“What’s that?” I hear you gasp. Cat’s actually writing a stalkers guide on an actor older than 25? Well... I can’t deny that I have a soft spot for the somewhat newer generation of actors, but I certainly haven’t forgotten those who really helped to sell me into the world of drama and first caught my attention way before the days of my new gen ikemen worship.
I can’t deny that I have a certain bias when it comes to my love for my favourite AMUSE actors, and Sato Takeru is certainly no exception.
I hopped on the Takeru bandwagon a bit later than others due to holding out to watch what is now one of my favourite Japanese movies of all time, Rurouni Kenshin. Honestly, I’d seen him in a number of his other projects, such as Bloody Monday and Beck, but I think it was his role as Himura Kenshin that made me truly and unconditionally fall in love with him. His gentle character and humble nature are just two of his finest points, and I love how easily embarrassed he gets, especially since it proves how human and down-to-earth he is. He’s always been praised for his kind-hearted personality by his co-stars (Tsuchiya Tao talked about how supportive he is in a letter that she read aloud to him at the stage greeting event of The Eight Year Engagement).
When Rurouni Kenshin was first announced to be a movie, I was really apprehensive about checking it out. Firstly, I felt like a lot of the manga to movie adaptations had really fell flat and disappointed me, but I also wasn’t sure anyone could really do the series justice. How wrong I was! I don’t believe anyone could have played the role of Kenshin better than Sato Takeru himself. Because Takeru was under the impression that an actor who can’t do his actions by himself is finished... he did all his own stunts for Kenshin. Before Kenshin, Takeru said [of his acting]: “If my action [stunts] was not good enough, I will quit my job as an actor.”
It was Takeru’s shy and modest demeanour that really won me over after seeing him in interviews and various clips alongside close friend and co-star Miura Haruma. He’s previously compared his friendship with Hiruma to that of Gon and Killua of Hunter x Hunter (one of Takeru’s favourite manga series). The sensitive of the two, he’s often described as calm and composed, and can sometimes seem as though he comes across as rather reserved, but rather than that he is someone who is sharp-minded and largely observant to his surroundings.
Most people are no stranger to Sato Takeru as an actor. While he gains popularity, however, internationally and otherwise, he still manages to stay adorably down-to-earth and level-headed. It’s one of the finer qualities of an actor who really puts everything into his work.
In an interview with Teenage magazine, he’s talked about the kind of actor he sees himself as: “I can’t tell for the future, but for now, I want to be an actor that people can support. My achievements don’t just derive from my own efforts, but also from all those who have supported me thus far.”
Honestly, if there’s one actor who has proved his versatility and diversity in his acting, it certainly would be Sato Takeru.
Stage Name: Sato Takeru (Satoh Takeru)
Native Name: 佐藤健 (さとう・たける)
Nickname: Takeru, Saru
Date of birth: March 21 1989
Birth place: Iwatsuki, Saitama, Japan
Blood Type: A
Height: 1.7m (170cm)
Skill: break-dancing, singing, solving rubik's cube
Interests: playing Othello (game), chess, manga, playing with his cats (Kochirou and Puchirou)
Official LINE account
60th Television Drama Academy Awards (2009)
Best Supporting Actor for Mei-chan no Shitsuji
Elan D'or Awards (2011)
Rookie of the Year
Japan Action Awards (2012)
Best Action Actor for Rurouni Kenshin
Japan Action Awards (2015)
Best Action Scene & Best Action Actor for Rurouni Kenshin Kyoto Fire & The Legend Ends
8th International Drama Festival in Tokyo (2015)
Best Actor for Tenno no Ryoriban
24th Hashida Award (2016)
Best Actor for Tenno no Ryoriban
41st Japan Academy Award (2018)
The Eight Year Engagement (Nominated)
Takeru was scouted and first made his debut when he was still in second grade in senior high school and built a foundation of his career through all kinds of opportunities given to him by his agency. He landed his first role in 2006 as one of the lead characters in the manga adaptation Princess Princess D. Soon after, he was cast in the main role of Ryotaro Nogami in Kamen Rider Den-O, a popular Tokusatsu series. As someone who’s always had an interest in the entertainment industry, he’s often said that if he hadn’t been scouted, he likely would have applied to the industry himself.
