Wenders accepted me as I am - Arisa Nakano (Actor/Model).

Arisa Nakano, who portrayed Nico in the movie "PERFECT DAYS." Her journey of challenges has only just begun.

  • Photograph:Takeshi Abe
  • Hair and Makeup:NORI

"PERFECT DAYS," directed by Wim Wenders, depicts the daily life of a toilet cleaner living in Tokyo. Since its release, this film has captured the hearts of many by finding universal joy within a simple lifestyle. Arisa Nakano played the role of Nico, the niece of the protagonist Hirayama, in "PERFECT DAYS." She played an important role in the film by causing small ripples in the mundane life of Hirayama. Many audience members were captivated by her appearance, which, though quiet, carried a strong presence. This being Nakano's first acting role, Venders conveyed to her, "You're fine just as you are," accepting her "as is."

The location for this shoot was Sakura Bridge, spanning the Sumida River. It's an impressive location that repeatedly appears in the film "PERFECT DAYS." Arisa Nakano mentioned that it was her first visit to this place since filming two years ago.

"I was happy to come back to the same location and reminisce about the shoot. The weather was lovely today, and the beautiful light made me feel soothed."


Arisa, who is graduating from high school this spring, naturally fits into the set, despite being surrounded by mostly adults, engaging in cheerful communication. However, when she stands in front of the camera, a beauty accompanied by inner strength emerges, reflecting her core.

They accepted me just as I am.

For Arisa, her first acting opportunity came with Wim Wenders' "PERFECT DAYS." Reflecting on her encounter with the film, she says:

"When I read the script, I felt it focused on the human heart, depicting a mundane daily life. But I also sensed it would become a remarkably beautiful piece when visualized. While I was happy to receive the role, it was my first acting experience, so I felt a sense of responsibility and a bit of fear. My feelings were mixed, and my mind felt busy, with a lack of real understanding.

I met Wim Wenders for the first time during the costume fitting before filming started. He said, 'The character you portray, Nico, is a crucial figure in this film.' His words deepened my feelings towards the role.

It was truly my first time acting, and I didn't even know what the right approach was. However, the director accepted me just as I am, and filming progressed with that feeling. I approached the role with seriousness, but there was also this strange sensation of being myself without any artificiality, becoming Nico just as I am."

An actor and the character they portray in a film are, of course, not the same. Yet, at the same time, the boundary between them is likely a gradient, not something clearly delineated. Especially for actors facing their first performance, the distance between themselves and the character may surprisingly be quite close. Director Venders captured a moment of Arisa Nakano, a young girl, and solidified her as the character Nico in the film.

Comprehension and Expression

Of course, that doesn't mean Arisa didn't immerse herself in the role. Originally a fan of classic films, she diligently studied many of Yasujirō Ozu's movies, whom Director Wenders deeply admires.

"I started by watching the classic 'Tokyo Story,' and learning how family emotions and human relationships are depicted in that way was really fascinating to me. So, I watched various films like 'Late Spring,' 'An Autumn Afternoon,' and 'Good Morning' thereafter. I find it intriguing that old films often contain content and language that wouldn't be acceptable today. Moreover, in Ozu's works, there's the camerawork. There's a unique low-angle shot where everyone sits on tatami mats.

But above all, it's the portrayal of Japanese emotions, the delicate movements of the heart, that really stand out. I think this is similar to 'PERFECT DAYS.' There aren't any scenes with sudden impact that make you go 'wow,' but the calm flow of images is comforting. It's like watching something that cleanses the soul. I think there's a lot of that kind of emotion, a sort of gentle, moist feeling, overflowing in old films. So, I've started watching old movies, both as a hobby and for study purposes."

Through watching films and learning from them, as well as experiencing being filmed herself, Arisa finds joy in expressing herself. Simultaneously, she is becoming more aware of the responsibility of expressing herself as a professional.

"Whether it's modeling or acting in films, it's not about me. In a project, I have to convey what the director wants to express to the audience. It's not about me; I have to understand what the project wants to convey, how the cameraman and director want to express it. That's something I've come to realize."

continue challenging myself.

Arisa saw her tall stature as a complex, began her modeling career with the intention of turning what she disliked about herself into strengths. From there, she embarked on an acting career under the guidance of world-renowned directors. When asked about her idea of being "as is," which holds many possibilities for her, she responded:

"I still feel like I don't fully understand who I am as a person. But instead of forcing myself to find out, I believe that by treating each encounter with people, things, and landscapes with gratitude, and facing forward with sincerity, I will naturally discover myself along the way."

From such words, one can sense Nakano's steady future. She approaches things calmly, without rushing, facing them with sincerity. Let's inquire about the SMOOTH WOOL T-SHIRT she wore.

"When I first held the T-shirt, it felt incredibly soft, and when I wore it, it was so lightweight that I was genuinely surprised by how comfortable it was, especially with the stretch around the neckline and sleeves. Plus, there are various color options available. Since wool can be worn year-round, I think it's great that you can choose to wear it based on your mood or preference for the day."

Arisa seems to be growing while remaining sincere, gracefully absorbing the stimuli around her. It's hard not to have high expectations for her future, but how does she perceive it herself?

"Well, I'm not really the type to decide too firmly on what I want to do, but when it comes to films or dramas, I definitely want to express myself with my whole being. However, I'm also interested in jobs where only my voice is needed, for example. I've always enjoyed writing stories since I was little, so eventually, I'd like to try my hand at writing, drawing, and really exploring a wide range of fields. I want to challenge myself in various things."

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