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Posted by : Itakiss LIT INA Selasa, 05 Agustus 2014

*Re-Post Article* 

Coordinates in costuming with the TV drama series
Mischievous Kiss: Love in TOKYO An interview with director Koto Nagata

<B:MING LIFE STORE> coordinated with “Mischievous Kiss: Love in TOKYO”, the 16 episode TV drama series based on a legendary girl’s manga, by offering costumes for the two main characters, Kotoko Aihara and Naoki Irie. We asked director Koto Nagata about inside stories of the drama, her ideas on film making, and her private life.

When I thought about what I wanted to become in the future, becoming a film director was never an option, and even when I came into this industry, I wasn’t aiming at becoming a film director at first. I originally wanted to become a dance choreographer, but because I started dancing in college and didn’t have much experience, I though it would be difficult for me to become a choreographer, so I thought, “Why not make a dance movie?”

That triggered me into studying film, but at that time, I didn’t even know that there were schools that teach film, so I started working at a company that made TV dramas and movies. I was expecting some sort of company entrance exam, but there was nothing of the sort, so I asked them, “Don’t you need something like that?” Then, to my surprise, they asked me in return, “Do you want to do a kanji test or something?,” and told me, “If you have the motivation, come on board.”

At first, I always thought about making a dance movie, so I secretly thought that perhaps I could get myself interested in making a music video, but never a TV drama. But as I worked on several projects, I became more and more absorbed with TV drama, though I felt that it was different from what I originally wanted.

After that, I had the opportunity to work with the late cameraman Noboru Shinoda who had worked with director Shunji Iwai on works such as “Love Letter” and “Swallowtail”, and he introduced me to Shunji Iwai. At that time, I had experience directing late-night TV dramas, but Iwai told me, “If you want to become a director, you have to be able to write.” It was then that I started to write my own screenplay, being influenced by Iwai’s style. I was far away from printed words when I was dancing, and even when I entered this industry, I hadn’t studied screenplay or film and was making tea, so after I became Iwai’s assistant, I learned a lot from him. My favorite work by Iwai is “April Story”.

I think of “space” when I film. This applies to both the drama and the picture. I don’t like to have “gaps” in the space and I think the space has to be dirty in a good sense. I have my own established screentone, so when I’m not comfortable with the scene that I’m filming, I’m not motivated.
Even in this case, indeed our staff have gathered to work on the same film, but we have all grown up in a different environment and have used a different language. Therefore, people probably thought at first, “What is this person talking about? What does she mean by ‘gaps’?,” but as we filmed, I think my ideas were conveyed without words, and we were able to work closely together. Some people think that a director only needs to look at the drama, but I want to look at everything in the scene, including lighting.
There are many legendary scenes in “Mischievous Kiss”, and therefore, I didn’t want to let down the fans of the original manga, but at the same time, it wouldn’t have been very interesting if I filmed the scenes in the exact same manner as the manga, so I kept in mind the meaning of my filming this story as the director.
People read manga in their own pace, so they have their own natural tempo. When a manga is turned into a film, that means that we creators set the tempo. We need to have the audience naturally accept the acting of the actors and also have the actors feel comfortable. In order to achieve this, I tried to film the drama so that people could shift into the story smoothly, but at the same time, I also deliberately inserted comical scenes and added some dramatic effect.
Regarding characterization, Yuki Furukawa, who played the role of the cool genius Irie, was exactly like the character, so he was perfect for the role. He didn’t have trouble acting cool, but he seemed to have some trouble showing occasional smiles and expressing the character’s emotions. In general, I think Kotoko was the harder role. If you try to act Kotoko normally, she becomes an annoying person as the story goes on, so I talked a lot with Honoka Mirai, who played Kotoko, on how we could make Kotoko a lovable heroine that gets everyone’s attention.
In this drama, I portrayed Kinchan, the boy who has a crush on Kotoko, more in detail. In the original manga, he stays as a side character, but in this drama, I turned him into a character that almost rivals Irie, creating a triangular relationship. I created a scene that doesn’t appear in the original manga, where Kototo, after having become engaged with Irie, is passionately proposed to by Kinchan. Kotoko then becomes confused in a situation where nothing can be done. I think I was able to film an excellent scene here both film-wise and drama-wise. Among all the characters, Kinchan is the one that is the most different from the original manga, so I would like viewers to enjoy that difference.
Before realizing that I was a woman, there were so many things that I had to learn. I knew nothing when I entered this industry, so I was like, “I need to remember that and that…,” and so on, and whenever there was something that I didn’t understand completely I would ask, “What is that?,” so people would often tell me, “You seem to be everywhere.” I wanted to stand on my own feet fast, so I was always in a hurry. 
I was busy, but at the same time, I was able to absorb many things, and above all, I had a very strong feeling of “I’m never going to lose”, so when I think back, it wasn’t too much pain. Therefore, I never thought about quitting this job.

