From his portrayal of an apathetic introvert to his performance of a brazen-faced bully, Masaki Suda is one hell of a versatile young actor. It’s no surprise that he’s risen to such heights, and for good reason; his acting is never short of flair and passion, and to top it off he’s a fantastic musician and well-rounded actor.
I first stumbled across Suda while watching the exciting mystery thriller drama Runaway - Aisuru Kimi no Tame ni, a drama which also starred KAT-TUN member Ueda Tatsuya. His role really caught my eye, but it wasn’t really until I began to really pay more attention to his best friend Yamazaki Kento that I started to learn more about him, and subsequently fell for both of them (because who wouldn’t!)
Previously labelled as a chameleon actor, Suda is great at taking a role and owning it, blending into his character so well that you’d hardly believe he was someone entirely different. Despite his gravitation to the more theatrical and slightly unconventional roles, he’s actually a fairly laid-back, soft-spoken and calm person in his everyday life. I’d describe his acting as quite 'animated' in some cases; his on-screen personalities have been a diverse mix which has really proven his talent and solidified him into the rising star he is today.
Masaki Suda (whose real name is actually Taisho Sugo) was born in 1993 in Osaka as the eldest of three brothers. He is very family orientated and doted on them a lot while growing up. He grew up mainly interested in piano and soccer before debuting as an actor at the young age of just 16 years old while still a middle school student.
Before signing on with the Topcoat talent agency in 2008, he tried out and became a finalist for Amuse Inc’s 30th anniversary contest and was within the top 12 in the Junon Superboy Contest. In 2009, he began his activity through his new agency Topcoat, debuting in Kamen Rider W while also participating in numerous commercial advertisements. The role as the main character Philip became his breakout performance and led to him landing roles in further dramas, one of which earned him the award of “Best Supporting Actor”. Despite this, it’s actually his movies which are considered his strongest works.
A popular face, Masaki Suda is internationally recognized, and the recipient of several national awards too. The commercial success of his movies, and his critically acclaimed roles in The Light Shines Only There, Assassination Classroom and Tomogui have skyrocketed his popularity.
Stage Name: Masaki Suda
Given Name: Taisho Sugo
Native Name (Japanese): 菅田将暉 (すだ まさき) / 菅生 大将
Nickname: Sudacchi, Masaki
Date of birth: 2-21-1993
Birth place: Osaka
Blood Type: A
Height: 176cm (1.76m)
Skill: guitar, piano
Interests: American football, dancing, photography (especially polaroid cameras)
Blog: Archive (closed)
81st Television Drama Academy Awards
Best Supporting Actor for Shinigami-kun
24th Japanese Movie Critics Awards
Best Supporting Actor
1st Confidence Award Drama Prize
40th Élan d’or Award – Best Newcomer (2016)
GQ Men of the Year - 2016
38th Yokohama Film Festival – Best Supporting Actor
26th Tokyo Sports Film Award – Best Supporting Actor
26th Japanese Professional Movie Awards - Best Actor
42nd Hochi Film Award - Best Actor
30th Nikkan Sports Film Award - Best Actor
91st Kinema Junpo Award - Best Actor
72nd Mainichi Film Awards - Best Actor
41st Japan Academy Prize - Best Actor & Most Popular Actor
13th Osaka Cinema Festival - Best Actor (2018)
Like most young actors of his age, Suda’s breakthrough began when he was cast in the popular Kamen Rider franchise when he was just 16 years old. Cast in the lead role as Philip in Kamen Rider W, the series aired until 2010. He remained part of the Kamen Rider franchise, continuing his role as Philip in the movies up until 2012. Quite the household name these days, he has been in a whole variety of dramas and movies throughout the 9 years of his acting career so far and has a considerably bright future ahead of him.
Here are some of his most prominent roles, that of which I highly recommend checking out!
