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From stage to screen to behind-the-scenes, Miki Mizuno does it all

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By Sarah Cortina

Miki Mizuno began her career in the same way as countless other model/actresses: by being scouted at a talent competition in her early teens. Things blossomed quickly after that. When she was just 16, Mizuno moved from Fukuoka to Tokyo, where in addition to modeling and acting, she has worked as a stage producer.

Yet in person, she’s incredibly soft-spoken — which made us all the more surprised to hear that she’s a longtime devotee of martial arts. In fact, she’s known as one of the few Japanese performers who can film fight scenes without needing a body double.

Mizuno is currently appearing in the WOWOW series "Sora Tobu Taiya" (The Flying Tire), which is based on a novel by renowned author Jun Ikeido. The story concerns a mother and child who are killed when a tire flies off a passing truck. Blame for the deaths falls on the president of the small trucking company, even though the accident was actually caused by a flaw in the tire’s design. Meanwhile, the large auto company that built the trucks rushes to suppress evidence of similar incidents and hide the fact that it had been aware of the problem. Mizuno (who admits sheepishly to not having read the book) plays an investigative reporter trying to expose the cover-up.

The actress feels the show’s theme will resonate strongly with viewers. “It’s a story about the president of a small company facing up against a giant corporation. It’s the story of a real, modern hero,” she says. “He keeps fighting and doesn’t give up, and I think everyone can sympathize with that. Yet at the same time, I think it’s something that many people wouldn’t be able to do, if they were in the same position.”

Mizuno says she enjoys the challenges presented by her various jobs. Yet she admits a special fondness for the stage. “In a play, everyone rehearses together, for a month… I love being able to work on one piece, slowly, over a long period of time.”

Mizuno has even taken this love beyond the realm of acting. In 2007, she and a partner formed an enterprise called Propeller Ken to write and produce their own plays. The duo puts on one, typically comedic, show a year, bringing in outside actors and directors.

On the rare occasions when she’s not on camera (or on stage), the down-to-earth Mizuno spends her time just hanging out. “I often go to see plays that my friends are in,” she explains. “And when the show is over, we go out for dinner or drinks.” Her absolute favorite Tokyo hangout? “I like going to the area around Shimokitazawa station. It’s a place where lots of young people and creative types all gather. There are tons of restaurants, and they stay open quite late. It’s a lot of fun.”

As for her English, Mizuno smiles and admits that her proficiency is “just daily conversation level.” Not one to back down from a challenge, however, she enjoys studying the language by watching American TV shows. Particular favorites include "Friends," "24" and "Desperate Housewives."

“I’ll watch each episode about five times — three times with English subtitles, once with Japanese subtitles, and then one more time with English subtitles. I’ve been watching those a lot lately, and I’d love to be on one of them.”

This story originally appeared in Metropolis magazine.

© Japan Today

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.


9 Comments
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Sounds like the Mitsubishi story - surprised that they have not tried to suppress the book/ series, as it is so obviously about them

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Sounds like a cool woman.

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The person on the photo looks like a boy! ... But then again Japanese boys look like girls so ...

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The person on the photo looks like a boy!

Here, let me help you out. http://www.asianemax.com/m/miki-mizuno/index.html

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Here, let me help you out. http://www.asianemax.com/m/miki-mizuno/index.html

That's a lot better, thanks! But still the image above looks boyish.

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Agree. Not a flattering picture.

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I often go to see plays that my friends are in,” she explains. “And when the show is over, we go out for dinner or drinks.”

A standard practice...have to be part of the group to avoid being kirawareru....

A typical story of a J woman, who's climbing up her career ladder. Many J women in my office are doing the same. It's nothing special. I'd like to read news of a more 'different' type of career J women please, JT!

What about the stories of some reputable women Doctors, Lawyers etc....I'd like to know how women in such professions lead their lives. Thanks!

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I liked her in Odoru Daisosasen....

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I saw her in "Koibumi" nd she looked a lot better than this picture above.

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