Since his debut at the tender young age of 17, Takeru Satoh (佐藤 健) has surpassed expectations time and again with stellar performances and untiring diligence in improving his trade. Collect more reasons to simp for the male lead in Netflix Japanese romance series, First Love, with these 16 facts about Takeru Satoh.
You’d expect the popular heartthrob to have debuted with a puppy-like boyfriend role, or something similar. However, Satoh’s character in his first TV drama series was a rather special one – a male student who cross-dresses as a cutesy girl.
Image adapted from: @12u_u34
Titled Princess Princess D, the 10-episode drama follows students from an all-boys school where 3 freshmen are picked to become the “Princesses of the Year”. Their purpose is to dress up as girls and liven up the otherwise gloomy atmosphere in the testosterone-filled campus.
Due to his relatively androgynous facial features, Satoh pulled off the feminine look with great success, delighting viewers.
A year after Princess Princess D aired, Satoh – then 18 – experienced pneumothorax, a condition where the lung collapses and makes breathing difficult.
In Japan, pneumothorax is also referred to as “ikemen byō” (イケメン病; handsome man disease) as tall and lean young males, including those from the entertainment industry, are particularly susceptible to the condition.
While Satoh recovered after spending 10 days in the hospital, his lungs collapsed again 2 years later. As a result, Satoh’s lungs had shrunk by half. He was consequently told to avoid vigorous exercise at all costs as it would endanger his life.
Image credit: @haluhi_tkrotaku
In 2021, Satoh made a guest appearance on the Japanese TV show The World’s Astonishing News! (ザ!世界仰天ニュース), as part of a 2-hour special programme on pneumothorax. There, he shared his harrowing experience.
Recollecting his fears back then, Satoh explained that he had considered getting surgery if he suffered pneumothorax a 3rd time, but that thankfully never happened. However, since Satoh hasn’t undergone surgery till today, he still has bulla – air-filled sacs that potentially cause lung collapse when popped – in his lungs.
Despite having pre-existing conditions, Satoh holds himself to the highest standards, deeming himself unworthy of taking up a role if he can’t do his own scenes.
To better express Himura Kenshin, the character he plays in Rurouni Kenshin, Satoh tirelessly practised action scenes to pull them off himself.
Image credit: belle-deesse
Watch Satoh practising action scenes here:
Video credit: 佐藤 健 / Satoh Takeru
Kamen Rider Den-O marked Satoh’s 1st lead role and film debut. In Kamen Rider Den-O, Satoh played Ryōtarō Nogami, the 18-year-old protagonist who helps those in need.
The role eventually went on to become one of Satoh’s representative works despite him never starring in another Kamen Rider vehicle in the next decade.
After 10 years, fans assumed that Satoh wasn’t going to appear in another Kamen Rider series, only to be pleasantly surprised by his cameo as Ryōtarō Nogami in Kamen Rider Heisei Generations Forever. Even the Kamen Rider series writer Shimoyama Kento was kept in the dark until the movie premiere.
The surprise project all started when a long-time Kamen Rider producer, Shirakura Shinichirō, personally wrote Satoh a heartfelt letter inviting him to star in the last part of Kamen Rider‘s Heisei era series. Satoh, who appreciated Shinichirō’s support back in the day, agreed to make a guest appearance.
Given Satoh’s good looks, you’d think he’s always been popular. But out of shyness, Satoh often kept to himself and dedicated his free time to breakdancing throughout high school.
Girls who saw him dancing would mutter that he was cool, then walk away to keep a polite distance. As a result, Satoh regrettably never led the campus flower boy life in high school.
Nevertheless, Satoh’s breakdancing was not for naught. It aided him in dance scenes in Kamen Rider Den-O and fight scenes in the Rurouni Kenshin live-action movie.
Image credit: kingsman-bb8
Watch the Kamen Rider Den-O dancing scene here:
Video credit: eb3fan
Satoh was invited to the 20th Busan International Film Festival in 2015 as a promising Japanese male actor.
There, Satoh met Korean actor and model Kim Woo Bin, who was then trending for his works The Heirs and Twenty.
Kim Woo Bin and Takeru Satoh.
Image adapted from: oricon ME inc.
During the Casting Board Event, when asked to pick an actor he wishes to work with, Kim Woo Bin named Satoh and complimented his eyes.
While the collab hasn’t come to fruition, we’re hoping to see the 2 handsome men work together in the near future.
In 2021, Satoh established the Co-LaVo, Inc. entertainment company with fellow actor Ryūnosuke Kamiki, who’s 4 years younger than him. Currently, the company consists of only these 2 artistes.
The duo’s decision was supported by their former agency Amuse Inc., whose chairman, Yokichi Osato, volunteered to act as Co-LaVo, Inc.’s consultant.
The First Love male lead is always up for a challenge, particularly mind-boggling puzzles.
