SOMETANI SHOTA| 染谷将太

SOMETANI SHOTA| 染谷将太

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GALLERIES: Drama (TV), Films, Promotional Work (MV, CM etc…), Photoshoots

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He might be young but this Japanese actor that loves old school photography and list Charlie Chaplin as his greatest acting idol has already won over the hearts of filmgoers and international critics, not that he needed to try hard since Sometani has natural talent, nuff’ said.

Sometani Shota (nickname Someya) is by far one of my favourite, if not my favourite, japanese actor of this generation. Only recently twenty, and having been in 20+ films (more like 40!) Someya is already a ‘veteran’ and done more than some of the more popular older Japanese actors (and ikemen).

He is also, in my opinion, one of the most underrated younger actors. However, with roles in some mainstream films in recent years his popularity has increased, therefore expect to see more of him on screen, particularly in the roles of the quirky, dramatic and complicated

“…I love complexity, and I also tend to be offered roles that are very complex” – Sometani Shota [DivaReview 2010)

FILMS

Compared to other young established actors and ikemen, Sometani is more a silver screen actor than a drama actor, having appeared already at age 20 in over 20 films.

The early years

Sometani started his career as a child actor at age 9, debuting in the zombie flick STACY (2001) – he was one the young boys at the start of the movie eaten – he then went on to act in the critically acclaimed movie Ping Pong (2002) as Arata’s child – again only on screen for less than a minute near the end of the film (coincidently Sometani’s names Ping pong as one of his talents) – as well as in the J-horror The Boy From Hell (2002) and the (awfully bad) live-adaptation Devilman (2004).

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His first big break, however, was in 2007 as Amamiya Taki in the movie Fourteen (2007), a year later he then acted in the erotic romance Namida tsubo (2008) in the role of young Yusuke and was one of the students in Cheer Cheer Cheer! | Fure fure shojo (2008). Furthermore he starred in his first independent film Nora (2009) – as lead, which won him Best Actor at the 11th TAMA New WAVE festival (2009), and also that year (2009) Sometani acted in his breakout role as a TB patient in Pandora’s Box | Pandora no hako (2009).

A year later he received more praise for his acting in the acclaimed Yuriko no Aroma (2010) co-starring with Noriko Eguichi in a movie about fetishism and sexual awaking. The movie is credited as one of Sometani’s most notable roles, although not his most challenging. Also, that year, Sometani acted in minor roles in two other films; Tokyo Island | Tokyo-jima (2010) – as one  of the 16 “Freeters” that escape to the island (some of the other 16 include: Emoto Tasuku, Kimura RyoFukushi Seiji, Shimizu Yutaka, Kubozuka Yosuke)  and Awaremi Mumashika (2010), as well as another independent Lost House (2010).

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Multiple films a year soon became the norm for Sometani, as did challenging or complex character roles. In 2011 he starred in A Liar and a Broken Girl | Usotsuki Mii-kun to Kowareta Maa-chan (2011) – in the role of a compulsive liar, a role that awarded him the Sponichi Grand Prix Newcomer Award at the 66th Mainichi Film Awards (2011) – also Tokyo Kouen | Tokyo Park (2011), Life Back Then | Antoki no Inochi (2011), A Man With Style | Azemichi no Dandy (2011) and The End of Puberty | Koi Ni Itaru Yamai (2011); all of which, exception A Man with Style, screened at international film festivals.

2012

A festival ‘veteran’ by this time, Sometani’s biggest accolade to date is his win of the Marcello Mastroianni Award for Best New Young Actor or Actress at the 68th Venice Film Festival, an award he shares with his equally talented co-star Nikaido Fumi for the acclaimed Sion Sono film Himizu (2012). The film set after the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami and about the eroding of the environment and psychological state of high school student Sumida (played by Sometani) who just wants to live out an ordinary existence.

Ordinary is best! – Himizu (2012)

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Apart from Himizu, Sometani also acted in seven other films in 2012; Takeshi Miike’s psychological school thriller Lesson of the Evil | Aku no Kyoten (2012), the period piece The Millennial Rapture | Sennen no Yuraku (2012), as well as in the popular Ringu continuation film Sadako 3D (2012) and Always: Sunset on Third Street 3 | Always San-Chome no Yuhi ’64 (2012). Also he acted lead in Isn’t Anyone Alive? | Ikiterumono wa Inainoka (2012) and voice debuted in the animated film Wolf Children | Okami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki (2012) – winner of Best Animation 2012.

