Home > Film, Idols, Interviews, J-Pop, Martial Arts, Music, Television > Exclusive Interview: Nao Nagasawa – Actress, Singer And Idol – Super Sentai And Kamen Rider Heroine

Exclusive Interview: Nao Nagasawa – Actress, Singer And Idol – Super Sentai And Kamen Rider Heroine

“I want to be in a Hollywood movie in the future.” Nao Nagasawa

Nao Nagasawa (長澤 奈央 ), best known to her fans for her roles in various Super Sentai and Kamen Rider TV shows, is someone with more than just a pretty face and a gorgeous body. She’s been a recording artist, releasing singles like “Kiss, Kiss” and “Game”, and a dancer. But it’s her skills as an actress were she excels and has even led to her winning the Best Actress Award at the Myrtle Film Festival for her English-speaking lead role in the 2009 thriller Hotel Chelsea. Her diversity as an actress has resulted in her playing both heroine and villian. She could play a distraught victim one minute, and a malicious manipulator the next – and that’s all within the same film.

Never before has Miss. Nagasawa given an interview in English… until now! Therefore, Diverse Japan is both honoured and thrilled to be able to share with you here an exclusive interview with Miss. Nagasawa as she talks about her role as Hurricane Blue in the 2002 Super Sentai series Ninpuu Sentai Hurricanger, her stint in the music industry and her time as a popular gravure idol, among other things.

Interview took place via webcam on Monday 30th, January 2012.

Interviewer: Spencer Lloyd Peet (Diverse Japan Administrator)

Okay, let’s start at the beginning. What was your childhood like, was it a happy one?

Yes, I was a happy child. I was a tomboy – everyone thought I was a boy because of my short-cut hair and I used to fight a lot (laughs).

Do you have any brothers or sisters?

I have one elder sister.  She is one year older than me.

Does she work in the entertainment business too?

No, she does not.

(Photo© Ace Crew Entertainment All rights reserved)

How did you get involved in the entertainment business, was it something you always wanted to do?

I wanted to be an actress from childhood. It all started with my profile I sent to a talent agency when I was in junior high school. My debut was in a CM (commercial).

What was the commercial for?

It was for a music CD. I was a model in the commercial.

How old were you?

I was 15 years old.

How did you get to play the role of Nanami/Hurricane Blue in Ninpuu Sentai Hurricanger, did you have to audition?

Yes.  I had to audition four times.  I had to show action moves and some posing.

How old were you at that time?

I was 17 years old.

Were there many other girls auditioning for the part?

Many other girls also auditioned for the same role, yes.

Why do you think you were chosen from all the other girls?

I don’t know, maybe because Nanami and I are the same. We are quite similar in character.

Had you had any experience in martial arts at that time?

Yes, I did shorinji (kempo). I tried to do a shorinji pose at audition, but it was no good, not powerful. Everyone saw it and made fun of me (laughs!). But they had a good impression of me.

When your character Nanami transforms into Hurrican Blue, are the action sequences performed by a stunt actor?

I did the fight scenes myself. They measured my head for helmet and my body for the costume, which was a tight fit.

Normally, the fight scenes are performed by a stunt double, aren’t they?

Normally, yes. But I was able to do them myself.

What was the most enjoyable thing about being in Hurricanger?

I gained knowledge from playing Nanami for one year, and grew up whilst playing her.

Did you enjoy reprising your role of Hurricane Blue in the cross-over episodes where you team up with other rangers in various Super Sentai shows like GoGo Sentai Boukenger Vs Super Sentai?

Oh yeah. I had not played the same character for several years, so I had a great experience playing her more grown-up.

Were you ever allowed to keep any of the props from Hurricanger, such as Natsumi’s blue jacket?

Oh, yes. I got jacket, suit and helmet. I have them on display at home.

(Photo© Ace Crew Entertainment All rights reserved)

There are many “tokusatsu” (Japanese live-action super hero-type shows such as Ninpuu Sentai Hurricanger) toys and collectables produced to tie-in with the shows.  Do you have any?