One of Satoh’s favourite pastimes is solving the Rubik’s Cube. On a Japanese TV programme, Satoh deftly solved a 6-sided Rubik’s Cube in just 2 minutes.
Image adapted from: CrazyxTakeru
Additionally, Satoh showcased his visualisation skills by creating Rubik’s Cube art out of blocks with different surface designs.
Image adapted from: CrazyxTakeru
Watch Satoh in action here:
Video credit: CrazyxTakeru
Aside from Rubik’s Cube, Satoh also enjoys playing chess and Othello.
Satoh first got to know the ONE OK ROCK member Takahiro Moriuchi through a colleague. He then began listening to ONE OK ROCK’s songs, gradually becoming a fan of them.
Takahiro Moriuchi and Takeru Satoh.
Image credit: @bellie_desu
The 2 eventually got closer as they were under the same agency until 1st April 2021. In an interview, Moriuchi likened their relationship to best friends and a married couple all rolled into one.
The couple’s actions at their mutual friend Shohei Miura’s wedding only highlighted their close relationship.
Shohei Miura and his wife, Mirei Kiritani.
Image credit: placole Inc.
When Miura excused himself from the venue, Satoh and Moriuchi followed after – hand-in-hand. Witnessing the scene, an unnamed film producer got inspired to consider making a drama revolving around male youths.
Satoh might not have become a celebrity if not for scouts from Amuse, Inc. and words of advice from his mother.
Image adapted from: pechumori
On Satoh’s first visit to Harajuku, he got approached by 2 Amuse, Inc. scouts. Although Satoh started to consider entering the entertainment world, he was hesitant about giving up on university in exchange for it.
His mother pointed out that he could go to university any time, not just right after high school. Thanks to that, Satoh decided to join the entertainment industry.
Everyone has something that they love, be it dancing, their pets, or growing plants. For Satoh, his objection of his affections are his 2 cats, Kochirō (こちろー) and Puchirō (ぷちろー).
Image credit: きらぴ
An avid cat lover, Satoh was the perfect fit for the role of a man living alone with his cat in the movie If Cats Disappeared From the World.
The cat, left behind by the man’s late mother, was the man’s only family left. When the man contracts a terminal illness, he worries about the cat’s well-being after his death.
Image credit: きらぴ
Nevertheless, a devil offers to extend his life by a day for every everyday item he agrees to have removed from the world forever, such as mobile phones. But when the devil finally challenges the man to give up cats, the man hesitates.
As Satoh is a devoted cat dad, one thing is for sure – just like the character in the movie, he wouldn’t agree to remove cats from the world in exchange for a longer lifespan.
At the age of 5, Satoh started practising Shōrinji Kempō (少林寺拳法), a Japanese martial arts centred on self–defence.
Image credit: hana-angel
Derived from Shaolin Kung Fu, Shōrinji Kempō focuses more on targeting the human body’s weak points and less on physical strength. That makes the art friendly for all, regardless of the practitioner’s physique.
After spending 6 years learning Shōrinji Kempō, Satoh grew proficient at it and achieved the black belt.
Having had sharp facial features since birth, Satoh worked as a child actor back in his elementary school days. He would occasionally be featured in TV commercials and magazines, gathering much public attention for his good looks.
Image adapted from: honey so sweet
Eventually getting overwhelmed by public attention, the shy Satoh decided to pull out of his child actor job 3 to 4 years into the gig. We’re glad he’s now back with us for another 16 years and counting.
Throughout his elementary and middle school years, Satoh played the all-time favourite sport of Japan – baseball – on a regular basis. He unfortunately had to give up on the sport nearing senior year in middle school in preparation for the high school entrance examinations.
Image credit: @zaaax_
Nevertheless, Satoh’s previous experience aided in his role as a baseball player in the drama Rookies. The drama follows delinquent highschoolers who turn over a new leaf and aim to win a baseball tournament together.
On top of good looks and strong work ethics, Satoh also possesses considerable intellect, as proven by his stellar academic records.
Image credit: hana-angel
Satoh entered one of the top public high schools in Saitama Prefecture – Koshigaya Kita High School (埼玉県立越谷北高校). Despite the competitiveness in his school, Satoh often ranked among the top 2 in his cohort, academically.
In 2012, Satoh made his theatre debut as Romeo in Romeo and Juliet. One of the most notable scenes in the play was Satoh crying while clasping Ishihara Satomi, who played Juliet.
Image adapted from: kerostar1
Jonathan Munby, the stage play director, commended Satoh on his aptitude for acting in an interview. According to Munby, Satoh diligently went back and forth between England and Japan to gain a better understanding of his character and immerse himself in his role.
Watch the stage play trailer here:
Video credit: maidigitv
Boasting not just looks but also smarts, Takeru Satoh is an ace of all trades. Catch the well-rounded artiste’s latest romance drama, First Love, on Netflix now.
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