About Megumi Hamamatsu

Megumi Hamamatsu has followed a unique path as an actress and model. Born on January 3, 1983, she was already modeling at age two. She participated in the child acting boom of the 80s and 90s and had numerous small roles, including NHK historical dramas, until her early teens. Some foreign Sentai fans may remember a 13-year old Hamamatsu playing Radietta Fanbelt in the sentai parody series Gekisou Sentai Carranger. In 1999, she also had a regular role in the TV drama Naomi. In the years that followed, she modeled for fashion magazines, acted in commercials and began appearing on television more often both as secondary characters in TV dramas and as a guest on variety shows.

But then, in 2014, she did something that distinguishes her from many other actors and models who have been in the industry from a young age. She took a chance and moved to the US to see if she could break into US show business and succeeded in landing parts in American Horror Story, NCIS, Miami Ink and as a reporter for the Honolulu Zoo on the Disney Channel.

In addition to being an actress, she has also continued to develop her career as a model, both in fashion and in gravure. She was chosen as Fuji Television's Visual Queen in 1999, and released her first DVD the same year. She has returned to the limelight in the last few years, with her DVD MEGUMI/CUTE・SEXYMODE in 2016 and her first nude photo album BEYOND THE LIMITS came out this summer. At the same time, she has received a lot of attention in the media in the last five years for "scandals" involving married actors and comedians. Undaunted by criticism, she continues to be outspoken about her sex life and has gained a following for her blogs and columns in tabloid magazines on her experiences in Japanese show business behind the scenes and under the sheets.

At the same time, Hamamatsu has succeeded, albeit through hardship and struggles, in maintaining her acting career while also raising a child with Asperger Syndrome.

Comparing and Contrasting US and Japanese Show Business

How did you land parts in US TV shows?

I read (ads) in newspapers, went to auditions by myself and got accepted. I was already living in the US at the time and I was a free agent. I literally combed through every audition ad I could find and applied to each one.

What was your most enjoyable role in the US?

I would have to say being a zoo reporter. First because I love animals and second because I sometimes had opportunities to report in Japanese to Japanese people.

Based on your experience, what differences would you say there are between the US and Japanese show business?

In Japan, your work is decided for you by your agency, whereas in the US, individuals decide on what work they do as a matter of their personal brand. Also, in Japan, "scandals" (extra-marital affairs) immediately have repercussions on your work, whereas in the US, they're treated as something to laugh about, with no impact on your work. In the US, everything about you is entertainment, and that includes your private life.

What was positive about your experience working in US television shows, and what was negative?

In the US, they really look at you as an individual. I hardly have any negative things to talk about but if I had to mention something, it would be that I had some difficulties communicating in English and I faced some racial discrimination.

Could you be more specific about the racial discrimination you experienced?

For example, I was looked down upon, I had a cashier refuse to ring up my purchases, I had a waitress refuse to come to my table to take my order, and I had someone go off on a rant about "You Asians" even though I only made a small mistake. It was details like that.

Would you like to go back to the US?

As I said, I hardly had any negative experiences, so I would definitely like to go back to the US to act again if I have the chance.

Used with permission: (C) Talent Plus

On Animal Cruelty

You're a vocal critic of euthanizing stray dogs to reduce populations. Is there a reason you speak out on this issue?

I used to have a pet dog when I was a girl, so I've been interested in animals from a very young age. I don't need a reason to speak out. It's just obvious to me. All life has equal value.

Is there anything you'd like to see improved in Japan when it comes to how animals are treated?

In countries like Germany, they have a policy of zero killings. I'd like Japan to follow their example.

Do you think there are differences in the US and Japan when it comes to how people think of animal cruelty?

There is animal cruelty in the US, too. I don't think the situation is much different than it is in Japan.

Sentai Series

Some foreign sentai fans remember you as Radietta Fanbelt in Gekisou Sentai Carranger. Did you enjoy that role?

Actually, it wasn't much fun at all. I was bullied by my co-actors (Pink and Yellow), to tell the truth.

Do you think you'd like to do something like that again in the future?

I don't think I'm very suited to action shows, so I'd rather not do any more.

Used with permission: (C) Talent Plus

Sports, Fitness and Modeling Work

Apparently, you're quite into figure skating. From what age did you develop that interest?

From elementary school. I like to skate and I also enjoy watching it on TV.

You've been a navigator for K-1 World Grandprix and K-1 MAX. How did you get involved in K-1?

An actress friend of mine introduced me to the right people.

What is it about K-1 that you enjoy?

Watching intense fights between powerful men!

You're doing modeling, gravure work and now, nude photography. What are you doing to stay fit and beautiful?

Nothing special, honestly!

For your next photo album, is there something different you'd like to try?

I'd like to take pictures that are more seductive.

Used with permission: (C) Talent Plus

American Men vs. Japanese Men

Generally speaking, what do you like most about American men and what do you like most about Japanese men?

I think American men know how to work efficiently and this applies to their personal lives too. On the other hand, Japanese men know how to remain humble. They think carefully about other people and modify their behavior accordingly.

And what qualities does the ideal love interest have for you?

Someone who isn't stingy, both emotionally and materially.

Used with permission: (C) Talent Plus

Used with permission: (C) Talent Plus

Future Aspirations

Are there any challenges you would like to take on in the future?

I would like to have a role in a film that is selected for competition at the Cannes Film Festival. I was deprived of an opportunity to go to Cannes because of a "scandal" in Japan. I had a leading role in an excellent film but I was forced to step down. I would like to have that chance once again in my life.

Used with permission: (C) Talent Plus

If you would like to keep up with Megumi Hamamatsu's activities, you can follow her blog (Japanese language) or look for news updates on her page at Talent-Plus. Her photo album BEYOND THE LIMITS is on sale now and can be purchased online, for example, at sites such as CD Japan.

By - Ben K.