ひさしぶり! It’s been some time since my last article, so I decided to refine my series of ‘fan guides’ and give it a bit of an overhaul for the new year.
This next actor is certainly becoming quite a household name, both in Japan and internationally. In fact, I’d be surprised if you haven’t come across him by some means, especially if you are active in the J-Drama community. So just who is this gifted, young and highly sought-after celebrity who, at just twenty-one years old, has been at the forefront of some of Japan’s most beloved live action adaptations?
Having portrayed the adolescent version of many of today’s popular actors, Kitamura Takumi began his acting career at the wee age of ten years old. After being scouted by agency Stardust Promotion, his debut role was in the 2008 movie Dive, alongside fellow cast members Hayashi Kento and Mizobata Junpei. In 2010, he joined Ebidan (Ebisu Gakuen Danji-bu - a music collective consisting of male artists associated with Stardust) where he then proceeded to become the lead vocalist of DISH//, a dance-rock band he still fronts to this day.
He’s now one of the most recognized young celebrities across the drama community, having starred as the lead role for at least eight movies as well as a handful of drama series.
Name: Kitamura Takumi (北村匠海)
Birthplace: Tokyo, Japan
Birthday: November 3rd, 1997
Star Sign: Scorpio
Blood Type: B
Agency: Stardust Promotion
Speciality: Basketball, swimming, dancing
Hobbies: Cameras, photography, visiting vintage clothes shops, collecting records
Takumi’s best features are most certainly his highly expressive eyes that breathe life and emotion into all of his roles. But his acting is definitely something that’s captured the hearts of many fans across the world.
Takumi’s debut movie appearance, in which he portrayed the child version of Ikematsu Sosuke’s character Fujitani Yoichi. Led by a great cast including the likes of Hayashi Kento and Mizobata Junpei, Dive follows a group of middle school students who are part of a diving club that is under threat of losing sponsorship. After the arrival of a new coach, the club is promised another year of support if they can get one of their members into the Olympics within a year. Based on the novel by Eto Mori.
Having been directed by Oguri Shun, this movie was obviously going to get some fanfare. Although young Takumi’s part in the movie is relatively minor, the film itself is worth checking out if just for the well-rounded cast, some of whom are Japan’s best actors to this day. A comedy movie, it starts with five friends who, after having their school festival cancelled, threaten to blow up the school if it’s not reinstated. A few years down the line, they somehow manage to get caught up in an altercation with a mob boss who is searching for their friend Kazuo after he believes he has something to do with a missing prostitute and 300 million yen. Although the movie itself is wacky, it was well-received and full of great performances by all the actors involved.
Based after the serialized drama from 2011, I’m not sure if this is a continuation or a completely new plotline as I’ve yet to watch it, but this movie gives us more of the teacher Suzuki as he breaks away from the norm, and uses his own unconventional ‘method’ in order to create an ideal classroom. Most of the cast from the drama series returns to reprise their original roles.
Based on the popular novel by Osamu Koshigaya, Hidamari no Kanojo is a fantasy romance with a mysterious twist. It tells the story of a young couple and former classmates Kosuke and Mao, who lose touch after Kosuke transfers schools only to be reunited ten years later after a chance encounter through work. Although they decide to get married, Mao holds a secret that may well endanger the relationship.
With leading performances from actors Matsumoto Jun and Ueno Juri, this movie is in parts beautiful and warm, yet has a melancholic sentiment. Though Takumi’s role as Jun’s teen counterpart is, again, relatively minor on the scale of things, the movie itself is an enjoyable treat regardless.
Must watch: If you’ve yet to see the series, stop what you’re doing and get bingeing right away! Continuing from where the series left off at its final episode, the movie concludes the story of Saburo’s plight as the warlord Oda Nobunaga and his attempts to reunify Japan. Takumi portrays Mori Nagayoshi, son to Mori Yoshinari and a retainer serving the Oda clan.
I’ve yet to see this despite being a huge fan of the majority of the cast, but it’s not terribly high on the list of must-watch Takumi roles. Packed full of violence enveloping a shallow plot, it tells the story of Ashihara Taira, a delinquent teen who revels in violence. He leaves his town of Mitsuhama and ends up in downtown Matsuyama, where he joins up with Kitahara and Nana and continues to cause fights, while his younger brother Shota comes to look for him. I don’t have much info on Takumi’s role here other than he plays the role of a brazen-faced cocksure “friend” called Kenji.