With his extensive portfolio, it can be easy to feel a bit unsure about where to start, so I’ll help narrow it down by introducing you to 10 of his most popular (and highly recommended!) drama roles.
As left-fielder Okada Yuya in the popular sports drama Rookies: Since I’m a bit hesitant when it comes to sports dramas, I shamefully admit I have yet to see this, despite my weakness for dramas that revolve around delinquents. However, this drama is well known for its high praise from viewers and critics, as well as being one of those series that is recommended as a classic ‘entry level’ drama. Adapted from a manga, it follows a baseball club composed of delinquents and the amateur teacher who decides to do his utmost to guide them to achieve their dream of going to the Koshien baseball tournament. As I’ve not seen this I can’t speak for whether it’s worth watching based on Takeru’s role, but from the general reception it gets I would certainly suggest checking it out, especially if you love baseball. The only thing I can warn you of is Takeru’s somewhat questionable hairstyle...
As Falcon’s best friend Kujo Otoya in Bloody Monday the popular drama adaptation of the manga series: I’ve grouped this together with its second season as he obviously plays the same character throughout (with perhaps a bit more character development in the second season). The story follows a talented student hacker called Takagi Fuimaru, who is hired by the secret agency Third-I to help try and stop terrorists from carrying out an attack on Japan. Both seasons chronicle his exploits as he attempts to prevent two different kinds of terrorist attacks, with perhaps the second season having the edge over the first one. Both seasons are strong and well-written with intriguing characters and great plot twists. If you’re a fan of tense, suspenseful action thrillers, you can’t go wrong with either of the series.
As childhood friend and Rihito’s younger brother Shibata Kento in Mei-chan no Shitsuji: A series loosely based on the manga about an average girl called Shinonome Mei, who suddenly loses her parents in an accident and suddenly learns she is the heiress to a fortune and therefore is made to attend St. Lucia Girls' Academy, where she discovers all the female students have butlers! Sato Takeru plays the role of the younger brother of Mei’s butler Rihito, a childhood friend who has always harboured a crush on her. Keep in mind the manga is quite a bit different from the live action; I’ve only started one episode of this series so far, and though it’s not my usual cup of tea, it seems to tick all the right boxes for a cute light-hearted romantic comedy if that’s your kind of thing.
As an assassin serving Takechi Hanpeita in Ryoma-Den: An NHK Taiga series that focuses on the life of Sakamoto Ryoma, a prominent leader in the movement to overthrow the Tokugawa Bakufu. This the role that introduced Takeru to his first experience wielding a sword (before he became the legendary assassin Battousai). I don’t generally watch Taiga’s as historical dramas are known to give me headaches, but Sato Takeru was highly praised for his performance here and it’s a known fact that the director of the series offered him the role as Rurouni Kenshin as a result. Not just a pretty face, Takeru’s portrayal of a notorious 19th century assassin was outstanding, and if you love historical series, you’ll definitely want to check out this one.
As a timid high school student who stumbles upon a robot in Q10: Robot dramas are very ‘in fashion’ right now, so this would be the perfect time to pick up this light-hearted sci-fi series. Takeru’s first leading role, it follows him as a quiet student who discovers a robot and is about her journey to learning about being human and uncovering the secret of where she came from. Though the drama is your typical run-of-the-mill series about how to handle life, it’s heartwarming and can have its meaningful moments. It's a great little series if you love your gakuen dramas, and though I wouldn’t say it’s one of his best projects, Sato Takeru is definitely one of the reasons worth tuning in.
As son Ichikawa Akira in Tonbi: A heartfelt drama that tells the story of the relationship between father Yasuo, and son Akira, and the struggles of his upbringing along with the ups and downs of being a single parent. I have to confess I have tried to watch this, but because it touches quite close to home in some of the issues throughout the drama, I had to put it off for another day. However, for those who love emotional heart wrenching stories that require a truckload of tissues, this may well be your next favourite drama. Highly praised for the acting, story and cinematography, this drama is one of the best series in his acting career so far.
