Actor Spotlight: Ko Shibasaki

Ko Shibasaki is one of those actors you will see often in Japanese movies, but but you could be forgiven for not noticing it at first. The woman has a chameleon quality that blends into the role, the movie and the director’s vision. In a word, she is superb.

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This is how many fans in the west first encountered her, as sexy, deadly Mitsuko in Battle Royale.  Tokyo born Yukie Yamamura started her acting and singing career at 14, changing her name to that of her favourite manga character. It was Battle Royale that propelled her to starring roles on TV and in movies.

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In Chugashin Ari (One Missed Call) she played Yumi, whose friend Natsumi dies after receiving a mysterious voice message of herself screaming in terror in two days’ time. She was paired with the brilliant actor Shinichi Tsutsumi for the first time as the detective who helps her get to the bottom of the mystery.

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In Maison de Himiko, Ko played Saori, a girl estranged from her father, who ends up at a nursing home for gay men when she goes with her father’s lover, Haruhiko, to see him before he dies. Haruhiko is played by Shinobi’s Jo Odagiri. A touching and beautiful story of the struggle to accept and be accepted for your differences, and one of Ko and Joe’s best performances.

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In Shinji Higuchi‘s Nihon Chinbotsu (Japan Sinks) she was somewhat overshadowed by the dazzling CGI, but still managed to stand out as rescue worker Reiko, who helps care for a child orphaned by the disaster (Mayuko Fukuda from L Change the World) and falls tenderly in love with submersible pilot Toshio (Tsuyoshi Kusanagi). They provide the sense of humanity underlying the big splashy special effects.

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She looks magnificent in the period drama Dororo, where she plays the title role of a girl raised as a boy, an artful thief who joins with demon hunter Hyakkimaru to retrieve parts of his body that will make him human again.

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In Maiko Haaan!!! she plays Fujiko, who is dumped by her boyfriend for a glamorous geisha. She starts training as a maiko (apprentice geisha) to win him back. I haven’t been able to get a copy of this movie to review it, but it’s billed as a ‘screwball comedy’.

Shaolin Girl looks great. She plays Rin, trained in kung fu, who ends up  coaching a university lacrosse team.  You can see the trailer here.

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In The Devotion of Suspect X, one of my favourite movies, it is Shinichi Tsutsumi who steals every scene he is in, as the obsessive but devoted math teacher who manages to stay one step ahead of detective Shunpei Kusanagi (Ko Shibasaki) and physicist and scientific consultant Yukawa (Masaharu Fukuyama).

Ko Shibasaki is next due to appear in Keanu Reeves’ 47 Ronin and can also be seen in Ooku and Shokudo Katatsumuri (Rinco’s Restaurant) both released in 2010.

Barrio 2013!

After last year, we were all worried that the Brisbane Barrio Fiesta had lost its mojo – but this year I am happy to say it came back bigger and better than ever. It was great fun, and great food, all the way.

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One of the new attractions was a kids’ activity tent. Here my granddaughters get into the fun of painting and decorating. If anyone spotted that pink My Little Pony baby she is holding, could you leave a comment? She is very upset at losing it.

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Very proud of her art work!

barrio 2013 2The weather was a bit overcast, but there was no rain, and a good crowd gathered. There were lots of stallas as well, and that always is good to see.

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This is good to see as well – lots of lovely bread. I bought loaves and yummy coconut buns to take home and enjoy!

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My grandkids loved the cake pops – this one was sooo pretty – until grandson ate it up!

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On stage there were graceful, beautiful dancers…

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and talented singers

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I met this beautiful family from Saints Crusade

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and the queue for Hector’s Lechon went on forever, as usual – but on the Fruit Spin stall, the bubble tea ran out – sob!

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My son-in-law Mannie got this great Tshirt

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All in all – a great day. Can’t wait for next year.