Voice actor Uemura Yuto, actress Miyama Karen, comedians Sisonne, and other artists from various fields gathered together in a “different martial arts” reading drama “TAMERS” on September 4 and 5, 2021, at the Yomiuri Hall in Yurakucho, Tokyo. This time, Uemura Yuto, who plays the mysterious character Tei in this work, and Nakajima Ken, the actor who plays the calm commander Togashi Yoshiya, gave an interview.

Is Nakajima Ken “playboy”!?

――It is the first time for you to work together, but what was your impression of each other? What were your impressions of the other cast members?

Uemura: I was researching what kind of person he was in advance. He turned out to be really handsome, young, and I thought “Oh” (laughs). I heard that he appeared in various video works, so I was wondering if he will be playboy.

Nakajima: Eh? playboy (laughs)! ??

Uemura: Yeah (laughs). But when I actually met him, it was really refreshing. Nakajima-san refreshingly said, “This is my first time to participate in reading drama…”, so I thought, “Oh, this is going to be a fun performance. I hope we can talk a lot!”. The first impression after I met him was, “He is a refreshing young man.”

Nakajima: I first met him through the online reading practice, and listened to his voice, which gave me the kind impression. It was through the screen, but the facial expression was soft. And when I heard his voice at the first scene, I thought, “He has a wrapping voice.” That’s why I was able to talk to him casually when I met him at the rehearsal hall, I thought, “Uemura-san, with those expressions and voice, is not a scary person or a bad person.” (laughs). I talked him at the first practice at the practice hall, and I thought, , “He is very good person”. I don’t usually watch anime much, but when I researched Uemura-san before the online reading practice, he played the role of a student. During the reading online, when I heard him, I thought “Oh, that’s his natural voice. The voice actor is amazing…”. It’s hard to tell face to face (laughs).

Uemura: That’s right (laughs).

Nakajima: I hadn’t worked with voice actors until now, so I was wondering if the voice in the real life and the voice of the character would be different, but I was shocked because the voice was too beautiful!

Uemura: What should I do, I’m nervous for the next rehearsal (laughs).

Nakajima: I was quite nervous because this was my first recitation drama, but I felt unscrupulous.

Uemura: On the contrary, that story made it easier to get close to! The impressions of other actors have changed, for example, the impression of Miyama Karen. She was originally a child actor, and I really liked her acting, but I feel that she became deeper compared to when I met her the last time. It’s difficult to put in words, but I feel like she’s become more mature as a woman. I think she used to carry the feeling of innocence, but I think she’s got vibes that make her stand out. I’m wondering if the experience did make a difference. So, I had the impression that it was quite completed during the first rehearsal, but I felt that it would be completed by the time of performance at a rapid speed. I’m really looking forward to not being defeated.

Nakajima: Didn’t SISSONNE feel “I sure he’s in the middle of process” at the rehearsal hall?
I had the impression that he was working on it while thinking about various things while practicing.

Uemura: That’s right.

Nakajima: I’ve seen SISSONNE’s sketches, but the vibes were different. The script wasn’t written by Jiro, so the tempo was different, and above all, especially the atmosphere was different.
I think they are acting sketch-masters, but when we were practicing, there were some problems, “where should I start (doing something abnormal)…” (laughs).

Uemura: Eh (laughs)!

Nakajima: Jirou-san was always motivated. I really like his attitude. The vibes of the cast members are like it is a theater or musical stage, and there is a long training period close to a month, so the work is completed step by step,I think it’s really difficult to create an atmosphere and a sense of distance sophisticated like a tag. I think two of them are responsible for the natural sense of distance in the practice.

――Please tell us your impressions of your own roles.

Nakajima: Togashi is a former boss of Shoka, played by Hasegawa-san from SISSONNE and Rie played by Miyama Karen, and Tone played by Ota Yuuri is current subordinate, and almost everyone is his subordinate (laughs). That’s why I wanted to prevent him from being looked down. If you play someone who looks weak with just one word, others might think, “This guy is not a boss, but just a colleague !?”. I’m also conscious of the honest parts that can be glimpsed in the strong character, but he is weak to women. Even if he tries to push it all the way down, he will be pushed out. He just gives up. I think Tei doesn’t even have evilness in his heart, or in that sense, his costume fits very well with his personality, but it’s kind of special. There is nothing bad in him at all.

Uemura: looking at the scenes of Tone (played by Ota Yuri)’s scene, I thought that Togashi Yoshiya is the most difficult character. However, I think that problems of how to deal with it is probably all left to Nakajima-san. If you do too much, he would become a very unpleasant guy, but now you can see that there is a quiet fighting spirit, so it is a difficult role to push or pull there or how much you should put out.

Nakajima: Yes, I think it’s really difficult.

