Japanese actor Yuya Yagira spoke with Dorkaholics about his leading role in the new series, Gannibal, available on Hulu now. It was an honor and a privilege to speak with Yagira, who holds the record of the youngest recipient of the Best Actor Award at the Cannes Film Festival in 2004 for his leading role in Nobody Knows, when he was only 12 years old.
Neil Bui: What drew you to this role and the project?
Yuya Yagira: So, first of all, it’s based on a very popular manga and also has the screenwriter known for Drive My Car, which I was a fan of. We also have director Katayama and I like his movies very much. And of course, the wonderful crew members that joined me to do this film.
Neil Bui: Outside of fear, what do you hope audiences feel or think after watching?
Yuya Yagira: Well, I would hope that the audience will just simply enjoy the series, but the themes are based on love, based on a sense of justice, and even after shooting I still felt them myself. Specifically, it’s about the love between families, between the village people, between the Goto family members. And then you would want to ask the question: when love goes too extreme, can it still be fair and just or not? And I think that’s one of the points making the series very interesting to watch.
Neil Bui: On a similar topic to love and family, a lot of decisions your character makes is for the sake of his daughter. Where do you draw inspiration for portraying a protective father?
Yuya Yagira: Well, I myself, I’m married, I have a wife, I have a child. And so, by playing Daigo, I felt some kind of resonance with the role. It would be easier for me to play this sort of role rather than being maybe single, just falling in love, and that kind of story.
Neil Bui: So, this is certainly one of your darker works. How did you prepare for this role compared to past roles?
Yuya Yagira: Well, to prepare for this role I did some action practice. Besides that, in order to do the rehearsal, director Katayama has us do a play of something which is out of the script. And so that kind of helped us to build up the relationships with other characters, something which is not very common to do in Japan.
Neil Bui: Early on in this series, possibly even the first episode, there was a scene I was really focused on. It was when your character discovers the nail in the bike tire. There was no dialogue in this scene, so I’m really curious what you think was in your character’s mind for that scene?
Yuya Yagira: Yes, it’s something not being expressed verbally but it might have been done secretly or for an unknown reason. And so, it made me feel chills inside and wonder who would have done that. It was a very scary situation, and I did feel scared at that particular moment.
Neil Bui: There’s a lot of powerful scenes throughout the seven episodes. Which scene really made you feel the strongest of emotions?
Yuya Yagira: So, in Japan all the episodes are available on streaming, and we have gained a lot of fans. And, in episode 3, it talks about why the police officer is so easily violent and why his family came to the village. It’s about the background of Daigo and it seems that this is something which is very much favored by the audience, and they think it was interesting. And actually, for myself personally, I was impressed as well.
Neil Bui: For my last question, how would you describe the growth and changes that your character has undergone after moving to the village?
Yuya Yagira: I was expecting to live a peaceful life by moving to the village. But then somehow there were more and more conflicts, even over opinions and with what I’m thinking. Then I became very violent, even reaching a point of possibly madness. At which point, I started to question what I am doing… whatever I am doing, is it right or wrong… am I the only person who is acting mad… These are all feelings that we sometimes do feel in our daily lives and it’s how I felt throughout.
Neil Bui: Thank you so much for your time today.
Yuya Yagira: Thank you so much.
Thanks for reading this article!
If you’d like to share your thoughts in reaction to what you just read, then feel free to leave a comment below or click here to submit your own opinion piece. The Dorkaholics Team is always on the look for new, additional voices to join us, share their own unique perspectives, and contribute to the diverse platform we are building in our corner of the internet and pop culture community.