as well, just that no one will pay to see my naked butt in a photo book). 'Sides I only consider her school uniform photos to be cute, the rest... seen one naked ass, seen all of them. Nothing new, nothing spectacular.

Hint:
Learn the language
Learn acting
Work hard (harder than in the west) and never give up, since "ganbare" is a Japanese virtue.
Additionally, never step over the line (no D.U.I. and other crap), Japanese showbiz and media are unforgiving (and rightfully so).

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Moondy
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Post by Moondy » Jul 12th, '07, 18:51

If you have talent and if you know how seducte the people..why not?
Try the auditions and good luck.

(You want to be actress to see Koichi Domoto ;acknowledge :P)
Joke :)

:salut:

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Post by vulgarshudder » Jul 13th, '07, 01:00

Being an 'actress' in Japan isn't impossible, but by actress I mean being an extra. You just need to look half decent and have a pulse to do that.

As for challenging racial sterotypes...sorry but, dream on.

That's how the gaijin talento make their money, living up to the sterotype and parading around on variety shows as the token gaijin. The gaijin talento aren't in any way mega popular, I can count those I recall on one hand, as opposed to the hundreds of japanese talento on tv every weeek.

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Post by mizune » Jul 13th, '07, 05:28

We had a conversation about this a couple years ago in this thread that I'd suggest reading....
There was a lot of stuff covered, some of it may still be applicable, some might be dated.

In any case, good luck!

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Re: Becoming an actress in Japan

Post by EricSC » Jul 13th, '07, 05:40

Well, I don't know much about breaking into the entertainment industry in Japan. But here is what I suggest.

Start learning Japanese NOW! You'll probably have to work extra hard on your accent.
Also get yourself into somesort of acting class right away. It would be good to get as much acting experience as you can, while you're learning japanese.

Set a goal like "I want to learn Japanese in X years" and try not to slack off.

I think it's great you have a big dream. You probably know the odds are against you, and it's very likely it will never happen. But it will never happen if you don't at least try. So try your best and good luck.

AshanishiLynn
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Post by AshanishiLynn » Jul 13th, '07, 08:39

dedit
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Post by EBP2K2 » Jul 13th, '07, 10:47

AshanishiLynn wrote:
I would like to play the role as a forgein exchange student
in japan, learning more about the culture and things like that.
are these roles often part of dramas or shows?
again, you are aiming high, but end result, even if you do break into the business, likely wont be much to show for.

and for what limited roles they may have available for gaijin, there are million others out there wanting the same thing. so what will set you apart?

you have to be realistic before jumping in head first. perhaps establish a career here in north america before venturing out to the far east.

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Post by vulgarshudder » Jul 13th, '07, 20:23

AshanishiLynn wrote: I understand that the way blacks and latinos
are potrayed in asia may not change, but I just want them to know
all of us are not like that.
Rather than thinking producers/script writers are gonna one day pull a PC part out of the air, how about changing peoples perceptions by living there, putting up with all the bs and being a good example.

It's not as glamourous as being a johnny boys love interest, but it's what most of us have to try and do.

AshanishiLynn
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Post by AshanishiLynn » Jul 14th, '07, 02:04

edot
Last edited by AshanishiLynn on Feb 4th, '13, 21:47, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by dokidoki.00021 » Aug 21st, '07, 16:30

I`m going to do something great and bump up this thread just for the topic starter. Hello whoever you are. =)
Because I really wanted to create a new topic for it but since this was right in the park I was like well I`ll just post it here (though it may not get the same spotlight since it`s not a new topic so many people won`t read this reply, but heh...)

Read only the bold stuff if you want it straight to the topic.

So for once in a great while my mom and I had a decent (or I guess worthwhile) conversation though it was bloody hard trying to understand each other since we don't speak the same language. She mixes speaks in half Osaka-ben Japanese & half Zainichi Chousengo (which I didn't even know was possible) and I'm speaking in half Korean half English. Yes, we both abuse the Korean language, unfortunately. But that's not what what this post is about (nope, nope) I just had to rant about that!