As the introverted apathetic young man in Kamen Rider W; a popular entry in the Kamen Rider franchise. Philip was most certainly Masaki Suda’s breakout role, and his character has since become a firm favourite among fans of the Tokosatsu series. As someone who hasn’t seen Kamen Rider, I’ll admit the plot sounds a bit daunting to me, but it follows a detective Hidaro Shotaro, and a mysterious boy called Philip who combine to protect Fuuto City by using Gaia Memories. It’s unlikely I’ll watch this, but I’ve seen so much praise for his role here that it’s possible I’ll check out an episode or two one day in the future! For Kamen Rider fans, however, this is a no-brainer.
As an ex-dispatch rider sentenced to 3 years in prison in Runaway Aisuru Kimi no Tame Ni: Without a doubt one of my favourite dramas that he has been a part of, it stars Suda as one of four young prisoners wrongly accused for crimes they did not commit, who proceed to break out with the unified objective in achieving their own various goals. This series is an exhilarating ride from beginning to end, that constantly keeps you on the edge of your seat. Suda’s character is without a doubt one of my favourite, but each of the actors here brings such amazing strengths to their roles. Some may say it’s unrealistic in parts, but it’s such a well-written and well-executed drama that it’s easily forgiven.
As a high school bully in 35 Sai no Koukousei: A drama that follows a 35-year-old female who returns to school in order to change it and influence the lives of her fellow students. Though not an original story by any means, it’s still an eye-opening show that highlights the issues of toxic caste systems, vicious bullying and the resulting stress it brings to teachers and students alike. Despite my biased dislike towards series that follow the same formula, the outstanding cast was the main draw for me, and regardless of his smaller supporting role, Masaki Suda is most certainly one of the highlights here.
As the mischievous devil in supernatural drama Shinigami-kun:
A series based on the manga of the same name that follows an angel of death (played by Arashi member Ohno Satoshi) whose designated role is to inform humans of their impending death. Though it sounds like a heavy drama, its tone actually balances well between its moments of light-hearted comedy and emotionally charged scenes. And it’s worth watching alone for Masaki Suda in a beautiful white wig. ;)
As an assistant chef in Mondai no Aru Restaurant: I decided to recently bite the bullet and dive into one of 2015’s most popular and widely discussed dramas. It follows a woman called Tamako who leaves her old restaurant job after a bad experience and decides to open her own restaurant and run it from a woman’s perspective. Though I’ve always been upfront about my lack of interest in the food genre, the cast here alone is enough reason to check into this wonderful series that gives the spotlight to issues such as gender discrimination. Masaki Suda’s character is enough to reel me in, but I’m not one to refuse a series with a female cast boasting Nikaido Fumi and Takahata Mitsuki! Check it out for the cast, stay for the social commentary and food porn!
As a budding musician in Chanpon Tabetaka: The drama depicting the young life of Sada Masashi and how the latter formed the folksy duo Grape. If you like slow-building slice of life dramas with a dashing of good music, you might find this to your taste. The drama itself is very character driven, and boasts a great cast. Masaki Suda is outstanding in his portrayal of Masashi, and it was definitely different to see him acting in a more vulnerable role.
As the son who swaps bodies with his father in Tamiou: This drama is supposedly an entertaining body-switch comedy that follows what happens after a Prime Minister and his son switch bodies and both have to live each other’s lives without anyone finding out. The drama itself is highly acclaimed with positive reviews, and Masaki Suda has been praised highly for his great award-winning acting. Maybe not the most realistic of plots, but definitely worth watching if you like to be highly entertained!
As a young model and novelist in Jimi ni Sugoi: This drama had me absolutely hooked from the second I started it right up until the last episode. Who would have thought a drama about proofreading could be so enjoyable?! The romance is subtle, and at the forefront is Ishihara’s character Etsuko’s battle with her dream to become an editor for a fashion magazine called Lassy. I couldn’t have loved this more if I tried, and I definitely confess this is one of my favourite Sudacchi roles.
As a mysterious homeless guy in Todome no Kiss: Saying too much about this drama would surely spoil things, so I’ll say this: don’t judge a drama by its synopsis. It follows a host called Eight who finds that when he gets kissed by a certain female, that he ends up seven days in the past. Suda’s role was a mystery to me up until the last couple episodes, so I highly recommend not spoiling yourself before starting this, but in any case, it’s a highly entertaining drama that is definitely managing to successfully tug the heartstrings when you least expect it.
