Japan's Chiaki Kuriyama Wins Rising Star of Asia Award in Hong Kong

Chiaki Kuriyama talks about her career and award in Hong Kong.

The actress talks to THR about her breakthrough role as Gogo Yubari in "Kill Bill," being a Japanese screen veteran at age 29, and her ambitions for a return to Hollywood.

HONG KONG – Chiaki Kuriyama (Kill Bill, Battle Royale), winner of the new Rising Star of Asia Award at the Hong Kong International Film Festival this week, has ambitions to work overseas again, but says language remains the biggest hurdle.

Kuriyama, who has appeared in more than 20 films and nearly as many TV dramas in Japan, is best known globally as the lethal schoolgirl bodyguard Gogo Yubari in Kill Bill: Volume 1 (2003). She was given the Rising Star of Asia Award this week, alongside Korea's Kim Nam Gil, by the newly formed Asian Film Awards Academy, established by the Busan, Hong Kong and Tokyo film festivals.

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"There are a lot of co-productions between Japan and other countries recently, so I would like to give it a go, but there is always the language barrier," Kuriyama told THR in Hong Kong, where she received the award on the eve of the Filmart contents market.

As well as working in Asia, Kuriyama still has ambitions to appear in a Hollywood film again.

"Of course I would like to," said Kuriyama. "In Kill Bill my lines were in Japanese, not English. I guess I could get a role of a Japanese person who spoke English badly," she joked.

"When I come abroad, I think it would be good if I could speak to people directly, and that I'll study when I go back to Japan. But then I have lots to do and I always put it off," she added.

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Asked about getting a Rising Star award after having been in the business for nearly two decades, Kuriyama insisted she still had a long way to go.

"I am just still in my 20s, and it makes me feel like I want to keep improving myself and carry on with my career. When I was younger, I thought my goal was to improve my skills and get better. But now my aim is to be able to carry my career longer. And as I get older, I can do different roles," said Kuriyama.

"It was more than ten years ago when I did Kill Bill, but people still talk to me about it, including people from overseas," she added. "It makes me realize that films are enduring." 

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