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From 'Kill Bill' to Uniqlo, Chiaki Kuriyama shows her killer style

37 Comments
By Chris Betros

Chiaki Kuriyama is amused to hear she is a well-known star abroad. The 25-year-old actress says she is impressed when she gets fan mail from overseas, especially from young women who like to dress up as Go-go Yubari, the schoolgirl killer with the meteor hammer made famous by Kuriyama in Quentin Tarantino’s 2003 film "Kill Bill Vol 1."

“I guess because I have lived in Japan all my life, it is strange to hear that I am famous overseas or that guys like me because of 'Battle Royale' and 'Kill Bill,'” says Kuriyama sitting down for a chat at the office of Sony Music Studios. “Am I really a sex symbol in America? Maybe I should go and live there. It’s cool to have fans in many countries.”

Kuriyama recalls being hooked on showbiz when she was about 5. “I remember watching TV and wondering where the pictures were coming from. I wanted to get inside the TV set and play with the characters.” She was also captivated by seeing supermodels like Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campbell on TV and started doing magazine photo shoots for "shichigosan" (festivals that celebrate children aged 7, 5 and 3). That was followed by more magazine work and bit parts in TV programs and movies in the mid-1990s.

Kuriyama’s movie breakthrough came in 1999 with "Shikoku" (Land of the Dead), but it was "Battle Royale" in 2000 that put her on the international map. Interestingly, Kuriyama seems to achieve her greatest successes in films with violent or horror themes. “It’s not that I prefer dark-themed films or TV dramas. However, the impact of horror films tends to be stronger. I’ve done a lot of non-horror roles, too,” she points out.

The next few weeks will see a lot of exposure for Kuriyama. First, she sings the theme song for the anime feature "Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn," which marks her CD debut. “It’s a ballad but not a love song. Rather, it is a song that encourages people to be positive. I sing another track as well, a rock number. I’m very nervous about it because it was difficult for me, completely different from anything I have ever done.”

On TV, Kuriyama is appearing this month in a WOWOW drama called "Sonotoki made sayonara," which is yet another foray into the otherworldly. In it, she plays a mysterious woman who learns that she is linked to a widower and his son by two rings that they own. In the summer, Kuriyama will be seen in "Neck," about a university student (Saki Aibu) who wants to create a ghost in the lab. Kuriyama, who plays an editor, describes "Neck" as a “refreshing romantic horror movie that will make people laugh. You have never seen a horror movie like this before – it will make your heart beat with love,” she promises.

In between movies and TV dramas, Kuriyama is never far from the public light, appearing in the ad campaign for cosmetic maker Shiseido’s Maquillage brand, as well as Uniqlo’s eye-popping bratop TV commercial in which she gets dressed, walks out of her bedroom and segues onto the streets of Tokyo. “That ad has gotten a good reaction. People often ask me how we filmed it,” Kuriyama says. “The thing about doing these kinds of ads is that unlike movies, it’s not really acting. I can be myself.”

As for her own style, Kuriyama says she likes the Gothic Lolita look and often goes shopping at Shibuya and Harajuku, where she is recognized, of course. “People do come up and want to shake hands. If they ask for permission to take photos, I don’t mind, but some people just take photos without asking or follow me around. That’s creepy.”

Kuriyama says she has thought about doing a blog so she can interact with fans. “On the other hand, it’s hard to find the time to keep updating a blog. Maybe it is better not to have a blog and remain a little mysterious,” she says, adding that if she hadn’t been a movie star, she would have liked to try a “normal” life, such as working as an OL (office lady). And speaking of a normal life, how does she feel about getting married and what sort of men does she like? “I want to get married one day, but not right now,” she answers. “When I do, I want it to last for the rest of my life. The ideal man for me would be someone who likes anime and manga because I do.”

When she is not working, Kuriyama exercises by walking or an occasional visit to the gym. As a child, she used to do classical ballet but her schedule makes that difficult to do nowadays. “Sometimes, I like to have a party with people, but I also enjoy going out for dinner by myself. I think of that as a reward for myself, especially after the end of a job or movie shoot.”

Of course, whenever Quentin Tarantino is in town, she and other Japan-based members of the "Kill Bill" family get together for dinner – usually at Gompachi. “It’s fun hanging out with him,” she says. “I just wish I was better at English. It’s my New Year resolution that I make every year, and I never get around to it,” she laments.

© Japan Today

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37 Comments
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dont toot your horn too much honey... youre a dime a dozen here.

