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【INTERVIEW】Yosuke Eguchi Descends Into Thailand's Dangerous Side

子供たちに突きつけられた過酷な現実を知ってほしい

By Noriko Nakamura, Asahi Weekly

 タイを舞台にして行われる児童売春や人身売買。観光地タイには、思わず目をそむけたくなるような現実が存在する。そして、その闇の世界の一番の犠牲者は子供たちだった…。梁石日(ヤン・ソギル)が著した『闇の子供たち』をもとにした同名映画で、俳優の江口洋介が子供たちの過酷な現実と真正面から向き合う主人公を熱演した。

 Images that come to mind of Thailand are usually of tourist delights, such as white sand beaches, spicy foods and the ruins of Ayutthaya.

 However, director Junji Sakamoto depicted Thailand's dark side in his new film "Yami no Kodomotachi" (Children of the Dark), which contains issues such as human and organ trafficking, child prostitution, pedophilia, Mafia violence and so on.

 "I was very surprised that there is a person who tries to deal with such controversial issues in a film," actor Yosuke Eguchi, who stars in "Yami no Kodomotachi," said in a recent interview in Tokyo. "I thought I wanted to contribute to his zeal in some way as an actor."

 Eguchi plays newspaper reporter Hiroyuki Nanbu, who is working in a Bangkok bureau. Nanbu receives information that a Japanese boy is going to receive an organ transplant soon in Thailand. Through an investigation, Nanbu learns about countless illegal transplants, and how Thai children as donors often have organs removed, even while they are still alive.

 "Those are the issues that people instinctively turn a blind eye to due to many restrictions," Eguchi said. "Now people enthusiastically argue over environmental issues that, of course, are very important, but there are people who are currently facing a crisis of their lives in a more real way, and there are crimes where big money is coming and going. I think we at least need to discuss those issues as equally as environmental issues."

タイ語のセリフにも挑戦

 Eguchi's film character has some dark secrets of his own, and thus, is conflicted in his impartiality as a journalist.

  "It was a very difficult role. I was agonizing, facing a lot of portions that I can't be quite satisfied with playing the role," Eguchi, 40, said.

 Language was also a big barrier that Eguchi had to overcome. He needed to speak lines in English and Thai, besides Japanese.

 "When I first read the script, I thought, ‘My lines are mostly Thai?' " Eguchi smiled. "Immediately, I calculated backward how many days I would have to prepare until filming started."

 It was actually about a month, and intensive training started that day he read the script. Eguchi began to learn basic Thai vocabulary such as the word for "thank you," but he instantly realized he could not meet the shooting deadline that way. Instead, he wrote the pronunciation of each line in katakana on his script and started learning it by rote. Eguchi said he drummed those lines into his memory through intonation and rhythm.

 "I put the emotion side before accuracy. I hope the inner thoughts behind the lines will reach the audience," he said.

 Eguchi perfectly fit the Thai locale. His tanned face and comfort level were born from spending time in the local environment for a month, though it was not easy, he said.

「この映画は意味がある」

 "I deeply thought that I am a Tokyo local who grew up under an environment lacking for nothing," Eguchi said.

 Asked to describe images of Thailand, Eguchi listed "bikes, tuk-tuks, smell of exhaust gas and hot air."

 "Also, the gentle sound of ‘sawat-dee kaa' (female's hello)," he added. During the rare moments away from the harsh shooting schedule, Eguchi could take a deep breath and eat curry cooked by local ladies, or enjoy a Thai-method massage.

  "Audiences will feel like they were spending a moment in Thailand while watching the film, just like I did during shooting," he said.

 Eguchi mentioned that after starring in the film, he could begin to see things "deeper," in a different light. He saw slums nestled among high-rise buildings in Bangkok, where wealth exists alongside the poor and vulnerable. Those problems are twisted and mixed, resulting in difficulty in finding one simple solution to them.

 "I am also the person who wants to live a comfortable life, and we can live without seeing such complicated issues but …," Eguchi said. "I think it's important to know there is such reality behind my daily life. This film has meaning."

  • tourist delights 観光客を楽しませるもの
  • ruins of Ayutthaya アユタヤ遺跡
  • depict(ed) 〜を描く
  • human…trafficking 人身売買と臓器売買
  • child prostitution 児童売春
  • pedophilia 小児性愛(大人が子供を性愛対象とする性的倒錯)
  • star(s)  主演する
  • zeal 熱意
  • Bangkok bureau バンコク支局
  • organ transplant 臓器移植
  • as donors 臓器提供者として
  • instinctively…to 〜に本能的に目をつぶる
  • enthusiastically…over 〜について熱心に議論する
  • as…as 〜と同様に
  • impartiality 公平さ
  • was agonizing 苦しんでいた
  • facing…with 割り切れないたくさんの部分とぶつかって
  • calculated backward 逆算した
  • wrote…katakana セリフに発音をカタカナで振った
  • started…rote 丸暗記を始めた
  • drum(med)  (into を伴って)〜に叩き込む
  • put…accuracy 正確さより感情を大事にした
  • inner thoughts うちに秘めた感情
  • tanned face 日に焼けた顔
  • under…nothing 何不自由ない環境の下で
  • tuk-tuks トゥクトゥク、三輪タクシー
  • harsh…schedule 厳しい撮影スケジュール
  • nestled among 〜の間に寄り添うようにして存在する
  • vulnerable (the とともに)傷つきやすい人々

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