TTKWQ Chapter 10: Yamashiro-san’s Perspective
When I was an elementary student, I was aiming to be a child actor. My mother was a bit of a miihaa, and wanted to make me a child actor.
It was also known at that time that it was difficult for children in this dojo. Children who couldn’t stand the training would quit soon and go elsewhere. On the other hand, the remaining children were excellent. This was such a dojo.
At the time I was forced to go by my parents, I only thought of quitting. In the dojo, most other child actors like me also didn’t like it.
On our days off, we were transferred to a child office, an hour by train, to receive the stagefighting lesson, and we can also got other lessons. Even weekdays were the same. I had to attend a cram school so that my studies wouldn’t be delayed. Even if you work hard while still playing with friends, there were only a handful of people whose efforts are fruitful.
There were more than 300 mid-sized child offices like the one that I belonged to. Including major and small offices, quite a number of people are working as children. Especially if you are accepted in the audition, you get here at 5 o’clock in the morning and left at nine o’clock at night all just to be in one cut as an extra with other child actors.
Sometimes you don’t get any lines, and, if lucky, sometimes you do.
On extreme times I had to go at 9 o’clock in the evening, and it was 2 o’clock at night when I went back. I only had one cut, standing next to the child actor holding the signed ball.
Even so, I continued to do my best, and there was a time when I was able to be in the reproduction VTR in the variety show, the main acted by an adult actor and I was the main’s child form. I got a line.
However, I did not even hear of auditions for the protagonists of dramas and movies; I only got auditions for supporting characters.
I became a leftover like that because the office concluded that they shouldn’t have expectations of me. Rather, there are many children who disappear without even being able to act as an extra.
So, my mother hoped uselessly, and she further increased my learning to make me a child actor. Even though the registration fee of the child office and the lesson fee are high, if 100,000 yen is added to the price of the lesson and the training school, 100,000 yen will exceed the month’s budget. And, you have to prepare your clothes to wear by yourself, say “Please prepare 4 sets with the feeling of a growing good boy” etc. So, even if taking only one day’s shoot, it takes about 4 thousand yen. It’s in the red.
Picking up me up after lessons and accompanying me to the shooting makes it hard for my mother’s work schedule and a dedicated manager can only be for a popular child actor. Even for a popular child actor, it’s not unusual for their mother to be their manager.
Such a life continued to press my household, and as a result of my father only having ten thousand yen a month to spare, my mother became shabby because she didn’t even go to a hairdresser, and my parents’ quarrels persisted at home.
My mother would scream, “Because it’s for our child, please endure! I also have to put up with various things!”
In an exhausted voice, my father said, “It’s overkill, can you see reality?”
One day I felt disgusted with such an argument, I told my mother that I wanted to quit being a child actor to my mother.
My mother looked like she couldn’t understand what I was talking about,
“Even though you’ve worked so hard, and didn’t you say that you want to be a child actor!?”
“…I’ve never said that I want to be a child actor.”
When I fought with my mother for the first time, I saw eyes that couldn’t believe what was happening.
And so, I quit all child actor lessons. My mother, who didn’t do the housework, began to relax.
One morning, after such a state passed for about a week, my mother apologized to my father and I.
“I was wrong… I’m sorry.”
My mother cried while saying that, and the evil demon on her face left. After that she began to seriously do housework as a housewife and also worked part-time.
And then, just by saying, “I want to choose myself,” I get what I want.
I lost something when I quit being a child actor; I felt like I had a hole in my heart, I just studied to fill that hole.
For me who quit being a child actor, I only worked hard at studying.
Although I went to middle school and continued my studies like normal, but I wanted something else to do, so I entered the kendo club and used the bamboo sword to fill that hole.
One day after that, I remembered that shindou sensei’s dojo was close by on the way back from the kendo tournament, and it somehow caught my eye so I stopped by.
Although it was already night, the dojo had a light on, and about six adults were practicing. When I was watching the practice from outside the edge, I saw that shindou sensei faced a big man and sparred quietly without raising breath.
They were facing each other, and the large man tried to lock down shindou sensei, but the arm was twisted upwards and he was knocked down with one knee.
And, when the big man bowed, sensei came walking towards me.
“If it isn’t Yamashiro, what’s wrong?”
“No, I had to do something nearby, so I dropped by…”
I didn’t think that he’d remember me who quit about three years ago, so I was trembling.
“Huh, you still practice with the sword, kendo?”
“Yes, it’s a club.”
