Kazuya Kamenashi: International Star You Should Know

He’s a pop-song phenom, plays 33 roles in a new film — and works as a sports broadcaster

EARLY START

A founding member and unofficial leader of the Japanese pop mega-group Kat-tun, formed in 2001, Kazuya Kamenashi was signed, at the age of 12 by Johnny’s Entertainment talent agency in 1998.

BREAKOUT YEARS

In 2005, he starred in the hit TV drama “Nobuta wo produce” and his career took off. A single of the show’s theme song that he recorded with co-star Tomohisa Yamashita topped the charts. In 2006, the group, whose name was taken from the first letter of each member’s surname, scored its first million-selling single. All six of its albums and 18 singles hit No. 1.

IT’S ME, TIMES 33

His latest pic, the comedy “It’s Me, It’s Me,” in which Kamenashi plays a mind-boggling 33 roles, won the My Movie Audience Award when it world-preemed at the 15th Udine Far East Film Festival in Italy in April.

COLLECTING KUDOS

Kamenashi won the supporting actor award for his performance as a rebellious teen in the hit 2005 TV drama “Gokusen” at the 44th Television Drama Academy Awards. In 2009, he made his film debut in “Gokusen The Movie,” playing an older version of his juvenile delinquent character in the TV drama. The film was a smash domestically, earning nearly $33 million at the box office.

PERSONAL PHILOSOPHY

“To being faithful to myself. To face anything straight on, without illusions.”

GAME CHANGE

A talented amateur baseball player prior to entering the entertainment world, Kamenashi has not only frequently appeared as a baseball commentator on nationally televised sports shows, but has competed against Japanese major leaguers — both as a pitcher and a hitter — in a series of TV segments.

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  1. Abigia Koji says:

    I very much want to see his new movie. Ore Ore. Kamenashi Kazuya is a wonderful actor. Truly a he has a talent from God, as he selflessly from the soul always works. Always , at 100%. He’s a great actor and very talented. Adore his lovely voice . Recently, I saw another Kama, in the movie [2009] / Drops of God / Les Gouttes de Dieu /. Awesome movie, I really liked it, especially the game Kamenashi Kazuya. We always admire and wish him all the best.

  2. faithie says:

    Kamenashi is a wonderful talented actor and performer. I’m so happy that he was able to be featured in a global magazine!

  3. Ara says:

    Thanks for featuring Kamenashi-kun in this article! I got so misty-eyed while reading this. He’s not simply an idol who makes cute faces..he is THE IDOL who really has a cute face; who inspired, entertained and brought happiness to a lot of people. His humility, versatility, and professionality are truly commendable. I hope you’d be able to let him shine brighter internationally which he deserves, ’cause I also believe that foreigners abroad deserve to see the star who can share his brightness to them.

  4. Jasmine says:

    It’s no doubt that Kamenashi Kazuya is a potential star, he got over every challenges. We witness his effort and progress. It’s not easy to become a popular star from million people, but he did!! I expect his film “It’s me, It’s me,” It’s really interesting, you can’t imagine that there are 33 Kamenashi in one movie! I guess every Kamenashi fans must be really exciting! This is a meaningful story, I think everyone can learn more from this film!!

  5. Gaby(from Bulgaria) says:

    I am very happy to see Kamenashi Kazuya became an international star, he deserves it. <3 I also want to thank you for the article, finally someone noticed the huge talent that he has.
    Very glad to have the opportunity to know him, even through the screen. ;)
    He always tries to do all gives 100% of himself, makes people happy and enjoys his work.
    I've seen all the movies and TV series in which he starred and was always pleasantly surprised. Kame is doing well in each role, for me he is one of the best actors. I hope more people appreciate his work and wish him great success in his ventures and roles!!!

  6. Kamenahi Kazuya is the best artist forever. I’m really thankfull and really proud hyphen, because of that Kamenahi is the best. :) I’m very thankful to MIki Satoshi, because he is a wonderful producer.
    I’m really happy to see Kamenashi Kazuya becoming international star, too.
    I wish to all the cast and Miki all the best.

  7. Thank you for including Kamenashi Kazuya among the international stars.
    Born as an idol, stood out in any work done, by engaging and defeating the effort, putting all of himself in the new challenges that have been proposed. He is really a hard worker and deserves to be known at an international level, as well as KAT-TUN, group to which he belongs and feels like a family. I hope that with his latest work, he can soon “multiply” himself all over the world!

    We, Hyphens, are waiting for him and KAT-TUN!

  8. Lika says:

    I am very happy to see Kamenashi Kazuya becoming international star, he is worth it. Everything he did was all his hard work. And it is really rare to see a very deep, self-concious, good-natured person in the entertainment world. I hope he himself will be happy to know about this kind of articles . Kame chan, you are the best!