Oh, yes.  I love action figures.

How many do you have in your collection?

Maybe 30 figures… I put them all together in a line in order on a shelf.

2012 marks the 10th anniversary of Ninpuu Sentai Hurricanger.  Are there any plans this year to make a one-off Special to celebrate?

Maybe. This is very wonderful year for me.

Do you enjoy watching tokusatsu shows?

Yeah, I watch them every week, Super Sentai and Kamen Rider. I’ve been watching for about 10 years.

So you are actually a fan yourself?

Yeah, I’m fan.

Which do you like better, the Super Sentai series or Kamen Rider?

I cannot choose. Both were very important for my career. Super Sentai discovered me and Kamen Rider was important for my skills. I appreciate both and keep them close in my heart.

You gave a great performance as the character Natsumi in Ultraman Max.  Was it difficult playing a character that was both good and evil?

Yes, it was tough.

That wasn’t the only time you played a villain on screen, was it? Do you prefer to play the part of a heroine or a villain?

I enjoy playing both.

Are there any plans for you to appear in other tokusatsu shows?

I will be in Kamen Rider Fouze. My role is teacher and kickboxer [Ms. Haruka]. It was very fun to make.

The fight sequences in these shows must be very physically demanding, and in your films like Hard Revenge Milly: Bloody Battle. How do you keep your energy up?

If I have time to rest in between the fight scenes, I rest. I believe my energy force is key for the film.

Once you’ve been cast in an action film, on average, how many hours a day would you be expected to train?

Oh, it depends on the work. But usually I start working out alone and then there’s one month of training.  During that time I train all day long.

Have you ever been hurt during a fight scene?

Oh yes.  During the filming of an episode of Hurricanger, I cracked several ribs – it was very ouch. Whilst I was fighting a monster, it hit me in the jaw and I fell down and started rolling back and cracked my ribs.

Were you taken to hospital?

Yes. For two, or maybe three weeks I couldn’t do anything. Very ouch!

(Photo© Ace Crew Entertainment All rights reserved)

You were very convincing in the role of Emi in Hotel Chelsea and you had to show your character being very upset by the murder of her husband.  As an actress, did you find it difficult to cry, did you think of something sad from your own life to help you cry or did you use eye-drops for the tears?

At first it was very difficult to cry. But once I got into the character, it wasn’t so difficult.

So you cried real tears?

Yes, they were my tears.

The filming took place in the real Hotel Chelsea in New York. Was this your first time in America, what were your first impressions?

Yes it was. I liked it very much. It was very cold, but I love New York, very good place.

Both actor Anthony Laurent, who played NYPD Detective Smith and the film’s writer and producer Hiro Masuda speak highly of you in their interviews for Diverse Japan, not only of you acting skills, but also as a genuinely kind and warm person.  What was it like for you working with them and the other members of the international cast and crew?

It was a great experience for me to work with people in a different environment. I learnt a lot from the crew and working with small details.

You won an award for Best Actress at the Myrtle Film Festival for your part in the film. Since winning the award, do you feel that people take you more seriously now as an actress?

Maybe a little. But myself, I haven’t changed.

Are you able to tell us anything about the TOEI film Rebellions, which will be directed by Koichi Sakamoto (Kamen Rider W and Kamen Rider Fourze), and the character you play?

The name of the role I play in this film is Rin. She is cool and uses a gun. Even during the action scenes, I express my cool character of her.

Idol Saaya [Irie] and actress Minami Tsukui are also in the film, aren’t they? You’ve worked with Ms. Tsukui before on Geisha Assassin (aka Geisha vs Ninja).  What was it like working with her again? Do you get on well with each other?

I was really pleased to work with Miss. Tsukui again, we get along well.

Has production for the actual film started yet?

Not yet.

They’re still waiting for financial backing?

Yes

(Photo© Ace Crew Entertainment All rights reserved)

What type of character would you like to play, that you haven’t played already?

I would like to play a role in a jidaigeki (period drama) film.

Which Hollywood director would you most like to work with?