Although I cannot recommend this based on Takumi’s appearance alone (as I’ve no idea how big his role is having not seen it), this movie received a positive reception and seemed popular with its viewers, part of this reason is that it was a remake of the hit Korean movie Miss Granny. It focuses on a 73-year elderly woman who regains her youthful appearance when she visits a photo studio and embarks on fulfilling her past dream of becoming a singer. Whether you were a fan of the Korean original or not, I’m fairly confident that this movie will delight anyone who watches it.
One of the biggest films of 2017, I Want To Eat Your Pancreas is a romance drama movie starring Takumi as the younger version to Oguri Shun’s character. Skipping between the present and the past, this tearjerker of a film depicts the relationship between a young girl with a terminal illness and the boy who finds out and helps to keep her secret. Though in part riddled with obvious cliché, it’s a sweet sensitive story, of which the lead actors give beautiful performances.
Where the anime and manga both received mixed reactions, nobody really expected much from the live-action adaptation of the series, so it comes as an average but a somewhat pleasant accompaniment to the overall package. Takumi and Morikawa Aoi lead in this story where the Japanese government appoints a marriage partner to every teenager by the age of 16 in the hopes of combating the country’s low birth rate. Similar in context to the recently aired drama Kekkon Aite wa Chusen De, it doesn’t perhaps have the same appeal, but it’s a nice-enough take on the concept, despite the tiresome love triangle cliché.
In what is one of Matsuoka Mayu’s most outstanding performances, Tremble All You Want is a delightful romantic comedy with a brutally honest message behind it. Yoshika is a nerdy 24-year-old office clerk who is fixated on her junior high crush, who she refers to as Ichi. Upon the confession of her frivolous colleague (referred to as Ni), she agrees to date him but fails to keep her thoughts from gravitating back to Ichi. Despite this, however, the romance is not the focus point of the movie, instead of giving us an insight into the character of Yoshiki and her interactions throughout the movie. Based on the novel by Wataya Risa, Matsuoka Maya is charming to watch, and even if you’re only checking this out for Takumi, you’ll no doubt come away loving this effervescent comedy.
Four words: Mackenyu driving fast cars. I mean, as much as I couldn’t give a damn for racing or automobiles, it was honestly worth it just to see him strut his stuff as Naozumi the rebellious gifted racing driver who continuously butts heads with his older brother (Higashide Masahiro), the chief mechanic of Supica Racing. Morikawa Aoi becomes Naozumi’s manager and gets to learn more about the brothers. I think I expected a bit more from Takumi in this movie, but he did well at playing the rival racing driver. As a sports drama, it’s nothing out of the ordinary, but it’s got heart.
The recently released Waiting For Spring (Harumatsu Bokura) was a wonderful if not slightly uneventful movie about an introverted girl (Tsuchiya Tao) who befriends four players from the school’s basketball team and the way her life changes after meeting them. Of course, there’s romance and your typical love triangle, but it’s a sweet laid-back adaptation of the manga and worth watching if just for the eye-candy alone.
KimiTsuki, or You Shine in the Moonlit Night, is definitely a movie I’ve been anticipating seeing, despite feeling like I see Takumi cast far too often in this type of roles. Following the over-used trope of “high school student falls in love with a terminally ill female,” the main reason I am invested to see this is simply my dedication as a Takumi fan as let’s face it, if it stars Takumi, I’m likely going to watch it. I don’t expect anything vastly different from other movies of its ilk, but it seems like it’ll be a bittersweet tearjerker that will likely keep its audience satiated.
Highly anticipated: This movie has undoubtedly gained a lot of fanfare ever since it was announced, so I’d be surprised if there’s still someone out there who hasn’t yet heard of it. It was released in the theaters in Japan in January 2019, so there’s still a little bit of time before we’ll see the movie released on Blu-ray, but its release is highly anticipated across the world. Comprising an all-star cast of some of the most popular young actors in Japan today, the movie follows 12 boys and girls who gather at an abandoned hospital with the intention of wanting to end their lives. Upon arriving, they discover the dead body of a boy and attempt to find the killer. Boasting a cast with the likes of Arata Mackenyu, Sugisaki Hana and Takasugi Mahiro, we can hopefully expect great things from this.
