Yu Toyama was born in 1984. He is an actor that appears on stage, TV and cinema. His credits include films like “Waruboro” and “Pacchigi! Love and Peace”

On the occasion of “His Bad Blood” screening at Fantasia 2019, we speak with him about parents and children, his character, acting in Japan, working as actor and producer and other topics.

(translation by Yoko Seki)

How would you describe Shinichi as a character and what drew you to the part? How did the director guide you?

A negative piece, a man who is wrapped in negative aura. He can’t manage anything by himself.

In the process of the film making, I had many negative experiences as a producer, not only as an actor. So, when we were ready to start shooting, my mental state was low, as negative as Shinichi’s. It was good, I think. I threw my anxiety in my acting.

There was almost no instruction from the director. Both the director and myself have our own interpretations, and we respected both.

In general, what kind of roles do you like to play? 

A little bad person, like the father, played by Ikkei Watanabe. I will be comfortable and happy to play that type of characters. I had no issue to play Shinicha, but he is not a character that I’m especially interested.

What was it like working as both an actor and a producer
in the film

Maybe I will do that again. But I know that I should not work in the darkness like this time, never again. Director Oyama said earlier, that it’s simple for the actors, being interesting or not. I believe that I’m an interesting actor and I wanted to prove it with this film. It was a hard, emotional experience. I will put that to use in my acting from now on. I feel that I have grown up.

Do you believe that people can change? Do you believe that we are bound to become just like our parents?

Personally, I think that I’ve changed a lot as I worked for this film. So, even if it’s not noticeable and it takes time, I think people can change. It’s very difficult, though.

When I was younger, I thought I would never ever become an adult like my father or my mother. I was envious of people who respect their parents and feel their love, because I could never have such feelings for my parents. However, at 35, I realize that I’m like them.(Laughter)

I don’t have children but if I would, they might be like me, I think. My emotional feelings for each of my parents have changed. As an adult, I can understand and sympathize with them. I can now forgive them for some things.

Why does Shinichi decide to get off the bus in the end? 

Shinichi declares what he doesn’t need to tell, the bad man is his father, to the people. He decided to go back to the troublesome society, bearing his father’s negative history.

It links to my own situation. I sometimes feel like to get rid of everything including movies and run away. But I have to face my negative part and carry on.

I saw myself in Shinichi from the start to the end.

What was it like working with a veteran actor like Ikkei Watanabe? 

I requested Ikkei-san to be the co-star, because of the relationship we had, since we performed together several times.

I was trying to avoid personal conversation during the shooting. Still, it’s fun to act with him. When I saw footage after shooting, I was often amazed by his acting. I can learn a lot from him.

How do you imagine your future as an actor?

I hardly imagined that I would come to a Canadian film festival. I believe that no matter where it comes from, if the film is interesting, it will be well received. 

I’m not interested in studying a foreign language to act, but I will keep working on interesting movies and participate in festivals all over the world. When I can’t find any interesting productions, we will create one by ourselves. As a Japanese actor, I would like to give impression to viewers that I often appear in good Japanese movies.

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My name is Panos Kotzathanasis and I am Greek. Being a fan of Asian cinema and especially of Chinese kung fu and Japanese samurai movies since I was a little kid, I cultivated that love during my adolescence, to extend to the whole of SE Asia. Starting from my own blog in Greek, I then moved on to write for some of the major publications in Greece, and in a number of websites dealing with (Asian) cinema, such as Taste of Cinema, Hancinema, EasternKicks, Chinese Policy Institute, and of course, Asian Movie Pulse. in which I still continue to contribute. In the beginning of 2017, I launched my own website, Asian Film Vault, which I merged in 2018 with Asian Movie Pulse, creating the most complete website about the Asian movie industry, as it deals with almost every country from East and South Asia, and definitely all genres. You can follow me on Facebook and Twitter.