I got dibs on making an article for one of my favorite Japanese Actress...
For introductory pictures, please see below on how she evolved as a beautiful human being!
For starters, a lot of people know her as Tsukushi Makino from the drama series Hana Yori Dango. This is the drama in which her fame sky rocketed (and also the reason why I became her stalker). ^^(>_<)^^
So what exactly do I like about this actress to make an article about her?
First off, Mao's easy to love - on or off screen. Her acting is versatile and she can basically be co-starred with anyone; the young and the old, the bald and the hairy... and most of all... The Boys of ARASHI. You name it, she’ll still shine through them all! Then there’s also the way she handles interviews and variety shows. Mao is always meek and humble when answering questions and she really gives thoughtful answers too. If you get a chance to watch her variety shows, she’s totally on the go and even defeats some boys because of her natural competitive side.
As for her personal life, she doesn’t have bad issues going around in news letters or the net, except for the paparazzi news/netizens rumors about her and Jun Matsumoto having a relationship or even supposedly marriage which was scheduled last month! I totally LOL'd at that one when the wedding was nonexistent. (>o<)v I’m not complaining about the OTP though, since I’m also a MaoTsujun Shipper, it's just that these rumors are so ridiculously getting out of hand. Aside that, she’s pretty quiet and really good in evading horrible news when it comes to her own private matters. As an artist who’s able to do that, it’s pretty amazing, since it’s not that easy to avoid snoops these days.
Then there’s her extensive work in the entertainment industry. Mao started as a child actress and still kept going strong until she became an adult, she has also graduated in Meiji University's Faculty of Literature, majoring in theater. So I could definitely say that she’s quite dedicated to her craft and she’s great at balancing her life.
Another plus point for her is that she draws cute stuff!!!
*sigh* Everything she does seems like she’s simply doing it in a breeze!
Now let's begin my stalker guide about this awesome actress’s drama/movie accomplishments in chronological order, and these are the ones I've seen:
Truth be told I didn’t understand 80% of what they were talking about. I only watched it for Mao’s screen time, but I did get the gist of the whole drama through their actions and for a drama in the 90’s, I could say it was well done. This is a family drama that has only 3 episodes but it certainly was able to show the culture of Japanese during turbulent times. Oh! Not to forget that Mao’s character as Ayako was fairly important in this drama, she mostly kept her adoptive parents on their toes and literally kept one of the family members alive.
If you are that curious enough, you can watch this in Veoh but without the subtitles: Kai (Japanese Drama Series)
On a side note: this is the first drama that I’ve seen Inoue Mao together with Nakamura Toru. These two’s acting history together goes way back into the 90’s and who would have thought they will be acting together again in the next few years??? (>_<)
Kids War Zaken na yo
This family drama is pretty funny! Inoue Mao as Akane Imai is such a feisty character with a lot of adolescent attitude. Not an attitude problem in a sense, but I could compare her character to Makino from Hana Yori Dango, for around 10 push-ups more of being a bratty girl with a lot more sense of justice, and as an audience, it worked for me big time!
Don’t you think that hairstyle is quite not normal? It’s cute though, and I read some article that it became a hit hairstyle back in the 90’s because of her character. I’m not sure where you can find the stream link for the drama because it got deleted in Youtube. (T-T)
The drama adaptation of Hana Yori Dango manga is what probably set off Inoue Mao’s career as one of the top selling actresses in Japan during mid-2000 and also, in my opinion, this drama is by far the most effective Hanadan drama version I’ve seen so far.
Not that because Mao is my bias, but let’s just be honest… the manga Tsukushi Makino looks like Mao, the hairstyle, the mannerisms, the spunk, she’s got all that down to the tears. Her chemistry with co-star Jun Matsumoto was sizzling and felt so real (or was it really real??? *kyaaa!* Sorry... OTP fan-girling moment!) So… yes, Mao’s version of Makino is by far the best for me. On a side note: I loved Meteor Garden - Taiwanese version too, but that’s a whole different story to talk about.
– King Lear Yori
This is a Japanese modern adaptation of Shakespeare King Lear. Initially, I would have cared less about the story line, I only picked it up because of Mao, but then to my surprise it was a good drama. It was heartwarming and gave out thoughtful lessons about family. Mao’s character here as Kariya Sakura was meek and mild. She was basically the good daughter who goes around trying to simply be behind the scenes while her older sisters fight over their father’s promise of inheritance. Though at times, I get a bit pissed off at her character because she’s just being too timid and I’m not used to seeing her like that. But since this was a whole lot of a different character from the usual once I’ve seen, I tried to enjoy it for what it is.
