Judit Kawaguchi

Words to Live by: Actor Aikawa Show

By Judit Kawaguchi
Shuichiro, Our Hero

Dekotora man Shuichiro does plenty of good: he travels around the nation not so much to deliver goods but ideas and to help those less fortunate who might literally trip under his truck, just as young Kosaku did in last year’s funny Decotora movie.

Shuichiro, the loveable lead played by the fantastic Japanese actor Aikawa Show, is the kind of man we all want to meet: he is polite, attentive, offers help and delivers the goods. Forget about just meeting him as he is not only nice but handsome and cool, and the only unsolved mystery in the Decotora movie series is why the women and maybe even some of the men for that matter, don’t fall for him. Beats me!

Japanese actor Aikawa Show & journalist Judit Kawaguchi during filming in Asakusa, Tokyo

Japanese actor Aikawa Show & journalist Judit Kawaguchi during filming in Asakusa, Tokyo

He is the hero we are all waiting for to solve our family troubles, to feed us hot ramen when we are hungry and out of cash and even make us laugh while giving us some much needed TLC.

In the dekotora movie, Shuichiro prefers to listen to not only what is said but what is not even pronounced or even thought of and he possesses the kind of vision that penetrates through the person just like his lit-up truck opens a tunnel of light in the blackened countryside. He’s up for anything as long as it is a good deed and especially if it gets him a date with a lovely woman.

Shuichiro, the ultimate folk hero, is a perfect straight-up man and a younger and more handsome version of the super-popular Tora san. He is charming, helpful and ready to walk away from even the most beautiful girl because he knows there is always another one out there who needs his attention.

Dekotora movies are filled with average people making mistakes and trying to fix their lives. Moms abandon their kids and find happiness with a new man and child, while step-moms take care of their husband’s kids. In this cycle of give and take even if we are dealt a bad hand, we can still survive by relying on the kindness of others.

The amazing thing about Shuichiro is that he is consistently good and humble. He walks away from Yukie san, because he did his job. He brought happiness into everyone’s life and now it is his turn to look for more adventure. People are waiting for him. He’s got people to see and places to go. I hope one day he shows up at my door!

A Deeper Meaning

Aikawa Show is perfect to play Shuichiro because he is a fantastic actor who makes us believe that he is indeed Shuichiro. Although really busy, he was super generous with his time to talk about the new dekotora movie.

Aikawa Show: “This time the story if full of passion, mostly because of Shuichiro’s character: he is a typical Asakusa guy, very passionate, pure and honest.”
Kawaguchi Judit : “How do you prepare for such a character?”
AS: “The challenge for me is to go deeper into Shuichiro’s soul to see how sincere and honest he really is and how to express that through acting. I must keep in mind who he is at all times, that he is a good guy and to think like him in every situation. “
KJ:” You seem very natural in his skin.”
AS:” Well, I like him a lot so that helps and I am also kept on my toes by Katsuki director who pretty much created the character. To be Shuichiro, I must be in a high-tension state because this guy is all about positive energy.”
KJ:” How was Shuichiro created? “
AS: “Through lots of improvisation, going to many decotora events to meet and observe drivers. Also we are always discussing his character so most of him was born through conversation with the director. It is a real collaboration and constant learning experience for me. Very challenging and fun! “
KJ: “You are really great at bringing out Shuichiro’s funny bone. How do you do that?”
AS: “Well, I think it is always very hilarious to see people being serious and yet totally misunderstanding the other person and the whole situation. That creates laughter in the audience, I hope. We are totally serious about humor so we have a great time coming up with puns and jokes. I really love Shuichiro so and I am happy that everyone from little kids to the elderly can see this movie and hopefully laugh their heads off. You know, there aren’t many movies that all generations could watch and laugh. “
KJ:” Is there a serious message to this? “
AS:” Yes, always. Not to forget the human connection and to remind ourselves of the importance of keeping good personal relations. I mean that is what life is all about, right? Simply laughing, crying, laughing is just not enough without a strong moral message but it is all wrapped up and presented in a funny format.”
KJ:” I saw you talking and having fun with some of the drivers the other day. You seemed like one of them. “
AS:” Yes, they are the ones who make this movie possible. I am so thankful to them. They are just great hardworking people who helped us so much on every decotora movie that I can’t tell you how much I appreciate them. This time too, many took off work to come to Shimizu and participate. They are just amazing and wonderful people.”
KJ:” In this movie Shuichiro will go through a major transformation. What is next for him? “
AS:” Gee, better not tell the story but let me say this: I hope we are filming his adventures next year, too. I want to add that this decotora is even more dynamic than the ones before because we had lots of action scenes using helicopter, boats and of course decotoras. Great fun! I want to extend the dekotora series for sure!”
KJ:” I hope you will and thanks a lot!”

A bilingual version of Judit Kawaguchi’s dekotora article series appeared in the Japanese magazine Truck King. Reported at the shooting of “DECOTORA NO SHU – KOI NO HANA SAKU SHIMIZU KO” (Decorated Truck Driver Shu – Flower of Love Blossoming in Port of Shimizu).

This Quote

You know, there aren’t many movies that all generations could watch and laugh. — Aikawa Show