Interview With Samurai Actor Keita Arai

Interview with Samurai Actor Keita Arai

Today, I would like to introduce you all to someone very special... If you've been following my blog, you know I'm very passionate about Japanese culture, and you also know that I am fascinated by historical Japan, and Samurai.

So, it's with great pleasure that I give the warmest of welcomes to Samurai actor Keita Arai!

Welcome to my blog, Keita-san! Could you please introduce yourself and tell Life is a Box of Mochi readers a little bit about what you do? 

Hi everyone, my name is Keita and I am a Samurai actor. I'm hoping to share what I'm learning about Japanese culture and what I'm feeling right now with you all!

What made you decide to become specifically a Samurai actor? 

At first, to broaden my range of roles as an actor. Above all, I started learning about samurai and traditional Japanese arts in order to become an actor who can work not only in Japan, but also internationally. I believe knowing one own's culture is a strength as an actor.

I’ve always been interested in historical eras and, after becoming passionate about Japanese culture, I’ve been looking into the Edo period and Samurai, and my favourite film franchise about Samurai is Rurouni Kenshin. What other films would you recommend to someone who wishes to expand their Samurai studies?

I like Rurouni Kenshin too. It's got a solid historical background, but it's also fused with a shonen battle manga!

I really like the drama Ryoma Den by Keishi Otomo, who is also the director of the film Rurouni Kenshin. I have been attracted to Sakamoto Ryoma since I was a boy and went on a solo trip to Kochi when I was a student.

Although I don't know what happened back then, I find Akira Kurosawa's films convincing, making me wonder what it must have been like in the days of the Samurai.

Hirokazu Kore-eda's Hana yori mo nah is a so-called period drama! It didn't feel like a period drama, which was a shock to me at the time. I love the emotional atmosphere.

The Twilight Samurai also reminds me to live life to the fullest, and to do my best in my daily life.

Would you rather be a Samurai hero or a Samurai villain?

Both roles are attractive, but I often lean more towards villains. Understanding how and why they are evil is what draws me to them.

You have a YouTube channel where you share Samurai training videos (which are very fascinating to watch, by the way). Other than this, do you also do in-person classes?

Yes, I do. I'm still working on my training, but recently I've been practising face-to-face as well. I think it is a learning experience for me to further teach what I have been taught. I would like to transmit this further in the future, especially to people around the world.

Samurai training requires a lot of discipline. How long have you been developing your martial art skills? 

I have been training for about 8 years in Chinese martial arts, sword fighting for movies, Iaido, and also other types of swordsmanship.

You also specialise in the art of Kado (Japanese Flower Arrangement). Why do you think this is an important aspect in Japanese culture in connection with the art of Samurai?

I think it is important for actors to be exposed to different kinds of art and to have sensitivity. The reason for this was my mother's love of flowers, so there were flowers around me a lot. In addition to that, I wanted to find a new sensibility that I didn't realise I had. I also recently received a diploma in the art of Kado.

Keita Arai specialises in the art of Kado (Japanese Flower Arrangement)
Image credit: Keita Arai

How did you get into your acting career?

Ever since I was a kid, I wanted a job where I would spend most of my life doing something I absolutely loved! I started acting as soon as I graduated from university because I used to love watching films and thought "it's so cool to be a character in a story". I'm working hard to become one of Japan's leading actors!

You starred in a recently released film called In Another Language, which has just finished its one-week screening. What was your role, and how was the experience for you?

My role is as the heroine's boyfriend, and despite the fact that we are talking about the Corona disaster, it is a very entertaining film. It's going to be available to watch abroad too, so do check it out!

One-Coin English Caf├ęs are a good way for Japanese people to practice their English. Have you ever been to one? And what do you do to practice your English?

I have a routine of doing online English conversations first thing in the morning. Other than that, I also have training in acting in English. I would like to improve my level by communicating more and more.

Are there any other projects you are currently working on?

I was recently contacted by my agent to see if I could be cast in a Hollywood movie! It's my first time filming abroad. You can look forward to a full-fledged global expansion!

What is a typical day in your life like?

I like to learn something every day, so I will practice or film something with other actor friends.

Do you have any hobbies that are not exclusively related to your work?

Most of them might be related to work. However, there is a lot to learn in flower arrangement and tea ceremony and, although there is a hard aspect, I find it calming. The masters are also very kind, which may be the reason why I can continue with them.

Is there anything else you would like to share with Life is a Box of Mochi readers, and with foreigners who want to enrich their knowledge of Japanese culture?

Thank you for reading our interview. There are many things you can learn with low hurdles, so please come and experience Japanese culture in Japan! I'll do my best to bring the right kind of Japanese culture to the world too!

Keita Arai

Black Belt Interview:

*All images and video belong to Keita Arai


  1. This was such a wonderful interview! I personally always loved this aspect of Japanese culture, and it's not every day we get to read such curiosities from someone with a background like Keita-san, so I truly appreciated it. Also, I can understand the fascinations with villains, I think the same as Keita-san, and I'm also a fan of Rurouni Kenshin, so cheers to that!! I hope filming abroad will help him expand his career even more, and I'll be sure to check his YouTube channel while rooting for him :)

    1. Thank you, Silvia! I knew you were going to enjoy this since Keita-san mentioned some of your favourite aspects of Japanese culture. His YouTube channel is very entertaining, so I'm sure you're going to love it!

  2. Great interview! I think it's so important to do something we love. And I love the insights into both the culture of samurai but also mentioning tea culture. So many fascinating elements of Japanese culture that were touched on here.

    1. Thanks Greg, I'm really glad you enjoyed the interview. Yes, Keita-san is a man of multiple talents, so talking to him in depth about what he does was quite rewarding.