Kimura Fumino is an actress who grabbed my attention ever since I watched Mother Game earlier this spring. She has quite a number of dramas/movies under her belt, in fact, it is a pretty huge catalogue. I first noticed her in Osozaki no Himawari (Ikuta Toma, Maki Yoko). After that, she just sort of slipped past my radar and there was also a period of time when I was busy with my post-graduate research so I didn’t watch as many dramas as I do now or actually take the time to really recognize or remember actors/actresses. Now I’m getting back into dramaland.
I really liked her in Mother Game and left quite a heavy impression on me. I started following her career rather closely (thanks to a bunch of Japanese fans on instagram for latest news etc). So I thought of whipping up a post to cover briefly about her career (dramas, movies, CMs), private life, what kind of public image she has and her thoughts on marriage (it’s not much but quite a surprising reply).
She’s been called a late bloomer among fans and media which I agree with. After all, it took her 10 years to get a true lead role (Mother Game, 2015). But it’s never too late. Year 2015, as I’ve mentioned in my previous post, is definitely her breakthrough year. 4 dramas consecutively in every season. Zeni no Sensou (supporting role), Mother Game (lead role), Ishi no Mayu (lead role) and the ongoing Siren (lead role). Personally, I think this year’s been impressive for her.
While there’s no news yet about her next drama (probably an overkill for her to continuously act in dramas in every season), we can expect to see her in fantasy taiga NHK drama (2016) alongside Haruka Ayase and Tatsuya Fujiwara) which will broadcast over 3 years, 22 episodes in total. You can read more here. She’ll also appear in movies Cross (Koide Keisuke) and Scanner. Other two movies which I’m personally quite excited to watch are none other than Initiation Love (Matsuda Shota, Maeda Atsuko) and Piece of Cake (Ayano Go, Tabe Mikako, Matsuzaka Tori).
For this next segment, I’ll briefly write what I know from articles, news and interviews that I came across. The overall impression I got is that she loves cooking, has a surprising otaku side (I’ll explain in more detail later) and likes to travel alone.
LOVES COOKING & APPRECIATION OF UTSUWA (器)
Let’s take a look at her Instagram. If this doesn’t look convincing enough, then I don’t know what else to say lol
She doesn’t cook a lot of western food (mentioned in the recent Nepurigu show) and leans more towards Japanese cuisine. If you noticed, she pays particular attention to the art of arrangement and bowls/plates. In Japanese, they’re called 器 (utsuwa) which refers to bowls/vessels/utensils. This is where we move to her otaku side that I mentioned earlier. There was an episode of Sakurai Ariyoshi Abunai Yakai where she was guest alongside Oshima Yuko earlier this year (I think for Zeni no Sensou promotion).
The quality of the show I had wasn’t HQ so forgive the LQ screencaps. Just giving a rough idea.
While I found Oshima Yuko’s smelly stuff and butt fetishes really hilarious, I was kinda surprised to see how passionate Fumino is towards these utsuwa. In her segment, she went to a Japanese traditional cuisine restaurant which not only serves seasonal food but also uses artistic utsuwa. I was impressed by how she could talk nonstop about her interpretation of the bowls/utensils and I mean, normally, we wouldn’t really care about them right? We just want to eat but she could go on and on like a narrator, which was hilarious.
She friggin noticed a crooked corner of a valuable utsuwa and said “It gives off a sense of hand-made ustuwa and you can imagine the person’s focus and anxiety while creating the utsuwa. That in turn, makes the food more delicious.” It’s a deep expression and normal people might not really feel the same, but I do find myself understanding what she meant lol, it does make me appreciate the food more in a way or is it the ustuwa? Even the owner of the restaurant was impressed by her philosophical interpretation of utsuwa based on their appearance. She has more than 100 different ustuwa in her house, this was back in Spring 2015, I can only imagine it has increased by now.
She also has two pet cats.