  9. Namira says:

    Kamenashi Kazuya is a versatile actor, he managed to portray every character he had played successfully. I’m thrilled that his talent is being seen towards a larger audience. For every work that he has done, you could see he put a lot of effort in it. I really hope that audiences throughout the world appreciates this movie.

  10. Elisabete Coelho says:

    I’m extremely happy to see an article about Kame here. I’ve been watching him and his KAT-TUN fellow members for years, and I can only praise him on his achievements. His dedication to work and to his fans has inspired and encouraged me many times to also do my best in my work life, specially when listening to KAT-TUN’s songs.
    Also worth mentioning are his articles published in the MAQUIA magazine; they are insightful and clear, and sometimes I wonder how a young man as he can make very profound remarks on life. Added to that, there’s joy and humility in work, which I also find incredible for someone who has won so many prizes and achievements.
    Since the very beginning, I’ve always felt that Kame’s true stage is the world — he has talent and dedication, things that usually are not seen in the same person — and I will follow him in his path to an international recognition.

  11. Parisa says:

    It is so amazing to see western entertainment website published article about Kamenashi Kazuya. Thank you, Mr Schilling.

    It is a great opportunity for him to be exposed further as an individual but also the group (KAT-TUN) he is belongs. He is not just an idol many people think of, but he is one dedicated talented artist. He has been doing really well in all areas, areas demand his performances. Be it an actor, a singer, a sportcaster, a stage actor, a producer, a radio dj, a writer, he gives his all in fact he delivers more that what is expected. For example, as a sportcaster not only to appear weekly on tv and doing interviews, addition to that he is doing his own projects and one of them is to hit a home run. He was failed once but he never stop there, he continue to set a date and started to practice battling despite his busy schedule (with live concert tours, 2 movies to film, a month-long stage play, release of singles, attending tv shows, completing movies’ promotion missions etc etc). He fulfilled this mission finally in Dec 2012 and no one who concerned this not feel happy & proud of him.

    There are too many to mention, the most important message I want to put across is Kamenashi Kazuya is someone who make his fans proud, someone who dedicated himself into works that he is assigned to. Someone you should take a good look on him!

  12. kel says:

    Thank you for your article about Kamenashi Kazuya. He is someone who helped bring me into a love of Japanese culture and popular music. He Is incredibly talented and juggles a lot at once with such a grace and humility. It was his portrayal in Yokai Ningen Bem (although I had seen several outstanding performances by him already) which made me realize how much potential Kame has as an actor. Similarly, Kamenashi-kun is a fantastic singer and athlete. He is a joy for us fans to see, and we wish only for his continued success in all that he does, both within and outside of KaT-TUN.

  13. Eli Del Moral Razú says:

    Thanks for posting an article about Kamenashi Kazuya, the fans are very grateful and happy that so well speak his career and his new movie. I just want to make a direfence, he not only is an “idol” the, is a complete artist, anything can be asked to do so, is a person you can really admire, not like any other western singer or actor that only dedicated to one thing without doing more or that although his work is admirable, his personal life is a mess. The, is admirable both in front of the cameras, and behind them, so I argue, that if a Japanese artist to be released internationally, that will undoubtedly be Kamenashi Kazuya. Thank you.

  14. Jen A. says:

    I was so glad to see Variety running an article on Kazuya Kamenashi. Thank you! So many people see him as just an ‘idol’ but he’s not. His agency, Johnny’s Entertainment, does create ‘idols’ but the term is used differently there than it is here. Here, in America, idols tend to be fleeting. They can come and go as often as the season changes and only luck and a dash of talent and determination changes that. In Japan, idols are created with longevity in mind, and only succeed with hard work and determination. However, Kazuya Kamenashi is more than an idol, he’s an entertainer. A model. He is sportscast announcer and a weekly radio host. He is a dancer and a singer. He is a songwriter. A producer. He is a stage actor and a television actor. He is a film actor. I’ve never seen a more hardworking person in entertainment.

    In February 2012, he’s touring as a member of the music group KAT-TUN and almost immediately goes into filming ‘It’s Me, It’s Me.’ A week later, he’s filming his drama based movie, Yokai Ningen Bemu and towards the end of filming for Bemu, he’s juggling rehearsals for his reoccurring stage show, Dream Boys. And somehow, throughout all of that he handles his responsibilities as that weekly sportscaster, still trying to hit his home-run. Every Saturday, introducing new songs in his radio program and still taking an active part in his music group KAT-TUN, in which he performs current singles on television, shoot promotional videos and photo shoots. To some, that may make him and idol, but even if that’s the case, he’s an idol that should be recognized for all his hard work and determination.

    Once again, thank you for running an article on Kazuya Kamenashi. It’s nice to see that countries outside Asia are taking notice of this incredibly talented and gifted person.

