Nana Komatsu Making Herself Seen in Martin Scorsese’s ‘Silence’

Starlet has ambitions to work outside Japan.

Nana Komatsu The World of Kanako
Courtesy of Wild Bunch

In March, actress and model Nana Komatsu saw the release of her first photo collection. Trabzon was shot with the landscape of the city of the same name, located on the coast of the Black Sea in Turkey, as a backdrop.

Such a release is not an unusual move for a woman in Japan’s entertainment industry. But Komatsu seeks more than domestic appeal — she has ambitions of working outside Japan.

Her role in Martin Scorsese’s Japan-set “Silence,” a film based on Shusaku Endo’s novel “Chinmoku” that is set for release in November, proved to be influential. “No one knew Japanese there, and I was rather excited,” the 20-year-old Tokyo native told the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper earlier this year about the shoot. “I managed (to make myself understood) with body language.”

Since being scouted by a talent agency in the trendy Harajuku area of Tokyo as an elementary school student, Komatsu has appeared in numerous mainstream films in Japan, such as “Bakuman,” a live-action adaptation of a popular manga that finds her as the heroine. Her breakthrough came in 2014 with her role in Tetsuya Nakashima’s “The World of Kanako,” for which she took the Japan Academy Prize’s Newcomer of the Year award.

Japanese audiences are known for their love of cutie-pie idols. For Komatsu, who will appear in domestic films “Distraction Babies” and “Hero Mania: Seikatsu,” her body of work this far has exhibited a sexy side that could help in fulfilling her international ambitions. “This experience is something to be treasured,” she said of working on “Silence.” “I’ll learn English as I want to appear in other films overseas.”