As an energetic freelancer in Dele: A currently airing drama starring Takayuki Yamada as a computer programmer. The idea behind Dele is that the team are hired to delete files left on the phone after someone dies. On paper, it sounds simple, but the backstories that some of the episodes dig into are really moving and intriguing. Masaki’s character is certainly the reason I clocked in, but I’m glad I did, and hopefully the drama continues its high quality throughout.
Masaki Suda has also had roles in the following dramas (not mentioned above since I’ve not seen them or the roles are quite minor): Hammer Session, Juui Dolittle, Taisetsu na Koto wa Subete Kimi ga Oshiete Kureta, Summer Rescue, Nakuna Hara-chan, and Love Song, as well as asadora Gochisousan and a drama called Uchuu no Shigoto. He also starred in the 56th Taiga drama series Onna Joushu Naotora. His guest roles include Don Quixote, Rich Man Poor Woman, and a guest appearance in the spin-off Teiichi no Kuni - Gakuseigai no Kissaten from the main movie Teiichi’s Country.
Masaki’s first movies were of course the Kamen Rider W franchise, in which he reprised his role as Philip from the popular drama. While filming these he also had a supporting role in live action manga adaptation High School Debut, but it wasn’t until the end of 2011 when he quit the Kamen Rider franchise and pursued other movie roles.
Let’s run through some of his most notable roles from his most critically acclaimed works.
This isn’t really one of those “drop it and watch it” kind of movies, but I added it here because it’s not only a manga adaptation (of a manga I very much adore) but also Sudacchi’s first featured movie role outside of Kamen Rider. It follows female protagonist Haruna Nagashima, who after dedicating most of her school life to softball, is stumped after realizing she is clueless when it comes to attracting boys and falling in love. She meets upperclassman Yoh Komiyama who becomes her teacher in all things love. It’s obviously cliche, but believe me when I say the manga is cute and adorable in all the right ways! The live adaptation is perhaps a bit corny, but if you love cheesy comedy then it’s worth a look.
This is one of those movies that got a lot of praise from critics, and Suda’s role as a 17 year old son of a sadistic father is an absolute scene-stealer. A movie I’ve yet to get around to seeing (due to the nature of the content - trigger warning: abuse), it’s mentioned everywhere as one of Suda’s best performances, especially as he was still quite young at the time. It follows his character Tooma as he struggles to deal with the anguish of witnessing the sexual abusive behaviour of his father and his fear of turning out like him.
Another one of Masaki’s superb roles, The Light Shines Only There follows Go Ayano as a man who has quit his job and begins to loaf around aimlessly. He meets Takuji (Masaki Suda) in a pachinko parlour who takes him back to his home where he meets Takuji’s older sister, mother and sick father. The movie is heavily performance based but don’t go in expecting a light watch. Suda shines here, and I’ll be honest, it’s probably one of the best roles I’ve seen him play. A highly mature human drama, it's worth a watch if you don’t mind a slow building story enwrapped by some beautiful cinematography.
The first movie role where Masaki really got to show his versatility, as he took on the role of Kuranosuke, a guy who loves to dress in women’s clothing because he loves the fashion. Based on the manga, it follows a young jellyfish obsessed girl (and her entourage of otaku friends) who at the threat of losing their convent have their lives turned around and upside down by this interesting glamorous boy who wants to help save them and their home. It’s a movie that hits that sweet spot, packed with some lovable and interesting characters, but most of all Masaki Suda really nails his role, and looks great with the feminine touch!
Based on the anime, this comedic movie is about what happens when a creature (who looks in every way and form like an octopus) who destroys most of the moon comes to teach a classroom full of students who have one goal: to assassinate their teacher. Masaki Suda plays main lead character Karma Akabane, a student who had been suspended from school due to violent behaviour. It’s always worrying when one of your favourite actors takes on one of the most popular characters from the manga, but Suda did a great job in bringing him to life. Though not for everyone, the movie is a great enjoyable time-passer for those who loved the anime or manga.
