Erika Sawajiri, the star of the Isao Yukisada romantic drama “Closed Note,” canceled her skedded Saturday appearance in Pusan in support of the film, which unspools in the Open Cinema section.
The reason is the uproar over Sawajiri’s behavior at the Tokyo premiere of the title on Sept. 29, when she barely deigned to answer an interviewer’s questions. Asked what scene in the pic particularly impressed her, she answered “None, really.”
The frankness has won her fans, especially among her own generation, but has also brought down a storm of criticism on her head, especially from her conservative elders, including singer/MC Akiko Wada, who publicly declared war on Sawajiri on her TBS show.
The film, released by Toho, has become a hit — the final B.O. is now expected to reach Y1.5 billion ($13 million), but Sawajiri has gone into the contrition mode, posting an apology on her Web site on the 2nd and shedding copious tears in a TV interview on the 3nd.
Even so, her agency is reportedly considering “retiring” her from all film and TV work for a year. In any event, in the image conscious Japanese biz, she has committed the sin of telling the truth, at least how she sees it — and is now likely to pay a heavy price.