Some individuals within the AMP community, including the writer of this passage, hold a special admiration for Kiyohiko Shibukawa. He is an actor with great versatility, effortlessly transitioning between roles with remarkable success. Born on July 2, 1974, Shibukawa initially pursued a career as a fashion model under the name Kee. However, he made his acting debut on television in 1998 with “Twinkle” and soon after landed his first film role in Toshiaki Toyoda’s “Pornostar.” He has since collaborated with directors such as Takashi Miike, Ryusuke Hamaguchi, and Eiji Uchida, often appearing in multiple projects with them. With over 160 credits to his name, Shibukawa has played mostly supporting roles, but he still manages to shine brightly, particularly to those with a discerning eye.
Without any delay, here are ten of his most memorable acts, in no particular sequence, although we must admit that the top spot, where he takes on the role of the main character, is the one we truly love here on AMP.
The film “Lowlife Love” was released in 2015 and directed by Eiji Uchida.
Tetsuo (Kiyohiko Shibukawa) made his first and only film, “The Saw,” years ago. It has gained underground popularity over time. He continues to rely on the success of this film, spending his days discussing potential future projects with friends and family while also taking advantage of them. Despite his mother’s impatience with his lack of drive and his habit of bringing home actresses for sexual encounters, he has amassed a devoted fan base.
“Lowlife Love” is a film about the making of films, about dreams and ambitions as well as what happens if this passion is put to the test of reality. Featuring strong performances, especially Kiyohiko Shibukawa in the lead, and a dry sense of humour in its script, “Lowlife Love” manages to hit the right tone when it comes to portraying an industry whose reality often challenges the dreams of some many of us. (Rouven Linnarz)
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2. Sanka: Nomads of the Mountain (2022) by Ryohei Sasatani
Shibukawa portrays Sozo, a Sanka, who struggles to survive in the mountains with his daughter Hana and her grandmother. Together, the four characters fill the void that Norio had been feeling. The majority of the story revolves around the interactions between these four characters, which are greatly enhanced by the exceptional performances of Rairu Sugita as Norio, Kiyohiko Shibukawa as Shozo, and Naru Komukai as Hana. Their chemistry is also showcased well in their roles.
3. Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy (2021) by Ryusuke Hamaguchi
The second episode, titled “Door Wide Open,” focuses on Segawa, a 50-year-old college professor who recently won the Akutagawa Award, Sasaki, a former student of his who did not graduate, and Nao, an older college student who is involved in a friends-with-benefits relationship with Sasaki. Nao, driven by spite, convinces Sasaki to seduce Segawa in order to frame him within the faculty. Nao succeeds in seducing Segawa by reading him the most erotic passages from his book, but he insists on keeping the door to his office open, a behavior he also displayed during his previous heated encounter with Sasaki.
The chemistry of Kiyohiko Shibukawa as Segawa, who gives an unusually measured but quite impactful performance, and Katsuki Mori as Tsugumi, emerges as one of the best traits in a narrative, that again, has all the protagonists speaking quite sincerely about their thoughts and feelings.
Kingdom 2: Far And Away (2022) written by Shinsuke Sato.
Kiyohiko Shibukawa delivers a standout portrayal as Bakukoshin, a bumbling general whose poor choices pave the way for heroic actions. He adeptly balances both comedic and dramatic elements in his performance, showcasing his strengths in this style.
5. The Day of Destruction (2020) by Toshiaki Toyoda
A sequence of pictures depicting Tokyo, including the infamous Diamond Princess cruise ship, is shown before returning to the country. Teppei, who received training in Shugendo from head monk and herbalist Jiro, discovers and rescues ascetic Kenichi who was attempting to mummify himself as a sacrifice to stop the spread of the virus brought by a monster. As the movie progresses, we learn more about Kenichi’s actions and the focus shifts to his sister who died from the pandemic shortly before the Olympic Games. Eventually, Kenichi is taken over by a monster and Jiro instructs Teppei to transform into a ritualistic wolf in order to remove it.
The performances are top-notch as Toyoda successfully secures a talented cast for the film, despite its limited budget. Kiyohiko Shibukawa stands out as Teppei with his effortlessly cool demeanor, but it is Mahi To The People (also known as the frontman of Geran) as Kenichi who steals the spotlight with his exceptional acting and appearance, especially his unique hairstyle.
6. Another World (2018) by Junji Sakamoto
The drama by Junji Sakamoto explores themes of friendship, home, and redemption, and features impressive acting. Shibukawa portrays Mitsuhiko, who decides to remain in his hometown and open an auto repair business. His sensitive and emotive performance captures the struggles of a man who had to make difficult choices in his life and desperately holds onto memories of his past friendships with two others.
7. Enokida Trading Post (2018) by Ken Iizuka
Kiyohiko Shibukawa is the essential element that holds together a film that would otherwise feel a bit disjointed. He, like Ryuhei Matsuda, is one of those actors who consistently play themselves, and we adore them for it. His innate charm and effortless coolness make him a natural leader and a captivating presence, which the subtle and naturalistic direction complements. “Enokida Trading Post” is a tender and bittersweet declaration of love for second chances, as well as a portrayal of lost souls who support each other. It will win over audiences with its infectious positive outlook on life, even when faced with uncertainty and impending doom. (Adriana Rosati)
8. The Chrysanthemum and the Guillotine (2018) by Takahisa Zeze
The two protagonists of this arc are the rookies in one of the sumo groups who tour the country, headed by Tamasaburo Iwaki, putting up shows in order to earn their living during the recession that followed the earthquake.
Kiyohiko Shibukawa portrays Tamasaburo Iwaki exceptionally as the “protector” of these women and symbolically, their human rights. However, Zeze emphasizes that his actions were insufficient in the specific circumstances.
The film “Room Laundering” was released in 2018 and directed by Kenji Katagiri.
Kimihiko, a punk rocker played by the always cheerful Kiyohiko Shibukawa, initially lacked the confidence to share his demo tape with a record label and even attempted suicide by cutting his wrists in the bathtub. Shibukawa shines in a role that appears to have been tailor-made for him, though his character’s brush with death seems to have lessened his suicidal tendencies (according to Andrew Thayne).
The film “Punk Samurai Slash Down” was directed by Gakuryu Ishii in 2018.
Gakuryu Ishii directs a film adaptation of Ko Machida’s novel, which was notoriously considered “unfilmable.” The movie is full of unbelievable scenes and eccentric characters, with Kiyohiko Shibukawa portraying Egere no Konji, a legendary spy who is not very skilled, working for chief retainer Tatewaki Naito. He faces off against con-man Junoshin Kake, played by Go Ayano. Shibukawa showcases a more lively and humorous aspect of his acting in this role. (Rhythm Zaveri)
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