2013

Set again to be another busy year (2013), Sometani has already eight movies planned for release during the year. On the list include several anticipated films; the science fiction love-story Riaru Kanzen Naru Kubinagaryu no Hi (2013), which stars Sato Takeru, Ayase Haruka and Odajiri Joe; also Strawberry Night (2013), Brian Man | No Otoko (2013), the samurai epic Kiyosu Kaigi (2013) playing the historical role of Mori Ranmaru, and Jellyfish Eyes (2013) the directional debut of contemporary artist Marukami Takashi.

Will this be all for Sometani in 2013? most unlikely not. So watch this space.

[EDIT] Sometani joins the large ensemble cast as a WWII pilot in The Eternal Zero | Eien no Zero (2013).

2014

So what about 2014? Well Sometani is already cast as lead in the movie Wood Job! | Wood Job! Kamusari Nana Nichijo (2014), where he plays Yuki a recently graduated high-school student that relocates to the mountains to work as a forestry trainee underneath he guidance Yoki Idia (Hideaki Ito) and becomes assimilated with the beauty and warm-hearted people in Kamusari Village. A slight turn of pace from Sometani’s latest works.

DRAMAS

Although an established film actor in his own right, Sometani has acted in several television dramas. His debut on the small screen was in the SP Kamaitachi no Yoru (TBS/2002), then in Aibou: Season 1 (TV Asahi / 2002) – where at the age of 10 he played the role of a criminal. After which he popped up in an episode of Musashi (NHK/2003) and Kamen Rider 555 (TV Asahi/2003). Then a few years later he got his first non-guest role acting as the younger version of Inagaki Goro’s character in the The Tragedy of M | M no Higeki (TBS / 2005), and a year later co-starred with Inagaki in the Kindaichi SP The Queen Bee | Jyooubachi (Fuji TV / 2006).

Older and in middle school Sometani then had a run of school dramas with Dream Again (NTV / 2007); Dear Students! (TV Asahi / 2007); Battery (NHK / 2008) and as a guest actor in Hokaben (NTV / 2008). He also acted in Aishu no Romera (Fuji TV / 2008) and appeared for one episode in his first period drama Shikaku Ukeoinin 2 (Fuji TV/2007)

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Taking a short break from school dramas, Sometani’s appearance in a second period drama came a year later in Saka no ue no kumo (NHK / 2009). After which he returned to school in Koishite Akuma – Vampire Boy (Fuji TV / 2009) – co-starring once more with Johnny Jr. Yuma a second time, and in the comedy-mystery Atami no Sousakan (TV Asahi / 2010) – as one of the only two male students at the school (the other Yamazaki Kento). He also had guest appearances in Yankee-kun to Megane-chan (TBS/ 2010) and Sotsu Uta (Fuji TV/ 2010).

Furthermore in 2010 Sometani acted as a budding musician and brother of the lead actress in I’ll Still Love You Ten Years from Now | Juunen Saki mo Kimi ni Koishite (2010) – an ex-kabuki theatre performer turned prisoner in A School Behind Bars | Hei no Naka no Chuugakou (TBS / 2010) – and as a gangsters little brother in Kokoro no Ito (NHK / 2010) – co-starring on screen with young superstar actor Kamiki Ryunosuke. The year, 2010 also marked Sometani’s third period drama role with a guest appearance in the Taiga Ryomaden (NHK / 2010). His fourth and fifth were a year later in the Taiga Gou ~Himetachi no Sengoku~ (NHK / 2011) and The Tempest | Tempesuto (NHK / 2011).

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Relatively quiet in dramas compared to films, Sometani nonetheless has started to gain recognition. And for that recognition Sometani was awarded the Elan D’or Rookie of the Year Award (2013) for his acting throughout 2012. In 2012 he acted in the science fiction short series O-PARTS (Fuji TV / 2012), as well as in the dark drama Tsumi to Batsu: A Falsified Romance (WOWOW / 2012). But its 2013 where Sometani gets to shine once more and prove himself able to lead a drama, with the announcement that he will he playing male lead in the adaptation XXXHOLiC (WOWOW / 2013) and teaming up with director Sion Sono for the adaptation Minna! Esper! Dayo | Everyone’s! Esper! (TV Tokyo/ 2013) – as lead character Kamaogawa Yoshio. This marks Sometani’s first lead character role in a television drama.

STAGE

Ready for new challenges in 2013, Someya debuts with his first stage 3 Sisters: Prayer and Monster  – Nanigawa vers (2013)

Works cited list

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