So back to what I was orginially talking about. My momcalled me from Korea and told me a Korean-American woman transferred to her department and she's married to a Black guy. She has one son with him and my mom says he's adorable but she didn't understand why they were together (forgive her mentality) but the woman's husband already has a full American daughter (from a previous relationship) who's like 14 or something and currently studying in Japan, she wants to be an actress in not only Japan but Korea (and adores her step-mom) and I thought is was sooooooooooooooooooo cute!! Because wasn't there a Nigerian man who did his acting debut in Japan, right? But then my mom went on to say the girl wanted to be an actress with no racial bounderies or something like that, I guess that she doesn't want to be the "one line foreigner". She said she wants to one day star as the lead in a Japanese drama where she could be a regular Japanese character and it didn't matter if she wasn't actually Japanese. I know her parents must be proud.
I just thought she had a really powerful dream and she shouldn't (just like the topic starter) feel discouraged if she may not look Japanese or Asian because it's a unique dream and anyone who dreams big deserves big things.
Eyaa...I know that was kinda long for my question so if you skipped all of that here's my question:
"For you, as Japanese drama viewers, would you accept Non-Asian (white, black, mexican, doesn't matter) in the lead of a drama alongside your favorite Kamenashi Kazuya or Horikita Maki?"

To be honest, I've seen how malicious and disdainful fans can be.......if a person isn't actually Japanese (don't even mention non-Asian, it`s taboo!) they are considered a gaijin and not meant to play the part.
In that case why can't in American they just give all roles to Whites & Blacks since the country was built on their backs? America just happened to become hetergenous because everyone starting flocking to the country.

Also you can't honestly dare to compare a Black person wanting to be an actor to wanting to be a singer in Japan. Yes I know of Leah Dizon, the haafu Nesmith, Koreans and Zainichi Koreans BoA, Crystal Kay, etc..) but don't you think the expectations of an actor is higher because the audience see the person as pshysically different because no one has a problem w/ Crystal Kay and Nesmith as singers but if any of them dared to be an actor in Japan their career would crumble.

Anyways, dear topic starter does as this girl and follow your dreams. You have my blessing, I'm an Asian drama viewer and I want you to do your best. Though this may not be coming from a pure Japanese, I am Asian (Japan born Korean) so I hope my words can give you some faith.

Just keep your head up, learn lots of Japanese, network (Hana yori dango cast is going overseas...most likely they'll come to America again, find out where and go go go, say anything you think will get the attention of agencies) and uh, did I say do your best. AshanishiLynn Hwaiting!

God, that was long.

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Lancalot
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Post by Lancalot » Aug 21st, '07, 16:59

That was long and very interesting, I'm not qualified to give an opinion as I am English, but as I like many things about the Japanese culture and find Japan a fascinating country I would like to know how the Japanese view people from other cultures and countrie

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Post by Sphinxy » Aug 21st, '07, 17:13

Hey Lynn!! =) You and I share common goals. Even though, I dont want to become an actress in japan, but in Taiwan. Yes-- I love Taiwanese dramas-- plus, Im such a Drama Queen here at school. Im going on my second year of learning Mandarin. *smiles* :thumleft: I really hope you can get far! Best of luck!

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Post by seirin » Aug 21st, '07, 17:59

hmm..I think it would be extremely difficult. If you get lucky, you will get roles as extras or one liners like someone has mentioned. I'm sorry to say, Japanese can be a pretty racist country (I will get flamed for this). But Japanese are very proud of their heritage and they stick together. To get a lead role to teach Japanese in a documentary or some sort. (gaijin studying Japanese). But other than that, I haven't noticed any gaijin being in any main leads so far and I don't really see it in the future. If you're not Japanese, you're treated like a foreigner. Course, if you have hook ups, you can go into modelling in Japan.

Also, many Japanese talents are groomed since they were kids before they got any major roles. I think it would be hard to compete with actors/actresses with 5-10 years of experience already and very young and cute. It took Oguri Shun almost 10 years to get lead role.

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Post by mondphasen » Aug 21st, '07, 18:46

I kind of know what you mean about how nice it would be to throw out of the window the black, latinos steryotypes, part because im one myself. I LOVEE japanese drama, culture and everything you could say of them, except the part that even thou i dont want to recognize it, they tend to be a little racist... and i agree with what everyone have said so far... it will become really hard to be on a drama... they have a millions of requirements for person who wants to, from the looks (wich seems to be a mayor factor, even greater if you are not japanese), to the simple fact of culture.