Clint Eastwood. He’s a great actor and director. He makes a lot of great films. I respect him very much.

You also do a lot of theatre work. What skills as an actress do you bring to the stage that you don’t, or can’t particularly use on film? Is there much of a difference for you between performing on film and performing on stage?

On stage, I use my whole body to express my feelings. But on film I try to play it more natural.

Which is more enjoyable for you as an actress, film or theatre?

I prefer film. I want to be in a Hollywood movie in the future.

Would you like to perform on Broadway as well?

Yeah, sure.

Many people also know you through your previous work as a gravure idol. At what age did you start?

I was 17-years-old – same time as when I started being in Hurricanger.

As a gravure idol you were filmed and photographed in many beautiful locations. Did you ever come to Europe for a photo shoot?

I’ve been to Spain and Paris for a weekly magazine photo shoot.

Were your parents very supportive of you during your time as a gravure idol?

In the beginning my parents were not very supportive, but then they changed.

What did you learn most from being a gravure idol?

I learnt how to express myself in the videos and photo books.

Will you be releasing any more photo books soon?

Ah, sorry no photo book.

Have you now stopped being a gravure idol?

Yes. I have stopped.

How and why did you get involved in the music industry?

My character Nanami in Hurricanger was a singer so I sang in some episodes. After the series ended, I continued to make music for a while.

Was the video for the song “Game” filmed in a real church?

Yes it was filmed in Japan in a real church. It was very beautiful.

Can you play an instrument?

I’ve started to play guitar now.

Will you be making any more music in the future?

I would like to, maybe.

(Photo© Ace Crew Entertainment All rights reserved)

What projects do you have coming up in 2012?

Now I am making TV drama. From March I will be going to Taiwan, shooting a movie. And in April I will go back to Japan to do stage.

What do you like to do in your spare time, do you have any hobbies?

I like travel and calligraphy. I have a license for calligraphy – I am professional, grade 5.

When did you start learning calligraphy?

From childhood, I studied in school.

Where would your ideal date be, somewhere romantic or somewhere fun?

I love both.

How would you describe yourself?

I am an optimistic person.

Are you someone who is ambitious and makes plans for the future, or do you take life as it comes?

I make plans, but it is not easy to keep them. So I accept things faced to me.

Are you aware that you have fans outside Asia, does this surprise you?

Yeah, because I didn’t know about it. But it is so lovely.

What message do you have for your fans?

I make a film in Taiwan now, so maybe you watch me in the future.

Before we conclude, is there anything you would like to ask?

Oh, yes. Do many people in England watch Super Sentai and Kamen Rider?

Yes they do, and people in other parts of Europe and of course America. There are many websites in English dedicated to the shows, and forums where fans come to discuss episodes and their favourite characters. You are often mentioned.

Oh, thank you very much.

Thank you, it’s been a real pleasure talking with you.

Thank you. I enjoyed it very much.

Nao Nagasawa’s Official Website and blog.

Special thanks to Ace Crew Entertainment.

See Nao Nagasawa in the critically acclaimed film Hotel Chelsea. Writer and producer, Hiro Masuda, has made Hotel Chelsea free to watch online in order to help raise money for the Ashinaga Education Fund to support orphans of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in March 2011.

Please note: This interview is protected by copyright and cannot be republished without permission.

Related Posts:

Film Review: Hotel Chelsea – Free To Watch Online For Japan Relief

Interview: Hiro Masuda – Actor, Writer And Film Producer

Interview: Anthony Laurent – NYPD Detective Smith In “Hotel Chelsea” – A Film By Hiro Masuda

DVD Review: Gravure Idol Saaya Irie: “17 – Sexy” & “17 – Pure”

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  1. Jesus Ayala
    February 5, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    Great interview! And…First!

    Like

  2. February 5, 2012 at 10:21 pm

    Jesus Ayala :

    Great interview! And…First!

    Thank you for your kind comment. I’m glad you enjoyed it. Miss. Nagasawa is a genuinely lovely person!

