Before my obsession with Jun Matsumoto, Ikuta Toma, Haruma Miura–my first ever Japanese eye candy/crush/object of my affection is Yosuke Kubozuka. I was a two years out of college and working as a reporter for local Japanese daily Manila Shimbun, when I chanced upon Nonno, a Japanese fashion magazine catering to girls in their late teens and early 20s. On the cover was a cute guy, smiling brightly amidst the splash of yellow and white for Nonno’s July 2002 issue.
I had to ask my Japanese co-reporters his name as I can’t read kanji: Yosuke Kubozuka.
So, with fandom comes great need to research about anything and everything about this guy. Well, I learned I am older than him by a day (I was born on the 6th, he on the 7th), he is a very talented actor and has even won nods from the Japanese Academy (sort of like their version of the Oscars). He was sought after for endorsements, tv dramas and even movies for his brilliant portrayal of varying characters. His roles in GTO and Strawberry on the Shortcake (SOS) was two of the best in my opinion.
But–with his immense talent also comes his personal quirks. He was regarded as the bad boy of Japanese entertainment simply because he doesn’t put up with the usual cr@p present in the idol and film industry. In 2003, he got married, had a kid and not long after tried to beat the cr@p out of a paparazzi for trying to annoy him the day of his son’s birth. He was rumored to be temperamental, easily annoyed and a bit of a problem on set. He was also reported to be espousing the legalization of marijuana (– a serious stand considering that the japanese equate marijuana to hard drugs). He doesn’t hesitate to speak his mind to the press.
On June 6, 2004–Yosuke fell from the balcony of his 9th floor apartment. While he has explained that it was simply an accident, many interpreted his fall as “suicide”. He survived the 26-meter fall, but went home with a broken wrist, fracture on his skull, and fractures on both legs…more importantly, his career has taken a beating after the Japanese film industry has deemed him to “volatile” and much of a risk.
His endorsements dwindled, his comeback movie failed to make it to the box office and even TV shows became scarce. But Yosuke, the fighter, won’t take shit from anyone. In 2008, he relaunched himself as a rapper/reggae artist called Manji Line. Aside from intermittent movie and dramas, what’s keeping him busy is his music and his family.