[Exclusive] Interview with “Pretty Proofreader” star Satomi Ishihara

One of the most anticipated Fall drama series “Pretty Proofreader” finally begun airing last month on NTV. Satomi Ishihara stars in the main role as Etsuko Kono, a curious fashionista constantly asking “why?” and “how?”

Etsuko’s lifelong dream is to become an editor at a fashion magazine, but constantly receives one rejection after the other. Etsuko finally receives an offer from a large publishing house only to find out that the job offer is for the “least glamorous” department in the company, the proof reading department. Not easily discouraged, Etsuko dons a chic ensemble and heads off to her proofreading job. Etsuko is the type of woman who isn’t satisfied unless she meticulously investigates every single issue, which results in a very unique proofreading style often resulting in her getting into trouble! Whether it’s forcing her way into uncharted places that are difficult to enter, or infiltrating a crime scene that’s being investigated by a tabloid so she can get the facts herself, Etsuko goes all-out to take proofreading to new dimensions. “Long live unglamorous jobs!”

A representative from GEM TV recently sat down with Satomi where she delved into the character of “Etsuko”, preparing for the role, and of course commenting on her wonderufl co-stars Masaki Suda and Tsubasa Honda. Check out the interview below.

What is the most interesting quality of Etsuko Kono, the character you portray? Do you share any traits with her?

Satomi Ishihara : Etsuko Kono’s lifelong dream is to become a fashion magazine editor, but due to a certain series of events, she winds up working as a proofreader. Although she finds herself in a situation that is completely different from what she had been dreaming of, she always remembers to have fun at work. That’s the kind of positive woman that Etsuko is. It’s becomes evident from the first two episodes that whether it’s “I’m sorry,” “thank you,” “I envy you,” “I’m so frustrated,” “I’m feeling so down,” or “this is who I want to become,”

Etsuko is a strong woman who is comfortable saying what she feels wholeheartedly. She is a refreshing character who knows how to express herself to others.
If Etsuko disagrees with you, she’ll say “I don’t think so” in 0.2 seconds. (laughs) I tend to wait a little longer. (laughs)

I ask myself, “Is it okay to say this? Maybe if I say it, things will end up going more smoothly. Nah, maybe I should just sleep on it.” But even though I think things through first, I usually end up saying what needs to be said, so I don’t think I’m unlike Etsuko. I would wait a little bit longer though. (laughs)

What did you do to prepare for the role of a proofreader?

Satomi Ishihara: Well, to be honest, I wasn’t aware that there was a job called proofreader. But thanks to this drama, I realized that my interviews get written down on paper and then checked by proofreaders before they can even be published. I’ve been relying so much on proofreaders all along! To prepare for this drama, I actually met and studied with a professional proofreader. I was shown what the job was all about and how they write, as well as when to use a pencil as opposed to a red pencil, and the difference between a revised proof and a first proof.

I also learned the way proofreaders think about how they want the text to be read and how they construct paragraphs. I simply thought that they wrote each Japanese character in the fixed space for one character. It turns out that each space is subdivided into smaller sections and you have to think about whether you should place the character slightly towards to upper section or lower section. You also have to think about where to position the small “tsu” character because it really makes a difference on how many characters will end up fitting in that line. I had no idea. Lines that looked consistent and even to me actually were not. I realized how much I didn’t know. I really learned a lot.

What was it like working with Masaki Suda and Tsubasa Honda?

Satomi Ishihara: I’ve had the pleasure of working with Masaki Suda on stage and in a drama. It’s not easy to describe it, but it’s like we’re just having a normal conversation and someone happens to be filming the whole thing. Acting just comes so naturally when it’s with him. I’m very comfortable around him and we’re able to act and say our lines in a way that feels real and genuine. I feel really secure yet excited. I get nervous for the scenes as well, but in a good way and I’m somehow able to get into my character smoothly. If someone were to film this conversation we’re having, it could easily appear as a scene between Yukito and Etsuko. He’s really fun to be with even when we’re on standby. His friendliness and playfulness are really cute. Plus, he’s such a fashionista.

As for Tsubasa Honda, this is our first time working together but we ended up talking quite a bit and I realized recently that we grew up in the same area. (laughs) We even went to the same shops as children. That was really surprising. (laughs) It’s not very often that you run into people who grew up in the same neighborhood. We always get carried away and enjoy our neighborhood talk even before shooting begins. (laughs) It’s so much fun. She’s a really interesting person to talk to.

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