I once saw a french movie where the main caracter was born in japan and lived there for over 10 years and then moved to france... she liked it so much that she returned to japan. She knew japanese has her first language cuz thats where she was born, and started to work in a company in japan. Let me tell you, that even thou she new perfectly the language, and even thou she was pretty and intelligent (even more that the people working there), the japanese workers didnt give her the work she deserved.. she was a mere *fotocopying girl* as i call it; taking fotocopy for others.

You can probably say that its a movie... but its actually the way the work and do things. Im not saying that they are bad people, in fact im far from saying that, but think for a moment... why would they choose another person from another country if they can find someone that knows the rules and culture and are apt to the job in there ^_^

But give it your best... Who knows...maybe you could be the one who can change they way of thinking >_< :thumleft:

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Post by apartofmylife » Aug 22nd, '07, 13:08

Here are some links of agents for what we call Gaikokujin Tarent.
I have NO idea which one is good, but good to check them, I think.
http://www.inagawamotoko.com/
http://www.f-w.co.jp/e/index.html
http://www.gaikokujin-talent.com/index.html

For the word, Gaikokujin Tarent, see this,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaikokujin_tarento (English)
http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E5%A4%96% ... 3%E3%83%88 (Japanese:this one has longer explanation and much longer of Gaikokujin Tarent list)

It's going to be a big challenge, but do your best and good luck :thumleft:

Of course, to speak Japanese is important, then you will have millions more chances, but I think to learn or understand Japanese culture can be sometimes even more important.
I am Japanese, and I had a bad experiense when I just came back from US. It made me reminded me that I was in Japan instantly! It was kind of a funny story, though.

Anyway, Please come to Japan, see japan (country, people, culture..etc) with your eys, and feel it by yourself!

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Post by Hello!Project » Aug 22nd, '07, 20:31

dokidoki.00021 wrote:I`m going to do something great and bump up this thread just for the topic starter.

But then my mom went on to say the girl wanted to be an actress with no racial bounderies or something like that, I guess that she doesn't want to be the "one line foreigner". She said she wants to one day star as the lead in a Japanese drama where she could be a regular Japanese character and it didn't matter if she wasn't actually Japanese.

"For you, as Japanese drama viewers, would you accept Non-Asian (white, black, mexican, doesn't matter) in the lead of a drama alongside your favorite Kamenashi Kazuya or Horikita Maki?"

To be honest, I've seen how malicious and disdainful fans can be.......if a person isn't actually Japanese (don't even mention non-Asian, it`s taboo!) they are considered a gaijin and not meant to play the part.
In that case why can't in American they just give all roles to Whites & Blacks since the country was built on their backs? America just happened to become hetergenous because everyone starting flocking to the country.

.....but don't you think the expectations of an actor is higher because the audience see the person as pshysically different because no one has a problem w/ Crystal Kay and Nesmith as singers but if any of them dared to be an actor in Japan their career would crumble.

God, that was long.
You always have so much to say.
Well, I`m going to jump from point to point to answer things I saw in your post.
1st. But is it going to be possible to physically see her as Kanno Tomoko, an interesting 2nd year student at Daisho Gakuin who joins a bunch of elitist tennis players and is caught in a love triangle with the two hottest players and goes through other trials as the heroine to become the star of her school BUT just happens to be Black (white, green, blue..) and have Japanese parents without any explaination...?
Made that up. I was bored. -.-;;
2nd. For me, as a Japanese drama viewer...would I accept a non-Asian? To me, it doesn't matter...I do agree with you..a big dream does deserve big things. But what about an unrealistic dream? What does it deserve? Not saying it`s unrealistic...
I think if you`re coming to Japan for the right reason, not for anything stupid and this is really truly your number one dream, than it doesn`t matter to me, I`ll continue to watch your drama (as long as it`s good).
3rd. You`ve seen how malicious fans can be? That`s because they`re idiots, if they can be so one-sided like that...than I really wouldn`t think much of them. They`re probably tired of their own dreams getting crushed so they want crush others by saying cruel things.
4th. And Hey! What about the Native Americans!!? They were part of the beginning of this country too!
5th. I don`t think Kuri, Leah`s (she was in Traffic in the Sky) or Nesmith`s career would crumble just because a lead in a drama/movie, if their fans truly love and support them as musicians why wouldn`t be any different for them as actors? Of course you can`t change people`s mentality, you even know that...but it`s really stupid for someone to stop supporting their favorite singer like Crystal Kay just because she looks foreign, she was born and raised there...doesn`t that qualify her for something? Homogenous or not, Media influence or NOT, it`s unfair. Why does it feel like I`m not agreeing with you? Because I am trying to agree with you, my words are just jumbled up.
Anyways, you`re so sweet Sewin`, good words and you were right --God, that was EXTREMEMELY long.