Uemura: But making him look more like a human, and although Tone says the smartest and most sarcastic things, I think it would be interesting to get a glimpse of this part. Togashi is also a pretty disgusting guy, and forces an important decision making to Shoka played by Hasegawa Shinobu from SISSONNE, well, it’s sly (laughs).

Nakajima: Certainly, there are some sly parts.

Movie and reading, stage and reading… The difference of experiences

――Nakajima-san, who usually does his best, and Uemura-san, who often specializes in “voicing”, such as anime dubbing and reading dramas. What did you notice about each other during the rehearsals?

Uemura: In the sense of a recitation drama, I think that only voice acting is not enough because usually acting includes voice, poses, and facial expressions. However, in the role that this character called Togashi has unconcerned but swirling feelings, and surprisingly, I was looking at him facing quietly at the microphone, thinking that it was “awesome”.
I felt that I was trying to take good care of the things that ooze out, or that I was trying to do my best in the recitation drama, and I thought it would become more interesting in the future.
Nakajima-san, you sat in the audience seats and watched from the audience side’s point of view, even if it wasn’t your turn, right?

Nakajima: Wow, it’s embarrassing (laughs). You saw all details. I’ve said it many times, but this is my first time in reading drama, and my first voice work is only, I mean I have the experience of recording lines and voice separately from the video to replace them later and some dubbing, so I still think it’s really difficult. I tried something like that for the first time, and since I was starting from scratch, whenever I have time, I was just looking at other casts acting from the audience seats, and it sounds strange, but, “There is only something that I can learn from.” I wanted to study.

Uemura: At that point, I thought, “He is trying to learn”, and I appreciate your attitude. So, I’m looking forward to seeing how you’re getting better when we meet in the next rehearsal.

Nakajima: We met just once in real life at that rehearsal, but I really want you to teach me various things. After all, I will do my best to work together, but I would like you to rely on you.

――Uemura-san, as the senior in reading drama, please tell us if you had something to share with Nakajima-san, such as how to enjoy the special opportunity to read aloud on stage.

Uemura: At the dressing room, Nakajima-san asked me, “How do you speak out?”, but at that time I couldn’t answer it very well (laughs), so I think I’d like to reiterate here. I think the biggest difference from the usual acting is that “there is a stand microphone”.

Nakajima: That’s right.

Uemura: After all, I think that “mic riding” is extremely important. During this time, the rehearsal hall was a theater with a capacity of about 200 people, but I think that the microphone will pick up the voice properly even from the distance, so if you focus on acting too much, it will be the performance against the audience. Of course, that consciousness is important, but it’s really difficult to think only about how to put the voice in the microphone. I’m wondering what this is because I’m a voice actor. So, I was wondering how I could focus on making my voice to a microphone, and how it would eventually become unconscious. As you become more and more able to do that, you will probably notice that the voices that other people are making are “this kind of sound.” The point that you can enjoy playing through the microphone is how the words you say and the “sound through the microphone” made by other cast members come back to your ears. If you listen to it carefully, I think it will be interesting for you, “Oh, it’s like this.”

Nakajima: I see…! No, I’m really grateful. I would like to focus on it immediately.

――Nakajima-san, do you want to ask Uemura-san about something?

Nakajima: I heard about it at the rehearsal hall, but I think that there is a lot of work for voice actors, but how do you consider usual voicing and how voicing sounds in the theater?

Uemura: Well, it’s very important to put it out on the microphone, but it’s really difficult. Like when you talk with your friends, or when you talk in the video, people take it as, “Usual conversation with someone.”, and I think acting on the stage should be like that. But if you do that, the microphone wouldn’t actually get your voice well. That is the problem. Somehow, when I’m talking normally, I think it sounds like it’s spreading in that space.

Nakajima: oh, I see.

Uemura: Doesn’t it spread radially?

Nakajima: Yeah.

Uemura: However, since the mic is in front of me, I feel like it goes straight from my position. Seems the voice is going straight, but the way of speaking may change. This is really difficult, isn’t it?

Nakajima: Yeah, really. Especially since this is my first time, I feel that the biggest difference is that. Uemura-san and Miyama-san also have a lot of experience as voice actors, and I felt that their vocalizations were completely different on the recitation drama and the stage. I’ve some stage experience, but at that time I wasn’t really aware of it because I used a lavalier mic. But on this recitation drama we use a stand microphone, and it’s very difficult to really put a voice on it.

Uemura: Other than that, , when I say something, although there is no one in front of me, I play as “Someone will be there”. I think that the way you speak will change again depending on how far you are and how noisy or quiet the space is. For example, if it’s a very stylish cafe, wouldn’t you speak louder to call a clerk?

Nakajima: Right.

