February 14, 2012
Japan’s Kyoko Koizumi has been on the nation’s “talent” radar for nearly three decades, but has more recently punctuated her long career with acting honors, the latest for “Mainichi Kaasan” (Everyday Mom), a bio-pic centered on the domestic travails of manga author and mother Rieko Saibara.
The 46-year-old “Kyon-kyon”, as she was nicknamed decades ago, is also a popular singer in the country and will release a two-disc CD next month to commemorate her 1982 debut.
Winning the best actress prize at the 66th Mainichi Film Awards this week in playing the multi-tasking Mom brought Koizumi a new Nissan LEAF, and she sat down for a brief chat with the Global Media Center on Eco-consciousness, electric vehicles and her impression of riding in the LEAF.
Q1: Japan has been a leading global force behind more Eco-friendly technologies, including electric vehicles. How do you see Japanese families, and mothers such as the one you played in the film, viewing EVs and the environment?
KK: In Japan women have developed a keen awareness of issues such as ecology. This push was first led overall by women in the country, and personally I gained an interest about 20 years ago — basically “What can I do for the environment in my daily life?”
Later, when the earthquake struck last year mothers in the country thought about protecting their own children in such difficult conditions, with questions such as “What foods are OK?” or “Where is it safe to play?” Really, everyone was considering these kinds of issues deeply.
Although I’m single and don’t have any children, I’m really cheering on Japanese mothers to see what they can achieve on this front.
Q2: Do you see yourself as environmentally-conscious?
KK: I do and try for what I can in this regard, such as with cars or my own travel. I have owned a hybrid car for some time, but now am really happy about receiving a LEAF, as it’s really closer to perfect in terms of Eco-friendliness.
We have a saying in Japanese when something you want kind of falls from heaven into your hands. It’s kind of like that — I had an interest and thought about buying one, and then I received one.
Q3: What was your impression of the LEAF?
KK: It’s a car that I’ve had a great interest in and today was my first experience as a passenger. Of course, it’s quiet, but I also like the interior having a simplicity that’s really attractive, and when I was talking with the driver he said it’s got power and when fully-charged you can really travel a fair distance.
That was my takeaway. Before I thought that I may need to charge quite often, but I found out that’s not really a concern. It was great and I’m very happy.
Q4: What plans do you have for your LEAF ahead?
KK: I mainly work in Tokyo, but live near the sea in the Shonan district of Kanagawa prefecture. Everyday I travel tens of kilometers, and this EV will really help with that.
Q5: Finally, the film has enjoyed some international screenings already. What plans are there for this movie and any future films with Kyoko Koizumi?
KK: The film, “Mainichi Kaasan”, has already shown at the Shanghai Film Festival with the director receiving an award, and mainly an Asian audience has seen it so far. That it has been shown to international audiences makes me very happy, and if more overseas can watch the film that would be great.
For myself, I have been invited to the Cannes film festival for another film, which received a prize, but mainly my career and efforts are Japan-based, with Japanese directors, cast and staff, who make films primarily for Japan. If the result is that people in other countries can also see the films, then that’s welcome, but I don’t have a desire for a career overseas. I just want to create quality content that everyone can appreciate.
Dan Sloan, Editor-in-Chief