Believe me when I say this movie is best when going in blind, as there’s some interesting twists that you least expect. It’s hard to really sum up in a way that doesn’t reveal too much, but it’s definitely one of those movies that require your full attention. Based on the novel by NEWS idol Shigeaki Kato, it follows a group of friends who are broken apart by fame. Both Yuto Nakajima and Masaki Suda’s performances are undeniably fantastic and have fantastic on-screen chemistry. To say any more would be detrimental to the viewing experience, so I’ll encourage viewers to check it out and see for themselves.
Some may write this off as just another Death Note movie, and you’ll either love it or absolutely hate it. As a Death Note fan, I say it’s always worth checking out the other movies in the franchise, as they occasionally do have some substance. Set 10 years after the events of the previous films, in a world afflicted by cyber terrorism, a new Task Force is set up since it’s become apparent that Death Notes are being used again after a mass of unexplained deaths occur. Lead by Detective Mishima, and assisted by Ryuzaki, L’s rightful successor, they work together to stop the revival of Kira. At the time of writing, I’ve yet to see this movie, but I’ve heard it’s entertaining and gives an interesting new perspective on the franchise! If you’re a fan of the original it may well be worth checking out.
Based on the real life birth of Japanese music group Greeeen, this movie recounts the true backstory of how they were formed and rose to fame. It also tells the story of two brothers who were both passionate about music but lived entirely different lifestyles. Suda plays the level-headed younger brother Hide, while Jin (Matsuzaka Tori) is a temperamental lead singer of a metal band. Though some argue the film fell flat and was oversaturated with needless scenes, it’s the chemistry between the two actors that are the main draw, as well as the infectious soundtrack.
Based on the adaptation of the best selling manga, this wacky political satire that follows prestigious student Teiichi in his goal to become the prime minister is an entertaining comedy. Boasting a top-notch all star cast of some of the biggest young actors today, Suda’s strong performance as Teiichi really shines here, but all of the lead actors really demonstrate their talents here. The zany, offbeat comedy will amuse viewers to no end, but through all of its comical moments, it also manages to portray the ugly side of the political system through the story of a group of students who battle to become the leader of the student council. Amidst all the humorous gags, I feel the movie delivers its message well and is one I highly recommend watching.
Gintama is a bit of a weird one for me. I wasn’t a fan of the exaggerated acting and the gross out gags, and yet I felt compelled to keep watching for the cast and the intriguing plot. Based on the popular anime series, fans will take great pleasure in this live action adaptation that follows white haired samurai Gintoki and his band of friends Shinpachi and Kagura as they attempt to find a serial killer who hones a deadly weapon. It’s an alternate Japan, a city where aliens have taken over and samurai are now considered worthless. As mentioned, I’m still not sure where my feelings lie on this one, but I’m certain that the fanservice will thoroughly entertain Gintama fans.
Hibana Spark proved rather popular as the Netflix drama series, so it was only a matter of time before a movie version was announced. It tells the story of two manzai comedians, Tokunaga and Kamiya, and their struggle for success over the span of 10 years of their relationship. Not intended as a comedy, the movie actually has a somewhat heavy tone, which prescribes a larger dose of realism. I’ve yet to see either of the versions, so I can’t recommend one over the other, but as a fan of Masaki Suda and someone who gets restless while watching series I’m leaning towards giving the movie a shot.
The recently released My Little Monster is obviously not available for international viewers as of yet, so why did I add it to this list? I wanted to give the movie some promotion (lol) and exposure, especially for fans of the manga series who would be excited for the adaptation in the coming months. It’s also the complete opposite of Suda’s usual, sometimes dark and unconventional roles so it’ll be a welcome change and I’m eager to see how he’ll fare. The movie is about the relationship between Shizuku Mutani, a girl whose only interest is studying and Haru Yoshida, a violent troublemaker who rarely attends class. Though it sounds cliche, the anime is well-loved and reviewed well, and I like watching movies about unsocial people who learn how to change and care for others. This will be on my radar for the near future.
