ELLE, la vraie Nana Komatsu


Une fois n’est pas coutume, vous trouverez ci-dessous un long article en anglais sur ce blog, une exception, mais l’occasion était trop belle pour la laisser passer. Dans une interview passionnante accordée au magazine ELLE (Taiwan) Nana Komatsu revient sur son étonnant parcours, son éducation et s’exprime absolument sans détours sur sa déjà longue carrière de modèle, commencée à l’âge de 12 ans, puis sur le métier d’actrice.

Un bel article, accompagné de magnifiques clichés, paru dans les différentes éditions du magazine pour le mois de novembre. Vendredi dernier, elle s’est rendue à Taipei, pour y recevoir une récompense: le ‘Best International Style Award’ lors de l’édition 2018 des ‘Elle Style Awards‘.

Un titre de plus pour celle qui a déjà obtenu, entre autres, un Japanese Academy Award (Meilleur Espoir, 2015), un Kinema Junpo Award (Meilleure Nouvelle Actrice, 2017) alors qu’elle n’a tourné que dans 13 films, avec un premier rôle dans moins de la moitié d’entre eux. La caméra, elle la rencontre aussi dans le monde de la mode, à un haut niveau, puisqu’elle est Ambassadrice de Chanel depuis 2015.

Enfin, rappelant au passage que Nana Komatsu était du casting de ‘Silence‘ de Martin Scorsese, tourné en décors naturels à Taiwan, le journaliste en profite pour développer un peu sur l’attachement qu’elle manifeste envers cette partie du monde et ses habitants. Voici donc ‘une Japonaise à Taiwan’, traduction d’un article original en mandarin de . Si la langue de Shakespeare ne vous rebute pas…

Disclaimer: the original article, the text and the pictures belong to their rightful owners at Elle Taiwan. The sole purpose of both the translator and the publisher/owner of this blog is to help Miss Komatsu’s words reach a wider audience through the English language.

Many thanks to Bob Spi Yu  from Hong Kong for translating this.

Old school, more mature than her age, stubbornly determined, she never admits losing! The real Nana Komatsu:

do everything through your own efforts is the right thing to do!

(In person, she often visits Taiwan for pleasure)

Because of her new role in a movie*, she changed her iconic long hair style with a stunningly new short hair look, the new Nana Komatsu. With this refreshing look, giving her a more outstanding complexion and a touch of handsome boyish rebellion aura, it is in fact much closer to her real character and personality: independent and strong-willed!

Who said a girl has to be pretty and lovely? In recent years, her fame has been rising fast in Asia. She is not just the popular “it girl” that young people are trying to idolize and mimic, she is now a brand representative, an ambassador selected by Chanel.

For this reason, she earned special recognition from Elle Style Awards with ‘The Most Artistic/Best Styled International Celebrity Award’, she will even fly to Taiwan herself to receive it. She proved herself to be an icon of ‘eternal classic’ for just being herself, with her special charisma.

If the 17-year-old Nana Komatsu had met up with Shunji Iwai and not Tetsuya Nakashima, would she be any different? Would she become the nation’s iconic ‘girl next door’ that great numbers of trendy youths would follow and approve? Of course this is just my thought, after all, Nana Komatsu is not the typical refreshing classical Japanese girl portrayed in Shunji Iwai’s movies.

Her physical appearance shows character strength, and yet, like a doll with a touch of ‘wild at heart’, with her eyes staring at you with mystic and mystery, and that clear complexion of hers, incredibly stunning with the red of her lips. This is what Tetsuya Nakashima saw in her, to fit the evil teen girl role in the movie ‘The World of Kanako‘.

In ‘The World of Kanako‘, she played a Lolita role, a naive looking deviant teen girl. There’s no evil she wouldn’t do, destroying all those close to her, and yet, she looked innocent enough, like an angel, and as evil as she could be, the audience could not be fully disgusted by the character she impersonated.

This movie put Nana Komatsu in the spotlight, as a newbie of great potential and earned her many ‘New Comer’ awards from the Japanese entertainment industry, her unconventional character, not just the girl next door, is now a definite ICON, of a new generation, for a new era.

*ndt: Nana Komatsu will star in Kuru, Tetsuya Nakashima’s forthcoming movie

Nana Komatsu (18) in The World of Kanako/乾き


Nana being Nana, it is not just like she is a stunning star as a newcomer of the entertainment industry who suddenly came out of nowhere, it happened because of her own talent, true effort and hard work.

Her role in ‘Silence‘ (Martin Scorsese, 2016) was a minor role in a cast full of prominent and reputable actors but though she seemed to be so ordinarily plain, she shone like a real star.

The scene in which the character she plays dies, a sacrifice without any sense of fear, with a strong-willed expression of absolute calm on her face -in comparison to the cowardly and fearful character of Andrew Garfield– offered a deep and unforgettable impression that will always last in the mind of the audience. And she was only 20!

