March 21, 2003
After having stayed in Paris for a few days, I'm going to Valeciennes near the border with Belgium on March 21st
for the purpose of attending the Valenciennes Film Festival.
I attended the Valenciennes Film Festival about seven years ago for the first time because "KAMIKAZE TAXI"
was selected to be in the competition; it had been only a few months previously that "The Eel" was awarded the
Palm Dore at the Cannes Film Festival.
This time, six of my movies, "Eureka", "Cure", "Unagi/The Eel", "Warm Water under a Red Bridge",
"Charisma"and "Kamikaze Taxi" are due to be shown at Valenciennes, and I hear that I'll be awarded something
like "HOMMAGE"( in French) at the closing ceremony. I'm not so sure what that actually is. According to the
French-Japanese dictionary, "homage" means "sonkei", "shosan", or "sanji"; and the French-English dictionary
says that "homage" means "TRIBUTE" and "PRAISE". Whatever it may be, I don't think I merit anything like that,
but some of my friends living in France have said, "Do come by all means!", so I have decided on attending the
I shall attend the Festival from the time of greetings just before "Eureka" is shown".
I'm going to write more at Valenciennes.
(To be continued.)
Note: The Valenciennes Film Festival was held from March 19th to 23rd, 2003
Koji Yakusho's Official Website: Messages 3
--Pymmik's Unofficial Translation --
January 12, 2003
The year 2003 has come. I wish all of you good health and happiness.
My first news is that this year I'm going to perform a stage-play . I haven't performed on the stage for seven
years , and as a matter of fact, I feel rather tense now. The first draft of the scenario was only completed on last
year's Christmas Eve. It is a pity that I cannot tell you the story yet, but I'll try to do my best so that the audience
can leave the theater feeling refreshed, and step forward with light and lively steps.
Please do come to the theater to see this play.
My second piece of news is that my three films, "Tokyo Genpatsu", "Doppelganger", and "Yudan Taiteki" are
going to be released this year. They won't be widely shown but they are all well made and enjoyable.
(Sorry for the advertisement.)
On TV a little while ago, I watched a program which featured the Mayor of Takahama City in connection with a
report on the city's lunch-delivery service for senior citizens living alone. It seems that when the city authorities
requested restaurant owners to upgrade the quality of lunch, and to arrange delivery themselves, the response
received by the city's municipal staff was: "It is you who should deliver lunch." The Mayor, therefore, directly
asked some of the restaurant owners to deliver lunch, not withstanding that this service actually brings very little
profit. Now in the program there was a scene in which a senior lady bowed, again and again, to show her great
appreciation to a restaurant owner who had just delivered lunch to her. Aferwards the restaurant owner, who
had been against the delivery service in the beginning, commented: "That senior lady shows her happiness and
gratitude by bowing that way. It was really a good thing that I started delivering lunch!"
How greatly impressed I was by the program! In fact I should now like to say:
"Mr Mayor and all the volunteers of Takahama City, please continue to do your best for the people of the city."
In the forthcoming film, "Tokyo Genpatsu", I play the role of Governor of Tokyo.
In this film he announces a stunning construction project at a staff meeting and all at once the Municipal staff feel
quite at a loss. What do you imagine the Governor has in mind for Tokyo? In its humorous touches, I feel that
this film reminds us of present-day Japanese society.
(Oh, it seems that I have advertised again!)
I'll try do do my best to write here more often this year.
January 12, 2003
"Fudebusho"(Slow and lazy correspondent) Yakusho Koji
February 14, 2003
I am going to write about an incident which has recently moved me.
This is a piece of news broadcast while entrance examinations were being held at various schools. I do not
know the actual details: I just happened to hear this news soon after I got up, in the course of a TV news show
You may get a rather vague impression from what I'm going to describe, but I really felt "Oh, my!" on hearing the
This was the story:-
It seems that on her way to the entrance examination venue, one student candidate (jukensei) noticed that she
had taken the wrong train; and apparently she mentioned her trouble to one of the near-by passengers. That
passenger then did something quite unusual, thinking that this was surely an important matter which must
influence the future course of her life. What the passenger did was to arrange for the train to stop at a station at
which, under normal circumstances, the train would not stop.
I missed hearing the details as to whether the passenger negotiated with the conductor or whether that person
made the arrangement by some other method. Anyway, the train stopped at a station which the train was
supposed to pass through without stopping. The candidate changed trains there and was able to head for the
entrance examination venue.
I still cannot help feeling emotional when I even try to imagine what happened inside the carriage. I don't know
whether or not the candidate actually passed her entrance exams. I believe,though, that this young person has
had a wonderful experience, which may be more valuable than passing the entrance exams. Of course this
would become a top news story, if she were found to have been successful in those exams.
With what sort of feelings did the other passengers see this girl off when she alighted from the commuter- train?
Feeling as if this incident were their own trauma, did they agree to the decision that the train would stop, even
though it would mean sacrificing their own precious time?
I imagined this incident as if it had been a part of a movie story. If there were such passengers feeling that they
would like to try their own lives once again, they might have seen the young one off, secretly wishing her well in
their hearts, and hoping that she would realize their own dreams.
I'm afraid that I might have let my imagination run wild, reading too much into this uncertain and small piece of
news. Well, wait! What if there was really such a person among the passengers who was late for something
very important in life, with the actual consequence that the train stopped at a station where the train normally
I feel quite confused, thinking this way. Anyway, this is surely quite a rare and heart- warming, good story, isn't it?