Uemura: But if it’s a noisy izakaya, you will speak really loud, right? Even if it is the same distance between you and the clerk, I think the difficulty of “voice play” is how you proceed things in your own mind.
Togashi is in a cyber-space, so I think it’s okay to ignore the sense of distance, but isn’t it different when giving orders or speaking with Tone?

Nakajima: That’s right. Certainly not. Wow, I’m so happy.

Uemura: When I’m talking to Rie in “lines” I couldn’t hear her properly because it felt like voice went through a telephone or some electronic device. If you stick to that kind of consciousness, I think there are many hints in your daily life that will make you think, “That’s true!”, so I think it will be interesting to try various challenges.

Taking advantage of own strength

Nakajima: Another question! Please tell me about your favourite routines of your private life that you can’t drop and what you like (laughs)! I heard that you like bread…

Uemura: Bread… Hahaha (laughs). As a routine, I always try to get up at least three hours before work. The body doesn’t wake up first, and the voice doesn’t wake up either. So, when I force myself to wake up, I practice speaking.

Nakajima: Eh! Is that so. I don’t have any particular routine before I go to work.
Uemura: There is a lip roll that to shake lips and utters, and I often do that.

Nakajima: I’ll utter on the day, but in that sense, I may do precious things before going to bed. I read the script before going to bed. I read it roughly and try to sleep before it really goes out.

Uemura: So about “favorite things”…

Nakajima: It’s a wide term, and it maybe just a little is enough (laughs).

Uemura (laughs). I like books, I read them a lot. I like to printed letters, and so I feel that reading a book will heal me a lot.

Nakajima: What kind of book do you read?

Uemura: I like detectives. I read both Japanese and overseas ones. Also, I’ve been addicted to sneakers lately. I like collecting sneakers!

Nakajima: Why do you like them?

Uemura: There are so many things, but the special one is how it is easy to wear. So, as a matter of commitments… I often go to dubbing, so shoes shouldn’t make sounds! Also, I often act in front of the microphone, so my legs don’t get tired. So it’s about New Balance (laughs). I also get addicted to Reebok lately.

Nakajima: New Balance is the best!

Uemura: It’s really the best. I really like the design of Converse, but the sole is thin, so I often wear it on short workdays (laughs). Nakajima-san seems to be into fashion, what would you recommend?

Nakajima: Eh! Wait, my manager has been telling me for the past 5 years, “Ken isn’t really fashionable, you shouldn buy your clothes” (laughs)! Clothes are “not my property” (laughs). If you see me walking around the city in my usual clothes you would think, “Wow, this is bad!”. I think it’s okay to wear black pants and a white T-shirt in the summer. I’m afraid to do something outstanding!… So, about sneakers. I’m not tall , so I often wear platform sneakers, but I think in NIKE’s BLAZER LOW sneakers you wouldn’t get tired of walking or standing.

Uemura: I will remember NIKE BLAZER LOW. I will look for them!

Nakajima: Please give it a try!

――Uemura-san’s official Twitter account, “#UemuraKyouMoPanMatsuri,” seems to be popular among the “TAMERS” staff.

Uemura: Is that true! Nice (laughs).

Nakajima: Even during the shooting promo video, Uemura-san’s voice, “Bread!”, echoed in the corridor of the rehearsal hall (laughs)! What kind of bread do you like? You also make it, right?

Uemura: (laughs). Originally, raw bread, but if you like bread, you can’t go wrong with the hard bread. I like Campagne these days. It’s called “country bread” with strong acidity. If Nakajima-san has a favorite bread, I would like to hear.

Nakajima: Really!? Do you have any recommended bread that impressed you?

Uemura: I’ve been repeating it quite a bit, but there is a very delicious restaurant with normal plain bagels. Somehow, it changed my concept of bagels.

Nakajima: Oh, that’s amazing …! The level at which the concept changes.

Uemura: After all, the bakery that is pursuing is completely different. Ask me if you want to know about delicious bread!

Nakajima: Pan Sherju, right?

Uemura: Of course, it’s Pan Sherju (laughs)!

Nakajima: I know nothing about Pan Sherju. What is ti exactly?

Uemura: Well, it’s a type of test, but it’s called “a person who can invite various people to the world of bread” with a deep knowledge of bread. So, roughly speaking, “a person who has knowledge of bread” (laughs).

Nakajima: It’s interesting! Please tell us various recommended breads during the rehersals (laughs). I will also check SNS!

――Finally, please tell us what you want to see in the scenes of your interactions and other things.

Uemura: At the end of the play, I think you can see the true feelings of Tei, who I play, and the conflict of Togashi as the response to that, so that’s a scene I want everyone to pay attention to, I think it’s quite the heart of the work, so please check it out!

Nakajima: Yeah. I feel that Togashi’s mindset has changed from “Hissatsu Shigotonin”(workholic), and since it’s a scene from there, I think it’s a scene where not only me but the whole story is switched on. Please watch it!