  15. Hannah G says:

    It was actually due to Kamenashi Kazuya’s song Kizuna that had me hooked and made me want to know more about him as a person and his works, and he has not disappointed me. If you listen to the A cappella versions of Yuki no Hana for example you can hear his real voice as it is, with no interruptions or masks, to hear how distinctive and passionate he is . His acting skills, I personally think are remarkable. During Youkai Ningen Bem, I felt every emotion his character wanted audiences to feel, that made me cry and laugh through out. His portrayal of Bem and Kyohei from Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge are just two of my favourite characters he’s played, as you see how his acting skills can vary. And I can only imagine his portrayal of all those characters in Ore Ore must have been. Knowing Kamenashi, it won’t disappoint.

    Kamenashi IS talented and for us, fans, and everyone else, we see the hard work and effort he puts into everything he does, whether it be a sports caster, a singer, an actor or song writer, to name a few.

    And with the support of KAT-TUN, hyphens and others, Kamenashi can show you whole new worlds though his different works.

    So I wish you all the best Kame! Give Kame the chance to show you what he has and you won’t be disappointed.

    • Abigia Koji says:

      Hannah G – dear, I completely agree with you. Thank you for your kind words about Kamenashi Kazuya. He’s a great actor and very talented. Adore his lovely voice, it is in all its glory. Recently, I saw another Kama, in the movie [2009] / Drops of God / Les Gouttes de Dieu /. Awesome movie, I really liked it, especially the game Kamenashi Kazuya. Truly a he has a talent from God, as he selflessly from the soul is always on. Always laid out at 100%. It is well done. We always admire and wish him all the best. also you all the best.

  16. Angelica S says:

    Kamenashi Kazuya certainly is amazing in everything he takes on. Every song he sings, every drama he stars in, and even the sports broadcasting. So passionate, such a talent. It’s time for the world to see the brilliant Kamenashi Kazuya…I certainly know the first time I saw him perform; that was it for me – I had to know more about this amazing man and I’ve never stopped supporting him since that day…

  17. Kamenashi-san (well-known as Kame in fandom) is a great idol, dancer, singer, songwriter,actor,radio announcer and sports broadcaster. He can do all these things very well. He has the talent to learn new things and put all his efforts when he does them. The most destacable of his personality maybe it’s his humility. Kame is very talented, for that reason we (his fans) are really proud that now he overcame another challenge in his career. Johnny’s fandom is big around the world, so please pay attention to this man, because he will surprise you with new works!
    I want to see Ore ore ~

  18. Zuttohyphen says:

    Congrats Kame-chan! ^^
    He’s a real hardworker
    A singer,songwriter,actor,radio announcer,sports broadcaster,he’s an all rounder!
    I’m looking forward to watch ‘Ore Ore’

  19. Hyphen says:

    uwaa, our boy *__* happy for him. He’s a great artist he have amazing talent and very hardworking.
    i didn’t see idol like him , we so proud of Kamenashi and KAT-TUN. Their give us power forever i hope their go to worldwide *\\\\\\\\\*
    Thank you for this artical

  20. soso chan says:

    I m happy for him
    he is a really hard worker – talented
    if he receives the right oportunities I m sure that he will be a world star Literally =)

  21. Deh Y. says:

    (I don’t really speak english, but I’ll try to give my opinion here…) Well, about the comment that says “Japan is full of bland idol-type puppets”: I have to agree with this part (especially, when we talk about Johnny’s Entertainment agency), BUT I don’t think it’s fair to include Kamenashi Kazuya in this. He isn’t, in my opinion, the best singer in his group (KaT-TUN), but Kamenashi is a good dancer and he can compose nice songs (as an example, “Kizuna”) and his performances on stage shows how he puts a lot of effort on his job. Also, he’s a good actor – not brilliant, but good – able to play a funny character or a dramatic one and better than a lot of hollywood actors, Of course: Kamenashi can improve a lot as an artist, but he HAS talent, not just a cute face, and if he receives the right oportunities, he will increase more and more in his career – he is, indeed, a star that should receive more attention all over the world.

  22. LOVE says:

    I love this guy. <3 Let's make his movie popular worldwide, hyphens & other fans!

  23. Helen says:

    That’s nodebut that he is a super star!

  24. He’s hard working guy, gentle, funny, talented, sexy, handsome,Sportsman, dancers etc. I respect and love him truly. Thank you for article.

  25. Ewilan Sora says:

    I’m so happy to see that his work has finally won some acknowledgment. He’s really hardworking, and he give me strength, KAT-TUN too ^^

  26. Dan says:

    am familiar with Asian works, and Nobuta wo Produce is one of my old time favorites, a memorable work indeed. Glad to see him being featured in Variety.

  27. What a joke. He’s a super star in Japan alright.
    But Japan is full of bland idol-type puppets, and he’s the kings of them.
    But he lacks the talent, originality, looks and drive to be somebody internationally-wise.
    He has an excellent promotion team, though.

