Throwback Thursday…..Ikemen and Tokusatsu

Originally posted almost three years ago.....

Its common knowledge (to those that know) that almost every Kamen Rider and Super Sentai show stars young good-looking male actors. In recent years the trend as been to capitalize on either Amuse talents, Watanabe Entertainment actors (D-BOYS and D2) or Tenimyu actors. However the tokusatsu franchise has also produced some recognized japanese actors in the industry, whilst some debuted on a tokusatsu and are most famous for that role others used the series as a catalyst to kick-start their careers and become recognized.

The list also includes; Ultraman, GARO, Dogu-chan, K-Tai, and Sazer

KAMEN RIDERS / “masked riders” on bikes

Odagiri Joe – (小田切 譲, born February 16, 1976)

Odagiri had his debut, like so many of this list, with tokusatsu. In fact it was Odagiri Joe who started the whole “Ikemen Hero” trend (lit. good looking actors cast in Hero Shows). His first role was as the protagonist Yuusuke Godai / Masked Rider Kuuga in the 2000 series Kamen Rider Kuuga, the first of the heisei Kamen Riders. Recognized as one of Japan’s most versatile actors (and the epitome of Japanese cool) Odajiri has gone on to win “Best Actor” (Bright Future, 2003), “Best Supporting Actor” (Blood and Bones, 2004) and become one the jury members for the 2011 BIFF. To date he has appeared in over 30 films, many of which are critically acclaimed and several that have screened at international film festivals. Odagiri has also appeared in several Chinese and Korean films, the most recent My Way (2011).

Kamiki Ryunosuke – (神木 隆之介| born May 19, 1993)

At the age of 8 he played a character in Kamen Rider Agito (as the young Overlord of Light). Kamiki is recognized as being a successful child star and voice actor. He stared acting in 1999 under the label of Amuse (although had been acting since the age of 2) and was nominated for “Newcomer of the year” of the Japanese Academy Awards for his role as the main character in The Great Yokai War (2006). Kamiki has also appeared in several popular TV shows; Detective School Q (2007), Keizoku 2 Spec (2010), 11 nin mo iru (2011). But, is best known as a voice actor; Howls Moving Castle (2005), Summer Wars (2009), The Borrower Arrietty (2010), and The Princess and the Pilot (2011).

Kaname Jun – (要潤| born February 21, 1981)

Kaname made is debut as an actor in 2001 in the tokusatsu series Kamen Rider Agito in the role of protagonist Hikawa Makoto/Kamen Rider G3. He then went on to a successful career in television appearing in popular series such as Ryusei no Kizuna (2008), Atashinchi no Danshi (2009), Ryomaden (2010), but his most famous role still arguably is as G3.

Kotani Yoshikazu (小谷 嘉一 | born March 25, 1982)

Kotani had his start in dramas in 2001, he played supporting character Majima Kouji in the 2001 series Kamen Rider Agito. Then in 2005 Kotani won the role of Kawamura Takashi, the soft-spoken, duel-personality 3rd year Seigaku member in the Prince of Tennis musicals. He played the part from 2005-2006, graduating with the 3rd generation cast whom of which he co-acted in the live-adaption film Tennis no Ojisama (2006). Returning to tokusatsu Kotani also starred in the made-for DVD release series Zansaber as a tokusatsu hero and in the Arakure KNIGHT film, which starred several former Tenimyu actors. Now however, Kotani instead of acting concentrates on his music career as a member of +PLUS, a j-pop band that normally does OP and ED songs for animes.

Matsuda Satoshi (松田 悟志| born December 16, 1978)

Matsuda debuted as an actor in 2000 in MPD Psycho (highly recommend) , then in 2002 he won the role of Ren Akiyama/Kamen Rider Knight in the series Kamen Rider Ryuki. Afterwards Matsuda established his acting career, predominantly however in supporting roles, then in 2008 he won his second tokusatsu role with Takashi Miikes tokusatsu series Keitai Sosakan 7as the secondary protagonist Daiki Kirihara. Matsuda still continues to act and can be seen in guest spots of popular series such as Smile (2009), LOVE GAME (2009), and Himitsu Chouhouin Erika (2011).