Nana Komatsu as Monica in Scorsese’s Silence

To some, she might look like a world-weary person, but when it comes to work, she puts her best effort into it -never the slightest show of any weariness- in fact, she is tremendously passionate!

Can you imagine? Being a professional model at only 12, all by herself, carrying her belongings when traveling by train from the far-off country side of her humble home in the Yamanashi Prefecture to the Metropolitan city of Tokyo for a photoshoot. Her accomplishment is derived from her open education with full credit on how she was raised by her parents, with much liberty.

Although Nana is a girl with two elder brothers at home, she is the youngest in the family, the only girl in the house, be that the case, she was never spoiled by her parents, she was allowed much liberty to do her own things when she grew up…

My parents are the type who allow their children 

to experience the world as it is

Nana once mentioned, “I was restless when I was little, always playing outside in nature all day long, from the moment the school bell rang to end a school day to the moment just before family dinner. I never was a quiet girl sitting down at home playing with dolls, but this did not bother my parents at all, they are the type who would allow their children to experience the world as it is. 

They had the confidence in me that when I grew up to high school stage I would be able to handle most of my life independently, to finish what I had started, on my own, with little of their intervention but offering only guidance to us children, to put our best efforts into the things that we felt passionate about, to be self-reliant, to earn a living in the future. It is the right thing to do. »

When she was discovered as a teen model, she was required to travel to Tokyo by herself to do her modeling job, she felt no fear. “Of course, my mother would accompany me in the beginning, but for the following six years, I was always on my own when traveling to Tokyo for my job. Maybe I was just being young and care free, I felt it was fun, to be able to travel far, to learn new things of all sorts that would become my skills. »

I think my parents did worry, but just worrying would not have allowed me to grow up, so they let go, but they were not being irresponsible, often, they would remind me to contact them first should any issue arise.”


Nana Komatsu does not need any special arrangements required for the stuck-up personality of some other known celebrities. Even now that she has risen to fame, she is quite independent and can take care of herself, even in situations that she felt like she had been ‘abandoned’ by her agency’s personnel, it little bothered her.

I am always on my own when I do my work, just like when I am involved in acting in movies, agency personnel will only come visit during the beginning and ending of the shoot, and I am all by myself in due course.

For Nana, focusing on the task at hand is a priority, so when she was involved in the shooting of movie ‘Silence‘, she traveled to Taiwan on her own. ‘When I travel to Taiwan, basically, I am on my own. I have friends in Taiwan, and I do get to meet up with them when I’m there’ she said in a care free manner.

Taiwan is like a second home

She really likes Taiwan. Countless times, she has secretly traveled there to relax and have fun. When she talked about the food in Taiwan, she had a cheerful look showing much excitement and eagerness. She began to count from pickles, dough bun, omelet, soya milk, to fried dough…they are almost a must for her visits, each time. She even said Taiwan is like a second home to her. In the future, she said she wanted to visit both Kaohsiung and Sun Moon Lake in Nantou, “It would be absolutely lovely!”

With the straightforward bluntness of a 22 years old, but also with extraordinary humbleness and maturity, this young lady, Nana Komatsu, has reached a stage of life between the young girl and the grown-up woman, a soul with precocious maturity but with so much youthful energy.

She is now focusing her career on acting, climbing the steep hill upward, she has not reached the peak yet, something that everyone wants to see with much expectation and eagerness.


So-so performance on the stage motivates me to improve

ELLEWhat was your childhood dream?

N.K.: To be a hair stylist, because when we were little, the hair cut my brothers and I had were all done by my mother.

ELLE: Do you resemble your mother?

N.K.: Me and my mother’s looks are much alike, as the strength of my character and personality developed, the more we got similar. When I chatted with my mother recently, we talked of us being the genuine ‘mother and daughter’, there is much resemblance between us, and my mother agreed.

ELLEWhen conversing with you, I felt you are much more matured than others of your same age.

NK:It’s because I have been in the entertainment industry since I was 12 and worked with many older adults. Although I was a young child, from observing how adults acted when interacting with each other, I was influenced and learned the way adults are.  

ELLEAre you a person who fears adventure?

N.K.: Who am I? I am a person who is willing to try everything. If I don’t try, I will never learn what it is like, just go with the flow. And I also feel that if I run into difficulties, people around me are willing to extend a helping hand. And that’s also why when I see others who are in need of help, I will proactively offer my assistance. If you have the courage to ask for help, I believe others are willing to offer the help you need.

ELLEFrom modeling to acting, what are the major challenges in acting to you?

N.K.:Modeling is usually a job that lasts for a day or two, but acting requires much longer periods of time. On a daily basis, when interacting with others, you need to be true to yourself. On the scene, you can share your own thoughts after a movie take, to understand the quality of the performance immediately after the shooting, this kind of interaction suits my clear and precise contrasted personality very well.

