Interview with Miho Ando
Miho Ando is a Japanese actress and Japanese classical dancer. She has been in LA for 5 years now. During this time she has been in demand for roles in many films and theater performances. She is well known for her roles in Yukio Mishima’s “Hanjo” directed by Aramazd Stepanian at the Luna Playhouse in Los Angeles. In addition she can be seen as the bride in “The Marriage of Cruz and Chu” an interactive dinner theater show by the East West Players, and as “Akeno”, in Dramatic histrical play “UTSUTSU”.
Her film work includes leading roles in “Society Withdraws” and “Layla” as well as co-starring roles in films such as “25 mins”, “Thread” and “Shinran”.
Miho is also known for her elegant and graceful Japanese classical dancing.
Miho, tell us a little about yourself and where you are from.
Hi Tom, it’s pleasure to meet you. I was born and raised in Okayama in Japan where you can see rows of Japanese storehouses and streets along the river. It’s really beautiful. I love acting and dancing. Performing. I’ve been in love with all of them and I will always be.
When you were young was acting and dancing something you took classes and were interested in?
I knew what I loved since when I was a child. Acting, dancing, singing, and writing.
I had done many plays when I was in preschool and elementary school, I was a shy kid who always wrote stories and drew pictures but when it came to performing, I was so eager to be a part of it.
I asked my mom to let me take Japanese Dance classes when I was 6 years old. It was just because I saw a beautiful woman dancing Nihon-Buyo (Japanese Classical dance.) in her beautiful Kimono on TV. I asked my mom so many times, so she let me take the class and ever since then I’ve been doing and I love it.
What brought you to Los Angeles?
I wanted to challenge myself more and here in Hollywood I believe there are many opportunities.
What did you think of LA when you first arrived?
I was like “Here I come!”!!! I liked the diversity of LA.
Do you remember the first first role you landed and what was it?
Yes! I actually had been asked same question before, and I always love to tell the story.
My first first role was a tom-boy mouse in a play called “Operetta of a Mouse” when I was 6 years old.
I felt such an unforgettable feeling and after that I really got into acting.
Since you have worked in both theater and film which do you prefer?
I love both. Every scene is captured on film forever but in theater you’re able to share an exact moment with audience. That’s the beauty of theater. I would like to put effort into both fields.
Tell us about your character in Mishima’s “Hanyo”.
I played a role of Hanako, a former Geisha girl, who’s driven to insanity by being apart from her lover. She is kept by Jitsuko, a painter, who wants to control Hanako to have more than just a platonic relationship with her. After a long time of being apart from Yoshio, Hanako’s lover, he finally came to her but she didn’t realize that he is the one she has been waiting for long time, because of her insanity. It’s a sad story but I really love the character. The story is from Yukio Mishima’s “Five Modern Noh Plays”. The first original play was from a Noh Play, written in the 15th century which was written and adapted into modern times by Mishima, a famous novelist and script writer . This was a great experience to be able to play this role in the States, it was just amazing.
What were the audience reactions to the play?
We had great reactions from the audience and great reviews from critics as well. Reviewers such as LA weekly or Tolucan Times said, “A delightful cast, an excellent production. Recommended, “GO!”. We were all so happy to hear that.
Among your film roles, which one is the most memorable?
Every role has its own memories, I couldn’t single out which is the one, but recently I’ve been waiting and looking forward to a film called “Lil Tokyo Reporter” coming out which I worked on. The film starred Chris Tashima (he received an Academy Award for “Visas and Virtue”) and for me it was such an honor. I’m really looking forward to the film coming out.
You also perform classical Japanese dance. What have been some of your performances?
I feel I’m so lucky to have chances to dance in the US too. Some of the places I have performed at are the Martin Luther King Auditorium, Dance Garden, Armstrong Theater, and the Navy base too.
Can you tell us about the tradition behind the Nihon Buyo (Japanese Classical Dance)?
I’m in no place to tell about the tradition behind it, it has over 400 years of history but it is but one of many forms of Japanese art and one of the most significant principles is “entering from the form and leaving from the form.” In the case of dancing, this principle means that dancers first imitate the teachers’ movements and body forms as exactly as possible, and once they absorb the precise, accurate dance forms, then they need to communicate their own personal character or feelings through dance. This is the way to create an original dance form based on the basic, traditional forms that have been handed down from generation to generation.Nihon buyo has carried on the craft most strongly influenced by Kabuki, but it was also influenced by Noh and folk dance. It takes circular movements and props from Noh, and spinning and jumping expressions from traditional folk dance. It has been accomplished through a repeated process of polishing. Indeed, it’s lifetime learning.
Do you have any interesting projects coming up you can share with us?
Right now I’m involved in some projects for feature films and theater plays. The one I can share is a play “Who Stole the Soul From The Sun?” It’s about a bond between family members over damaged relationships and tremendous loss. It will be in theaters this autumn.
What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?
Reading books, watching movies and plays. I love reading books. One of this year’s resolutions is “reading 365 books in this year.” right now I’m reading a book called “風姿花伝“（as known as Kadensyo, or flowering spirit.” ）written by Zeami, Japanese aesthetician, Noh actor, and playwright .
Many times you read this book, many times you find something. I think it’s amazing book for a stage performer.
Where can we go to find out more about you?
My IMDB page