Ayano Gō (綾野 剛 | January 26, 1982)

Ayano’s start in acting was in Kamen Rider 555 as the antagonist Sawada Aki, the fourth member to join “Lucky Clover”. Ayano has begun to make a name for himself, and in recent years has acted in several popular series and movies including Love Exposure (2009), Crows Zero II (2009), Surely Someday (2010), GANTZ (2011), Helter Skelter (2012) working with some of the most established actors of this generation. Watch out for Ayano in the near future.

Fujita Ray (藤田 玲| September 6, 1988)

Fujita’s start was also in Kamen Rider 555, as the strongest member of “Lucky Clover” Kitazaki. He then starred in a second tokusatu Ougon Kishi GARO as the Sliver Fanged Knight ZERO hero, a role he reprise in 2011 for the series Garo: Makai Senki. In terms of dramas Fujita is probably best known for his roles as a ‘princess’ in Princess Princess D (2006), or as vamp in RH plus (2008) however, what Fujita is most known for is his band Dustz, which he is the lead singer. Dustz that formed in 2006, consists of three members and are renowned for performing theme songs for various shows including Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings (2010) and most recently Blood-C (2011).

Tochihara Rakuto (栩原 楽人 | October 19, 1989)

Tochihara’s debut role was in Boogiepop Phantom where in voiced a main character. He then later won a starring role in the 2005 Kamen Rider series Kamen Rider Hibiki as the character Adachi Asumu. Other roles of Tochihara include as a vampire in RH Plus (2008), as a gay journalist in Junjou: Pure Heart (2010) and a perverted teenage boy in the live-action adaptation Nana to Kaoru (2011). Tochihara also appeared in Ryomaden (2011) and in the 2012 tokusatsu Iron Lady.

Nakamura Yuichi (中村 優一 | October 8, 1987)

After winning himself a position as a D-BOY Nakamura went on to act in several dramas including Kamen Rider Hibiki in the role of Kyosuke Kiriya. Then in 2007 he won his second tokusatu role with Sakurai Yuuto/Kamen Rider Zeronos in Kamen Rider Den-O. From 2005-to 2010 Nakamura continued to act, both as a D-Boy member and individual appearing in popular series such as Taiyo to Umi no Kyoshitsu (2008) and Sunao ni Narenakute (2010). He even debuted as a singer with the j-pop group D-DATE, however due to his medical complications (lower back problems) Nakamura took hiatus from the performing arena, and although now recovered has chosen to quit the entertainment industry. Good luck with whatever path you choose to follow Channaka.

(Tomohiro Saito) Mizushima Hiro (水嶋 ヒロ | April 13, 1984)

Mizushima’s, birth name Tomohiro Saito, career started in 2005 with a role in Gokusen 2. The next year he then won the role of the overtly confident and egotistical Souji Tendou/Kamen Rider Kabuto in Kamen Rider Kabuto. Souji Tendou still remains, as does Kamen Rider Kabuto one of the most loved Kamen Rider series to date. Following on from 2006, Mizushima had a number of successful roles in popular series including Hanazakari no Kimitachi e (2007), Zettai Kareshi (2008), Mei-chan no Shitsuji (2009) and Tokyo DOGS (2009). In 2010 he played the main character in the live-action adaptation BECK (2010), this being Mizushima’s last acting role as he removed himself for the entertainment industry to concentrate more on his writing career and looking after his wife/singer Ayaka.

(Tomohito Sato) Sato Yuuki (佐藤 祐基 | February 22, 1984)

Sato’s, birth name Tomohito Sato, career like Mizushima’s started with a role in Gokusen 2, he then starred with Mizushima again in Kamen Rider Kabuto as the secondary rider Kagami Arata/Kamen Rider The Bee. He has also had roles in Water Boys (2005), Gira Gira (2007), Voice (2009) and recently in GTO (2012), he is credited as both Yuki Sato and Tomohito Sato.