Can’t believe this girl was this busy during the 2007, soon after the wrap up of Hanadan season 2 and a short drama fromOsama no Shinzo, she’s casted to act alongside another veteran actor, Ito Hideaki. Mao played as Fukunaga Mio, Kano Kazuki’s sickly sister who has a heart disease and may not live long enough to even have her first kiss or rather first love. Now here comes the goody-two-shoes doctor Yuki Akio which was acted by Hiraoka Yuta, he will change Mio's perception about love.
Mao’s character as Mio is very sassy and much misunderstood, her portrayal here was effective enough that sometimes I completely got frustrated at her actions and forget she’s even sick until she brings you back to the moment of realization that she’s got a time bomb of a heart inside her body, hence the attitude problem. Though she tends to cry-scowl-cry a lot in this drama, I still like watching her be absorbed in her character.
Iwasaki Mineko is a real life Geisha portrayed by Inoue Mao. In this drama, she specifically trained in the art of being a Geisha. The way they walked, talked or even held a paper fan. It was all an art and wasn’t as simple as snapping your fingers together. Mineko’s life was pretty much colorful but it had a very sad note to it too.
Hanaikusa is a one time drama which Mao acted alongside Nakamura Toru, again! It’s so cool that after a couple of years they were able to act together, not as father and daughter but as lovers this time. How astonishing is that time hop thing for them??? I find it highly amusing. Toru also doesn’t seem like he’s getting older, he’s like the Japanese version of Johnny Depp! They drank from the fountain of youth. (O_O) I wonder if Mao did the same… I guess we’ll be the judge after a couple of decades more!
From being a Geisha to being a princess... not much difference? Not exactly... Mao’s role as Anmitsu Hime is a tomboyish girl who prances around causing a lot of ruckus within and outside of the palace. The thing that made me watch these dramas is the fact that I enjoyed seeing Mao being the bright person she is. Her voice was usually high pitched here, most likely showing how spirited she’s supposed to be. This is another one of her drama which has a lot of big time veteran actors among the casts but it’s a comedy and a total crackpot if you ask me. Its target audience are mostly kids and those family oriented people.
Trivia: Mao sang the OST for this drama and you can check it out by clicking on this title
---> Anmitsu Hime OST
In this drama, Mao acted as Yoshizawa Ami, the prime minister’s grand-daughter in this drama’s first episode. She was basically a guest star only so there’s not much screen time for her since the main star here is Nagase Tomoya. I liked the main actor, but it wasn’t enough to make me watch the whole thing. Sorry! Seeing Mao in episode 1 was already enough for me to be a happy fan. ^_^v
Just because Mao worked with Matsumoto Jun and they had a really great on screen chemistry doesn’t mean she can’t work well with other Arashi members like Ninomiya Kazunari right? The chemistry between the two main actors in this drama was pretty much satisfying. Mao’s role here was a wife to a psychiatric doctor (Kazunari) who gives counsels to cancer patients. I can’t believe that they made Mao a wife already in the midst of 2009, I felt that she was still so young back then but then again… being a mom in a drama still suites her.
I’ve been waiting for another drama in which Mao and Oguri Shun will be together, and a few years after Hanadan it came true!!! The only downside in this drama though, there’s no lovey-dovey moments between the co-stars since it’s more about the animals. I think Shun’s character here is more into animals than into humans! (~_~!) Mao as Tajima Asuka is another character which I liked, at first she didn’t know what to do with her life exactly, but I liked that she’s persevering much in this drama after she decided on what path to take.
My personal add-on about this drama: Narimiya Hiroki (He's that guy smiling behind Oguri Shun at the picture below) is so cuuuuute here! He looks like a cat when he smiles and I simply want to take him home for keeps! My fan-girling side is coming out because of him.
For a long running drama with 156 episodes and 15 minutes each, Mao definitely shined here. Her portrayal as Yoko who lived a life through World War II up to the present day was very heart warming. Though the story line was based to a true story, I appreciated how they made the whole drama an outstanding series. They showed how a simple woman like Yoko was able to live her life with all the struggles and triumphs along the way. In this drama, Mao was co-starred along-side Kora Kengo whom she will be acting once again in a Taiga drama, 4 years after.
I was sort of hesitating to pick up this drama because it has too much episodes, but then again this was Mao, so I decided to tough it out and was not disappointed after watching through everything. The story was real and Mao’s acting was far out better than she did the last few years. In here, she has definitely evolved as an actress.