There is a place called Nakajo Village (now Nakajo City) in Nagano Prefecture and it is the hometown of a friend of mine, and one time, this friend took me there. It was literally an enchanted land and I was so surprised that I told everyone, “There’s something special about that village. It’s a power spot!” It was so wonderful that I couldn’t help myself recommending the place to others.
As I was talking with the people living there, someone told me, “We youngsters have to revitalize this town.” I thought to myself, “Youngsters? Who is this person talking about? Me?” But to my surprise, the person meant himself, who was around 60 years old. I found out that the average age of the residents of this town was around 90, and that being 60 years old was still young.
The fact that those people have lived in this village for decades and that they know the village’s ups and downs interested me very much, and for some reason, I wanted to record this situation in film.
After that, I visited the village several times and rolled the camera while I listened to people’s memories and stories of the town. At first, there were people who were embarrassed and didn’t want to be filmed. In the meantime, I heard that three people that I had filmed passed away and that shocked me. The town people told me that there would be a farewell gathering after the funeral, so I edited the film that I had taken by then and gave it to the people. They really liked it and some people told me, “We want to be filmed too,” and that made me very happy. I was so glad that I had continued filming. The fact that the elderly have lived until now is a piece of history. When I was young I never felt interested thinking about that. I would like to keep going to the village to take films.

Since I started doing this job, I have felt that a film, being a piece of artwork on one side, is also something like a presentation handout that you show others in order to convey your thoughts. Indeed, you need to effectively tell the staff what you are thinking when you are making a film, and at the same time, that is also a self-reflection process. I think filming is a job that requires man-to-man communication skills.

But children these days, for example, play alone with their cell phone or game machine, and it seems like a one-way communication to me. That’s why I wanted children, through film making, to talk about what they think with their friends, show their work to others and nervously ask them how they felt. I’m not trying to teach the techniques in film making. I want children to develop communication skills through film making. That’s why I started a film making workshop for children.

I coined the workshop “Eigakko” so it could have both the meanings of the words “Eigagakkou” (film school) and “Eigakko” (a child that likes movies). So far, the workshop has been held in Nakajo Village, which I previously mentioned, and in India. In the future, I would like to hold the workshop in different countries, have people view the films made in the workshop on the internet, show cultural differences between Japan and abroad, and educate children who can communicate internationally.

Since I was a child, I have been picky about what I wear. From the days of my earliest recollections, I only wore what I chose; not what my parents chose. When I was a child I hated pants and, looking at adults in pants, I would think, “How could they wear such clothes that show the shape of their bottom?” So I only wore skirts. When I think back now, it’s amazing how picky I was. 
But when I was in preschool, I was taken to go skiing and I was cornered into a situation where I had to wear pants. I resisted but in the end they made me wear them. And for some reason, there were stitchworks that read “HIDEKI” or “MOMOE”, names of the pop stars back then, on the pants and when I realized that, I hated the pants more. I still vividly remember the color and design of the pants. 
When I was in elementary school, I would draw pictures of all my clothes on paper and cut them out, make a doll of myself and dress the doll with the paper clothes, so that I could decide what to wear the next day. “This blouse goes with this skirt and this cardigan…,” and so on. Of course I don’t do that now, but I know what kind of clothes suits me, so I’m quick at choosing clothes. Normally, I like clothes in earth colors such as khaki or beige.
In my case, for some reason, I find clothes that I want at sales that have started days before. I think the clothes that I want are different from what everyone else wants. When I realized that, I felt relieved that I didn’t have to hurry and go to sales from the first day.

I have always continued yoga. It’s something like a tranquilizer for me. I’ve acquired concentration and energy by practicing yoga, so now I can manage long filming sessions.
As you concentrate on your breathing while you slowly move your body, you acquire the ability to think calmly. Earlier, whenever I concentrated on work, I wasn’t breathing well, so I often suffered from headaches, but now, whenever I have a headache, I can soothe the pain by steadying my breath.

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