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Following her breakthrough role in Naomi Kawase’s 2014 Palme d’Or nominated film “Futatsume no Mado” (“Still the Water”), Junko Abe looked as though she was destined to go on to become a big star in Japan. Back then she was known by her stage name Jun Yoshinaga and was viewed as one of the brightest young actresses in the country.

It would have been easy for the Osaka-born performer to sit around waiting for the next offer to arrive. However, she instead decided to take a career break, surprisingly quitting her agency to fly out to the United States for a year to study English and drama at New York University.

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