SOMETANI Shota

actor director染谷将太
SOMETANI SHOTA

Works Website Awards Drama Film

He might be young, but Sometani Shota, referred to as Someya (染谷),  has done far more than your average 21 year old. Acting in over 40 plus films, starring with some of best in the industry, and even being the muse of one of Japans most prolific directors, Someya is already a ‘veteran’ of the screen, of sorts. And if that wasn’t enough, this multifaceted youth has now turned his talents to directing, with his debut short film Similar But Different (2013) that came out late 2013.

Acting, directing, photograph-ing – what ever Someya does he succeeds at, so expect to see more of this award-winning actor on the  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)

Profile(header)

Height: 172cm
Birthplace: Tokyo
Date of Birth: 1992年09月03日
Hobbies: photography, DVD, video camera
Special Skills: table tennis, magic tricks, pantomime,

After watching Charlie Chaplin on screen at the age of 3 years old Sometani was transfixed and inspired to act. His parents said yes, and a few years later at the age of 9 had his debut screen appearance in the zombie flick “STACY” (2001). He soon afterwards become a child actor working in various genres. Since then he has appeared in a succession of indie films, as well as a scattering of TV dramas, while steadily distancing himself from the big eyed-cute kid of his earlier days …well not really Sometani, since from the start he was acting in mischievous and murderous roles. Something which continues today, and is now arguably one of Japan’s most sought after actors. Or at least a highly acclaimed young Japanese actor on the rise.

A lover of silent cinema, old school photography and 35mm film, Someya has a passion and appreciation for the art form. So much so, that he turned his talents, aided by director-screenwriter and friend Natsuki Seta, to behind the camera with his first short film. He also appears in several photo exhibitions, fashion shows and fashion videos, especially by photographer Suzuki Chikashi  who features Someya regularly in his works.

Not only a lover of classic cinema, but all cinema Someya lists “Avant-garde” directors such as Jim Jarmusch and David Lynch as his inspiration to work as an actor. Saying that when acting, in movies/dramas, he feels full of life. A sentiment that can be seen on screen in all his works. Someya also notes that his favourite actor is/was Philip Seymour Hoffman (RIP) and consistently visits movie theatres in Shibuya, both big and small, as he enjoys going and watching movies.

*Its quite hard to find personal information about Someya, because he doesn’t reveal anything in his blog which is mainly a place where he post photos taken, information on upcoming projects (his and friends) and posts music videos (he seems to favour western artists, some indie). I think he is a private person, or more likely a professional that doesn’t need to reveal such frivolous info like favourite XXX …., he isn’t an idol, or ikemen, so most of his interviews are around work and his opinions.

One thing, however, certain is that Sometani is a confident, independently-minded 21 year old that wants to continue making films (be it in front or behind the camera). And as his fan that’s all that I can wish for ♥

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Notable Works

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 40 films.

Sometani started his career at age 9 and went on to act in a few films, and several TV dramas as a child actor. Then in 2007 he started getting teenager roles, and appeared in both his first independent film Nora (2009) – as lead, which won him Best Actor at the 11th TAMA New WAVE festival (2009), and  in his breakout role as a TB patient in Pandora’s Box | Pandora no hako (2009).

hp: Nora

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.

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).

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.

hp: Himzu

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 (that continued into 2013). First the adaptation XXXHOLiC (WOWOW / 2013), in a role people where initial sceptical about, but in the end created one the best “bromances” of 2013 and opened Sometani to a new fan-base and fans. And the second where he teamed up with director Sion Sono for the adaptation Minna! Esper! Dayo | Everyone’s! Esper! (TV Tokyo/ 2013) – as lead character Kamaogawa Yoshio, where Sometani gets to show off his comedic acting, and slapstick style.

Other works I would recommend:

Sometani’s first short film Similar But Different* (2013) which he write, directs and stars in.

Touching the Skin of Eeriness (2013) the prologue film to “FLOODS” (2014) where he co-stares with another talented Japanese youth Ishida Hoshi (“Canary” 2005) as a duo of contemporary dancers, in a town where mysterious deaths keep occurring by the riverbed.

And boy meets Wood Job! | Wood Job! Kamusari Nana Nichijo (2014) –  Sometani’s latest film, where he plays once again in a comedic role, in a coming-of-age film that explores human behaviour and individuals idiosyncrasies.

What Sometani would be like working at a theatre — just kidding – The Intermission (2013)

hp: The Intermission

And lastly as a troublemaker in Lesson of the Evil | Aku no Kyoten (2012)

This is only a very small collection of Sometani’s works. For a full list. Or message me if you want more information.

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