Q: Who are the Yubari sister?|
A: Two characters Quentin Tarantino created for his fourth film, Kill Bill. The sisters are named Go Go Yubari and Yuki Yubari.
Q: Who played these two characters in Kill Bill?
A: Chiaki Kuriyama had the role of Go Go Yubari. The character of Yuki Yubari was made for Kou Shibasaki but she never signed on to Kill Bill.
Q: What are the ages of Go Go and Yuki?
A: Go Go is 17. The age of Yuki is more complicated. In the draft script floating on the Internet, Yuki is described as a 16 year old. However, the Japanese script given to Chiaki did not give Yuki's age at all. In recent interviews, Tarantino has stated that Go Go and Yuki are twins. It seems revisionism is at work. The earliest script established Yuki's age, then it became unclear, and finally we are told Yuki is the same age as Go Go.
Q: Why all the hoopla over Yuki's age?
A: Yuki's age is important for two reasons. (1) Since Kou Shibasaki is older than Chiaki Kuriyama, some Battle Royale fans find it hard to believe that Kou could play the younger sister to Chiaki's Go Go. (2) If Yuki is indeed Go Go's twin, Chiaki could play both characters. The change from younger sister to twin might suggest Tarantino's last ditch effort to keep Yuki in the film.
Q: Where did the last name Yubari come from?
A: Yubari is the name of a small town (population 14,000) in the northern island of Hokkaido. The agrarian town is well known for its melons and the annual "Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival." In 1992, Tarantino went to the Yubari festival with his first film, Resevoir Dogs. It was his first trip to Japan and he fell in love with the island nation. Yubari is not a real Japanese name.
Q: Where did the first name Go Go come from?
A: When Tarantino was young, he loved watching a Japanese anime called Mach GoGoGo. This anime is better known to most of the world as Speed Racer. Go Go is not a real Japanese name.
Q: Where did the first name Yuki come from?
A: Yuki is the name of the main character in Lady Snowblood (1973), one of the first (and few) samurai films where a woman played the lead. The literal translation of the word Yuki is snow and unlike Go Go or Yubari, Yuki is a real Japanese name. In fact, the name is quite common among women in Japan.
Q: What inspired the Yubari sisters?
A: The film Battle Royale (2000) was the spark that started it all. Immediately after watching the violent film by his good friend Kinji Fukusaku, he wrote the two Japanese schoolgirls into Kill Bill. These girls are supposed to be played by Chiaki Kuriyama and Kou Shibasaki, two teenage actresses from Battle Royale.
Q: What was Battle Royale about?
A: Battle Royale is one of the most violent films ever. A class of 42 junior high students is transported against their will by the government to an island where they must fight each other to the death. This program pits friend against friend and asks the question "who can you trust?" The Japanese parliament (called the Diet) debated whether this film should be released, fearing copycat violence but once the film entered theaters, it was widely praised and became a critical and commercial successs.
Q: Who did Chiaki Kuriyama play in Battle Royale?
A: Chiaki played a character named Takako Chigusa, an track star, who didn't want to play the game. Her strategy was to avoid the other students. Unfortunately, she encountered a boy who wanted to rape her. Chigusa defended herself and stabbed the boy in the crotch multiple times. Her character is ironically killed later by Kou Shibasaki's character.
Q: Who did Kou Shibasaki play in Battle Royale?
A: As an unknown at the time, Kou landed the difficult role of Mitsuko Souma. Mitsuko was abused as a child and given the choice of kill or be killed, she chose to literally not be "a loser anymore." Although she did not win the game, she left many dead in her path. She's arguably the most memorable female character in Battle Royale. The film turned Kou from struggling actress to a major celebrity.
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