As the son and rookie detective Sahara Natsuki in Bitter Blood: This series is one of my new favourite roles from Sato Takeru. It’s funny, clever, and a really easy-going comedy to watch, and it’s highly entertaining watching the father and son detective duo dynamic here. Although it follows a rather standard procedural format, with a somewhat overarching plot, the series never has a dull moment, and the chemistry between father and son is dynamite! It’s a short, fun romp with a great climatic ending that Sato Takeru fans will enjoy immensely, especially for his adorable role as an empathetic but idealistic detective who, despite everything, cares a lot for his father.
As aspiring chef Tokuzo Akiyama in Tenno no Ryoriban: I’m not the biggest fan of food dramas, one reason being I get hungry very easily, and another being I get bored of watching others cook haha. But Tenno no Ryoriban is more about his hardships as he follows his dream to be a world-class chef for the Emperor of Japan. Based on a true story, it depicts the life of this wonderful chef rather beautifully, and Sato Takeru got a lot of praise for his role as Tokuzo. His acting here is absolutely solid, and you can tell how far he’s come since the days of Bloody Monday and Rookies.
As a childhood friend in Hanbun Aoi: This is a currently airing asadora starring Sato Takeru in the main role alongside Nagano Mei. I’ve only seen one episode, unfortunately, due to reluctance to start because of a lack of subs, but from what I’ve seen (and have heard), it’s a very cute accessible series that follows female protagonist Nireno Suzume, a girl who lost her hearing in one ear due to an illness when she was young, and her life thereafter as she moves to Tokyo to follow her dream to be a writer of manga for girls. Hopefully, the remainder of the series will eventually be picked up and subbed as this is probably one of a few asadoras I was actually really intrigued by!
Other roles he has had including guest roles in Shinigami no Ballad and MR. BRAIN, a supporting role in romance drama Fuyu no Sakura and as main role in the side story of Kanojo wa Uso wo Aishisugiteru, which was a mini series focusing on each of the characters from the movie. He’s also in the currently airing drama Stepmother and Daughter’s Blues which, Takeru fans will be pleased to know is currently in the process of being subbed!
Sato Takeru first broke onto the silver screen with his main roles in the Kamen Rider Den-O movies and since then has taken on a wide variety of diverse roles, from live action manga adaptations to serious dramas and sci-fi movies.
Because of this, I’ll highlight some of his best movie roles that are specifically worth checking out.
Based on the manga of the same name, this live adaptation is an entertaining romp following an ordinary high school student who gets involved with a talented musician after rescuing his dog and the events that happen thereafter as he tries to rebuild his band’s popularity. Sato Takeru plays the role of Koyuki, and though I have some grievances with this movie, I really enjoyed it despite having not read the manga. The production is great and the story is intriguing, but if you’re watching it for Sato Takeru be warned: (spoiler) though he is portrayed as though he is singing in the movie, his parts throughout are always muted, which may be disappointing if you expected to hear his voice. Regardless of this, it’s an enjoyable movie with a great mix of comedy, romance and rock music.
No list would be complete without mentioning this movie (or the subsequent two movies thereafter). When it comes to his role as Himura Kenshin, I honestly couldn’t imagine anyone more well-suited for the role. He put everything into his acting for each of the movies, and it’s some of his all-time best performances. Aside from that, the actors took on a lot of the stunts (including running without a wire and the sword-fighting scenes) by themselves, which makes it even more awe-inspiring. For the uninitiated, Rurouni Kenshin is a movie based on the manga series following an assassin who once was one of the most notorious killers, but has since sworn off killing anyone ever again. As mentioned previously, the movie does deviate from its original source but is still a fantastic fast-paced action movie with some brilliantly choreographed fight scenes and beautiful cinematography.
