Hard Romanticker

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  • Movie: Hard Romanticker
  • Romaji: Hadoromanchika
  • Japanese: ハードロマンチッカー
  • Director: Su-Yeon Gu
  • Writer: Mitsunori Gu, Su-Yeon Gu
  • Producer: Kimio Kataoka, Masahiro Harada, Naoya Kinoshita, Haruki Kadokawa, Shigeyuki Endo
  • Cinematographer: Hideyuki Bushu
  • World Premiere: October, 2011 (Busan International Film Festival)
  • Release Date: November 26, 2011
  • Runtime: 109 min.
  • Genre: Action / Gangster / Disillusioned Youth / Zainichi Korean
  • Production Company: Toei
  • Distributor: Toei
  • Language: Japanese
  • Country: Japan


Gu (Shota Matsuda) is a hard-nosed Korean-Japanese hoodlum living in Shimonoseki, Japan. When friends "accidentally" kill the grandmother of a ruthless North Korean-Japanese thug, a whirlwind of violence and revenge is set to explode. In the process, Gu, having no fear, pisses off a string of other criminal gang members and Korean-Japanese thugs who all want him dead. There's also Detective Fujita (Atsuro Watabe) lingering in the shadows looking for Gu, but where is Gu?

Meanwhile, Gu lucks his way into a managerial job for a hostess club, run by a suave man named Takagi (Shido Nakamura). Instincts tells Gu that Takagi is more than he seems. In fact, Takagi works for a rival gang and may be involved with drugs. When Gu returns to Shimonoseki all hell is about to break loose.


Hard Romanticker-Shota Matsuda.jpg Hard Romanticker-Kento Nagayama.jpg Hard Romanticker-Atsuro Watabe.jpg Hard Romanticker-Shido Nakamura.jpg
Shota Matsuda Kento Nagayama Atsuro Watabe Shido Nakamura
Gu Tatsu Det. Fujita Takagi
Hard Romanticker-Tokio Emoto.jpg Hard Romanticker-Kaname Endo.jpg Hard Romanticker-Sei Ashina.jpg Hard Romanticker-Yoko Maki.jpg
Tokio Emoto Kaname Endo Sei Ashina Yoko Maki
Masaru Park Yono Natsuko wife of crime boss

Additional Cast Members:


Image Gallery

Film Festivals

Q&A with actor Shota Matsuda & dir.Su-Yeon Gu

Hard Romanticker-BIFF-02.jpg

Q&A for "Hard Romanticker" took place after a screening of the movie at the 2011 Busan International Film Festival on October 7, 2011. Appearing as speakers are actor Shota Matsuda & director Su-Yeon Gu. AsianWiki editor Ki Mun was there and transcribed/translated the session.

  • Su-Yeon Gu (director) - (Speaks in Korean) Nice to meet to you, I am Gu Su-Yeon. I'm glad to meet you. I can't speak Korean well. Thank you for coming here.
  • Shota Matsuda (actor) - Thank you for watching this movie today. I think this movie shows pain, aches and it doesn't lie. Did you have a good time? (Speaks this part in Korean) Thank you.

  • Audience Question - This question is for Shota Matsuda. During filming did you get injured?
  • Shota Matsuda (actor) - No, never. I finished the movie in perfect health.
  • Moderator - How about the director? Did you get hurt during the filming?
  • Su-Yeon Gu (director) - I did. My right foot was injured. After that, I walked with a limp. A lot of people did get hurt during the filming.

  • Audience Question - Question for Shota Matsuda. You played the lead character who is an ethnic Korean living in Japan. How do you view ethnic Koreans living in Japan?
  • Shota Matsuda (actor) - First of all, my generation isn't that well versed in the history of ethnic Koreans living in Japan. I do have a relative who is an ethnic Korean living in Japan. That person lives in Shimonoseki. I don't think of people in terms of ethnic Koreans or Japanese. I do enjoy Korean culture and I like the mixed Korean and Japanese culture that Shimonseki has.