Suda has also been in a few other movies I didn't mention, mainly due to not having seen them or there being no subs. Since there are so many, I'll just list the most popular of them: all of the Kamen Rider movies, The Wings of the Kirin, The Boy Inside, Girl in the Sunny Place, Chocolietta, Destruction Babies, Double Life, Setoutsumi, Somebody and Drowning Love. He's also starred in (and won awards for) the recently released Ah Wilderness, and Ah, Wilderness Part 2, and his upcoming movies include the currently airing Gintama 2, Just Live Love, and The Great War of Archimedes.
Suda released his debut album Play just earlier this year, and with the success of Sayonara Elergy, a single he wrote for the drama Todome no Kiss, and his collaboration on Kenshi Yonezu’s song Haiiro to Ao, he’s actually become quite a successful musician.
Suda’s most popular MVs include Haiiro to Ao, a song he collaborated with Kenshi Yonezu for and Sayonara Elegy, the theme song for drama Todome no Kiss.
His first single was 見たこともない景色 (Mita Koto mo Nai Keishiki) / A Sight That I’ve Never Seen Before.
Suda Masaki singing Sayonara Elegy live at Shibuya on his first tour [x]
- Suda is close friends with actors Yamazaki Kento, Taiga, Yuto Nakajima and actress Nikaido Fumi. He’s known his best friend Kento since high school and they’re practically inseparable. He became friends with Nakajima during the filming of the movie Pink and Gray. Though he’s been rumoured to have been romantically linked with Nikaido Fumi, he claims they are just close friends.
- Over the span of his career, his roles have ranged from complicated dark characters such as those in Tomogui and The Light Shines Only There, to bad boy roles such as those in Assassination Classroom and 35 Sai no Koukousei, right through to that of a simple-minded teen in Setoutsoumi and a stylish cross-dresser in Kuragehime. His versatility is no joke and even now he still has great prospects to further his acting range.
- Suda did voice acting for the male protagonist in anime movie Fireworks alongside Hirose Suzu. Though the movie wasn’t the success it had strived to be, I’m still anticipating Sudacchi doing more voice work in the future as I honestly feel it would be fitting for him.
- He recently did the theme song “Long Hope Philia” for Boku no Hero Academia Live Action movie. It’s also the second cour ED of Season 3 of the anime series.
- It’s a well known fact that Sudacchi loves his milk. At home his father would always ask if he wanted to drink milk with his meals (he wanted him to grow over 180cm!)
- Apparently he was super popular in school, even as far as being labelled as a prince by the high school girls. He claims he wasn’t aware of this though (his brother is the one who brought this little tidbit of news up!)
- He loves vintage clothes. One of his favourite pastimes with best friend Yamazaki Kento is to go browsing in vintage shops.
- He says his last project as a high school student will be My Little Monster as he wants to focus on other roles. :)
- He first started playing the guitar when he was portraying Sada Masashi in the drama Chanpon Tabetaka. From that point on he started playing the guitar as a hobby at home and with friends when drinking, before making his music debut with single “Mita Koto mo Nai Keshiki” in June 2017.
- He once mentioned on VS Arashi (2015.03.19) that he used to play American football as a quarterback.
- He originally aspired to be a teacher because he wanted to solve geometric transformations, being someone was really into mathematics in high school.
Suda has been in a great deal of CMs since his debut as an actor. Because of this I will not be linking to all of them, but a select few, as most are unavailable to find due to missing links.
Fanta (in cooperation with the Teiichi no Kuni movie release)
Fanta (marketing chief)
2010 - Tumbling
2012 - Tumbling vol 2 (lead)
2012 - Romeo and Juliet
2014 - Romeo and Juliet (lead)
2017 - Ronsencrantz and Guildernstern are Dead (lead)
1st photobook Sudamasakiss
Masaki Suda 20+1
2nd Photobook DA-SU
BEHIND THE SCENES
Thanks for reading!
Let me know in the comments which of Masaki Suda's roles stood out for you and what you'd love to see him do next!
Until next time!