Kiki Sukezane, who plays Yuko Tanabe on The Terror: Infamy, talks about how she approached playing a spirit, why Yuko wanted to escape Chiyo’s perfect world and Chester’s lack of respect for his birth mother.
Q: How did you prepare for this role that is so deeply rooted in history?
A: When I read the scripts and character synopsis, I was fascinated by Yuko’s story and was so excited to play her. My acting coach and I worked on this character for two months before shooting began. I also went to [the] library and studied about Japan history and culture in the 1920s.
Q: What’s been the hardest thing about playing a ghost? How did you approach the character?
A: I approached the role differently and didn’t feel as if I were playing a ghost, but rather a Japanese woman who [is] going through her own personal struggles and hardships.
Q: We finally see what happened between Yuko and Furuya-San. Does she blame him for what has happened to her?
A: Not only did Yuko blame Furuya-San, she also blamed her parents, sister, and, most importantly, herself. Furuya-San was her only hope at the time, but Yuko eventually lost everything.
Q: We see Yuko give up her baby and take her own life. What brought her to this place in her life?
A: All her circumstances got her to this point. She had no other options and had nowhere to live.
Q: She’s trapped in a perfect world with this strange woman. Why is she so determined to escape such a perfect world?
A: The perfect world was based out of Chiyo’s own desires and not Yuko’s. Chiyo wanted her to be the perfect daughter and to fill her own void. Once Yuko realized this, she decided that she had to go back and find a way to raise her own kids.
Q: Yuko escapes and rises from the dead. How is this Yuko different than before her death?
A: Yuko was in a very negative place emotionally before she died. Once she returned, she became mentally stronger to get her babies back and raise them as her own.
Q: Chester learns that Yuko is his mother. Why do you think he chooses to help burn her body, to rid them of her spirit, when it’s his own mother?
A: Chester wanted to end the suffering. When he burned Yuko, he used the word, “bakemono,” which proved that he had no respect or feelings towards Yuko.
Q: This episode is such a departure from the rest of the story. What was it like to bring this interesting interpretation of the afterlife to reality?
A: I found this episode to be incredibly fascinating because it explained Yuko’s backstory and brought up karma through Chiyo’s storyline. There wasn’t so much of a division between the afterlife and present day, as it was all real to Yuko.
Q: What are you most excited for people to see from the rest of the season?
A: I’m excited for the audience to discover Chiyo’s world and the afterlife. We also continue delving into the internment camp storyline, which is such a timely and painful reflection of our current immigration system.
Read an interview with Christopher Naoki Lee, who plays Ken Uehara.
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