  • Audience Question - This question is for director Su-Yeon Gu. All three of your films deal with ethnic Koreans living in Japan. Can you explain why?
  • Su-Yeon Gu (director) - I am most famliar with that side.
  • Moderator - The background of "Hard Romanticker" is set in the city of Shimonoseki and you were also raised in Shimonoseki. You wrote "Hard Romanticker" as a novel first and then made it into a movie. Could you elaborate in more detail why you wrote the story? Is this from your own personal experience?
  • Su-Yeon Gu (director) - I was raised in Shimonoseki until the age of 18 or 19. After that, I moved to Tokyo. The environment of Shimonoseki and Tokyo are completely different. I thought there was something special in the environment of Shimonoseki. I made this story based on my story and the story of my environment while I grew up. Basically, because of my familiarity. I don't put special meaning in the fact that I am an ethnic Korean living in Japan or I don't think about that specifically. I wanted to express more humor from where I came from and my own experience in moving to a bigger city. The story just came out this way.

  • Audience Question - What percentage of the movie is based on your own personal experience?
  • Su-Yeon Gu (director) - Honestly, I would say about 50%. About 80% of the movie comes from things that actually happened around me. Of course it happened a long time ago. 50% or a little bit less than 50% actually happened to me.

  • Audience Question - Which actress from South Korea do you like the most?
  • Su-Yeon Gu (director) - I like women. I like many actresses.
  • Shota Matsuda (actor) - Kim Tae-Hee. She is beautiful.

  • Audience Question - This question is for both Shota Matsuda and director Su-Yeon Gu. Which scene is the most impressive to you?
  • Su-Yeon Gu (director) - Using a common saying, I would say every scene is impressive to me. If you ask me to pick just one scene I would say ... the last fight scene at the imoya restaurant. When we filmed that I was nervous, but highly focused.
  • Shota Matsuda (actor) - Like the director mentioned, the imoya fight scene is the most memorable for me as well. In that scene, while I was lying on the floor, I was hit continously. The director did not call cut for about 10 minutes and during that time I was hit with 2 or 3 really hard punches. Also, the rape scene in the park. My heart ached during that scene.

  • Audience Question - I came away very impressed with this movie. I'm a student studying filmmaking. For the director and actor what parts did you guys focus on the most? And for that scene what special efforts were put forth?
  • Su-Yeon Gu (director) - Of course, I can say that I focused on every scene. I kept thinking about how I could better express the gap between what I had in my mind and what I could express on the screen. If I expressed everything I had in my mind the budget would be way too high. Also, if I expressed all the violent scenes I had in my mind people would have gotten hurt. Based on these limitations, I kept thinking about how we could express reality more. I also kept looking for original ways to express certain thoughts. About the actor. I have been asked before what if another actor performed the main character. When we filmed the movie, we concentrated on creating a character that only this actor could convey.
  • Shota Matsuda (actor) - I sought to implement as much realistic action as possible. Especially, during the violent scenes. For example, the car accident scene. I tried to express the emotions of seeing the unexpected suddenly occurring. I tried to keep that sense of things happening suddenly and abruptly. My mindset was of a beaten man.

  • Audience Question - Question for director Su-Yeon Gu. What does the movie title "Hard Romanticker" mean?
  • Su-Yeon Gu (director) - First of all, the title refers to a hard romanticist. Also, the title refers to a hard rocker. I didn't really think that deeply about the title. As a man, when the man loves, there is a romanticist aspect and non romanticist aspect. In Japan, a romanticist has a weak and frail image. When it gets harder, they can say it is strong weakness. This movie is about a person who can't give up a type of lifestyle and persists to have that kind of lifestyle. I made the title because I can combine two meanings. Another reason I went with that title is that I had a desire to become a rocker. I hope people who watch the movie uses their imagination freely about the film and the title as well. If I explain in certainty that explanation becomes like concrete. I would rather you watch the movie freely and make your own opinions.

  • Audience Question - In the movie, you play a main character full of charisma. Seeing you in person, you have an intense gaze. Personally, I'm a fan of Shota Matsuda and also Yusaku Matsuda, your father. Do you refer to your father's acting or what aspect of your father do you respect.
  • Shota Matsuda (actor) - My father went to Hollywood. That was when I was around 3 or 4-years-old. After that, he passed away. I was raised by my mother. I choose to become an actor by myself and I don't think I am that influenced by my father. I do keep inside and keep thinking of the qualities my father had as an actor and a man.

  • Moderator - Could you tell us about your next work?
  • Su-Yeon Gu (director) - I don't have anything scheduled. Like I have done so far in my career, I hope I can make a different movie and at the end of the film the audience can experience various feelings.
  • Shota Matsuda (actor) - I will play a Japanese emperor in the NHK historical drama "Taira no Kiyomori". Also "Liar Game Movie 2" will be released. In the future, whether I play a supporting or lead role, I will try to show you my best.


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