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Post by AshanishiLynn » Aug 26th, '07, 22:35

DokiDoki that was very long
yet interesting and thank you :3

I understand what you all are saying
I know how difficult it can be, but I want to make a difference
I think the world belongs to everyone and we shouldnt be limited to where our success should reach. I am ready for the challenge, I would love to do it.
I do plan on visisting Japan as soon as I have the money

It's hard to explain it
but I hope something happens for me

apartofmylife
thank u for the links
I will check them out

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Post by Enki » Aug 27th, '07, 02:30

Man I wish I knew the name of the show....

But on NHK international the other day I saw this program which had a gaijin cast, and they were acting "normal"! By that I mean, like regular drama characters, not sticking out because of their foreigness or anything, with perfect accents ect.. One of them even had the role of "silent old wise man" who would say something insightful at key moments :lol

And I haven't watched it, but the latest Kinpachi series has a foreign teacher in it as well, and from what I've heard she's accepted as part of the regular cast. (though maybe someone could correct me on that one :lol)

Just to say, it's not impossible. ^^

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Post by Natsu-chan » Aug 27th, '07, 14:19

I like your detirmination. There's nothing called impossible, and I believe that if anyone can change the negative views of Arfrican Americans or latinos, then it is people like you :)

feminism was considered as absurd and equality for women and the weak was considered impossible, but by the effort of a group of people, equality or at least some rights can be achieved.

You may not be able to change the views by yourself, but you may be an example to many others ^_~

lol & what's too old? Leah Dizon started singing at 20, so 21 is not a big deal, we're the same age by the way :P

Wishing you all the best
:thumleft:

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Post by oceansportrait » Aug 27th, '07, 14:59

Enki wrote:Man I wish I knew the name of the show....

But on NHK international the other day I saw this program which had a gaijin cast, and they were acting "normal"! By that I mean, like regular drama characters, not sticking out because of their foreigness or anything, with perfect accents ect.. One of them even had the role of "silent old wise man" who would say something insightful at key moments :lol

And I haven't watched it, but the latest Kinpachi series has a foreign teacher in it as well, and from what I've heard she's accepted as part of the regular cast. (though maybe someone could correct me on that one :lol)

Just to say, it's not impossible. ^^
I remember the foreign teacher in the 7th series of Kinpachi sensei as well. But she has a very VERY minor role. She only shows up in the scenes where Kinpachi sensei is in the teacher's lounge, and even then it's most often shots of her in the background. She does pipe in a few comments here and there when the other teachers are having a discussion (about "troublesome students", the events of the school, etc.), but it's again, as I said before, very minor.

I think if you're trying to become an actress in Japan, the best thing you can do is actually go there, live there, and do auditions there. It's hard to become anything when you're separated by an ocean living somewhere else. No one's going to give you a part in an upcoming movie if the only contact they've had with you is over the phone or from a resume, unless you've done considerable work in your home country and they have a lot of past movie material they can watch of you to judge whether you would fit the image they had for that character.

Other than that, all I have to say is: Good luck! There seem to be a lot of nay-sayers here, and I can understand their points about how Japan seem to stereotype non-Japanese people (especially non-Asians), but it would be nice to see someone break that stereotype. If all the gajin in Japan were just looking to conform to it, then that's exactly why those stereotypes have been allowed to continue for as long as they have.

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Post by lynchmob72 » Sep 1st, '07, 02:55

Personally, mind you, this is only my opinion, but i think most asian cultures are very tolerant of other cultures for the most part.But, i think that most of them have been around for sooooo long, that the thought of an outsider acting like they are one of them is almost absurd.
I have seen how other cultures are treated, and i really dont think it's a racial issue, rather they dont think about it all.

I know that sounds wierd, but if you think about it, it's not too far from the truth.Most asian cultures have been only asian for thousands of years, while other cultures have been mixed and mingled for thousands of years.

Sorry for the derail, i just don't want people thinking that asians are "Rascist".They portray us as they see us.If you want to change that image, change the way they see you.

