Fuku Suzuki Moves On To Next Stage Of Career

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Fuku Suzuki

It may come as a surprise for some people, but celebrated “child actor” Fuku Suzuki is now 19 years old.

These days, Suzuki is a university student, but he continues to pursue his acting ambitions, most recently in the stage musical “Colorful,” which opened July 22.

Tokyo-born Suzuki made his acting debut at the tender age of 1, playing a twin in the 2011 TV drama “Marumo no Okite,” which spawned the “Maru Maru Mori Mori!” theme-song hit.

This year, Suzuki has appeared in the TV show “Kamen Rider Geats,” in which he transforms into Kamen Rider Ziin, and has worked as an MC on Nippon TV’s morning show “ZIP!” on Thursdays.

“Colorful” is based on Eto Mori’s novel of the same name. The spirit of the main character, “Boku” — a generally masculine term meaning “I” or “me” in Japanese — is guided by an angel named Prapura into the body of Makoto, a junior high school student who recently committed suicide, giving Boku a second shot at life. As Makoto becomes more involved with his family and classmates, his world view begins to change and Boku’s pre-death transgressions are gradually revealed.

“It’s difficult to play the role [of Boku],” Suzuki said. “It is hard to be sure whether I’m playing the role of Boku or Makoto, or the Boku who lives as Makoto. [As an actor] I have to be convincing when changing from one scene to the next.”

Addressing the switch from long-respected novel to musical theater, Suzuki opined: “I hope audiences will view the production as upbeat and heartfelt. If we’re bound by the present, we can’t see the future. [‘Colorful’] teaches us to look at ourselves objectively and from multiple perspectives while addressing the importance of simply living.”

In the musical, the part of Prapura is played by Jay Kabira, and the script, lyrics and direction are by Caori Covayashi.

The show is running at Setagaya Public Theatre in Tokyo until Aug. 6. Thereafter, it will shift to Hyogo Performing Arts Center on Aug. 12-13; Art Tower Mito ACM Theatre on Aug. 19-20; and Kasugai Civic Auditorium in Aichi Prefecture on Aug. 26-27.

The Yomiuri Shimbun asked Suzuki 20 questions, detailed below:

The Yomiuri Shimbun: What do you like about musicals?

Fuku Suzuki: I can get into the character I’m playing; it’s exciting.

Yomiuri: What do you find difficult about the format of musical theater?

Suzuki: I have to sing, dance and act in time with the rhythm.

Yomiuri: “Colorful” features Jay Kabira, with whom you co-starred in “Big Fish” in 2017. What are Kabira’s strong points?

Suzuki: His acting, singing and dancing all shine. His mere presence enlivens scenes and he makes me feel comfortable. He’s the kind of person I aspire to be.

Yomiuri: Which musical would you like to perform in?

Suzuki: When I was a child, I really wanted to be in “The Lion King,” but now I’m more drawn to “Big Fish.” I’d love to play an adult role.

Yomiuri: Was there a moment when you realized you were no longer a child actor?

Suzuki: When I was in junior high school, director Mr. Yoshihiro Nakamura told me, “You’re no longer a child actor.” Since then, I‘ve been trying to work on the premise that I’m an [adult] actor. I have to improve the quality of my work.

Yomiuri: Who are your influences?

Suzuki: I’m a huge fan of Mr. Kazuya Kamenashi. I can feel the care, kindness and love [in his art]. When I worked with Mr. Seishiro Kato, I was impressed by the way he said, “That’s fun,” and I realized I had to cherish that feeling. My main influences are Ms. Mana Ashida and Mr. Sadawo Abe, as well as my parents and Mr. Nakamura. Also, Mr. Hideo Tsuchida, who directed the play I performed in last year, taught me a lot about how to move. I draw on his advice a lot in “Colorful.”

Yomiuri: What has been your most challenging work?

Suzuki: The movie “Yokai Ningen Bem” (Humanoid monster Bem) was tough. I was always on the move.

Yomiuri: What has been your favorite role to date?

Suzuki: “Kamen Rider Geats” and the movie “Saber + Zenkaiger: Superhero Senki.” I was so happy to be involved in something I love. Someday I hope to make a film about an idea I have titled “Kamen Rider Pizza.”

Yomiuri: What do you keep in mind when performing?

Suzuki: I’m always aware of who I’m working with. It’s important to be cognizant of other people’s roles.

Yomiuri: Which part would you like to play?

Suzuki: I’m happy to do anything, but if pushed to make a choice, I’d like to do more action roles.

Yomiuri: What has changed in your life since becoming a university student?

Suzuki: I’m always super-pressed for time in terms of completing my assignments.

Yomiuri: What do you hope to learn while at university?

Suzuki: I’m keen to study various modes of communication from different perspectives. I have an idea that I’d like to try it, as it could be useful in the production of plays, dramas and movies. So I want to see it through.

Yomiuri: Do you like your name? (Fuku means “good fortune” in Japanese.)

Suzuki: I like it a lot. It’s very easy for people to remember.

Yomiuri: You have three younger siblings. What kind of an older brother are you?

Suzuki: I think I’m a pretty good big brother. When I’m out of town, I buy souvenirs for my siblings. I play with them, and we even take baths together.

Yomiuri: How would you describe your personality?

Suzuki: A person who wants to enjoy everything.

Yomiuri: Do you still sing “Maru Maru Mori Mori!”?

Suzuki: Not anymore, but I’m always happy when my friends do.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Fuku Suzuki and Mana Ashida take part in NHK’s “Kohaku Utagassen” (Red & White Year-end Song Festival) in 2011.

Yomiuri: What is your favorite food or drink?

Suzuki: I love matcha. I’m currently in roughly the ninth wave of my matcha obsession.

Yomiuri: What scares you?

Suzuki: Failing to get the requisite college credits.

Yomiuri: Which person would you like to meet most?

Suzuki: Mr. Shohei Ohtani.

Yomiuri: What has been troubling you lately?

Suzuki: I don’t have enough time to do everything.