Drops of God : Tomohisa Yamashita presents his new drama during Series Mania

Tomohisa Yamashita in Lille; France

Series Mania is a series festival held in Lille, a french city. For its 6 edition, the festival included Drops of God, the new remake of Kami No Shizuku, to its international selection. As a result, they invited the japanese actor Tomohisa Yamashita, which many know as Yamapi, for a special masterclass. 

The actor and singer went over his career, his influences and his projects before answering questions from many fans.

Waiting to enter the Théâtre du Nord and taking a look at the queue, it was obvious that most of the attendees were long-time fans of the artist. So when the masterclass opened on images from his early years as a NEWS member, Yamapi seemes embarrassed but his fans were totally endeared. He explained how, as a child, he watched a drama about a middle-schooler, realized that young people like him could be under the spotlights and decided to audition for a company (note : Johnny’s Entertainment). 

Back then, auditionning seemed like the most logical thing to do but especially now, with SNS and street casting, there are several ways to become an entertainer. 

He then became an Idol which, by his own definition, relates to someone who gives confidence and hope to people, or at least help them see confidence and hope. While being an Idol involved pressure, being on stage gave him pleasure and energy from the fans. Which is why he wants to pursue music activities, even as someone who’s know internationally recognized as an actor. Other than when he’s on stage in front of the fans, despite his status, he doesn’t really feel like a megastar. The actor humbly says he takes the train and goes grocery shopping like everyone else, the only difference being that he may has to wear a hat more often. He went on by saying everyone has a different job, and his job just happens to be an actor and singer.

Tomohisa Yamashita in France

His career as an actor is impressive in Japan but Nobuta wo produce probably is what gave the final push to his international stardom – letting him grow a steady international fanbase among J-Pop and J-dramas lovers. The actor however cites Code Blue as the drama that had the biggest impact on him. In 2020, he joined the casting of The Head, a spanish series available on Hulu. While it was is wish to gain experience by working with an international team, the actor says that the driving force behind his choice of roles his the role itself, the script, and the team. Working with an international team, he says the main difference is that outside of Japan, the team tends to film on scene in one go, while filming in Japan, there are more cuts within on single scene.

The artist also went over how he left Johnny’s, his previous agency, the same year (2020). He says his way of working and his goals haven’t changed, but he’s now working on his own. Having to care for his own schedules made him realize how much his former agency worked for him, which made hime thankful towards them. He also mentionned how he always tries to envision where he’ll be 5, 10 years later and is happy when at the end of the day, he feels like he’s been able to move even just a inch towards that vision.

Tomohisa Yamashita in Lille; France

In 2022, he appeared in the 2nd season of Alice in Borderland, a Netflix major success. His role of Kyuuma Ginji while not considered a main role, attracted the attention of many due to him appearing naked in the drama. The masterclass mostly went over how the filming went, with the actor explaining that him being naked on set made his co-stars slightly akward at first, but as they all shared a hotel during filming, they ended up going to the hotel’s spa in the evening where he also could be naked comfortably thanks to being so while filming. He also jokingly said that after this role, his not affraid of any other role anymore.

Tomohisa Yamashita also admits that he’s felt like this role was a turning point. Being on Netflix, it has reached global popularity pretty quickly. When the drama got released, he’s received messages from friends, including those living abroad, to mention it. It may be reinforced after the release of Drops of God though – the drama presented in the “International selection” section of the festival.

Drops of God is an american, french and japanese adaptation of the manga Kami no Shizuku. A story where a rich man’s biological daughter (played by french actress Fleur Greffier) and his spiritual son (Tomohisa Yamashita) compete for the man’s inheritance, a collection of best wines in the world. There seems to be a lot of work put into perfecting this series. For example, Tomohisa Yamashita lost weight after learning that it can enhance one’s sense of smell. From extracts shown at the festival, it seems Tomohisa Yamashita will play the role of an introverted and cold person who needs to prove himself with an underlying search for love. The drama seems of high quality, and may be yet an other stepping stone for Tomohisa Yamashita’s international career. The actor did say he was looking positively at more international projects in the future.

The evening, the actor also took part in the red (or rather purple) carpet, interacting with the many fans who came to see him.

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