“They said no experience needed, and I applied. That was my first audition and I got the role.”
In the aftermath of Amazon Prime’s The Man in the High Castle cancellation, Chika Kanamoto is strategizing the next steps of her career. This show provided Chika with her most lucrative role yet as Yukiko, the love interest of Robert Childan (played by Brennan Brown). Rolling Stone named The Man in the High Castle one of the 40 Best Science Fiction Shows of All Time. The series tells the alternate history of Nazis winning World War II and America falling to fascist rule. Executive produced by Ridley Scott, this project reunited Scott with the work of Blade Runner writer Philip K. Dick. The series is based on Dick’s novel of the same name.
She warns me before I can ask my first question, “I’m not really good at talking about myself.” I don’t believe this earnest remark is an act. Perhaps it’s her Japanese accent that makes her believe her words are lost in translation. There is sincerity in the way she speaks, you don’t need to understand Japanese or English to feel it.
Chika came to America nearly a decade ago from Osaka, Japan. “I decided to come to New York for school. Dancing school looked more fun than language school,” says Chika. Chika attended the Broadway Dance Center in New York City.
In order to pay for dancing school, she began working as an assistant for a method acting professor. The professor unexpectedly gave her a scene to read- impressed, he recommended she pursue acting. Chika started her acting career scouring the pages of Craigslist. “They said no experience needed, and I applied. That was my first audition and I got the role,” says Chika.
When her dancer friends signed with agencies in Los Angeles, she moved across the country to join them. Chika has been a working actress in Los Angeles for almost 10 years. “It’s hard to get a job as an artist. It’s hard to make a living in New York or L.A., I think my mom always thought I was going to give up and go back to Japan,” says Chika. What keeps Chika going in this difficult industry is her mom, “Now, my mom started to believe I am really pursuing this thing. The good thing is that Amazon is available to watch in Japan. Her customers – my mom owns a restaurant, they have been watching and commenting about me being an actress. That makes her happy.”
Chika’s performance in “The Man in the High Castle” will hopefully open new doors. Chika’s very intense monologue about surviving rape showcases her emotional range, “I had a monologue about her background and it wasn’t easy for me; It was very challenging but at the same time empowering. I spoke with the director and I tried it different ways. I very much appreciate and was honored that they trusted me and let me have a key monologue in such a great show.”
Chika dreams of, “working with Tim Burton on something dark and funny. I love Edward Scissorhands and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” Watch her now on Season 4 of The Man in the High Castle available on Amazon Prime.
Photos provided by Chika Kanamoto