Possibly one of the roles he’s best known for, this movie stars Sato Takeru as Ogasawara Aki, a musician who was once part of the group Crude Play, but now writes music for them. It tells the story of a young female student who incidentally meets Aki, and how he proceeds to lie about who he is and what he does, all while the band Crude Play deal with their own struggles within the music industry. It’s a beautiful romance, and Sato Takeru’s role as the gloomy withdrawn Aki is a fine one, who, despite his moody exterior will grip your heart right until the rolling credits.
This movie is a hell of a lot of fun, and though I’ve mentioned it previously in my stalkers guide for Kamiki Ryunosuke, I never really covered much on Sato Takeru’s role in the movie. Based on the popular manga series, he plays the role of Mashiro Moritaka, an aspiring manga artist, and boy does he do a wonderful job of it. Though the movie doesn’t really go in depth with the story as much as the source material, it’s still a wonderful insight into the manga industry and into the hardships mangaka’s face. I’d recommend watching for Takeru’s performance as the flustered, passionate and hardworking Saiko, who, once meeting fellow classmate Takagi Akito (Kamiki Ryunosuke) becomes greatly determined to make a hit in the manga industry.
As the title suggests, this is a tearjerker, though it’s not primarily about the idea behind cats ceasing to be. Sato Takeru takes on the role of a postman who, after being told he only has a short time left to live, is approached by a ‘devil’ who agrees to give him extra time to live if he erases something meaningful from within the world. It’s worth getting those tissues ready again, since you’ll definitely need them, as this movie invokes many emotions and feelings from within as well as managing to be very thought-provoking and touching, with such warmth and honesty in how it approaches its concept.
An action packed supernatural thriller based on the manga series of the same name, this movie is worth watching alone for Sato Takeru’s performance alongside Ayano Go. It doesn’t go as in depth as the manga or anime, but if you’re looking for an entertaining couple of hours, this movie definitely ticks all those boxes. It follows Nagai Kei, a student who was instantly killed in a traffic accident on the way home, but is revived to find he is now one of the demi-humans, immortal creatures who have since been subjected to experimentation and torture. It’s humans vs demi-human in an all-out war and the performances here are just brilliant, but if you’re looking for more depth to the story, I highly recommend checking out the anime.
If you’ve been anticipating this movie and haven’t been able to check it out yet, then you’re in luck! This movie happens to have just recently have been subbed by the wonderful Furritsubs and it’s a heart wrenching tearjerker based on real life couple Mai and Hisashi. The two were preparing for marriage in just a few months time when tragedy strikes and Mai falls into a coma. When she wakes up, however, she has no memory of her fiancee Hisashi, and thus their painstaking journey unfolds. The chemistry between the actors here is wonderful and the acting is so downright natural that you’ll almost believe they’re the real couple themselves. Highly recommended watch if you love emotional movies that bring you to tears.
Other movies Sato Takeru has been in include: Goemon, Rookies: Graduation, Trick: The Movie, Real, and Somebody. He also has three upcoming movies in 2018, the first being the recently released Inuyashiki, a live action adaptation based on the manga series, and two more later in the year; Million Dollar Man and Hard Core. In all three movies, he plays the main role, so you’ll definitely not be deprived of Sato Takeru on the big screen this year.
Takeru has always been pretty open about the kind of person he is. He’s always believed his kindness is his most redeeming factor and I’m rather inclined to agree. He’s very polite, and although hugely popular with his fans, he’s never once let it get to his head. He can be a bit of a dork, and is known to randomly get excited over simple things. He describes himself as lazy, despite managing to keep up with all the latest fashion trends.
Here are some other facts that you might find interesting!
- Despite his role as an aspiring mangaka in Bakuman, his real life younger sister actually wanted to be a manga artist.
- He was not really into girls in his high school days. Instead, he focused most of his time on break dancing and worked hard on practicing late into the nights.
- Though he’s no stranger to live manga adaptations, he doesn’t think all manga needs to be adapted to live action. Regardless, he’s a huge fan of One Piece and Hunter x Hunter, two of his favourite series.
