Going into character: Yui Aragaki enjoys any scene she performs in
http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0002499149By Shoji Ichihara / Yomiuri Shimbun Staff Writer
Once she puts on a costume and makeup, it is natural for Yui Aragaki to become the character she is about to play.
“I put on roles just like putting on full-body suits of various characters. It’s probably how I prepare for my performances,” said the popular actress, who stars in the TV drama “Okitegami Kyoko no Biboroku” (Memos of Kyoko Okitegami), currently broadcast on the NTV network.
The drama begins when Yakusuke (played by Masaki Okada) meets a detective named Kyoko (Aragaki). Yakusuke is a guy with bad luck who is constantly mistaken for a criminal, while Kyoko is dubbed “the fastest detective,” solving cases in just one day regardless of their complexity.
The drama is an adaptation of author Ishin Nishio’s mystery story of the same title. As depicted in illustrations for the novel, Aragaki wears a silver wig and glasses, making her stand out.
“When I saw myself dressed as Kyoko, I realized that I fit the role better than I thought. I was relieved,” Aragaki said with a smile.
In the story, Kyoko can remember a particular day’s events only until she falls asleep at the end of that day. Aragaki does not feel her character’s predicament is anything unusual. “[In my personal life,] I often forget about what I’m going to do, too,” she said.
Asked about her favorite line in the drama, she said, “I’m given only one day, so I want to live each day with no regret.”
Aragaki was born on June 11, 1988, in Okinawa Prefecture, and made her debut in 2001 as a model for “Nicola” fashion magazine for teenage girls. Her acting career started later. Among her roles, she has played the lead in the 2007 film “Koizora” and the 2011 serial TV drama “Zenkai Gaaru” (Full Throttle Girl) aired on the Fuji TV network.
Although her work schedule is tight, she has an effective method of overcoming mental stress and feeling refreshed: sleeping. “On my days off, I just sleep as much as I want. I sometimes sleep 12 hours at a time,” she said.
She always has on hand an orange blanket she got as a gift during filming of the 2009 serial TV drama “Smile.” “Whenever I have some free time during production, I take a nap, even though it’s usually very short. At that time, the blanket is very useful,” she said.
“Eating also refreshes me,” Aragaki said. “For a long time I liked eating yakiniku, but recently, I prefer washoku [Japanese cuisine].”
People often compliment her on the unique bluish tint in the whites of her eyes. Though she says she is “not specially aware of it,” her favorite saying is connected with the eyes: “The eye is as eloquent as the tongue.” One of her acting goals, she said, is “to be able to talk with my eyes.”
Although she has been acclaimed for her performances, she said there are still aspects she can improve on.
“I’ve been particularly worried about my lack of vocal projection for a long time,” she related.
Nevertheless, she promises never to become too gloomy and encourages herself to “enjoy any scene I’m working on 100 percent.”
She probably feels the pressure of playing the lead role in this drama, too, but forgets about it as much as possible — just as the detective Kyoko does.