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Yuki Matsuzaki is an actor, who performed as "Nozaki", a junior technician, in the movie "Letters from Iwo Jima." He came to the United States to show that he is a strong actor who can perform internationally. He is working toward his dream yet he struggles with his natural positive character.



--- The opening of roller coaster American life ---

Matsuzaki showed his serious acting on a big screen. Actually he started to learn acting at 7 years old. He belonged to the acting group for children "LABO", that his mother ran for 11 years, and performed in a comedy program for children. He came to the United States to learn acting in a famous school. Although he made for Virginia, but schools rejected him because of lacking the qualification for applying to them. Even though he moved in New York next step. Something happened and his entire fortune was stolen and he was out of money. After the incident he performed on the streets in and around Times Square station and got little money for his life for a while.

“I couldn't speak English fluently because I was new to the United States. So I was dancing and singing in Japanese.”

His life in New York didn't assure him a place to sleep. He visited Pennsylvania to join the screen test of a movie, Black Ninja. Matsuzaki finely got a semi-central player by winning out of 600 people.

“I never feel nervous on any screen test and it might be thanks to the experience of a street performance dancer.”

After that Matsuzaki move to his basement in Hollywood, the capital of movies, and willingly continued to act as an actor. He performed in Community Theater and joined independent movies. His debut in a mainstream movie, Last Samurai in which Tom Cruise performed the leading role, as one of constituted authorities in 2003.


--- Performing as Nozaki junior technician in “Letters from Iwo Jima” ---

The casting of the movie Letters from Iwo Jima, directed by Clint Eastwood, was settled on a certain day suddenly.

“A part, Nozaki junior technician whom I would perform came into the director, Clint Eastwood's favor and he cast me this part just 2 weeks before filming the movie. And they just gave me the acting script 2 days before starting filming.”

Matsuzaki had to join this movie without the details of the movie and devoted himself into the making of his part. His enthusiasm in making his part was remarkable. He was so stoic that he changed his diet to perfect his character.

“To be Nozaki, I created some pictures. One is a clothing store where Nozaki worked and another picture is Nozaki's family's picture. I listed up details of his life, how he spent his life after he was born. Moreover, I wanted to experience what was to live in foodless society. So I tried to spend 5 weeks almost without eating foods. Curiously I never felt hungry after passing this trial for one week and then I was fine without eating anything after passing 2 weeks. Although I didn't eat anything, I was so fine that nobody noticed I never ate anything. Even though I actually got sometime qualm, I totally sympathized mind-set of peoples in wartime.”

He imagined an actual cave and listened to a CD that included sounds of air –raids. He sat on the floor of his bathroom, while he stayed in the hotel, to act the scene of a cave in the movie.

“I could forget the memories of imagining of cave after I visualized and experienced the mood of it. My style is not acting by remembering the actions but acting by following natural habits through experiences in past time.”

Matsuzaki's passion for acting was inscribed in the director, Clint Eastwood's memories. There is a story that Clint Eastwood suggested to continuously add Nozaki junior technician scenes. Matsuzki returns to the memories of a director, Clint Eastwood and the mood of filming this movie at the time when they filmed it.

“Actually the director, Eastwood almost didn't rehearse. His style was very unique and he completed any scene just in one take. ”

The filming seemed to follow his policy "Acting is most brilliant for the first take. I was never directed any direction by the director. We started to perform at once after a short explaining of each scene. The more pressures we felt, the more the director believed in our abilities at acting. But it was very comfortable."

Matsuzaki said, “I want to compete with native American actors on the same stage in the future.”

“If viewers who watched my acting in English couldn't figure out this actor is Japanese, it means I am doing my best (I win to myself). ”


--------------------
Yuki Matsuzaki




Interview by Yuka Kawaguchi, Photo by Yoshihiro Makino
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