- He has a black belt from his kung-fu lessons that he started when he was just five years old. It took him 6 years to earn it, but greatly shows in his performances in movies such as Ryoma-den and the highly acclaimed Rurouni Kenshin.
- When he was filming Kamen Rider, he was very sick with a lung condition called Pneumothorax (collapsed lung) which left him bedridden in hospital for 10 days.
- He’s very close to fellow AMUSE actors Sakurada Dori, Miura Haruma and Kamiki Ryunosuke. He also gets on well with ex D. Boys member Shirota Yu, who he often goes on drives with.
- He has two pet cats called Kochirou and Puchirou, that he used to continuously blog about whenever he was home.
- He played baseball in elementary school and middle school, and used some of his experience towards his role in ROOKIES.
- For his role in Kanojo wa Uso wo Aishisugiteiru, he took up lessons of various instruments, including bass, guitar, piano and drums.
- He became close with agency co-star and close friend Ryunosuke Kamiki after sharing a lot of screen time with him in both Kenshin films and the movie Bakuman. Speaking highly of Ryuu around the time Bakuman was released: “We have grown close after working with each other for the second time. Ryuu may be 21-years-old, but there is no other actor quite like him [in the same age group] in Japan. He is really the only one who has such purity and innocence.”
- He also happens to be close to ONE OK ROCK’s Taka, and they hang out a lot (including birthday celebrations and nights out.) Taka’s band did the OST for the Rurouni Kenshin movie series.
- He wants to play a role where nobody would recognize him, even far as being completely transformed by makeup, perhaps even as an antagonist.
- He’s been in the Super Handsome Live concerts in the past but now has graduated from his position there so that the younger ones have their spot in the limelight. There are various clips and photos floating around of his performances throughout the years.
I thought this would be worth sharing since it’s one of a few videos clearly presenting evidence of Sato Takeru as he films for his own stunts for the movie Rurouni Kenshin. An extraordinary actor, he definitely takes his roles seriously. Link
Throughout his career as an actor, Sato Takeru has appeared in a lot of CMs, so I’ll just keep to listing some of his most recent ones. Many of the links to his CMs on YT have been deleted, so apologies for any missing links. I've linked to the sites where available.
- 2017.03.01～ 「吹き出し(学割)」篇・「吹き出し(チキン)」篇
- 2016.08.26～TOYOTA GAZOO Racing
- 「TOYOTA GAZOO Racing 対話篇～極限～」
- 「TOYOTA GAZOO Racing 対話篇～野性～」
- 「TOYOTA GAZOO Racing 対話篇～タマゴ～」
- Bahashishi, Oasis (オアシス)(2007)
- Bahashishi, Yakusoku (約束)(2007)
- Bahashishi, Kiseki (キセキ)(2008)
- Mayday, Do You Ever Shine (2014)
- Haruhi - If Cats Disappeared From the World ~ 世界から猫が消えたなら OST. Single: Hizumi (ひずみ; Strain)
Romeo and Juliet 2012
- Pre-go: Zero (2007)
- Intently First Photobook (2008)
- 400 Days Photo Album/Diary (2008)
- Takeru Magazine/Takeru Magazine Plus (2008–)
- Deep Breathing/「深呼吸。」 Second Photobook (2009)
- So Far So Good! Takeru Satoh Profile 2007–2010 (2010)
- Nouvelles (2011)
- Rocka Nibunnoichi 1/2 Vol. 1, 2, and 3 (2013)
- Rurouni Kenshin (2014)
- Alternative (2014)
- 2013 Super Handsome Live 2013
- 2012 Super Handsome Live 2012
- 2012 HT Haruma x Takeru DVD
- 2011 Super Handsome Live 2011
- 2010 Super Handsome Live 2010
- 2010 The Game Boy’s show
- 2009 Super Handsome Live 2009
- 2008 Super Handsome Live 2008
- 2007 Super Handsome Live 2007
- 2006 Super Handsome Live 2006
He has a five minute show called Takeru TV talking about everyday life.
BEHIND THE SCENES
Thank you for reading my article!
Which of Sato Takeru's roles have you enjoyed the most? See you next time!