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Post by Enki » Sep 2nd, '07, 05:14

I've been thinking about this recently

Look at Hollywood and its Asian actors.

On one side you have Asian-American actors like Daniel Dae Kim or Lucy Liu who are absorbed into American society and are Westernized....and they get more respectable, serious roles.

Then on the other side you have actors who are obviously "foreign" like Jackie Chan or Jet Li who will always land stereotypical roles.

So I think, the best way to land a respectable roles in Japan would mean you'd have to be willing to be assimilated a little into Japanese society and "absorb" the culture more....or else you'd stick out in a funny foreigner role.


I donno, what does everyone else think ^^

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Post by mizune » Sep 2nd, '07, 06:01

I don't think the problem is getting a role in a drama. There have actually been more foreigners in dramas than I think ppl realize (probably because they are rarer in the trendy types compared to asadoras). And then there's the growing list of half-Japanese talents that have been doing pretty well....

The fundamental problem is to continue getting roles.
It's a problem that even Japanese actors and entertainers have that's not related to race (but probably isn't helped by it). It's maintaining exposure in a very crowded field of entrants, which is why everybody has some sort of schtick. I do wish you the best of luck, but as a career I think the best you can realistically expect to become is a B-level talent (and even that isn't easy to do). Making a career out of acting vs. a couple jobs are completely different goals requiring different strategies. The other question is what sort of acting are you specifically looking for? TV dramas (trendy or other)? Stage?

Meh... just my opinion... :fear:

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Post by doink-chan » Sep 2nd, '07, 06:24

I agree with mizune. The acting world is tough to break into for anyone, especially if you want to be a huge star. Many people only manage to get B or C-level roles and never get very famous. So becoming an A-list drama actress will take doinkloads and doinkloads of work and patience and perseverance.

I will also agree with the people in the thread who gave advice to not only learn Japanese but to learn acting as well. The ability to act convincingly in two languages is a pretty good skill to have, IMO, and it might help get more meatier roles than just Random Foreigner Extra #23453 or whatnot.

I wish you the best of luck, and remember: がんばってね。

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Post by R.Ho » Sep 4th, '07, 00:52

wow we shhare the same dream.. but i m not american, i m canadian.
i am in my senior term in acting training. my background is cantonese and i will have to go school to sharpen my speech in cantonese. i plan to pick up mandrin and japanese while doing so. or at least have a start at it.
i plan to work international. and also in canada.

imo: asian film industry > american.

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jojochan
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Joined: May 17th, '07, 13:00

Post by jojochan » Sep 4th, '07, 15:01

Very interesting topic :)

I find it really hard to form a solid opinion about this. In any case I admire your dream and determination and I hope you can realize it :) I agree with everyone that it's really important to be fluent at the language and have a deep understanding of the culture. As for acting, it would be best to get acting lessons _in Japan_. Somehow the acting in doramas has a completely different feeling to it than Hollywood acting for example ^^*
I'm ashamed to admit though... and please don't kill me ppl, I'm really not trying to be mean and I'm not a racist... but somehow I'm not sure if I'd be fan of a jdorama with a foreign lead... Part of why I watch drama is to see japanese people I guess (-_- sounds so stupid really...). But maybe that's also because I just haven't seen a foreign actor in a decent role ^^*

Anyway, I wish you the best of luck! It's going to be a tough road. No matter whether you succeed in the end or not, remember to have fun while trying! :D

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Néa Vanille
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Post by Néa Vanille » Oct 12th, '07, 19:26

Here in Korea, a TV show about beautiful foreign women of all races is very popular. They speak fluent Korean and are featured on a talk show where they talk about life and trials in Korea. All of them have a large Korean fan following.

A couple of these women are breaking into the acting world now and are getting proposals to star in dramas. So no, it's not impossible, but here's what they needed to get to where they are now (I figure the same rules should apply to Japan):

1) They have been in the country for years. They speak the language fluently.
2) They have managed to become popular and expose themselves to the public by featuring in a non-acting TV show.
3) They are beautiful. This is a big thing. To make it in Asia, they had to adhere to some of the beauty standards - they are thin and their faces are pretty and symmetrical. Working on your looks might possibly be just as important as working on the language. I have seen many beautiful white women who couldn't speak the language at all in KDrama but I have never seen an average-looking foreign woman with excellent language skills in any KDrama.

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