Why Japanese Stage Plays Can Sometimes Launch an Actor’s Career Better Than a Movie


Whether choosing a voice actor for a CD, or casting just the right actor for a stage play, there’s no denying that there’s a long list of talented Japanese stage actors. While not all of today’s popular actors have gotten their start in stage plays, it isn’t unusual for an actor to attract the majority of their fanbase through their stage work. Actors like Kimeru and Shirota Yuu grew a very strong fanbase after being cast in their respective stage roles that led to huge careers spanning decades. Whether you found your favorite Japanese actor or actress through a stage play, movie or television series, there might be a few reasons why their stage roles really set off their careers.

A Popular Stage Play Draws in a New Fanbase

When an anime fan is looking to buy a Japanese DVD, going for a live action Japanese stage play might not be the first thing that pops into their mind. However, the more savvy the fan, the sooner they will realize that it’s not uncommon for a popular anime or manga series to get its own stage play these days. Because of this, it introduces fans to a whole new range of actors that they have probably never heard of before. If an anime fan watches a stage play based off of their favorite show, it’s not uncommon for them to fall in love with the actor that plays their favorite character. They might recognize immediately how talented the actor is, and it will get them better acquainted with their work. If an actor becomes a fan favorite, it’s not uncommon that he might quickly start getting cast in other stage plays or drama CDs. When this happens, it only exposes the actor to even more fans and can get them to land even better roles in the future.

Stage Plays Can Make Fans Want to Follow an Actor’s Work

When a stage actor becomes popular enough and develops a big enough fanbase, it’s not uncommon for fans to follow this actor along in whatever work they might do in the future. When a fan has a favorite actor, it can lead them to buy a Japanese DVD of a movie they were in or go to see them at the theater, even if they don’t really know much about the movie. Because of this, it can really launch an actor’s career and cause them to land even more roles in the future, all because they have a fanbase big enough to let casting directors know that they are in demand. This gives actors a chance to really stretch their wings and try out for roles that they otherwise might not have been considered for.

Japanese Actors Can Grow a Huge Fanbase Overseas

Depending on how popular the anime and stage play is, it’s not uncommon for a Japanese actor to develop a huge fanbase overseas. It’s not different than when a song from another country suddenly become a number one hit all the way across the world (anyone remember this gem?). If a Japanese actor gets a big enough fanbase in another country, they could very well become just as popular in another country as they are in Japan. For example, Miura Ryosuke has played to sold-out venues in London and Shirota Yuu has had CDs produced by Backstreet boys, while many Japanese actors considered “famous” in Japan (Satou Takeru, Mnever cross the ocean. No matter what their talent, many Japanese stage plays have launched careers spanning decades and multiple countries.

This post was written by an Anime on Stage community member and does not reflect the views of Anime on Stage. Want to write for us? .

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