Soapdom is delighted to be the first to welcome Japanese star Yasuro "Arisa" Ushioda to the United States to build her television, film and soap opera career in this country. Going by Arisa Ushioda in the U.S., the Japanese born and bread actress is one of the most popular and sought after actresses in her country, appearing in over 50 television and film productions to date.
Currently in Los Angeles, Ushioda is looking to break into the LA-based film and television talent pool. Soapdom had the delightful opportunity ofmeeting Ushioda last week in Beverly Hills. She is quite lovely, stunningly beautiful and on top of that she is very sweet. A descendent of the 47 Ronin (known in this country as the Samurai), she is rigorously pursuing a part in the upcoming Keanu Reeves film, "47 Ronin," based on her ancestors.
"I feel like I had reached a point in my career where I am ready to enter the American entertainment industry," Ushioda confided to Soapdom. "I feel that the timing is just right with '47 Ronin' being made into a movie and my family ties to that story. I have a great interest in transitioning to the American culture and adapting my talent and experience to this environment."
Along with networking to land a part in "47 Ronin," Ushioda is also very interested in finding work in American TV, daytime dramas included. Does she have a favorite medium?
"I enjoy soap operas, movies and prime time television," Ushioda says. "With my extensive background, I really can't say I have a favorite. As long as the scripts are interesting and the show gives me the chance to learn as an actor, I love doing it!"
Soapdom would love Ushioda to land a role in soaps. Couldn't you just see her as a top Japanese fashion designer heading to Los Angeles to wreck havoc on the owners of Jackie M and Forester Creations in the Bold and the Beautiful? Or, as a Yakuza (Japanese Mafia) princess in Port Charles battling with Sonny Corinthos to take over the waterfront on General Hospital? Her Japanese sensibility and approach would certainly lend a new twist to typical American soap opera storytelling and her drop dead good looks will place female characters on guard as she could easily steal any man's heart away. One thing Soapdom knows for sure. Ushioda will bring a wealth of experience and polish to any project she undertakes.
The beautiful actress started modeling and performing at age 19. She was discovered by one of the country's largest talent agencies, Burning Productions. Within one month of being signed, she was booked to a role as a series regular in a hit television series "Bokura ni Ai o" on Fuji Television, a major Japanese television network.
She continued to work every season as a regular in many major television series. She was a regular in "Aibo" which aired on TV Asahi, in "Diamond Girl" on Fuji TV, "14 Months" on Nihon TV, "MitoKomon" on TBS, the longest running television program in Japan airing its 40th season this year, and "Homuratatsu" on NHK. She also starred in the reknowned "Minami No Teio." This very successful series started at 1992 and has an enviable track record of 64 productions, including 17 movies. In addition, she is a popular television commercial actress renown for her ability to connect with viewers through expression and emotion.
Here's more of what Ushioda had to say to Soapdom:
Soapdom: Did you always know you wanted to be an actor?
Arisa Ushioda: No, I never planned to be an actor. A modeling agency scouted me and I began my career as a model at age 19 and was soon cast in a movie. At age 20, I was cast as master of ceremonies on a variety show in Osaka. I was discovered at age 24 by the most prestigious talent agency, Burning Productions, in Tokyo. From there, I got my first show and for over 10 years worked continuously in over 50 televisions series and films.
Soapdom: How old were you when you got your first acting job. What was it?
Ushioda: My first acting job was a movie called "Minami No Teio" and I was 19 years old.
Soapdom: What types of roles do you enjoy playing? Heroines? Villains? Moms? Femme Fatales?
Ushioda: I love drama because it allows me to showcase my fullest range of skills, particularly a femme fatale role or heroine. I also enjoy Japanese historical and epic movies because of my family's long history in Japan. For instance, I am the last in the line of descendents of one of the 47 Ronin, or samurai as they're more commonly called in America. (As mentioned above), Keanu Reeves (Matrix, Walk in the Clouds) and Chris Morgan (writer, Wanted, Fast & Furious) are working on turning the story of 47 Ronin into a movie.