Though Takumi has had significantly fewer roles where it comes to his drama credentials, he’s given some great performances throughout a number of highly favoured and well-received series. He was just eleven years old when he landed his debut role in the 2008 drama Taiyou to Umi no Kyoushitsu as the childhood counterpart to Okada Masaki’s character. Though he had a smattering of minor roles following his first appearance, they were all fairly minor until he was cast in the role of Izumi Tadashi in the hit series Suzuki Sensei.
If you’re tired of the typical high school teacher dramas, then definitely consider giving Suzuki Sensei a watch! Despite its low ratings at the time, the critically-acclaimed drama still won awards and earned itself a movie sequel in 2013. Based on the award-winning manga, it follows a junior high school teacher who uses unconventional methods to deal with his students' problems What’s great about this drama is that it doesn’t shy away from addressing serious issues that many students face today. If you like dramas that give you something to think about, you’ll definitely enjoy this.
Another supporting role, but this time in the TV serialization that preceded the movie. If you only had time for one series from all of the following, this would be the one I’d recommend. A great adaptation of the manga, it follows high school student Saburo (Oguri Shun) as he suddenly finds himself in the Sengoku era. Upon his encounter with a young lord who looks the exact mirror image of him, he is then mistaken for him and taken back to the castle to rule and live his life as the warlord Oda Nobunaga. Regardless of whether you like historical dramas or not, it’s a great comedy series that recounts the history of Oda Nobunaga’s journey to unify Japan.
Takumi’s first main role, and possibly his first impactful one, he plays the younger sickly brother who undergoes a heart transplant only to find that he suddenly has acquired memories and a personality that is of the previous donor. Though he seeks protection from his older brothers, it is only a matter of time for the scientists of the shady medical research facility (where the transplant took place) to endeavour and track him down. If you enjoy sci-fi with a good heavy dose of bromance, then this is definitely one to watch.
With leading cast performances from Terao Akira, Arata Mackenyu, Murakami Nijiro and Kitamura Takumi, this is a beautiful drama about a former saxophone player who becomes an adviser of a brass band at a run-down high school, helps turn around the lives of delinquent problem students and inspires them to rediscover their love for music. A must watch if you love classical music and a heartwarming bromance.
A drama that revolves around the four families of a 'cooperative' residential complex, with the main focus on new residents Nana and Daiki, who recently purchased a new home with the intention of trying for a baby. Living in the same complex is the Komiyama family, designer and architect Hirose Wataru, and betrothed couple Kawamura Ryoji and Sugisaki Chihiro. It's an interesting role for Takumi as he takes on the role of Aoki Saku, a gay bartender dating Hirose Wataru who suddenly decides to move in with him. Although this drama is nothing groundbreaking, it does well at portraying the kind of realistic issues and hardships that families have to deal with.
A Japanese remake based on the hit US series, The Good Wife is the story of a former lawyer who returns to the world of law after her prosecutor husband is arrested and charged for corruption. After she is hired at a law office, she dedicates herself to working full time to provide for her family but gets entangled in her husband's case as more secrets rear their ugly head. Although I personally am always apprehensive where it comes to western remakes, I'd recommend this one as a nice easy binge watch.
Takumi’s minor guest and smaller supporting roles include appearances in Yutori Desu ga Nani ka, Tenshi no Naifu, Gaiji Keisatsu, Taira no Kiyomori, and Aibou Season 11.
In the last year or so, the number of movies Takumi has been cast for has significantly risen, with the next couple of years being no exception. Next year Takumi is slated to appear in the novel adaptation of Sakura, alongside co-stars Yoshizawa Ryo and Komatsu Nana, and the live adaptation of the manga Omoi, Omoware, Furi, Furare. Both these films are slated for release in Summer 2020, so there’s still a high possibility we’ll see him pop up in a drama series or elsewhere in the meantime. He’s also taken on the voice-acting role of the younger version of Naomi Katagaki in the original animated movie of HELLO WORLD which will also star Matsuzaka Tori and Hamabe Minami.
