entertainment

Kurara Chibana enjoys acting for change of pace

8 Comments
By Chris Betros

Kurara Chibana loves a challenge. The 34-year-old from Okinawa has been a successful model, TV reporter, as well as World Food Program (WFP) National Ambassador Against Hunger for Japan.

Chibana is enjoying her newest challenge — acting in the Fuji TV comedy-drama “Offbeat Chief Police,” in which she has a recurring role as yoga instructor Rika Kano. The program, which airs on Sundays from 9 p.m. to 9:54 p.m., revolves around Kinshiro Toyama, the newly-appointed police chief at Kitamachi Police Station, who firmly believes his mission as a policeman is to listen to the voice of citizens and protect the peace in the community. Played by Hiroshi Tamaki, Toyama comes off as aloof and a bit quirky at first, but in fact he has brilliant investigative instincts and spots clues that no one else can detect. Rather than sitting behind a desk, Toyama leaves the office and goes the extra mile to solve any crime regardless how small or trivial.

Chibana, who is fluent in English and French, says it is a lot of fun working on the set. “It is a good balance of comedy and drama. Comedy suits my personality. My character is very cheerful and open-hearted,” she says. “I took acting lessons. It was really tough at first and still is, even now. It is a big challenge.” She also took yoga lessons to prepare for her role as a yoga instructor.

Chibana hopes “Offbeat Chief Police” will appeal to overseas TV audiences. It can currently be seen in Hong Kong, Macao and China’s Guangdong Province, (China).

Chibana believes TV programs are an excellent way for foreign audiences to learn about Japanese society. “That’s true in any country. When I lived in France for 10 months, I watched a lot of TV. I think TV programs reflect a country’s culture.”

Chibana also hopes to continue her acting career, trying all sorts of parts, even a villain. She also admits to being a fan of “Columbo.” "I actually interviewed Peter Falk 7 or 8 years ago,” she recalls. "And yes, he said, ‘Just one more thing.’”

In addition to continuing her modelling career (this month she appears on the cover of Marisol magazine), Chibana remains devoted to her work with the WFP — she is now doing it for the 10th year.

“I have learned a lot from that. This year I visited Malawi and Kenya and we do many projects. One of her favorite projects is the school meals program (which provides meals to between 20 and 25 million school children across 63 countries, often in the hardest-to-reach areas). “It’s tough for those children but they are always smiling and want to learn,” she says.

With such a high profile in Japan, Chibana inevitably gets a lot of fan mail from young women. “They ask me for advice about fashion, their careers and many also want to get involved in charity activities. Continuing what I am doing is the best way I can be a role model for them.”

Despite her busy schedule, Chibana enjoys flamenco dancing, but is now focused on yoga. “I also love cooking when I have time and make nabe in wintertime.”

Visit Chibana’s home page at http://chibanakurara.com/

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.


8 Comments
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Chibana believes TV programs are an excellent way for foreign audiences to learn about Japanese society.

Just like Japanese "learned" about the US through "Spaghetti Westerns" and spawned a generation that thought that "all" American's were Cowboys?

No thank you, TV is not the way to learn about society, look at how many people followed in the path of Nathan Alrgren.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

I don't agree Yubaru. I think Tv programs, especially variety and comedy shows, often do reflect a country's society and pop culture. How someone non-native to a country interprets it is another matter.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I think Tv programs, especially variety and comedy shows, often do reflect a country's society and pop culture. How someone non-native to a country interprets it is another matter.

I hardly see Japan's society a reflection of the stupid crap that is currently called "entertainment" on TV here. Sure there may be an obscure program here or there, probably on NHK, that is a decent reflection of society but the rest in my humble opinion are garbage. Even many of the so-called "drama" shows.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Fluent trilingualism...hmmmm. Would love to hear her speak.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

She seems intelligent and talented, and she is beautiful, but wouldn't it be better if TV dramas employed professional actors a bit more, instead of people chosen mainly for fame and looks? And stopped making the shows the way manga are drawn, with a frame-by-frame reaction shown by facial expression for every tiny little bit of action? That way we might end up with something worthwhile and watchable. Just a thought. And yes I know many of the stories started off as actual manga, but what works in one genre doesn't necessarily work in another.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Was she even in that trailer? Maybe 0:15-0:18 very brief glimpse?

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Fluent trilingualism...hmmmm. Would love to hear her speak.

Her English is not bad, functionally fluent perhaps, but you can tell she is Japanese when she speaks it, don't know French so can't say anything about that.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Yubaru, I can tell that the Japanese people who have lived in my (Canadian) city for decades are Japanese by their accents. That has nothing to do with their fluency.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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