In first Gere
Richard Gere talks politics and has a dance with Prime
Minister Junichiro Koizumi
By Chris Betros
|Courtesy of gaga
Everyone wanted to ask Richard Gere about his latest movie
Shall We Dance? But the 55-year-old actor really wanted to
talk politics. So when none of the 600 media present at his
news conference in Tokyo would ask him about China or Tibet,
the activist-star took matters into his own hands. I
just want to say that the EU should not lift its embargo on
arms sales to China, he said.
That would be rewarding their anti-secession law. And
I want to give a hand to your Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi
for taking that point of view.
Which is what he literally did during a courtesy call on the
63-year-old prime minister. During their meeting, Koizumi
surprised Gere by asking if he would like to dance. OK,
but Ill be the man, said Gere as the two twirled
around. Making his seventh trip to Japan, Gere said his stepdaughter
had told him that Koizumi was the Japanese Richard Gere.
Looking debonair with his silvery hair, Gere is also currently
appearing in ads for mens esthetic company Dandy House.
The original Japanese film Shall We Dance? was a big hit everywhere
and Gere has the part played by Koji Yakusho. All of
us realized we couldnt remake the Japanese film. It
was perfect, he said. We tried our best to make
an American version with great intentions to honor the Japanese
film that inspired it. Kojis performance was simple,
subtle and went deep. Our movie is not just about a guy going
through a midlife crisis. It is more mysterious than that.
We focus more on the marriage and expand the part played by
Susan Sarandon. The theme is about the expansion of ones
art, mind and boundaries.
Following his tap-dancing routine in Chicago, Gere proves
himself adept at ballroom dancing in Shall We Dance? I
was 13 the last time I did social dancing, he said.
My first lesson in rehearsal was pathetic. I did three
months of intense rehearsals, so by the end I was able to
fake it pretty well. Gere said the biggest mistake he
made was not opening a dance school after making the movie.
Id be very rich by now. Everyone who has seen
the movie thinks I am a good dancer.
Unlike his character, who starts dancing to break the monotony
of his life, Gere said he never gets bored. My life
is full. I wish I had an opportunity to get bored. The secret
to leading a full life, I think, is to always be connected
to the child within you.
Diamonds are forever
Diaddict unveils its absolute diamond
Imperial Hotel hosts a sparkling occasion in collaboration
with Intervent: Yuriko Kokubun wears a ¥57.75 million
diamond ring; magician Suta Tanaka amuses Miyo Ito; Alicia
Tribukait, left, Emma Jenkins, center, and Jobelle Salvador
enjoy the exhibition; Intervents Salvatore Salvino,
left, and Rick Roa
Standing Up for Independent Media
After making his first visit to Japan in 1974 on a navy minesweeper,
John Einarsen moved to Japan in 1978 and founded Kyoto Journal
Have you lived in Kyoto all this time? Yes, except
for two years in Hokkaido.
Didnt you like Hokkaido? I did, but I had good friends
settling in Kyoto and I liked the scene there.
How does Kyoto Journal differ from other magazines? We
are non-profit and all volunteer. We dont have a template,
so each issue evolves organicallywe often dont
know where we will end up. We have no office, but have contributors
and readers from all over the world. We look for sincerity,
depth and clarity of thought. Some people think we are a magazine
about Kyoto, but nothing could be further from the truth.
We feature a diversity of cultural and social issues that
Which issue are you most proud of and why? I am never
100 percent satisfied, but one of our most remarkable issues
was Kyoto Speaks, in which we interviewed 58 Kyotoites
about their city. There is nothing better though than right
at the beginning, when you have 96 blank pages to fill.
Have you published anything that you later regretted?
No. Many, many things could have been done better and many
mistakes were made, but all of that is part of the process
and something you cannot regret.
To what do you attribute your magazines endurance?
A wonderful sponsor (the Heian Bunka Center), great contributors,
steady jobs to support our families, and an incredible stream
Whats your steady job? I teach at two universities
(Seika University and Kyoto Gaidai) part-time and do freelance
Whats Kyoto got that Tokyo hasnt? Im
often running into friends by chance on the streets, at temples
and in coffee shops. Kyoto Journal mini-meetings often happen
What do you read apart from Kyoto Journal (given that you
cant get Metropolis over there?) Resurgence, www.commondreams.org,
Shambhala Sun, IHT, Kansai Time Out, Orion, Ode, and Granta.
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