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my2sense What brought this comment? Usually I find these profiles a bit annoying, but her's seemed ok. She actually appears in dramas and shows. Not your typical Japanese tarento

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I meant movies, not shows

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..." she is a well-known star abroad "

Yeah yeah,huge star.Lol.

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"The ideal man for me would be someone who likes anime and manga because I do."

That's shouldn't be too hard to find!

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Pretty picture. Seems candid.

"The ideal man for me would be someone who likes anime and manga because I do."

Any other criteria to narrow the pool?

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I like Chiaki. She is a good actress and that was a good interview.

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It doesn't sound like the show Biz has gotten to her head yet - I just hope she can keep it that way. I hope she makes it to Anime Expo in Los Angeles some year.

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IMHO, that was probably the most down-to-earth interview with a Japanese actor I have ever read.

@n3312 - Good observation on the pic.

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She is well known because "Kill Bill" still has a cult following. Maybe that's all she'll ever be famous for abroad but it just might well be enough to keep her marketable.

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She's hot, wish she would board the train next to me wearing that same Kill Bill get up..........

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I had a nightmare about her: she was Sadako from the ring and I was in that black and white video with the well.. it was scary at the time but I remember Chiaki a little more fondly now LOL

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I must say I did like the band in Kill Bill, 5678s. They rocked.

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dont toot your horn too much honey... youre a dime a dozen here.

Geez, what brought that on? It's a nice interview. She does have a cult following overseas.

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She has thoughts about an ideal man, well I have thoughts about an ideal woman: Lacking vocal chords and smiles a lot.

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She oughta dress up as Go Go, ride the train and kick some butts when they try to grope her

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Chiaki Kuriyama is pretty nice, but I still prefer Kazue Fukiishi's UNIQLO commercials.

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She oughta dress up as Go Go, ride the train and kick some butts when they try to grope her

^^^

Plus 10 Internets for you Mr. Oberst

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It's hard to believe that Battle Royale is now 10 years old. Chiaki was really great in that movie!

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"She oughta dress up as Go Go, ride the train and kick some butts when they try to grope her"

And she should use that meteor hammer.

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Am I really a sex symbol in America? Maybe I should go and live there

Not if you have any sense.

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About her look; Of course she isn't a classic Japanese beauty. But she has a distinctive look. Very recognizable and it works in her favor. For advertising purposes it's pure gold. Those "fade into the background" models on Tokyo billboards and subway ads would kill(bill) to have her look.

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she has a distinctive look

and i am a man who is fond of a roman nose! :P

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Chiaki is hot.

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About her look; Of course she isn't a classic Japanese beauty. But she has a distinctive look. Very recognizable and it works in her favor. For advertising purposes it's pure gold. Those "fade into the background" models on Tokyo billboards and subway ads would kill(bill) to have her look.

I agree. Also, what I like about her is that she doesn't feel the need to cheapen her looks with a horrible dye-job. Long flowing, black natural looking hair. How original in Japan!!! I thought she was great in Kill Bill.

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You people sensationalize violence. Wrong. In real life it's a bitch.

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Kill Bill was alot of fun.. go, go, Go Go!!

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The ideal man for me would be someone who likes anime and manga because I do.

Then you realize he's the type who likes to take your picture without permission! UH OH!

A romantic horror movie? what the hell?

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Yeah I remember her due to Kill Bill as well. That nose is unforgettable. But compared to other Japanese tarento she's probably got more quality in acting than many others.

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The ideal man for me would be someone who likes anime and manga because I do.

I guess she hangs out a lot in Akihabara....or she doesn't?

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"Am I really a sex symbol in America?"

No.

"Maybe I should go and live there."

Why?

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"The ideal man for me would be someone who likes anime and manga because I do" I she really having trouble finding this?

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She's a so so actress, acting like a arrogant high school girl in Kill Bill is hardly acting at all.

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What a lucky girl! She has worked with two of the greatest directors, especially where violence is concerned: Mr. Tarantino and Kinji Fukasaku.

I urge anyone who is a Tarantino fan to check out Fukasaku's work. A new box set of 5 Yakusa Papers was released recently.

'Battles Without Honor' 'Fight in Hiroshima' 'Proxy War' 'Police Tactics'

Watch these 4 movies and tell me that Fukasaku didn't influence Tarantino in a BIG way.

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'Final Episode' My bad.
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poor girl.New year resolutions for fluency at English language.

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This is cool, Chiaki keeps thin by walking??

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