Formed as a four-member group in 2011, DISH// is a Japanese dance-rock band under Stardust Promotion, of which Takumi is the lead vocalist. The band currently consists of four members, including Kitamura Takumi, Izumi Daichi, Masaki Yabe, and Tachibana Toi. In 2017, Izumi, a former member of the now defunct band CustomiZ, joined the group as their drummer, and for a while, there were five members. But not long into 2018, bassist and rapper Kobayashi withdrew from the band and they decided to continue forward with just the current four members.
The band started out originally performing in shopping malls in order to raise their profile, and though they had a few releases in 2012, it wasn’t until their debut major-label release “I Can Hear” in 2013 when their music career started to pick up. By 2015, they were performing in venues such as Nippon Budokan, where some of the most famous bands and groups perform. In 2017, the band were losing some of their momentum, and it became apparent that things had to change. The band regained some creative momentum after Izumi joined as drummer in 2017, and improvements in their music-making became highly apparent. They had better stage presence, their performances improved, and the band were prospering. Kobayashi withdrew from the band in 2018, and the four remaining members recently released their third full album ‘Junkfood Junction’ in April of 2019.
- Owns a dog (a miniature schnauzer named Haku)
- Has been heavily into cameras and photography since he was gifted a Leica compact camera by his father. He since owns a Pentax SP camera and uses it to take photos of actors, people, and all sorts of things.
- His dream was to be able to hold a solo exhibition for his own photos, and in 2017, to commemorate his 20th birthday, he held his first solo exhibition.
- In 2018, he formed the unit “TAOTAK” with Tsuchiya Tao, where they released a cover version of UKASUKA-G's song “Anniversary”. They both are childhood friends since co-starring in Suzuki Sensei.
- He first debuted singing in 2008 with the song "Risu ni Koishiteiru Shonen" or "The boy in love with a squirrel" for the NHK series Minna No Uta.
- He recently took on a lead voice acting role for animation movie HELLO WORLD.
OKAMOTO'S - DANCING BOY
100s - Sekai no Flower Road
A handful of Dish MVs (courtesy of their VEVO YT Channel)
Bokutachi ga Yarimashita
Radwimps - Keitai Denwa
Kimaguren - It's My Yuki
Tatsuro Yamashita - Hikari to Kimi e no Requiem
TAOTAK - Anniversary
[2015.01.14] MAIN DISH
[2016.12.14] Mashiagare no Gatling (召し上がれのガトリング)
[2019.04.03] Junkfood Junction
[2012.06.10] It's Alright
[2012.10.10] Peter Pan Syndrome (ピーターパンシンドローム)
[2013.02.13] Give Me Chocolate (ギブミーチョコレート)
[2013.06.19] I Can Hear
[2013.10.16] Hareru YA! (晴れるYA！; Great YA!)
[2014.03.05] FREAK SHOW
[2014.06.25] Saisho no Koi ~Motetakute~ / FLAME (サイショの恋〜モテたくて〜; First Love ~Popular~)
[2014.12.03] Hengao de Bye Bye!! (変顔でバイバイ!!; Bye Bye Funny Face)
[2015.07.01] Yay!!☆Natsuyasumi (イエ～ィ!!☆夏休み; Yay!! Summer Vacation)
[2015.11.04] Oretachi Rookies (俺たちルーキーズ; We're Rookies)
[2016.06.22] HIGH-VOLTAGE DANCER
[2017.06.07] I'm FISH//
[2017.08.16] Bokutachi ga Yarimashita (僕たちがやりました)
[2018.02.21] Katte ni MY SOUL (勝手にMY SOUL)
[2018.07.11] Starting Over
[2015.04.29] Suki ni Natte Kurete Arigatou (Budokan Ver.) (好きになってくれてありがとう)
[2017.05.12] I'M FISH// Drama ver.
[2018.01.28] Katte ni MY SOUL (勝手にMY SOUL)
[2019.02.07] SING-A-LONG feat. AiNA THE END (BiSH)
[2019.02.28] Biribiri☆Rule Book (ビリビリ☆ルールブック)
[2019.03.13] Henteko (へんてこ)
2017 | 42nd Hochi Film Award – Best New Artist
2018 | 41st Japan Academy Prize – Newcomer of the Year
2018 | 13th Osaka Cinema Festival – Best New Actor
for 'Let Me Eat Your Pancreas'