• Film & TV

Snow Man’s Ren Meguro Melts Hearts with Hot Acting

©2023 “As Long as We Both Shall Live” Film Partners
Kiyoka Kudo (Ren Meguro) and Miyo Saimori (Mio Imada) in the film “Watashi no Shiawase na Kekkon” (“As Long as We Both Shall Live”)

Standing a statuesque 1.80-plus meters tall with good looks to match, Ren Meguro, a member of boy band Snow Man, has been attracting attention of late for his acting flair. He is appearing in a starring role outside of the group for the first time in the film “Watashi no Shiawase na Kekkon” (“As Long as We Both Shall Live”), which opened in theaters on March 17.

Meguro plays the role of a handsome military officer by the name of Kiyoka Kudo in the fantasy/period drama, which is based on Akumi Agitogi’s book series of the same title. The series has sold more than 5.5 million copies and has been adapted into a manga as well.

The story is set in a world resembling Japan during early years of the Meiji era (1868-1912). Born into a family with a supernatural ability called “ino,” Kiyoka is the leader of a special unit of the army. Contrary to his fair appearance, he is rumored to be a ruthless person. Kiyoka becomes engaged for political reasons to Miyo Saimori (played by Mio Imada), who also comes from an elite family but lost her mother early and was abused by her stepmother and other family members.

Kiyoka feels there is something different about Miyo compared with past fiancees who left him, and Miyo learns of Kiyoka’s true self in contrast to the rumors. After the two have found each other, a disaster befalls the capital as if it is trying to split them apart.

Meguro says with a smile that after being cast in the role, “I read the book and the manga many times and became naturally hooked on it myself.”

Kiyoka is supposed to be a beautiful person. The film has many scenes in which he wears kimono, and there are action sequences as well.

“I devoted myself during rehearsal to make sure of the arrangement of a scene, so that I could perform each and every gesture and movement smoothly,” Meguro said.

As for the action scenes, he noted that they were different from what he was called on to do in past theater productions, such as the Takizawa Kabuki shows staged by former actor Hideaki Takizawa. Meguro found the realism that comes with movies appealing, saying, “I want to do more of them.”

Sure enough, the sight of Kiyoka swinging his sword as his long silver hair flutters in the wind is both gallant and beautiful.

“It’s a love story that would hardly be feasible today, and there are a variety of elements such as the action scenes,” Meguro says with pride. “I hope as many people as possible will go see it.”

Doing their own things

Snow Man as an entity is not completely absent. The film’s theme song, “Tapestry,” is included in the group’s double-A-side single, “Tapestry / W.”

The 26-year-old Meguro made his show business debut as one of the nine members of Snow Man in 2020, and the boy band’s progress has been steady and unstoppable. Shortly after its debut, the group had a regular TV show bearing its name, and in the second year, appeared in NHK’s traditional “Red & White Year-end Song Festival.” Last year, the members appeared en masse in the film “Eiga Osomatsu-san” (Mr. Osomatsu: the movie).

Individually, the members have branched out into other forms of show business, such as variety shows or kabuki. Meguro is making his breakthrough in acting. He delivered a delicate performance in the TV drama “Silent” that aired from last autumn to winter, and earlier this year, he was honored by the Japan Academy Film Prize in the categories of both newcomer and supporting actor for his performance in the film “Tsuki no Michikake” (“Phases of the Moon”).

“What made me the happiest was that other [Snow Man] members, my manager and others close to me were happy for me,” Meguro said.

Asked what makes acting most rewarding, Meguro takes a moment to think it over before saying, “The ability to stir emotions.”

He then adds, “Koji Mukai [of Snow Man] said he cried when he saw ‘Silent.’ For this film, too, he said, ‘It made me cry.’ I’m pleased that I could stir emotions with my work. It makes it all worthwhile.”

It may appear that Meguro has had a carefree run to his current lofty status. But his mental state never kept up with the speed at which he has attained fame, leading to times of uncertainty. Still, he asserts that where he is as a member of the group and as an individual did not come about by chance.

“There was a time when I asked myself what I could do for the group and what would be suitable for me,” he said. “I had deep talks with the other members. I think what we all have built up together in these ways is gradually starting to take shape.”

In January, Meguro took time off to see his closest friend in the group, Raul, fulfill a lifelong dream and walk the runway as a model in the Paris Fashion Week. “It was moving watching Raul, who had talked about this dream for so long,” he said. “Before I knew it, I was crying.”

Together, he wants them to become popular on a national level.

“I want it to become where people from all generations will know the names of the Snow Man members, and I’ll keep working to get us there.” He spoke with a steely gaze in his eyes.