‘Galileo’ duo reunited for latest movie release

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Ko Shibasaki, left, and Masaharu Fukuyama

The brilliant physicist Manabu Yukawa has made a comeback on the big screen!

“Chinmoku no Parade” (“Silent Parade”) is the first film in nine years in Keigo Higashino’s hugely popular “Galileo” mystery series, and it hit theaters on Sept. 16.

Yukawa, the protagonist of the mystery novel series, goes by the nickname Galileo. The series features 10 books, including the latest work, “Tomei na Rasen” (A transparent spiral), and more than 15 million copies have been printed.

The Galileo series has also been turned into a made-for-TV drama, with season one broadcast in 2007, followed by a second season in 2013.

“Silent Parade” is the third installment in the series to be made into a film, after “Yogisha X no Kenshin” (“Suspect X”) in 2008 and “Manatsu no Hoteishiki” (“Midsummer’s Equation”) in 2013.

The latest film is based on the novel “Chinmoku no Parade,” a 2018 release. The story is centered on Saori Namiki, a student and an aspiring singer who goes missing.

Her body is ultimately discovered several years later and police arrest Kanichi Hasunuma as a suspect. But he clams up during questioning and is subsequently released.

Hasunuma was also acquitted in the past — because he kept silent — in a murder case involving a girl. Yukawa’s best friend, police detective Shunpei Kusanagi, was the lead investigator in that case.

However, the plot thickens when Hasunuma is murdered during a parade at a local summer festival when he returns to the town where the victim Saori used to live.

Every person who might have a motive to kill him has an alibi, including the members of Saori’s family, her boyfriend and the people of the local shopping district. They all remain silent.

Yukawa jumps in to help solve the mystery with Kusanagi and his young partner Kaoru Utsumi. Can they uncover the truth?

Yukawa and Utsumi are portrayed by Masaharu Fukuyama and Ko Shibasaki, both of whom played the same characters in the movie and TV adaptations.

Fukuyama made his debut as a singer-songwriter in 1990, releasing a series of hit songs such as “Sakurazaka” and “Hello.” He has been successful as an actor, too, starring in the film “Soshite Chichi ni Naru” (“Like Father, Like Son”) and many other works.

Shibasaki has appeared in many films, including “Battle Royale,” and has also had hit songs like “Tsuki no Shizuku.”

The two artists recently spoke to The Yomiuri Shimbun about the film and the series as a whole.

Masaharu Fukuyama as Manabu Yukawa in the film “Chinmoku no Parade” (“Silent Parade”)

The Yomiuri Shimbun: This is your first “Galileo” project in nine years.

Fukuyama: I felt like I might receive an offer for a film or a drama when the book came out [in 2018], so I was kind of getting ready and was very much looking forward to it.

Shibasaki: I used to think that when you’re young, you must fulfill the role for the work in question. But, as time has gone by, I simply have the desire to explore Kaoru [Utsumi] — who confronts Prof. Yukawa — on a deeper level. And I figured I might be able to play the part while thinking about the depth of the human psyche, something I couldn’t express before, together with Kaoru’s growth. I wanted to be part of the project and that was my approach.

Q: What was it like to be on the “Galileo” set for the first time in a long while?

Shibasaki: This time, there’s a scene in which Kaoru finds Prof. Yukawa and smiles at him. That says it all. The affection, the feeling of “long time no see” and being happy to see him again — the various emotions make me feel upbeat. I thought it would help draw in the audience if we continued shooting in this way.

Fukuyama: I can’t forget observing Ms. Shibasaki when I was behind her on the first day of the shoot — how anxious she looked as she left. She has appeared in many epics such as [NHK’s] annual period drama series, and then she came to “Galileo.”

It comforts me to know that she is continuing to work in acting while maintaining the same sensitivity and subtlety as in the past. I think she’s wonderful with her acting style. Her eyes and physical movements take over, as if the character Utsumi is naturally within her.

Ko Shibasaki portrays Kaoru Utsumi.

Q: What are the must-see scenes in the new film?

Shibasaki: In “Suspect X,” there was a story about Prof. Yukawa’s best friend, who tormented the professor. This time, too, Prof. Yukawa’s humane side and affection are on display through his relationship with Kusanagi (played by Kazuki Kitamura).

There’s a curious dynamic among the three — Prof. Yukawa, Mr. Kusanagi and Kaoru — that expresses changes over time, from them growing older with experiences and knowledge. So I thought people would be able to relax and enjoy the film.

Fukuyama: I agree. It’s as if a once-new house has been cared for with affection by everyone and has become a dwelling that has certainly aged with charm. We have this “Silent Parade” thanks to the entire Galileo catalog, so there’s this emotion that naturally comes out.

Shibasaki: When I read the original novel, I wondered how they would describe all those characters in a limited amount of time. Thanks to that feeling of relief, it has been possible to put a spotlight on every character. Even people who have never seen the series before should be able to instantly recognize that the characters get along very well, I think.

Q: The theme song, “Hitotsuboshi” (A lone star), was written by Mr. Fukuyama for the film. It’s played by the group Koh+, which you got back together after nine years, and Ms. Shibasaki performs the vocals.

Fukuyama: When she’s in her musical mode, Ms. Shibasaki’s voice becomes naked, so to speak. Unlike in a play, the voice is not that of someone acting, but then neither is it the controlled voice of a singer who only specializes in singing. People who can produce that kind of “in-between” voice are very rare. Probably only Ms. Shibasaki and myself. (laughs)

Shibasaki: No way. (laughs) To me, Mr. Fukuyama is a producer and director when it comes to music. Singing is a means of expressing myself, so it becomes naked, or something that ends up revealing me. But Mr. Fukuyama helps me make the most of the part I put my emotions into when I sing, and he also encourages me to add more emphasis on my intonation. I always make new discoveries when he’s around. He’s an actor, too, so he understands me, and it’s really rare to find that kind of sympathy and the sense of security.

Fukuyama: Yes.

Shibasaki: As an actor, he never shows displeasure, even when it takes a very long time until the director gets what he wants in a shoot. He is such an accomplished person. That’s why he can continue his success as a front-runner, I think.

Fukuyama: No, no. I complain, too. (laughs)