There are some child actors that grow and mature with age and become talented individuals that survive longevity in the harsh world of acting. In Japan, some of those child-turned-serious actors are my favourites, for instance Sometani Shota who is my bias. Sometani started acting at age nine, Endo Yuya and Ikematsu Sosuke when they were eleven. But for child actors its hard to beat Kamiki Ryunosuke and Suga Kenta. Although only a few years apart, the boys took a very different pathway to where there careers are today. Kamiki once the golden boy of studio ghilbi and now a well-known and internationally liked top actor of his generation. However whilst others fawn over Kamiki, this fangirl prefers Suga Kenta.
He may be less known as his counterpart and friend Kamiki, the pair having shared the same screen on three projects, but Kenta isn’t a no body. A mulit-award winning actor he is active on television, in films and occasionally on stage. He is also one of the lucky actors that gets to work with a wide-range of actors from different agencies, including both D-Boys and Johnny’s. Making him one the only few who has had such a privilege.
Another privilege Kenta has had is working on both Kamen Rider and Super Sentai shows, be it in minor roles. His first appearance in the tokusatsu franchise in 2000 in one episode of Kamen Rider Kuuga, before acting in both Hurricanger (18) and Gekiranger (31-32). Furthermore, in 2013 Kenta appeared as both a protagonist and antagonist in the Kamen Rider x Super Sentai x Space Sherrif Super Hero Taisen Z movie, acting and voicing numerous roles.
Jyuken Sentai Gekiranger (TV Asahi/ 2007)
In fact it was Kenta’s watching of Tokusatsu that made Kenta want to act in the first place, and at the age of five his dream came true.
Kenta’s first ever appearance was in the asadora “Vally of the Lilies” where he appeared for one episode at the infant age of only five. He then did some other minor projects, including appearing the music video for SBK, as a young child abused by his father. However his big shinning moment came in 2002 in the cute role Akira Igarashi, the orphaned child left in the hands of three dysfunctional men in the human drama…Be Nice to People
His chibi appearance and polite acting winning fans hearts.
Then came Kenta’s first horror period which included the movie that cemented his potential as an actor in my eyes. That movie ZOO, (based off the horror works by Ozu) where he acted in the segment “Seven Rooms”. The movie also starred Kamiki Ryunosuke. And whilst Kamiki took a different path and pursued voice acting and appearing more in films, Kenta went on to appear in serial dramas and as he got older more and more substanial movie roles.
The year 2003 saw Kenta act in the serial mystery drama “Secret Rendezvous Inn” in the same role for three installments (trivia: Sometani Shota also starred in one episode of the series as a sick kid in hospital). Followed by a number of minor parts. Then in 2005 Kenta landed his biggest role to date with the trilogy “Always: Sunset on Third Street” in the role of aspiring manga artist Junnosuke Furuyuki. The role awarding Kenta with a win of Rookie of Year at the Japan Academy Awards (2007) and Special Acting Award – 2008 (17th) Japan Movie Critics Award
After which more doors opened for Kenta, one of which was playing a young Kindaichi in the series Kuitan, acting once more alongside Johnny’s and even singing and dancing as part of a special unit known as The Shakin Trio with Noriyuki Higashiyama and Morita Go. The other his first leading role in the movie….Boy Meets Ghost
Kuitan (NTV / 2006)
Then in 2008 he was bullied and abused by Shirota Yu in the movie….Shinizokonai no Ao
As well as, played a hospital patient, again co-starring with Kamiki Ryunosuke in Mr. Red Nose
Mr. Red Nose | Akahana no Sensei (NTV / 2009)
Not one to really play a high school student in many roles, unlike some of the other actors his age, Kenta progressed to older roles and atypical characters at a young age. 2010 in acted in Shinsengumi PEACEMAKER and 2013 he played a blonde hair delinquent with a shady past in third season of “Seize the Tomorrow of Light” acting as the “brother” to Masaki Reiya as one the troubled children in the homestay.
Seize the Tomorrow of Light
However the same year he also played a father, a tokusatsu villain, a high school student as well as, a nobody working at a garage.
Pet Peeve saw Kenta return to his roots with the horror and psychological thriller genre, as well as Ikenie no Jirenma (2013). A trend that continued in 2014 with Kenta starring as lead male in the computer-game turned movie Blue Demon | Ao Oni (2014) and the Zombie short series Endless Story with 2015 bring even more chances for Kenta in several projects, arguably agmenting his status as a young and upcoming actor in Japan.
Blue Demon | Ao Oni (2014) and Endless Story