Cats and Crew 20th Century Boys

ProfileTERUYUKI KAGAWA as Yoshitsune

Teruyuki Kagawa was born in Tokyo in 1965. He first acted in "Kasugano Tsubone / Lady Kasuga", a big budget period TV drama in 1989. His talents have broadened ever since and he has had appearances in movies and on the stage. He is also a well established essayist.

Teruyuki Kagawa's other film appearances include, Isao Yukisada's Year One in the North (2004); Mika Nishikawa's "Yureru / Sway" (2006); Yukihiko Tsutsumi's Memories of Tomorrow (2006); Yuichi Sato's "Kisaragi" (2007); Yasuo Furuhata 's The Haunted Samurai (2007); Yeming Wang's "Tocha / Tea Fight" (2008); Joon-ho Bong's "Tokyo!", Wakako Kaku & Shuntaro Tanigawa's "Sea Gulls" (2008); Kiyoshi Kurosawa's "Tokyo Sonata" (2008) and Toya Sato's Kaiji (2009)


Yoshitsune, or Takeshi Minamoto was one of the Secret Base gang. His unassuming character kept him from being recognised as an important member. After working as an incompetent photocopy machine salesman, he joined Kenji to fight Friend on Bloody New Year's Eve. In 2015 he is active underground, leading a group of people to revolt against Friend some day. In 2017 Yoshitsune operates on his own, separated from Kanna's resistance group.


The director suggested to me that I play Yoshitsune Chapter 1 as though I'm knock-kneed. Yoshitsune gives the general impression that he's subdued and not forthcoming. But Kenji, the hero of the movie is not particularly heroic either. Otcho has many scenes to demonstrate his tough character, but even he had just been a trade company employee. The secret base gang are all just ordinary folks in the extraordinary situation of having to save the world. I think it's a story that energizes and encourages us.

About Chapter Two:

My character's appearance changed drastically after the first movie which made me apprehensive but it turned out fine. I owe it to the makeup artists who made it possible for me to play the part of Yoshitsune in his 50's. It wasn't just their skills .but the environment they provided. They had me lie down on a portable bed, which made the 2-hour-long makeup ordeal easier to endure. Lying down helped me to get into character too.

What was a challenge was keeping my mouth at a lower angle. Makeup helped but I had to also consciously lower it myself. In the manga series, Yoshitsune's mouth is really low and sagging due to old age. It was difficult keeping it down all the time. I also had to consciously stand in the girlish pose I'd established in the first movie.

I was given custom-made glasses, too. If I'd worn glasses as strong as Yoshitsune's in the manga series, it would have made me dizzy. So special glasses were ordered. They were as thick as they appear in the comic series but weren't corrective at the centre of the lenses. They limited the range of my vision but I rationalised that the limited vision would reflect how Yoshitsune saw the world and I enjoyed it.

With his changed appearance Yoshitsune is now the leader of an anti-Friend group. But probably he hasn't changed internally. I think he's always had some kind of inferiority complex. He's never too sure about his position in the group. Because he has to support Kanna in Kenji's absence, Yoshitsune reveals a passionate side, too. But I tried to keep my performance low key so I wouldn't stand out. It's the right balance for the ensemble cast. It suits Yoshitsune because he's really like a cockroach scurrying around (laughs).

Yoshitsune may appear insignificant and may never excel in a working environment but I think his character evokes an important message about taking responsibility for our own life because each of us is the star of our own lives.

About Chapter Three:

The last instalment of the trilogy has a heavy message. It is uncompromising in its treatment of the theme of the original manga, "What does Friend stand for?" When the original manga was written and drawn, Urasawa and Nagasaki were probably in their early 40's. Anybody of the same age should find many things to identify with in the trilogy. I'm sure there have been moments in their lives where they've had to face their past and this movie trilogy encourages audience to face their own unique past.

All through the trilogy Yoshitsune's character has certain inferiority. He wasn't really taken seriously by his friends and as a result he holds on to those feelings for decades. I undergo a physical transformation with makeup but I figured my character should almost remain unchanged from his youth. It's the opposite of what I'd normally do to play an ageing character. Though Yoshitsune stays about the same internally, he has become a leader of Genji Faction, an underground resistance group. And I'm sure he would have preferred not to! I wonder how he felt about being a leader. Nobody really knew what he were anyway (laughs)... I guess he just made himself take on the role of leader. Maybe he's the only one who takes himself so seriously, but he has to, to keep going, In that sense his character in this movie carries a little message that seemingly insignificant people have responsibilities, too. Even if you weren't the head of the class, make the most of your adulthood. Be a star in your own life. Take responsibility. I hope that the audience picks up those points from seeing Yoshitsune's life progress.

1999, 2006 Naoki Urasawa, Studio Nuts, Shogakukan 2008-2009 “20th Century Boys” Film Partners 2008-2010 4Digital Media