LIKES TO TRAVEL ALONE AMONG OTHER HOBBIES
In other words, it’s called hitoritabi (一人旅). When she has a holiday, she’ll either stay home (cleaning etc) or go traveling. If she’s made up her mind to travel, she’ll make a plan and most of the time, it’ll be the furthest place she can travel in the daytrip. Rather than going to the destination, she loves to ride trains too. So the journey or the process of reaching the destination is her favorite part. She literally used the word idou (移動) which means movement. Often times, when she revealed that she likes to travel alone, most of the hosts or interviewers were quite surprised. Is it very rare for Japanese to travel alone or what? I don’t find it very shocking but I can understand that being a woman alone, it might not be very safe (though Japan is safer than my own country). I’m actually more surprised by the part that she likes to ride trains more than traveling alone xD
She can watch movies, eat yakiniku and sing karaoke alone too. So I guess she’s pretty independent. Other hobbies include kendo (I’d love to see her play a character that does kendo), skiing and also horse riding.
10 YEARS CAREER
Speaking about her career, looking back, it wasn’t all rosy. During the first half of her career, she couldn’t earn enough and worked part-time jobs including family restaurants, handing out flyers, receptionist at dental clinics and more. In 2009, she had to go on a short hiatus because of atopic dermatitis (eczema). The following year, she slowly resumed activities. In recent years after she changed label to Tristone Entertaintment (Oguri Shun, Ayano Go etc), her career began to really take off. She began to get CM offers (as in the first half of 2015, she has 8 CM contracts) and more exposure to the public.
Born in Tokyo, October 19th 1987, she’s a bright, lively child with a younger brother of 2 years. Climbing trees and playing with her brother’s friends. She likes animals and once wanted to be a veterinarian or a dolphin trainer. During her teenage life, she went through a rebellious stage and suddenly couldn’t adapt to her surroundings. (This is just a rumor as I haven’t seen an official news about it. It seems she’s raised in a single mother family, no mention of the father).
She seems like a tomboy to me when she’s young and I’m curious how her brother looks like now though.
PUBLIC IMAGE VS REAL LIFE
So there was this recent show (short one) but quite informational as we get a look into her characteristics and the public’s assumption of her image. Divided into High and Low. I think High refers to positive impressions and Low is negative.
Active and likely to travel around the world alone
– This is correct. She’s the type to travel once she set her mind to it. There was once she traveled all the way to the northernmost Japan just for the reason of wanting to go the northernmost Japan. That was where the hostess asked what her purpose was to go all the way there. So she replied “I just wanted to come to the most northern place in Japan.”
Judging from instagram, good in cooking, gives a good wife & family image
-The guy even mentioned she’s the type he’d like to marry. After hearing that, all Fumino could say was “That’s kinda embarrassing” and blushed. When asked what she’s cooking recently, she went on to explain she cooks chestnut rice etc. Then the host asked her “So you can be a daughter-in-law anytime?” She replied “Yeah, it seems the only preparation I’ve managed is to be a housewife” before they burst into laughter.
Before we move on to the LOW, what does she think of people’s impression of her?
-Strict/stern towards others. This is because she’s been playing a lot of cool and cold roles so she thinks people might have this impression of her in real life. So when asked whether that’s true, “If I think it’s the right thing to do and feel responsible to tell others about it, I’ll find the right timing to tell them. I’ll only tell them after giving a lot of thought about it.”
The girls gave an example: Let’s say she’s cleaning in the house and suddenly, she accidentally vacuumed the presents given by friends and she’d say “Ah…I’ll just take it out later.” kind of image (LOL)
-She agreed with this. Although it wasn’t about the friend’s present, she gave another example. When she focuses her mind into doing something like cleaning the house or room, even if there’s a pin that fell onto the floor, she won’t be concerned about it. She then pretended to talk to the pin “I’m not going to care about you now.” And I guess she’ll only pick the pin up after she finished cleaning?
Another pair of girls gave an example “She looks like the kind that would use simple words in mails like “Yes” “No”. Regarding this, Fumino said sometimes she tends to use emoji instead even if it’s better to right a full sentence. For example, she’d just put a simple ‘OK’.
So when the host exclaimed that she’s a really candid person then Fumino said “My feminism is really low, right?” LOL
Then another guy said unexpectedly,she might be bad-mannered or have rough attitude. For example, when eating udon, she might eat them noisily and if it’s curry udon, the soup might be all over her clothes.
-Correct! Although she tries her best to eat properly (especially noodles) and more feminine-like but she still thinks it’s hard.