    Like

  3. February 6, 2012 at 12:55 am

    Such a great interview. I Had no idea Ms. Nagasawa was an actual fan of the KR/SS series. Wonderful work on Hotel Chelsea. Great ending twist. Hurricanger is my personal favorite SS series. It was cool to know she did most of her own in suit work. I hope you return to America, to do more movies.

    – Your fan from New York City.

    Like

    • February 6, 2012 at 10:07 am

      The fact that Nao is a genuine fan of tokusatsu shows was a suprised to me too. Yes, Hotel Chelsea is a great film – worth watching a second, and even a third time as you will begin to see the clues as to who the real murderer was that you may have missed on first viewing.

      Like

  4. Phil
    February 6, 2012 at 3:35 am

    That was really interesting, i had no idea she did some of the fights in Hurricanger herself, but it makes sense, the actors had to be there in costume for the open visor scenes, so why not let them do stuff that is not too dangerous themselves?

    Good Interview, I learned a lot about Miss Nagasawa and her work, I’ve only seen her in Super Sentai and Kamen Rider and listened to her music. Now I want to see some of the other things she did. :-)

    Like

    • February 6, 2012 at 10:14 am

      Finding out that Nao did her own fight scenes was a real scoop! And I was pleased to learn that she also got to keep her costume. I recommend you see the film “Hard Revenge Milly: Bloody Battle” (part two of “Hard Revenge Milly”). Nao gives an admirable performance – it’s a great action film!

      Like

  5. February 6, 2012 at 3:43 am

    I had no idea she did her own stunts… amazing.

    Like

  6. Isamu
    February 6, 2012 at 4:50 am

    I think I’m in love

    Like

    • February 6, 2012 at 10:15 am

      I can’t say I blame you – it’s easily done! :)

      Like

  7. February 6, 2012 at 7:02 pm

    It’s great to see such an extensive English interview with Nao!

    I have been supporting her since Hurricanger debuted. She remains one of my favourite actresses. I think 90% of my blog over the past few years have been to do with her career. (^_^);

    Like

  8. February 6, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    Thanks for your comment. The interview actually lasted for an hour. Great to hear you’ve dedicated so much of your blog space to her. :)

    Like

  9. Ricardo
    February 6, 2012 at 11:05 pm

    Great interview, congratulations. Ms. Nagasawa is the most prolific tokusatsu´s actress of this century. She´s a very charismatic and beautiful woman..

    Like

  10. ryouga
    February 6, 2012 at 11:50 pm

    Not bad apart from the usual generalisation that England is the UK lol(or is that just a bad translation)

    Like

    • February 7, 2012 at 10:32 am

      Actually, I didn’t refer to England as being the UK, but I can see how suggesting the UK is a country can cause some confusion and some offense as well as an unnecessary debate. Therefore, I have slightly rephrased the question without it affecting Nao’s answer.

      Like

  11. February 7, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    Great interview. It was interesting to get to know more about Nao. I always knew she was a big tokusatsu fan. There’s youtube videos of her Hurricaneger toy collection, and I don’t think she would guest star on toku shows so many times if she didn’t love it. I also checked out Hotel Chelsea last night after reading this interview. Nao was great. Her English was a little hard to understand at times because of her accent, but she still did really good. I wish Nao well and hope she gets a big role sometime in the future.

    Like

  12. February 8, 2012 at 9:32 am

    Mr. Smith :

    Great interview. It was interesting to get to know more about Nao. There’s youtube videos of her Hurricaneger toy collection. I also checked out Hotel Chelsea last night after reading this interview. Nao was great. Her English was a little hard to understand at times because of her accent, but she still did really good.

    Thanks for your kind comment. I’d like to see Nao’s collection. Could you posssibly send me the youtube links.