I do not like setbacks, so if I did not perform well, it motivates me more, I hope I can improve my acting skills better and better, not just offering satisfactory performance, but to really play the role with the best acting skills that can really touch the hearts of the audience. So even if there are hard times in every movie shooting, I feel I am fortunate to be an actress, I am grateful and thankful, it is like a miracle for me.

ELLEWhat do you do in general to prepare for a movie role?

N.K.:You need to immerse yourself from top to bottom into the character you are to portray, you need to spend a lot of time in getting into the head of the character, from a sitting posture to the way they speak. I also do research on the Internet, to see if there are other actors/actresses who previously played a similar role I can refer to, and  observe others in my real life, from just a passerby to friends around me.

Besides, I have played quite a few roles in movies that got adapted from comics (ndt: manga), for such roles, I would read the entire story from the comics, and then add in my own thoughts of the story, to create a new ‘soul’. To add in my own real feelings, integrated to those of the original comic character, and not to play the role just like a ‘copycat’, that way, the role is more meaningful to me, in the hope that the audience would judge that the role I played is better than the original from the comics.


If there’s no tension, there’s a lack of focus and it’s not good

ELLE:  Ever since you joined the movie industry, you have worked with many reputable directors, does that give you a lot of stress or pressure?

N.K.: I feel nervous not only working with reputable directors, but also with other cast and crew members of the entire movie set. This is why this job is fun and thrilling to me at the same time, like there is a movie set that lasts for 3 months, it takes a while before we get to know each other well, by then the shooting is over. And then there is new work with another movie set, everything becomes novelty again, and I need to introduce myself again to others. Like an endless repetition, unlike other typical jobs.

Of course, I do get to meet others who have similar experiences, and this is how I enlarge my friends circle. Just like those whom I met at work when I was a teenager, now that we meet again in my twenties, there are more familiar faces and that is good.

ELLEHow do you handle stress?

N.K.:If you put it that way – as stress, maybe it is better for me to put it in terms of a feeling of intensity, but if there is no intensity, things would be too relaxed and work quality might deteriorate, so I like that feeling of intensity. Stress is unavoidable, for all roles, everyone has stress, not just actors or actresses, other crew members also have to face stress, but as long as everyone has the same goal, there will be trust between each other to complete the work. 

ELLEIt sounds like you have a very high standard for yourself

N.K.I don’t think about that too much, but then I can’t help thinking about it (laughter)

Wish to be a stronger woman

ELLEWhen you are not working, what do you enjoy doing in your own time?

N.K.:Watching a movie, a walk, a drive, meeting up with friends over coffee, or to do cleaning at home, I enjoy ordinary life style very much.

ELLEDo you have friends older than you?

N.K.:I also have friends of my age too, friends who are in the front line of trendiness, like hair stylists, make-up artists, photographers… of course there are friends of ages above me, I feel more relax with older friends, because I can be the one who can be spoiled, and they often share with me many valuable experiences, and this is why I have more friends above my age.

ELLEDriving, all by yourself…

N.K.:Yes, by myself, though I seldom drive alone because I am scared. So usually with friends, and we take turns in driving different parts of the journey.

ELLEI heard you are sort of old school, and do not prefer visiting modern or chic places?

N.K.:I like to go to retro style cafés, it feels more relaxing. I do not like going to restaurants that are too extravagant. I like to go to old-fashioned lantern-lit drinking places, those that are for the locals and ordinary people, those without too much decor. 

ELLEWhen you visit Taiwan, do you also go to places like that?

N.K.:When I am in Taiwan, I look for local snacks all the time, I always want my friends to take me to places where only the locals will go to. My friends feel that I am strange and odd… why not go to new and famous places. (laughter)

ELLETo you, what is style?

N.K.:Style…to be myself.

ELLEWhat kind of a woman do you want to be in the future?

N.K.:One who can adapt to all environments, to be strong wherever I am, and to be a woman who has the ability to endure.

ELLE photos by ZHONG LIN – Make up: OZAWA MAI – Style: EDIE LAI  

Text by Dominique Chiang

Original article in Chinese @ Elle Taiwan, Stylish Self


Epilogue … en français

Si Nana Komatsu aime Taiwan, Taiwan le lui rend bien. Quelques jours après cette interview, la voici à Taipei, le 2 novembre, pour recevoir son prix

Prochain rendez-vous majeur, sur les écrans avec la sortie de Kuru, le 7 décembre au Japon. De Kanako à Makoto, de Nakashima à Nakashima, la boucle est bouclée et pour la jeune actrice, une nouvelle ère commence…


Makoto – ‘Kuru’ (2018, T.Nakashima)

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