The girls gave an example: When she’s reading script or something and hit herself on the corners of chairs or tables, she’d exclaimed in pain.
-Correct! She’s pretty clumsy. Recently she was building a cat tower for her cats and bumped her arm. However, because she was really focused on building it, she totally didn’t realize the pain and only afterwards, she saw the huge bruise.
So I guess she has a very focused mind and when she’s focused, nothing else can bother her. Not even pain.
That ends this segment.
Host asked more questions:
Speaking of your ongoing drama, Siren, what do you think of having a relationship with someone in the same workplace?
-Although keeping it a secret is kinda fun but it’s also risky because if it gets exposed, then there might be department changes etc. Plus it will affect our lifestyle too. If I’m careless and the secret’s out, then I’m going to lose my job too. It’s hard not to be careless.
Host: That’s true! You’re very level-headed/realistic.
When asked about her image on relationship.
The girl’s example: Like if she wants to meet the guy she’s dating, she might end up saying “I don’t wanna meet you~”.
-Fumino replied that even though she wants to meet the guy, she’d think about whether he’s busy or not. Also she’s the type that will wait for the other person to contact her first.
The big question
Around what age would you want to get married?
-Ah! I want to get married right away. Afterall, I’ve been grooming myself and prepared to be a housewife. So I can straightaway put it into practice.
Unexpected answer and she looked like she was half joking about it. I always thought she might be the type to put her career first but I guess this isn’t bad since she looks like she’s gonna make a good wife anyway lol
But I guess she’s pretty private about her life. There was once she posted a photo on Insta of a street in Tokyo, I think she was trying to show the view of the sunshine ray or something and after just an hour or so, she deleted it right away. A fan speculated that maybe it was because fans were replying and knew where she was, they recognized the place.
We also don’t hear any dating rumors or scandals as far as I know. I find this quite surprising because at some point, there’s bound to be something but it’s so far ‘untainted’ if I were to describe it. No rumors at all with any of her co-stars. In a way, I see this as a good thing, I like actors/actresses with clean images (of course, we never know what’s going on behind in their real lives).
But so far, Fumino seems like a very realistic person, down to earth, humble, has a knack for cooking and independent with an otaku side of hers when it comes to utsuwa. She’s a bit of a loner too and has practically no problem traveling or other things alone (mentioned this at Viking! show recently). She’s also the type to not trouble others if possible. In the A-Studio show few years back, the host heard from her makeup artist that she lost one pair of her socks and she’d just return home without it. The host asked why didn’t she look for it. She said because if she started searching then the staffs would waste time fussing over it and couldn’t go back so she didn’t feel the need for that. She added that it was just a sock and she has extra at home. Once, she dropped her phone at a station and she was running out of time to return and retrieve it because of work. So she left a contact number to the train station officer and asked their help to inform her if they find it. Luckily, she got her phone back but received a mild scolding by her manager (I would totally panic and search for the phone though lol!)
Let’s take a look at some of her CMs by the way since I’m at it, just to make this post more thorough.
Kirin Beer / Suntory spirits / Zojirushi / Nisshin Cisco / Nivea Kao / East Japan Railway / Morinaga Milk Industry / Recruit
Another addition is Daihatsu CAST X STYLE which was announced few months ago.
I’ll just show some of my favorite ones.
Reason: I like this kind of simple but refreshing style the most. Kinda reminds me of her role in Mother Game. Plus she looked really happy with the ice-cream. I’m gonna try it the next time I’m in Japan.
Reason: Again for the simplicity and her smiles.
JR East/Ikuze, Tohoku
There’s quite a lot of versions, they’re all on yt.
This was just released yesterday as part of the Winter series 2015.
The recent Daihatsu CAST x STYLE CMs
-The drama Siren also did a collaboration. There’ll be two versions of the CM, one is already out, another will be released on November 18th.
Just gonna share some scans I found on the net. Some of my favourites come from her recent trip to Switzerland. This was taken during the Ishi no Mayu period so she still has her bangs (longer version).
In Red October issue
Love this coat so much!
She’s also advertising for a bunch of brands during the trip.
Another scan I found from instagram
Tokyo-calendar (Nov issue)