Tokuyama Hidenori (徳山 秀典| January 30, 1982)

The king of tokusatsu, Tokuyama not only acted in Kamen Rider Kabuto as Yaguruma Sou aka Kamen Rider TheBee/Kamen Rider KickHopper, but also had a cameo in Ultraman Max (2006), voiced an Imagin in Kamen Rider Den-O (2007), and starred in Engine Sentai Go-Onger (2008) as a Super Sentai hero. Making him the first tokusatsu actor to be in both Kamen Rider and Super Sentai. In 2012 Tokuyama even acts in Sengoku BASARA Moonlight Party another tokusatsu. Of course Tokuyama isn’t all about tokusatsu and has acted in several popular series including Smile (2009), Hanazakari no Kimitachi e 2011 (2011) and this season Koukou Nyushi (2012). He is also a very accomplished singer with 4 released albums.

Uchiyama Masato (内山 眞人,

Another familiar face among several tokusatsu series in Uchiyama. He first appeared in two episodes as Yoshio Kobayashi in Kamen Rider 555, as a guest actor in Ultra Q: Dark Fantasy, then had his big break with Ultraman Nexus as the second Ultraman Senjyu Ren, and afterwards he won the role of Shun Kageyama/Kamen Rider TheBee 2/Kamen Rider PunchHopper in the series Kamen Rider Kabuto. He even voiced an Imagin in Kamen Rider Den-O: I’m born. Apart from tokusatsu Uchiyama stays pretty quiet only appearing in some shorts throughout the years, the latest 2009. Although he might be known around the Boys Love fandom because of his role in the BL film Bokura no ai no Kanade.

Kato Kazuki (加藤 和樹| October 7, 1984)

Kato has been active since 2003, but is best known for his roles as Kazuma Daisuke/Kamen Rider Drake in Kamen Rider Kabuto as well as Atobe Keigo (1st Generation) in the The Prince of Tennis musicals. He has also played Kazuma Shiro/Kamen Rider G3 in Kamen Rider The Next film. Active somewhat in dramas, his latest Doukuhime to Watashi (2011), in 2011 he formed a new japanese band, with his partner Date Koji (former Tenimyu co-star) called Joker that debuted that December with the single ‘No.1’

Yamamoto Yusuke (山本 裕典 | January 19, 1988)

Yamamoto had his start in the role of Kamishiro Tsurugi a.k.a Kamen Rider Sasword in Kamen Rider Kabuto. And ever since he had been gaining momentum in his acting career appearing in several popular doramas such as Hanazakari no Kimitachi e (2007), Ninkyo Helper (2009), Tumbling (2010), GTO (2012). He is a versatile actor and effortlessly switches character roles, showcasing that he does have the potential for leading male roles in the near future.

Sato Takeru (佐藤 健 | March 21, 1989)

Sato is one of the biggest names talked about recently because he won the coveted role of Kenshin in the acclaimed Rurouni Kenshin (2012). So if you’ve never heard about him by now, then you’re living under a rock. But Sato really got this biggest break with the character Nogami Ryotaro/Kamen Rider Den-O in the series Kamen Rider Den-O. Sato in the series had to play all five alternative personalities and was even able to utilizes his hobby of break dancing into the Imagin Ryutaros. Post Den-O he played some of most loved supporting characters in Rookies (2008), Bloody Monday (2010), before winning his first male lead role in the school comedy romance Q10 (2010) and his first stage lead in Romeo and Juliet (2012). His biggest accolade to date is “Rookie of the Year” at the 2011 Elan D’or Award, but expect to see more awards in the near future.

Seto Koji (瀬戸 康史 | May 18, 1988)

Arguably one of the most popular D-Boys Seto joined the troupe in 2005 appearing in several doramas and stage plays, most famously as the neko-like, acrobatic 3rd year Seigaku member Kikamura Eiji from the The Prince of Tennis musicals. Then in 2008 he won the starring role in Kamen Rider Kiva, afterwhich he gained momentium as an actor starring in Atashinchi no Danshi (2008), sharing lead role in Tumbling (2010), and appearing lead in teenage films such as Runway Beat (2011) and the japanese horror Sadako 3D (2012). As well as a sucessful career (that is still only begining) in doramas, films and on stage, Seto is also an accomplished singer with his J-Rock band Tetra Fang (formed at the same time as Kamen Rider Kiva, with Seto as lead) and the J-pop group D☆DATE. Seto is the second D-Boy member to star in a tokusatsu after Nakamura Yuichi.