Soapdom: What was your favorite project to date, and why?
Ushioda: I portrayed a woman from age 13 to 38 in a movie called "Kihaku," without special make-up or effects. It was a movie about a Japanese mafia family named Yakuza, and I was his younger sister. The story was based on her brother's life as seen from my character's viewpoint. I enjoyed this project the most because I was able to act the full spectrum of emotions ranging from happy innocence to tragic satire from a young age to womanhood. This movie was a true story and was a drama that I appreciated and was grateful for the opportunity to showcase my talent.
Arisa Ushioda says "hi" to Japanese fans from Soapdom.com
Soapdom: Who is your favorite American director and why?
Ushioda: Clint Eastwood proves that you can make movies that touch the heart and mind. He is simply a masterful storyteller. I love what James Cameron did with "Avatar" and all the technology to bring a good story to screens. And Michael Bay is an incredible director and producer. I'm also interested in what Carl Rinsch will do with movies such as "The Gift," and of course, "47 Ronin."
Soapdom: What is your favorite American TV show?
Ushioda: "Sex and the City" is my favorite American TV series because it is the perfect drama showing all of women's emotions: from anger and suffering to joy and passion.
Soapdom: If you were not an actor, what would you be?
Ushioda: Company executive in the finance industry. This is totally opposite of being an actor.
Additionally, Ushioda shared an insider acting story with Soapdom. She was working on a scene where she was required to go from happy to sad to bursting into tears. Quite a range in one scene. The director wanted it all done in one take – no cuts between emotions. She did it. Then he asked for her to do it again. And again. And again. He asked her to do it a total of 17 times! She was exhausted and she didn't know what she was not doing right. When he finally accepted the 17th take, the director told her that he made her do it over and over deliberately – to get her to that place of sheer physical exhaustion. That's what he wanted to see on camera.
Born on February 17th, and single, Ushioda attended Tezukayama College and majored in Food Science. She calls both Tokyo and Los Angeles home, but her little dog Vanilla is too small to travel, so he waits for her return to Tokyo.
Her television credits include:
9 Gakari-Keishicho Sousa 1kka Monogatari, TV Asahi
Onsen Okami No Satsujin Suiri 16, TV Asahi
Keijibeya-Roppingi Okashi Na Sousahan 3, TV Asahi
Kasai Sousakan-Kurenai Renjirou 5, TV Asahi
Jiken 12, TV Asahi
Kyoutarou Nishimura Travel Mystery, TV Asahi
Aibou 8, TV Asahi
AaTanei Jimusho, TV Asahi
Igi Ari! Onna Bengoshi Ooka Norie 7, TV Asahi
Red Light, TV Asahi
14 Kagetsu, Nihon TV
Diamond Girl, Fuji TV
Watari Bantou Kagami Zentarou no Suiri 3, TV Asahi
Taxi Driver no Suiri Nisshi 18, TV Asahi
Flowers for Algernon, Fuji TV
Tsuhanman, TV Asahi
Houigakukyoushitsu no Jiken File X6, TV Asahi
Haruranman 5, Fuji TV
Kizudarake no Love Song, Fuji TV
Jyoshiana, Fuji TV
Aijin no Okite, TV Asahi
YASHA, TV Asahi
Imagine, Fuji TV
Jyoi-Nothing Lasts Forever, Nihon TV
Tsumetaitsuki, Nihon TV
Asohinokuni Yuujyo densetsu Satsujin Jiken, TBS
Wrong Call, TV Asahi
Chuouku no Onna, Fuji TV
Her film credits include:
Kihaku (lead), directed by Masatsugu Takase
Minami No Teiou: Hasa no souretsu (lead), produced by Excellent Film, Japan
Naniwa Chuushingura (lead), directed by Sadaki Haginiwa
Minami No Teiou: Gekjyoban (lead), produced by Excellent Film, Japan
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