March 17, 2003
While thinking about what to write after opening the Microsoft Word, I have noticed the blue dolphin at the right
below on the screen staring at me, occasionally blinking, wondering what I'm going to write about. He then
abruptly swims away facing backward and comes back to stare at me, as if he were questioning, "Not yet?" He
certainly looks cute but when I can't write even a line, I can't help feeling bothered by him. What on earth are
you? Why are you swimming there? Oh, he made a new motion! He looked a bit downward! He looks sleepy
with his eye-lid half-closed! It sems that he is saying, "Let me go back to sleep by finishing writing as soon as
possible". I don't like this. Well, let's ignore him. I have to write something (the dolphin is now directing his 'stern'
To change the subject, the plum blossoms have started blooming! Cherry blossoms will come afterward! But I'm
afraid that the cherry blossom season will be delayed because of the chilly weather this spring.
When cherry blossoms are in full bloom, I tend to think,"Ah, I wonder how many times I shall be able to see cherry
blossoms during the rest of my life?" I remember my younger days. At cherry-blossom-viewing parties after work
in the evening, I used to climb a cherry tree like a monkey and shake the tree so that the party participants could
get falling petals in their drinking glasses. I remember one of my senior office collegues near retirement age
remarking, " I now wonder how many more times I can see cherry blossoms when cherry blossom season
comes. I wish I could bloom at least once again like this cherry tree! On hearing this, I thought, "Hmm, so this is
how a man feels when he becomes aged while viewing cherry blossoms."
Well, as a matter of fact, the very young man who thought that way at that time now feels, "How many more times
could I see cherry blossoms?" Or it seems that I feel in this way every year just as at a ceremony, or even as we
say our new year resolutions on the New Year's Day. I feel that one year has surely passed when I see cherry
blossoms. This is a different feeling to that which I feel on my birthday. When I stand under a cherry tree in its
full bloom, I feel its unworldly beauty. I also have a strange sense.
It seems that I have written a story by an old man whose remainign life is very short. I would say that this is all
because of the blue dolphin at the right below urging me to write quickly: because of him I have shown my true
nature as an 'old' man.
Dear everybody, accident by drinking alcohol will happen at the time of cherry blossom viewing time. Please
Hanasaka Jijii (The-Old-Man-Who-Makes-Trees-Blossom) Yakusho Koji
*This is the title of one of the Japanese children's favorite stories.
October 16, 2002
We feel so sorry that a long time has passed again since we last updated this home page.
Lots of people must have been anxious about the information on the movie which was filmed in January and
February this year. Happily we are now able to report about it.
As you may already know, the film title is "Tokyo Genpatsu" (Tokyo Nuclear Power Station). Yakusho's role is
that of the governor of Tokyo. One day he announces at a staff meeting that he plans to launch a project to
construct a nuclear power station in Tokyo in order to awaken Tokyo residents as well as the nation at large, all
of whom tend to be indifferent about politics. He claims that if a nuclear power station is set up in Tokyo, this will
ensure great income and clean energy for electric power consumers.
His own unique idea subsequently provokes controversy and debates among his Tokyo metropolitan staff;
meanwhile a van carrying industrial waste is hijacked and.... ( so the story continues.)
Director Gen Yamakawa has succeeded in conjuring a supreme entertaiment movie out of a seemingly difficult
theme. The touch of the movie is light with swift tempo.
This movie will be released nationwide in the spring of 2003.
As for Yakusho's 6th movie with director Kiyoshi Kurosawa, we are sorry to say that we are still unable to give
the details at this stage.
Yakusho has now started working on a new film with director Izuru Narushima , entitled, "Yudan Taiteki", which
is Mr Narushima's first movie. This movie will be released next spring, 2003. Details will follow later.
We apologize that we cannot disclose more information.
Please wait for a while.
November 20, 2002
Long time no see.
While I was not in touch, all the leaves on the trees changed their colours and the roads became covered with
Our dog does her big job on those leaves quite comfortably.
Looking up at me while doing her big job, she appears to say, "Just a second" and then tentatively prepares for
any attack quite cautiously.
To tell the truth, I have a concern about our dog, who will become six years old next March. The doctor in
charge of her says that female dogs tend to have gynaecological illness from the age of six-years onwards.
I hear that if she were a wild dog giving birth to puppies quite often, she wouldn't suffer from such illness.
Although our dog has given birth to puppies once, it must be a tough job for a six-year-old dog like her to
become pregnant again. I understand that it would become more difficult for her to undergo a contraceptive
operation because older dogs tend to have more fat inside them. Ah! What should I do?
Wouldn't it be better for us to let her have a contraceptive operation so that we would be able to live happily with
her? I was warned that dog owners must have an eye open to their dogs after a contraceptive operation
because such dogs tend to be slow in feeling full and have more appetite. Our dog is a great eater even now,
so what would become of her after such an operation?
Watching world news with such concerns about our dog in mind, I see reality that children in North Korea are
dying from starvation. If Amewrica attacks Iraq, the number of people who suffer from lack of food will increase.
We now live in a country where we can worry about our dogs' fatness, but who knows the horrible days that
might come some time when we too suffer from hunger?
A former North Korean agent recently concluded his interview saying, " Those who live in a country where
freedom is allowed, may not be able to understand the significance of freedom; therefore, I would like to stress
to the world the importance of freedom." On hearing this, I couldn't help feeling that such an abstract word as
"freedom", when used by a person with such a background, comes to have a realistic meaning.
Our country, where until now we have taken freedom for granted, is presently suffering from the worst kind of
depression and very severe financial hardship; we can't even imagine how much harder the situation would
We have been rather embarassed to mention those words like 'freedom' or 'justice in our daily life; but now those
words convey something real. It seems that we are getting into a rather risky age. As long as heroes who can
keep freedom, justice, and truth don't appear in the world, I feel that we must uphold these things by ourselves.
Well, since our gluttonous dog wants to go for a walk, I'll take her out.
Cold winter will be coming soon. Please don't catch a cold.
Stay in good health.