Kato Keisuke (加藤 慶祐,

Yamamoto Shouma (山本 匠馬,

Takeda Kouhei (武田 航平,

Inoue Masahiro (井上 正大 | March, 20 1989)

Inoue, like many of this list, had his big break on stage in the Prince of Tennis musicals. He got his start in acting portraying Atobe Keigo, the king of Hyotei, in Imperial Presence Hyotei Gakuen as part of the Hyotei B cast. Then in 2009 he won the lead role in Kamen Rider Decade, the anniversary series, as Kadoya Tsukasa who had the ability to transform into all nine previous heisei Kamen Riders. Since Kamen Rider, Inoue has starred in several doramas and had his first lead (in a non-tokusatsu film) in the japanese B-grade horror Real Onigokko 5 (2012) earlier this year.

Totani Kimito (戸谷 公人| May 7, 1990)

Totani belongs to the Amuse crowd, and is the third Amuse talent to play a Kamen Rider since Sato Takeru and Sakurada Dori from Kamen Rider Den-O (and Cho-Den-O series). Totani in 2009 won the role as the secondary Kamen Rider Kaito Daiki a.k.a Kamen Rider Diend in Kamen Rider Decade. His previous works had included the 2007 Tsubaki Sanjuro remake, and Gokusen 3 (2008), however his role in Kamen Rider is arguably his most famous. Totani also appeared as the lead in the Cho-Den-O film episode yellow (2010) as his character Kaito Daiki from the series. To date he has appeared in five tie-in Kamen Rider films, the latest Kamen Rider x Super Sentai: Super Hero Taisen (2012).

Murai Ryouta (村井 良大,

Kiriyama Renn (桐山 漣 | February 2, 1985)

Already a somewhat established actor, Kiriryama had his debut on stage in the Prince of Tennis musicals as the acrobatic, gum-chewing, red-hair Buntai Maurai from 1st Generation Rikkai (2006-2008). He then went on to co-star with a number of Tenimyu stars in several doramas and films including the Cafe Daikayama trilogy (2008-2010). In 2009 he won the role of Hidari Shoutaro, one half of the Kamen Rider hero in the series Kamen Rider W. Following his acting in Kamen Rider, Kiriyama returned to dorama roles with Honboshi (2011), as the famous play boy Nanba Minami in the Hana Kimi remake (2011), and a doctor in training in the medical dorama 37-sai de Isha ni Natta Boku ~Kenshui Junjo Monogatari~ (2012).

Suda Masaki (菅田 将暉 | February 21, 1993)

With his famous ‘philip style bangs’ Suda debuted on the scene and rose in popularity as the intelligent half of the eponymous hero of the 2009/2010 television series Kamen Rider W, now he is making a name for himself as one the young actors in Topcoat. Considered an “up and coming actor to watch”, Suda following on from his break out with Kamen Rider went on to star in several popular series, films and stageplays including Tumbling (2010-2011) and Romeo and Juliet (2012). In 2013 he acts in his most challenging role to date with Tomogui, in the role of a sadistic young man. Watch out for Suda in the future.

Watanabe Shu (渡部 秀 | October 26, 1991)

After starring in Gekikoi (2010) and a guest role in Yankee-kun to Megane-chan (2010) Wanatabe won the role of the 12th Heisei Kamen Rider Hino Eiji in Kamen Rider OOO. He is the second Amuse actor since Sato Takeru to be cast as the main protagonist, he is also the first (along with co-star Miura Ryosuke) to star in the the first “NEXT HERO” film PIECE (2012), which is a Toei production to showcase the talents of previous Kamen Riders in thier careers after tokusatsu.