    I’m glad Hotel Chelsea is being seen by more people due to this interview. If you haven’t already, you can read Diverse Japan’s interview with the film’s writer and producer (and actor), Hiro Masuda and leading man Anthony Laurent. Both talk about working with Nao.

    http://diversejapan.com/2011/10/30/interview-hiro-masuda-actor-writer-and-film-producer/

    http://diversejapan.com/2011/12/23/interview-anthony-laurent-nypd-detective-smith-in-hotel-chelsea-a-film-by-hiro-masuda/

    Like

    • February 9, 2012 at 4:58 am

      I actually have only one link to Nao’s Hurricaneger collection, but it’s still a delight to see. =)

      Like

      • February 9, 2012 at 9:43 am

        Ah, Yes… I have seen that clip. No doubt, her collection continues to expand. Thanks for posting!

        Like

  13. Watari Goro
    February 11, 2012 at 5:03 am

    Awesome interview!
    Great information and nice that you got to do the interview in English! Good practice for Nao-san, too!

    I’m glad I found your site, via Facebook. Hope we meet, one day! Come out to Hawaii, sometime. Tokusatsu is quite popular here, too! Maybe I can tell you about my experiences with Ban Daisuke (Kikaider, Battle Fever J, Inazuman), the late Ikeda Shunsuke (Kikaida 01, Ultraman, and Kinkyu Shirei 10-4 10-10) and Miyauchi Hiroshi (Kamen Rider V3, GoRanger), sometime. Aloha!

    Like

    • February 13, 2012 at 3:51 pm

      Thanks for your comment, Watari Goro. When I visit Hawaii I will surely look you up :) I’d love to hear any article ideas you may have for Diverse Japan regarding tokusatsu etc… Just email them through.

      Like

  14. Shan E Din
    February 12, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    Hi, firstly, that was an awesome interview, was wondering if you actually recorded the webcam session and if that was possible to upload?!

    Then someone brought up the UK/England thing. They should have read properly that it was Nao’s question to the admin. If she was being specific to England or the British provinces isn’t made clear, but even where I was born and always lived in England, I rarely refer to myself as English/from England but prefer British/from UK, and I don’t make it a big deal. Where we have some political unrest about separatism atm doesn’t make things easier, but I don’t think this is the place to discuss that!

    Though yeah, we are big fans of toku, and as part of the UKR fanbase (where we do have scottish/welsh members lol, not sure on Irish though!), most here are really PR fams, and some like myself also crossed over to SS…

    Like

    • February 12, 2012 at 10:50 pm

      Thanks for your comment, Shan E Din, I really appreciate all the positive feedback this interview has received and I can assure you Miss. Nagasawa and her management are very pleased and grateful to everyone who supports her.

      The interview was recorded – lasted for just over one hour – but there are no plans at this time to make it available for public viewing. It was recorded to be kept on record and to aid in the transcription.

      I’m sure when Miss. Nagasawa mentioned England she was referring to the UK and didn’t intentionally leave out Scotland, Ireland and Wales.

      Like

  15. Nick
    February 13, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    Not just England and America, I an Australian love toku too :3

    Like

  16. Aaron
    January 29, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    WOW Nao Nagasawa is so cute and I wonder what her favourite Pokemon is. I’ve seen every episode of Ninpu Sentai Hurricanger including their team ups with Gaoranger and Abaranger which is real epic. I’d love to one day meet up with Nao Nagasawa one day because they’ll be cute and so awesome. What do you guys think?

    Like

  17. Nisar
    September 15, 2013 at 6:59 am

    Respected excelliency Nao Nagasawa you are very great thinks mind thank you (Arigatougozaimus) gumbtekudasai

    Like

  18. Jay
    April 17, 2014 at 11:51 am

    Hey are using WordPress for your site platform?

    I’m new to the blog world but I’m trying to get started and set up my
    own. Do youu need any html coding expertise to make your own blog?
    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    Like

    • April 23, 2014 at 11:18 am

      Hi Jay. No you don’t need to know any html to run a blog on WordPress.com (you do for WordPress.org). But the option is there for anyone to use or learn from for future posts. You can type straight into the post and upload/add photos if you wish. It’s pretty straight forward, really. Hope this helps. Play about with it for awhile to get used to it. Have fun!

      Like

  1. February 5, 2012 at 3:26 pm
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