Actor and model Shogen Itokazu (糸数尚玄), 42, mononymously known as Shogen, plays the lead role in “Gensan Punch.” Directed by Cannes Film Festival 2009 Best Director Brillante Mendoza, the film was shot in Japan and in the Philippines.
Shogen plays Nao Tsuyama in “Gensan Punch,” which was written by Honee Alipio based on a true story. An athlete with an artificial leg, the character refuses to let his disability hinder his dream to become a professional boxer.
“Gensan Punch” is co-produced by Center Stage Productions of the Philippines and Gentle Underground Monkeys of Japan. Based in the United Kingdom, SC Films International has obtained international rights to the film.
SC Films presented initial footage from “Gensan Punch” at the virtual Cannes Film Festival market held from June 22-26, 2020. It marks the first sports biopic directed by Mendoza.
Shogen was born in Okinawa, Japan on June 20, 1978. He did karate for two years and judo for four years when he was young.
“I’m not really a martial artist per se but I’ve done several action movies which involved quite a bit of training before the shoot,” Shogen told Kung Fu Kingdom in 2014. “I’m more into basketball.”
In 2004, Shogen made his acting debut in the film “Tori” opposite Tadanobu Asano and Rinko Kikuchi. In 2012, Shogen starred in the film “Actresses” opposite Maria Ozawa and Mayuko Iwasa and in the film “The Room” opposite Ayumi Ito and Shugo Oshinari.
In 2014, Shogen played Kurodo in “Zero: Black Blood” and young Goken in “Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist” and in 2015, he played Raye Penber in “Death Note.” Recently, he starred in the films “Okinawan Blue” and “Detective Chinatown 3,” which were released in 2019 and in 2020, respectively.
Before pursuing an acting career, Shogen worked as a model in Paris, France and in London, England, U.K. He then studied acting in New York, United States and appeared in a television drama in Malaysia.
Joining Shogen in the “Gensan Punch” cast are Ronnie Lazaro, Beauty Gonzales and Kaho Minami. Lazaro and Gonzales are from the Philippines while Minami is from Japan.
In 2019, Minami starred in the TV series “Detective Zero” and “And Live.” In the same year, Lazaro played an investigator in the Filipino version of “Miracle in Cell No. 7” while Gonzales starred in “Abandoned.”