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Chicago Shimpo
Japanese/South Korean Film Captures Magic of Love
Actor Yuki Furukawa Talks about the Movie, Career

• Rising international star Yuki Furukawa showed up in Chicago at the screening of a recent Japanese/South Korean film “Colors of Wind” (Kaze no iro), in which he plays double leading roles of a broken-hearted magician and his doppelgänger.
• The film, directed by Kwak Jae-yong of South Korea, is one of the 16 spring feature lineups for Season Six of Asian Pop-up Cinema, the Chicago-based Asian film screening project organized by Sophia Wong Boccio.
• After the March 13 screening at AMC River East 21, Furukawa, who flew in from Tokyo for the occasion, answered questions about the film.
• Having lived in Canada and the U.S. between the ages of seven and 18, Furukawa is gaining an international attention as an English-speaking actor from Japan. “Colors of Wind,” released in Japan in January 2018, is one of the recent movies in which he plays a leading role.

Colors of Wind: Synopsis

• Furukawa plays Ryo, who lives in Tokyo, and his doppelgänger Ryu, a magician in Hokkaido. The story begins as Ryo, after his girlfriend Yuri (played by Takemi Fujii) has passed away, is given a mysterious box by the owner of a magic-themed bar, which contains Yuri’s legacies. Ryo’s grief and memories of Yuri lead him to become a professional magician. Now he discovers he has a doppelgänger named Ryu, who died during a failed underwater magic trick in Hokkaido, and travels there to investigate. On his way to Hokkaido, he gets involved with Aya (also played by Fujii), who looks very much like Yuri. She believes that Ryo is her boyfriend Ryu, whom she had been looking for. Now Ryo must decide whether the girl is Aya or Yuri, by challenging himself to do a daring magic trick in the ice-cold Hokkaido water.

Interview with Yuki Furukawa

• Q: You played a cool magician pretty well in this movie.

• Furukawa: Mr. Maric [a well-known magician in Japan] trained me for the role, but it’s very difficult to play a magician. The key to looking like a real magician is to have absolute confidence – but it was hard to act like a pro when I’ve just learned the trick.

• Q: How did you survive the underwater shooting?

• Furukawa: It was pretty demanding physically – we had to do it all day, repeating shots as I dove in, played a scene, and then came back up, again and again.
• Also there’s a scene where I go into icy water, with chunks of ice floating around – those are real ice chunks. That was tough, too.

• Q: What do you think is the appeal of Yuri in the film?

• Furukawa: She’s a pure and very likable girl, I think. She’s a girl who makes a guy want to protect her, and I think that’s part of her appeal.

• Q: There are so many beautiful scenes in this movie. They reminded me of “Winter Sonata” (Fuyu no sonata).

• Furukawa: Kwak Jae-yong is very good at shooting landscapes and he loves water. In this movie, he used many variations of water, like the scenes with ice water, rain, etc., so this is a film that’s packed with what he likes to do as a director.

• Q: Is the production staff all Korean?

• Furukawa: About 70% of the staff is Korean, and the remaining 30% is Japanese. All of the cast are Japanese.

• Q: Did culture and language differences pose any problem for you?

• Furukawa: Not much of a problem, as I speak English. It’s a Korean/Japanese movie, and that makes it a unique mixture of the Korean and Japanese cultures. Though the characters in the movie speak Japanese, it’s directed by a Korean director, and that gives the whole film a Korean flavor. You don’t see that in other Japanese movies – and that’s the unique appeal of this movie, and kind of difficult to work with at the same time.
• Mr. Kwak’s strength is in romantic comedy, so this film has several scenes with a sense of Korean comedy.

• Q: How did you end up playing the leading role of this movie?

• Furukawa: Mr. Kwak wanted to meet me, so I went and talked with him, showing the videos of some of my past works. Then he thought I matched the image he had for the role.

• Q: It seems a good timing to make a Korean-Japanese movie now, when the relationship between the two countries is not very relaxed.

• Furukawa: In terms of politics, it certainly doesn’t seem to be at its best now. But the people in Japan love Korean music and TV dramas, and Japanese TV dramas have a lot of audience in South Korea. It’s sad that our political relationship isn’t as good while we share the same taste for entertainment, food, culture, etc. As an actor, I hope at all times that South Korea and Japan can find a way to have a better relationship through entertainment such as movies and dramas.

• Q: You were born in Tokyo and brought to Canada at the age of seven, right?

• Furukawa: Yes, to Toronto. I attended a local school there full time and went to a Japanese school on Saturdays. I spoke with my parents and older sister in Japanese and with my younger brother in English. He was 3 years old then and couldn’t speak Japanese very well.

• Q: From Toronto, you moved to New York. Did you go by yourself?

• Furukawa: Yes. I enrolled in Keio Academy of New York. My Japanese wasn’t very good – I had trouble using the honorific until I was in high school. So I thought I should first go to a Japanese school outside Japan.

• Q: Then you enrolled in Keio University in Japan, to study in an engineering field?

• Furukawa: That’s right. I studied control theory, specifically automotive brakes.

• Q: You won the Mister Keio contest in 2009. Did that lead you to acting?

• Furukawa: I was a junior at that time and engaged in job search to prepare for graduation. I was also a member of the school dance club, and someone offered me a chance to compete in the contest. I thought it was a good opportunity, something to add to my resume as a selling point, so I entered the contest. Fortunately, I won.
• Also fortunate for me was that Horipuro [a major talent agency in Japan] was auditioning the winners of university Mister contests across the country, for that year only. I thought it was an opportunity I shouldn’t miss.
• When I tried acting for the first time at the audition, I thought it was extremely interesting – it could possibly move people’s hearts, it had an element of dance which I love, and I thought it could be a wonderful occupation, if I could make a living doing what I love.
• So I’ve discovered a career I truly wanted for the first time in my life. I received a jury’s special award in the audition but didn’t win the grand prize. If I stopped there, I thought, I would regret it for the rest of my life. So that’s how I decided acting as my profession.

• Q: What do you hope to achieve going forward?

• Furukawa: I’d like to expand the international aspect of my career. I believe my language skill is my strength, since there is a shortage of English-speaking actors. I hope I can continue to play in the international arena.

• Q: Thank you very much.

Yuki Furukawa speaks about Japanese/South Korean film "Colors of Wind" at AMC River East 21 where the film is screened.