The most awaited Taiga drama I’ve been looking forward to. For those who doesn’t have an idea what a Taiga is, it’s a Japanese Historical drama that has 50 episodes in its boot. Basically, it’s the equivalent of a Korean historical drama, Saguek like Jang Geum. The drama is still on going and about to wrap up soon.
Mao's character here doesn't exactly say much in history, but they made it important that a woman's support during those times was something detrimental during an era's change. That's exactly the role of Mao as Fumi in this drama. She supported the men who made changes in the history of Japan. There are bits of romantic involvement in this show which I enjoyed so far, but that's not much of a focus here which was a bit disappointing, but since this is a historical show, that was already bound to happen.
Additional Notes of other Inoue Mao drama:
I didn’t exactly watch this drama, but I had to include this gif here because Mao is around 8 years old and she’s still that same feisty actress up to this day!
Mao was mainly a supporting actress in this movie, and acted as Yui Haebaru the best friend of the main character Toru Isaka acted by Hayato Ichihara. Despite her supporting character which showed more of her snotty attitude and glares since she love/hates the other guy who has another love interest, this Movie was still quite entertaining.
This movie is a live adaptation of the widely popular manga series way back in the 1960’s. Mao is mainly the human girl who is the love interest of Kitaro a half-human, half-yokai (supernatural beings) which was acted by Eiji Wentz. This movie is interesting most specially for the kids, I also liked the subtle fluff part between Mao and Eiji.
For all the fans of Hanadan, who would ever forget this movie?
Even though this is the very final one to give closure to the series, it still stayed dear to my heart. I still feel nostalgic every time I hear its OST. The movie’s story line was nothing astonishing, but the cinematography and shooting location of this drama was great. Although the movie is subpar to the series, I am taking it as is because it’s a reminder that I fell in love with the story line and the characters and it’s where my fandom for Inoue Mao started to exist.
This movie gave me the total feels! Mao did a great job in here and so did Okada Masaki. Their scenes together was just lovely, I couldn’t get enough of the fluff and the heartaches. I just wished they stuck with the original story line and ending. I was very disappointed with the whole thing save for the actors and cinematography. If anyone does decide to pick this up, I suggest you save a bunch of tissues at your side.
If you’ve heard about the discrimination of foreigners in Japan, well… it’s true. This movie is partly a proof of that, BUT it proves it in a light and funny way. This movie is based on the real life of a manga artist Saori which is portrayed by Inoue Mao. In this movie, I find the chemistry of Mao with Jonathan Sherr was so-so. It felt a bit awkward watching them together at first but it did eventually grow on me. I did like the lovey-dovey moments in this film.
This is a wacky film directed and produced by Oguri Shun. Mao played as a sickly sister to one of the main characters here, however she only had a tidbit of screen time since she’s only a supporting actress. As per my research on some articles, she chose to act in this movie to support Oguri Shun who has become one of her close friends after Hanadan. The story line is quite all over the place and pretty much dubious, but Keisuke Koide definitely worked hard in this movie and with that, I guess it still paid off. I still enjoyed the whole thing despite my initial comments because it was funny even if it’s outrageous.
I have only started a couple of minutes into this film so I can’t comment much about it as a whole. What I know though in the short span of time I have glimpsed Mao in it, this movie is pretty serious. There’s no room for laughter or romcom. It’s more of a psychological drama, so I wasn’t really that prepared to watch something in that genre when I started it way back that’s why I’ve put it on hold. So far though, Mao is pretty much amazing in here as if she’s possessed with another personality. You can’t see the trace of bubbly personality she has from the other films. It’s all about the acid stare and scowling.
What I love about this movie is the power of femininity in different kinds of women. Mao’s character as Chiaki Nishikawa who instigates something for the women of Oita, this film is funny and very heart warming. If you’re in the mood to watch something light and something that depicts about girl power, this might be right for you.
When a person’s life is ruined due to rumors and the internet, what exactly could be the result of it?
Mao plays the character of a person whose life got ruined because of a twitter rumor accusation (I guess netizens can be really cruel, not just to idols but to ordinary people too). I find this film funny despite the mysterious atmosphere it is trying to convey to the audience. Mao did a good job portraying her character as someone who is out of her wits end trying to deal with the media’s libel to her good name. The movie is pretty interesting, though a bit confusing and dull during the first few minutes, but eventually it picks up it's pace to a wonderful story line.
And that's all folks!
Now it's your turn to stalk her.
If there is an actor or an actress that is worthy of a Stalker's Guide in your opinion, and you have watched enough dramas of his/hers to prove it, please contact KatelynJaynea about it.