    • Embarrassed of my fandom says:

      As a person who likes the same anti-idol as you, I understand your frustration. But it just isn’t fair to compare him to this idol, despite their history and how much they are tied to the hip as a fic pairing, because their approaches to their jobs have been so different. Our boy isn’t good at putting up a facade and has stopped trying to look cool or even like he cares a long time ago. He also has been lazy and lacked confidence onstage for quite some time. Their boy puts 100% into his craft and works his crowd, regardless of what level of talent or looks he arguably has.

      Kame impressed Mark Schilling enough to want to spread his name on this site. AFAIK, Schilling doesn’t usually like idols, so this is special.

    • fa fa says:

      You said he lacks the drive to be internationally recognized?????
      I think you are referring to the wrong person…because this article and many people say otherwise…..(we’re talking about kazuya kamenashi here, NOT hobo!, definetely not hobo)

  28. Jessica says:

    The fact that this article exists is AWESOME. Kamenashi is a multitalented performer, equally at home in a serious drama, a slapstick comedy, or on stage (often performing midair acrobatics *above* the stage) at the Tokyo Dome. I’ve been a fan of his for awhile now, and he still manages to surprise me on a regular basis. He deserves every bit of recognition he can get — and I’d be even happier if that recognition meant that his films would be shown here in the States… ;)

    Love to Kame and the boys from a proud Hyphen!

  29. Sae says:

    He is sooooo talented! His dramas are all great! I loved Dream boys (musical), his voice is also beautiful and he’s always doing his best! This man is amazing and i wish i could watch “it’s me it’s me” in Germany!

  30. Liss Neko says:

    Kamenashi-san is very talented, a professional in everything he does, I admire him ♥

  31. Michelle says:

    Oh!I’m really interested in this man~~~~~As far as I’m concerned. He can manage to do so many jobs such as idol,actor,sports commentator,producer,model….Amazing!!!!What/s more,he has so beautiful a face~!!! I have already be his fan!!!!

  32. Kei says:

    Thank you for recognizing Kame. He is a perfectionist and his great attitude is well-known in Japan. He is inspiring, hard working, responsible, friendly, modest, humble, caring, flexible, courageous. Kame is also a fashion leader/icon, he won 5 consecutive years Best Jeanist Award.

  33. neiro says:

    Thanks for making the article Schilling san :)
    I’m so happy that finally everyone recognize him through Ore Ore movie. Not only talented, but he is really passionate and hardworking person. I’ve never seen an idol with a good attitude like him. It might be a bias opinion but looking at his track record so far, he is an epitome of an inspiring and great celebrity^^.
    Not only him, but I hope for the best for KAT-TUN also!

  34. have u forgotten that Kame is from KAT-TUN as well, not just sports commentator and actor, I know of kame already

  35. Hydesta says:

    Kamenashi-san help me to do my best everyday. He’s so powerful ! I really admire him =)
    He’s a really good actor and singer. He will always surprised me.

  36. He’s really a good actor, singer and dancer. He’s also played a lead role in the Dream Boys musical. 5 years :) You must be watch he’s 1582 performans, because it’s just a epic! Go youtube and watch now!

  37. Cristina says:

    He’s one of the best show man in Japan and for me in the world. He have so many power inside if him. I’m si happy for Kamenashi.

  38. Ada says:

    And Kame has more Awards:
    15th Nikkan Sports Drama Grand Prix (Annual): Best Actor Youkai Ningen Bem (2012)
    TV Navi Drama of The Year 2012 (Winter): Best Actor Youkai Ningen Bem (2012)
    71th Television Drama Academy Awards: Best Actor for Youkai Ningen Bem (2011)
    15th Nikkan Sports 2011 Autumn Drama Grand Prix: Best Actor for Youkai Ningen Bem (2011)
    January-March 2010 TV Navi Drama Awards: Best Actor for Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge (2010)
    13th Nikkan Sports Drama Grand Prix: Best Actor for Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge (2010)
    12th Nikkan Sports Drama Grand Prix: Best Actor for Kami no Shizuku (2009)
    1st Astar TV Drama Awards: Best New Asian Star of 2007 for Japan (2007)
    15th TV LIFE Drama Awards: Best Theme Song – “Seishun Amigo” (2006)
    47th Television Drama Academy Awards: Best Actor for Nobuta wo Produce (2006)
    TV Navi’s Drama Of The Year 2005 Awards: The Best Rookie Of The Year Nobuta wo Produce (2005)
    44th Television Drama Academy Awards: Best Supporting Actor for Gokusen 2 (2005)
    8th Nikkan Sports Drama Grand Prix: Best Supporting Actor for Gokusen 2 (2005)

    But Thank You very much for this article!!!! Hyphens are so proud!

  39. Ada says:

    KAT-TUN have 21 singles!

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