05:00 PM - 07:30 PM
JAPAN HOUSE Salon, Level 5
JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles Foundation has been proud to host a program series on the changing landscape of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in Southern California with the generous sponsorship of MUFG Bank, Ltd.
On March 28, the program focused on the world of entertainment. As the hub of the global entertainment industry, Hollywood has long been the destination for those aspiring to work in film and TV – from actors to directors, writers to producers, agents to casting directors. In this intimate evening, Japanese and Japanese American professionals shared their personal experiences and insights into the particular challenges and new possibilities for Asian, Japanese, and Japanese American professionals in this field.
This was a unique event where guests heard firsthand what it is really like behind the curtains in Hollywood. Is it really as glamorous as it seems? What do actors do every day? What do casting directors look for? What's it like to be a Hollywood director? And what are the unique challenges and opportunities presented to Japanese and Japanese Americans in this super competitive industry? Professionals who have seen it all shared their personal experiences.
5:00 PM – 5:15 PM | Opening Remarks
5:15 PM – 6:15 PM | Panel Discussion
6:30 PM – 7:30 PM | Networking Reception
Hayato Kevin Mitsuishi
Hayato “Kevin” Mitsuishi is Producer and CEO of Kevin’s Entertainment, a film production company based in Los Angeles. Many of his award-winning films include Japanese elements such as theme, talent, director, or location. This is due to his cultural background and ties to the country.
Hayato was born and raised in Toronto, Canada to Japanese parents, went to high school in New York, and then to college in Tokyo, Japan. Upon graduating from Keio University, he joined a Japanese trading company and worked in the accounting, finance, and corporate development divisions.
Hayato then moved to Los Angeles, CA to obtain his MBA and pursue his career in entertainment. Upon graduating from UCLA Anderson School of Management, he worked as an international market consultant for 20th Century Fox. The following year, Hayato established Kevin's Entertainment to produce films, manage talent, and offer consulting services for his US and Japanese clientele.
Through his endeavors to promote mutual appreciation between Japan and Hollywood, Hayato co-founded the Japan Film Society, a non-profit organization established to promote Japanese film and culture in the United States. He then founded and produced LA EigaFest, a Japanese film festival in Los Angeles that ran from 2011 - 2015.
Originally from Osaka, HIKARI is a Japanese award-winning writer, director, producer. Her debut feature 37 SECONDS premiered at the 69th Berlin International Film Festival and won the Panorama Audience Award, the CICAE Art Cinema Award, and was nominated for Best First Feature. The film screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, BFI London, Tribeca and was acquired by Netflix.
Her other credits include HBO Max’s TOKYO VICE (executive produced by Michael Mann, starring Ansel Elgort, Ken Watanabe and Rinko Kikuchi), and upcoming Netflix TV series BEEF (starring Ali Wong and Steven Yeun). Her other credits include short films TSUYAKO (winner of over 50 wards including the DGA Student Award for Best Female Director), A BETTER TOMORROW (Produced by Lexus and The Weinstein Company), WHERE WE BEGIN (nominated for Best International Short Film at the Tribeca Film Festival) and Subaru’s short film series YOUR STORY WITH. HIKARI is currently in pre-production of her second feature film RENTAL FAMILY (working title) with Sight Unseen Pictures. She’s also developing several projects including a comic book adaptation of DAN & SAM with Marc Platt Productions/Universal Pictures, and an original TV series based on her life as an exchange student living with a Mormon Host family, MADE IN UTAH with Annapurna.
Christopher Sean is a versatile actor known for his captivating performances on both the big and small screens. Born and raised in California, to a NAVY veteran father and Japanese native mother, Sean always had a passion for the arts and knew from a young age that he wanted to pursue a career in acting.
After completing his education, Sean dove headfirst into the entertainment industry, quickly making a name for himself with his raw talent and undeniable charm. He has since appeared in a variety of popular television shows, including "Hawaii Five-0," "You," and "Days of Our Lives," where he played the role of Paul Narita for four years with over 300 episodes.
Sean has also made his mark online, appearing in the hit series "The Lizzie Bennet Diaries" and lending his voice to the character of Kazuda Xiono in the animated series "Star Wars Resistance" as well as voicing DC's Nightwing in "Gotham Knights."
With his impressive range and magnetic personality, Christopher Sean continues to be a force to be reckoned with in the world of entertainment, and we can't wait to see what he has in store for us next.
Eijiro Ozaki, a Japan-born actor, started his career in theater and television in Tokyo in the late 1990's.
His TV debut was in the NHK drama series Aguri in 1997 and he was selected as a cast member for the stage production The Winds of God for the NY Off-broadway and Japan Tour from 1998 - 1999. After landing his role in the Academy Award winning war epic Letters From Iwo Jima directed by Clint Eastwood, he dived into his US-based career in 2007.
His film/TV credits include Yakuza Princess (XYZ Films), The Man in the High Castle (Amazon Studios), DC's Legends of Tomorrow (CW), Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC), The OA (Netflix), Altered Carbon (Netflix), Little Boy (Open Road Films), Extant (CBS), Touch (FOX), How I Met Your Mother (CBS), FlashForward (ABC), Heroes (NBC), The Last Samurai (Warner Bros), Gaijin - Love Me As I Am (Ponto Filmes, Brazil), Haru to Natsu (NHK, Japan), Genroku Ryoran (NHK, Japan), Born To Be King (Golden Harvest, Hong Kong) etc. Most recently portrayed a notorious crime boss in Magnum P.I. (CBS)
Voice and Mo-Cap credits include Marvel's Hit Monkey (Hulu), Dead Rising 3 (Capcom), Syndicate (Electronic Arts), and The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena (Atari).
Joanna Sotomura was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawai'i where she attended Iolani High School. She then moved to Los Angeles to study Theatre Arts at Loyola Marymount University before starting her career in film and television. Joanna has since worked on such shows as Barry, The Good Place and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and will be starring alongside Rashida Jones, Hidetoshi Nishijima and Jun Kunimura in the new AppleTV and A24 dark comedy SUNNY out later this year.
Yumi started her career in the entertainment industry in 1982 as a modeling agent for European fashion models at the Society of Style Model Agency and Axelle Models in Tokyo. She traveled throughout Europe and the US to audition models for fashion shows including "Tokyo Collection" and TV commercials.
In 1988, Yumi moved to Los Angeles and furthered her career as an independent casting director and has casted more than 2,500 projects including “Age of Samurai” by Netflix (rated number one in the Docuseries category) and “The Paper Tigers” (scored 100% and ranked number one in the action film category by Rotten Tomatoes).
She also works as a Japanese casting consultant for numerous film and TV projects including “Suicide Squad”, "Dead Pool 2", “Sophie and the Rising Sun”, and “Pachinko” (Apple TV series).
Yumi has also casted countless TV commercials for the US and Asian markets in the past 35 years.