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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A Slice Of Life For Dying Japanese Actors

Thanks to Matthew Hall who found the following story on NPR (National Public Radio) which allows you to read stories on-line and/or listen to the story as it appeared on the radio.

The story that NPR and Matthew have brought to us today is all about slashers - or rather the actors who slash for our amusement in the films of the cinema. You know the ones... the cannon fodder in an action adventure movie where the hero guns down a small country - ever wonder who those people are?

I didn't. Really... I just assumed they were extras in a movie. Low-paid schmoes doing very little acting... how difficult is it to get stabbed in a movie, play a corpse on  CSI, or drink a cup of coffee in the background of a cafe?

I was an extra in the John Goodman/Bette Middler movie Stella (I'm seen in and around the 44-second mark dancing and staring into the camera, and again a few minutes later in the background having a beer - a real one!).

Anyhow... I just assumed that one does not need a real actor - even one dressed in a costume - just to die by a katana sword or a hail of bullets in a scene lasting 0.47 seconds. 

I was wrong.

In Japan, at least, there is a special breed of actor - the kirareyaku (chopped-up actors), who have have dying on screen perfected to an art form.

Have a read on the kirareyaku, and see what they have to say about a never-dying breed of specialty acting roles. It's a great read.

Read that story HERE.

Who could ever imagine people could make a living out of dying so well?

Today is a good day to die - again.

Andrew Joseph



  2. Hi Andrew,
    Years ago I was friends with a crew of these guys who acted in Samurai movies and always were in fight scenes and got killed.... Alas, that genre of movies has greatly fallen out of favor in Japan (the young kids like Kamen Rider or Go-Ranger)... The old guys? Business is rough!


  3. That's too bad... but it is good in one regard... Japan has begun to graduate away from the samurai western. Or is it good? Hmmm. It seemed that every other show on television was either a cooking-related show or a samurai drama. I never watched the movies owing to a lack of language skills to sit through a paid movie... but now, thanks to translated movies, I have 'discovered' them for the first time. Two months ago, I watched The Seven Samurai for the first time. I also recently watched the original Floating Weeds movie (no samurai) - brilliant stuff! Okay... it is a shame that the samurai movie is gone or going. But it's only a shame because the ART of that genre of movie making was passed away...