I wasn’t surprised that he knew that I was doing kendo because, in my hand, there was a carry bag that contains kendo armor, and a bamboo sword bag was also attached to it. Even if he wasn’t a martial artist, it would still be obvious.
“I see, since I haven’t seen you in a while, why don’t we spar?”
“Well, is a bamboo sword okay?”
“No, empty-handed is good.”
When I was in elementary school student’s academy classroom, I mainly learned swordsmanship used in historical dramas, but I also learned empty-handed fighting that was useful. And, it was the first time to spar with shindou sensei because sparring was mainly done by students back then.
The first thing that happened after I started sparring with sensei was that I was thrown like a ball. Even if I tried to move, I was grabbed and thrown. If attacked the hand holding the my collar to throw me, I would have my throat stepped on after being knocked down.
I don’t know how many times I was thrown; it was vague and ambiguous, and I everything was white. My breathing is rough, my throat is sticky, my arms hurt, and it’s painful to get up
I kept crying for some reason.
“How is it, feeling better?”
When sensei told me that, I felt that the hole in my heart I was feeling earlier was getting smaller, unnoticed.
“Well, I don’t know what happened, but most things will feel better if you move your body in a spar.”
“Such a thing…?”
“Oh yeah, I shouldn’t talk. I’ll continue.”
Then, sensei grabbed my, who was still crying, neck. I was kept upright and forcibly restarted the throwing. If I don’t resist, I’ll be thrown, and I’ll be thrown even if I resist. Since I’ll get thrown either way, I kept moving my body desperately.
When I lost my sense of time, and my consciousness was about to fade away, it stopped.
The teacher looked down at me, who was breathing hard and lying on my face,
“You have a lot of will, you tried your best.”
That’s why I was reminded.
I was trying to keep being a child actor because I wanted my mother to say, “You tried your best.” Even when I only received auditions for extras, I was pleased with praises like that.
I wanted to see that smile, so I was doing my best.
I recalled the sight, and I cried again.
“N? Not satisfied?”
And, after sensei said that, I was forced to stand again, and the spar restarted. When it finished, I barely remembered anything; all I knew was that the hole in my heart was filled.
Indeed, most things will feel better if you move your body in a spar.
After that, I became a formal disciple of the dojo.
“But, sensei, it was only that day when I cried.”
I tried recalling those days, but as always, I remembered a crybaby. I don’t remember crying anytime else.
“N, really? I seem to remember you crying from before that.”
“……If sensei says that, it must’ve been so.”
This frustrating sensei is surprisingly good at reading others’ hearts.
Around a year and a half ago, bashing to Nana-chan was taking place in television, weekly magazines etc, but people going to this dojo do not see variety shows and I don’t read weekly magazines, we didn’t know.
In the meantime, the teacher was aware of the what happened to Nana-chan, who I couldn’t understand.
I asked Nana-chan with a smiling face, “Why are you crying?”
But, Nana-chan, still crying, said, “I will quit being a child actress so I don’t trouble my family.”
Nana-chan, who always smiled, was crying.
When Nana-chan, who was crying, returned home, sensei and us disciples gathered together.
“For you irresponsible people, it’s your responsibility.”
“Is it okay to leak the secret?”
“We should be fine, we won’t leave any evidence.”
“Even if we do leave evidence, that person will disappear mysteriously.”
Because of their anger, they were going to raid people’s houses, but I stopped them.
If we attacked all the people accusing Nana-chan, it would be obvious who this was for, and Nana-chan’s position would be bad. Above all, I don’t want to have to escape from the police.
While stopping sensei and the others, I quickly contacted Shinosaki-san by phone, and a car drove in. Shinosaki-san quickly persuaded them to stop.
This might’ve been a major incident if I was a step late. It’s good that they didn’t become criminals.
“By the way, what become of it?”
“From then on?”
“They were saying irresponsible things.”
“Ahh, it was like a dying breath.”
Shinosaki-san went to various places where the bashing was done, and demanded the bashing to stop and a formal apology. Most of the places accepted, but there was a program that did not respond in one station but continued bashing.
However, as soon as the movie was released and public opinion changed to the favor of Nana-chan, the program which was bashing was conversely being criticized, and I heard that audience rating of the whole station was bad after that.
“I heard that the host of that program will be tossed down and an apology will be coming in full from the station’s side.”
“Hmm, it’s halfhearted. If I break his neck bone, it’ll be good.”
“Don’t do that. Nana-chan will be sad if sensei is arrested.”
“Well, then it’s okay. Let’s spar.”
Today’s practice started.