Before Nicola Formichetti was styling Lady Gaga for her hit music videos and directing Diesel’s fashion campaigns, he discovered Yusuke Fukuchi.
“I was a literature undergrad who wanted to be a model. For my first gig, Nicola styled me in an abandoned love hotel in Kabukicho, Tokyo,” says the Japanese actor-model, now 32.
The editorial spread was for the British magazine Another Man, and it had the moody, sexy patina of a Wong Kar Wai film.
That shoot was the beginning of Fukuchi’s love affair with the camera.
Today, he has starred in at least eight dramas (in Singapore, Japan, Taiwan), and seven films (Japan, China), with another one coming up in 2017.
Fukuchi’s acting career was an indirect result of his three-year modelling stint in London where he was based in his early 20s. There, he had easy access to the classic stage plays around town. And the influence of the theatre seeped into his persona at work.
“Every photographer I worked with told me how the image they captured of me reminds them of an actor’s,” he says.
That stirred something in him, and after he returned to Japan, he took up a method-acting drama course. At the same time, the Asian actors Wong Kar Wai, Hou Hsiao-Hsien and Jiang Wen inspired him deeply.
“So I figured, if I took up Mandarin, I would get a shot at working with them,” says Fukuchi who is also fluent in English and Japanese.
To pick up the language quickly, he bought textbooks at the Kinokuniya bookstore, and part-timed at PC repair store where “a lot of Chinese worked”.
Later, he enrolled in an exchange programme at the famed Central Academy of Drama in Bejing, and met his current agent.
One thing led to another, and in 2012, he landed a leading role with Taiwanese actress Lin Chi-Ling for the 2012 romantic drama Sweetheart Chocolate.
Currently based in Singapore, Fukuchi says acting is more than just his job.
“I did not leave Japan to carve out a career for money. I just want to be a better actor. It does not matter to me if the budget of a movie is small, as long as it is a good role in a good script.
“I just want to connect with my soul, I just want to act.”
Fukuchi shares his grooming and style tips with The Beauty Gazette.
I like my hair to look natural, I don’t really care about my hairstyles unless I have to go for auditions. When I’m in Taiwan, I cut my own hair. When I’m in Singapore, I go to Gary at Passion Salon. He understands the kind of look I want to achieve with my hair. He knows what I mean when I show him pictures and tell him I want the look of The Ramones in the 80s. That said, I only get my hair cut there when I have a new role.
I wash my face with water only. I travel a lot between Singapore, Taiwan, China, and Japan. Due to the different climates my skin is exposed to, it becomes red and painful easily. For that reason, I cannot use random products. All I’m concerned about is protecting my skin. I use a gel-like cream from my doctor in my hometown in Tochigi, Japan. Every time I see him about once every six months, I just share my schedule with him, and he’ll prescribe something for me. I do not know what is inside the cream, but it works. He is the only skin doctor I trust.
I am not interested in fashion, although others may think that what I wear is cool. I buy my T-shirts and pants from Uniqlo, second-hand clothing, and outlet stores. I visit random shops in Omotesando, Tokyo because I have a lot of meetings there. On the way home, I’ll just pop by the second-hand shop and pick up an $8 T-shirt. My favourite shoes are handmade ones from Japanese-British designer Daita Kimora, and I have been wearing them for the last seven years. I don’t see myself as stylish; I just wear what I want.
© The Beauty Gazette