Come March 9, Jin Akanishi will be back in Los Angeles for the start of his JAPONICANA tour. JaME caught up with the busy man to get his thoughts on his recent work and the differences between Japan and America.
Please tell us a little about your role in the film “47 Ronin,” which is due for release in November 2012. Were you nervous working with Keanu Reeves?
Jin Akanishi: I play a samurai, a son of the leader of the 47 Ronin. I am the only one who understands Keanu’s character because he is an outcast. I was more excited than nervous. We spent a lot of down time together and he’s comfortable to be around with.
Do you have any funny stories to share from the set?
Jin Akanishi: Well, I’m not sure there was anything that funny, but it was definitely hard to use the swords. Apparently there’s a very specific way to kill people. (laughs)
What was the most difficult thing you had to do during filming?
Jin Akanishi: Learning to ride a horse and of course sword fight training. Riding a horse is just so… uncomfortable.
Parts of the movie were shot in the Europe. How was that experience? Did you have any free time to explore?
Jin Akanishi: I was pretty much just filming the whole time. I would have loved to explore more, but I just didn’t have the time. But I definitely want to go back and visit.
What are your thoughts on your Hollywood debut? Is it exciting to have a fresh, new audience that may not know you from music, or know who you are at all? What are your plans to win them over?
Jin Akanishi: I’m very excited about it. I’m looking forward to all of the promo events coming up. I think I can only be me and hope that people like who I am.
Do you have plans to work on more movies in the future?
Jin Akanishi: No plans as of yet, but I would definitely like to work on more films in the future.
Is there a particular genre of movie you’d like to do?
Jin Akanishi: I’m open to different types, just like music. I don’t want to put myself in a specific genre because I want to try different things.
How is a Hollywood production different from a Japanese one, in your opinion? Is there a difference?
Jin Akanishi: I got a trailer while I was filming “47 Ronin.” You don’t get trailers in Japan when you film, maybe just a big bus that some of the actors share, or you just go on set with your manager.
Do you think you might return to J-drama roles at sometime in the future?
Jin Akanishi: Maybe, you never know.
What was it like to work with Jason Derulo? What was the reason you chose to collaborate with him?
Jin Akanishi: Jason Derulo is one of the most talented people I’ve met and he’s around my age. He’s a Warner Bros. artist, so we have that connection. But I wanted to work with him because I wanted to step outside of the box and try something fresh and new.
Which American musician/artist would you like to work with next? Is there anyone you’re currently working on collaborating with?
Jin Akanishi: There’s nothing in the works. I really respect and love all of the music artists in the industry. I really like music by Lil’ Wayne, Eminem, Dr. Dre, Nicki Minaj… it would be crazy awesome to work with any one of them.
How does making a music career in the USA compare to making a music career in Japan?
Jin Akanishi: I think making music is the same in both places. The biggest difference is language. (smiles) I’ve gotten a lot of support from all my fans in the U.S. and Japan. Warner and my Johnny’s management team have been very supportive in the U.S. and of course in Japan. I feel very fortunate and I’m very grateful.
What is the meaning behind the name “Japonicana?”
Jin Akanishi: I made up that word. It’s a combination of Japan and America, and the last part is taken from the Spanish “a” sound, which makes a noun feminine. So my album is a girl. I really want the album to have an international meaning.
Any hints as to what we can expect from the tour?
Jin Akanishi: It’ll be high energy. I hope the crowd will dance a lot. We have some really talented dancers.
What was one of the biggest culture shocks you encountered when you first came to Los Angeles?
Jin Akanishi: I really like the variety of food here. Don’t get me wrong, I love Japanese food. But I’ve had really good Thai food, Korean BBQ and boba drinks here. So much to eat here! (Note: Boba are tapioca balls that can be added to many beverages, most commonly milk tea.)
Some fans are putting together a project to get JAPONICANA to trend on Twitter on March 10 to support the album and tour. Do you have a message for them and your other fans?
Jin Akanishi: Just that I am grateful for their support. I love all of my fans! Can’t wait to see all of them at my concerts!
If you haven’t gotten your tickets yet, go to Jin’s website and see what’s available. Jin will be stopping in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Vancouver and Honolulu.
JaME would like to thank PLAN C Agency and Jin Akanishi for the interview.
International celebrity tag refers to Keanu Reeves NOT Jin.