As fans probably know by now, the popular acting-themed manga Act-Age is being adapted to the stage in 2022 by Horipro International. The play will focus on the "Night of the Galactic Railroad" 銀河鉄道の夜 arc of the manga, and remote (online) auditions are now being held for the lead role of Kei Yonagi.

What is Act-Age

Act-Age (アクタージュ act-age Akutāju) is a riveting manga series about Kei Yonagi 夜凪景, a high school girl with a prodigious natural talent for Method Acting, and her development as an actress. Written by Tatsuya Matsuki, illustrated by Shiro Usazaki and serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump since January 22, 2018, the manga has gained attention both at home and abroad for its novel subject matter, its compelling character development, its insightful depiction of the sometimes cut-throat world of Japanese film, television and stage acting, and the brilliant artwork expressing the subtle and sometimes conflicting emotions the characters go through both on stage and off.

The manga, which now has sold over 3 million copies, is also popular outside of Japan thanks to simulpublications from Viz since December 2018 and Shueisha through "Manga Plus" since January 2019. Viz Media will release the first volume in English next month, with the second and third volumes planned for September and November after that.

Kei Yonagi Actor Project

As we introduced last year, publisher Shueisha has taken a unique promotional approach with Act-Age. Under the banner of the "Kei Yonagi Actor Project" 夜凪景女優化計画, they're treating the protagonist as if she were a real-world actor, affiliated with the acting agency Daikokuten. In addition to acting roles within the narrative world of the manga, she has made real-world appearances such as being a store manager for the Tsutaya bookstore chain, modeling in posters, doing a gravure photoshoot for Weekly Playboy, and serving as brand ambassador for JVC.

Now, it would seem that they're taking the concept further by holding an audition for Kei Yonagi as the lead in a real-world stage adaptation. The girl who lands the role will not only get to play the heroine, she will be launching her career. In other words, a real-world actress will make her debut signed on to Horipro International just as the fictional character Kei Yonagi made her debut at Daikokuten in the manga.

Stage Play "Act-Age: Night of the Galactic Railroad"

The stage play "Act-Age: Night of the Galactic Railroad" will be produced by Horipro's Theatrical Production Department, known for successful plays and musicals like "DEATH NOTE: The Musical" and "Ikiru," the musical adaptation of Akira Kurosawa's film of the same name. The play will be based on the "Night of the Galactic Railroad" arc in Act-Age, which depicts the complex relationships between Kei Yonagi, grappling with her first theatrical role, her fellow actors, many of them more experienced, and the veteran director trying to realize his vision of the Japanese literary classic penned by Kenji Miyazawa.

The play will be directed and based on a script by playwright, actor and director Shu Matsui, who won the 55th Kishida Drama Award for his 2010 play Jiman no musuko (My son, my pride) and is highly praised for his portrayals of contemporary society with a combination of dry wit and an intense aesthetic focus.

Out of consideration for safety during the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic, auditions for the lead role of Kei Yonagi will be conducted "remotely" online (details follow below).

Auditions for the lead role of Kei Yonagi


June 1st, 2020 to July 10th 23:59 (JST)

Grand Prize benefits:

  • Debut as Kei Yonagi, the heroine of the Stage Play "Act-Age: Night of the Galactic Railroad"
  • Enter into an exclusive contract with Horipro International Inc. and begin a career aiming to be an actress active not only in Japan but globally.


Horirpo / Horipro International

Original work / Project cooperation:

Shueisha Inc.


Warner Brothers Japan LLC


  • Young women of any nationality who have an interest in show business and are between the ages of 12 and 17 as of July 10th, 2020.

  • Able to speak conversational Japanese (native level).
  • Applicants who can also speak English or Chinese are particularly welcome.
  • Note 1: For legal minors, the permission of a parent or legal guardian is required.
  • Note 2: Applicant must not already be affiliated with a record company, entertainment production company, theater troupe, etc.
  • Note 3: Applicants must read and agree to Horipro International's "personal information handling" policy.
  • Note 4: Applicants who are active students must be allowed to do show business work.
  • Note 5: Applicants must be able to participate in all examinations.
  • Note 6: No charges will be incurred for participating in auditions or at any point in the screening process.
  • Note 7: After the online preliminary stage, applicants will be responsible for transportation and other fees required to attend the screening venue.
  • Note 8: Applicants must be capable of beginning show business activities in Tokyo immediately after winning the Grand Prize. Moreover, if it becomes apparent that an applicant is not qualified, their application may be canceled.
  • Note 9: Remote (online) auditions will be conducted through the "Exam" system. Once you have applied, you will receive an email indicating the status of your application from Please ensure that your email server is ready to accept email from this account. If you do not receive an email after you complete your application, please contact
  • Note 10: Communication regarding screening results and other information will be sent to you from
  • Note 11: If there is a change in the content of your application after you've sent it in, do not re-apply and instead send an email to

Audition schedule:

  • First screening: Online. Profile document screening. Results sent by July 31st only to those who passed.
  • Second screening: Video. Applicants will record themselves at home based on instructions only given to those who passed the first screening. Applicants will send the video to the specified location by the specified date.
  • Third screening is planned for December 2020 at the earliest. Details will only be communicated to those who passed the second screening.
  • Please note that the aforementioned audition schedule is subject to change.

So, if you speak native-level Japanese (and meet the other conditions listed above), the lead role of Kei Yonagi could go to you! Remember, all nationalities are accepted and they particularly welcome applicants who can also speak English (or Chinese, if you happen to be reading this but Chinese is your first language). This could be the chance of a lifetime. Why not give it a try and send in your application?


Read Act-Age

You can read Act-Age on Shueisha, or on Viz. You can pre-order Vol. 1 of the English version from Viz Media at and if you can read Japanese, the tankōbon are available on You can also keep up to date with Kei's latest projects by checking her page at acting agency Daikokuten.

By - Ben K.

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