24 September 1991 (age 22)
Dazaifu, Fukuoka, Japan
Taichi Saotome (早乙女太一 Saotome Taichi?, born Taichi Nishimura 西村太一 Nishimura Taichi) b. 24 September 1991 is a Japanese film and stage actor best known for playing beautiful young men and onnagata roles of women. He is known as "Nagashime Ouji" (流し目王子) or "Sidelong Glance Prince".
His father is the head of the gekidan sujaku theatre troupe, and Saotome grew up within the troupe, performing primarily in taishū engeki, a theatrical form related to kabuki, but less formalized. Identified as having a natural talent as an onnagata (female impersonator), he has been trained in that field, and performs in female roles onstage.
He has acted in two films by director Takeshi Kitano. In 2003, in Zatoichi, he portrayed the child Seitaro who, when older, disguised himself as a geisha (played by Daigoro Tachibana). Though in a different troupe from Tachibana, the two have frequently practiced and performed together. Saotome was also in Kitano's 2005 film, Takeshis', in which he was credited as himself, playing a young female impersonator and dancer.
Saotome also plays young male roles, particularly those with a bishōnen aesthetic, i.e. graceful, beautiful young men. In 2005, he played the role of Mori Ranmaru in a National Museum event called "Sengoku Fantasy", and on New Year's 2007, he played a young Horibe Yasubee in the NHK New Year's jidaigeki play.
Though he has not appeared in many films, Saotome has a powerful fan following in the theatre, and his official fan club was established in 2006. He has said that he does not really understand his appeal, but is happy that people of all ages enjoy his performances. His appearance on the variety show D no Gekijō in late January 2007 was one of a number of his events which have generated an overwhelming fan response. It was arranged that he would reprise the same performance, a dance in a flower-decorated kimono, at the Taishōkan, soon afterwards. The performance was sold out the next day. Many of his fellow performers from D no Gekijō and other events are said to have become fans of his as well, and make time in their busy schedules to attend his performances.
Saotome has expressed a desire to play men's roles and to perform in more mainstream or traditional theatre, saying that he has never much cared for playing female roles.
- This content is derived largely from the corresponding article on the Japanese Wikipedia, and from Saotome's Official Website (Accessed 2 March 2007).