Miura Ryosuke(三浦 涼介 | February 16, 1987)

Both a Kamen Rider hero and a Sazer, Miura is the son of a veteran actor and had his start as a teenager in 3 nen B gumi Kinpachi Sensei. Then in2005 he was cast in Chousei Kantai Sazer-X (2005) as Kane Lucano a.k.a Beetle-Sazer, around the same time he also joined the acting troupe PureBoys. As a member he starred in a number or popular series including Gokusen 2 (2005), Delicious Gakuen (2007), Shibatora (2009), as well as films and stageplays. His second appearance in a tokusatsu was as a guest in Kamen Rider Decade faiz world, and then two years later he won the role of Anhk/Izumi Shingo in Kamen Rider OOO. At the end of 2011 Miura graduated from PureBoys, and went on to concentrate of his music career as a j-pop artist. In 2012 he had his first concert and debuted with the single “Natsudayo HONEY”. His second single “Kimi he no X’mas Song” is to be released in November, along with the DVD release of PIECE – Kioku na Kakera, the first “NEXT HERO” film co-staring Watanabe Shu.

Hashimoto Taito (橋本 汰斗| November 1, 1991)

Hashimoto is the third D-BOY member to act in a Tokusatsu, after joining the troupe and acting in both D-Stage plays and as a famous tennis genuis Fuji Shusuke as part of the 5th Generation Seigaku cast in Tenimyu, he won the role of Kazari, the Greeed, in the 2010 Kamen Rider series Kamen Rider OOO.

Fukushi Sota (福士 蒼汰| May 30, 1993)

Relatively an unknown, Fukushi in 2010 won the role of the 12th Heisei Rider in the series Kamen Rider Fourze. His previous works included small minor roles in doramas such as Shima Shima (2011), Misaki Number One! (2011) both of which also starred a number of Tokusatsu stars, and Umareru (2011). [EDIT] Recently announced the second ‘Next Hero’ film stars Fukushi Sota co-starring with Yoshizawa Ryo once more in In the Future, when I am Executed (2012). The story a science fiction plotline with Fukushi playing an apathic student that awaits death in a future where time travel is possible and criminals are stolen from the past and forward into the present where they are executed for their crimes.

Takahashi Ryuki (高橋 龍輝| March 28, 1993)

Following in the footsteps of older D-BOYs, Takahashi starred in both Tenimyu and Tokusatsu. After winning the role of the final Echizen Ryoma in The Prince of Tennis musicals (2008), Takashashi went on to act in Kamen Rider Fourze, as the obstinate and intelligent Utahoshi Kengo. At the same time he also acted in three movies, including Messiah (2011) that starred several Tokusatsu stars in main roles. To date Kamen Rider Fourze has been the only dorama Takahashi has acted in.

Yoshizawa Ryo (吉沢 亮| February 1, 1994)

Yoshizawa started his career in 2010 on stage and on screen, acting alongside his fellow Amuse talents. Then in 2011 he won the role of the second Kamen Rider in Kamen Rider Fourze (2011), as Ryusei Sakuta/Kamen Rider Meteor as a transfer student, he appeared previously very briefly as the mysterious student in the end credits of Kamen Rider x Kamen Rider Fourze and OOO: Movie War Mega Max (2011). Prior to his appearance in Kamen Rider Yoshizawa acted with his fellow Amuse collegues in the late-night drama Sign (2011) and in the high-school drama Kingyo club (2011). And this year (2012) he stars in the ‘next hero’ film In the Future, When I am Executed playing the role of a genuis hacker aiding the escape of Yukio (played by Fukushi Sota) from prison.

Shiraishi Shunya (白石 隼也| August 3, 1990)

After winning second at the Junon Super Boy Contest 2007, Shiraishi went on to star as a minor character in several films and even acted as the antagonist in Tokyo Gore School (2009). Other films include GANTZ (2011), Kaiji 2 (2011) and Ninja Kids (2011). But it wasn’t until 2012 then Shiraishi got his biggest break with Kamen Rider Wizard, in the role of the protagonist Sohma Haruto a.k.a Kamen Rider Wizard.

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