Kai Issey


I grew up as an outsider. Often, in between cultures and countries. I was never fully accepted into any one culture, so I felt like I did not belong anywhere. It still happens to this day: “you are not Japanese enough” or “you are not gaijin enough”.

But studying to being an actor has helped me overcome that insecurity of not belonging anywhere, and has helped me realize it as a strength. I had to become stronger. Understanding why certain people behaved the way they did has helped me be more at ease instead of just feeling like a victim. The study of the human condition has helped me feel more confident with myself.

It does not matter what your background is because you are all welcome, you are all important, and you are all needed. Everything becomes just a bit more entertaining when the actor becomes not just a messenger of a deeper message but the representation of it. But you have to work hard for that. You have to earn it.

Sadly, in this world today, many see actors as just entertainers, or that it is easy, and that may be true on one hand, but on the other, at the core of all actors should be a burning desire to want to tell a story. And I believe that only when you tap into that desire are you able to realize your responsibilities in telling a message through your characters, through your performance, and through the overall production. For me, it is that “responsibility” that often humbles me and allows me to begin the process.

You study the text over and over again, questioning everything, and justifying all actions. Understanding the message means getting a better understanding of societies, cultures, people and the way in which our world functions or most of the time does not function. I think it is only then you finally earn yourself the right to call yourself an actor. You elevate yourself from just being able to entertain, to becoming an artist, and you have a place where you belong, a place you have made for yourself.