HS 4

To both fuel and satisfy its intense interest in celebrities, Japan is always on the lookout for its newest “it girl.” In the case of the nation’s newest sweetheart, the “girl” portion of the title is pretty appropriate, seeing as how the popularity of 16-year-old actress Suzu Hirose is soaring. But while her tender age lies squarely in the period associated with puppy love, Japan is apparently serious about its affections for Miss Hirose, as her highest profile gig to date is appearing in ads for the country’s most popular marriage planning magazine.

As always, the line between commercial, TV series, and movie actors in Japan is so blurred as to be effectively nonexistent. Hirose is set to star in Nihon TV’s upcoming drama Gakkou no Kaidan, where starting this month she’ll play Tsubame, an ordinary high school girl who becomes student council president and reforms her school through the power of her words.

While it’s normal for performers to portray characters different from who they are in real life, pretending to be an “ordinary” high school student is going to take some extra acting skill from Hirose, who got plenty of exposure last year from her appearance in Japan Railways’ Ski Ski winter travel ads.

HS 1

Hirose’s big break, though, came last May, when she was chosen as the seventh actress to star in commercials for Zexy, Japan’s leading magazine for brides-to-be. Critics have lauded Hirose’s ability to emote simply by shifting her facial expressions and gaze, talents she puts to good use in this ad where she’s asked, “Will you marry me?” and has only one word of dialogue in her 60 seconds of screen time: “Yes.”

▼ By the way, if that theme song sounds familiar, it’s because it’s the same one Zexy’s parent company Recruit used for its romantic/hilarious wedding proposal simulator.

HS 2

On the other hand, if you like your future spouse to be a little chattier, the camera is also focused on Hirose in this new Zexy ad, where she tells her dining companion that she’s not only bought the latest special edition of the magazine, but also downloaded its free app to her smartphone.

▼ Word of advice, ladies: Unless you and your guy are very far along in your relationship, busting these out during dinner will more or less guarantee you won’t have to worry about your date eating more than his fair half of that dessert you were planning on sharing, if you catch our drift.

HS 3

The key to Hirose’s popularity seems to be her innocent, girl-next-door quality. Even the actress herself, who only made her acting/modeling debut two years ago, is surprised by how quickly she’s shifted from being a student basketball player to a darling of the entertainment world. In filming scenes for Gakkou no Kaidan, Hirose describes her feelings as a mix of 60 percent excitement and 40 percent nervousness, underscoring just how new all this is to her.

That’s not to say Suzu was completely unprepared for life in show biz. Her older sister, Arisu, is also a popular actress, and like Suzu made her acting debut at the age of 14, back in 2008. As a matter of fact, it was thanks to her sister that Suzu got into the industry, as she was directly approached by the president of Foster, the talent agency Arisu is attached to.

While the siblings have yet to appear onscreen together, they do both model for fashion magazine Seventeen. The situation is a little ironic, seeing as how Suzu won’t turn 17 until June 19, and Arisu hasn’t been that age since three years ago, but hey, that’s why they call it acting.

Source: Naver Matome
Top image: YouTube
Insert images: YouTube (1, 2, 3)