“Plans,” said Antonio Ploszay, “are for people who are not doing what they want to do.”
Since Ploszay is doing what he wants to do, he does not make plans.
Born in Italy, growing up multilingual and a world traveler, he says that at heart he is a true Tokyoite.
Thoughtful and well-read, an observer and a participant, he offers considered, reasoned points of view. His are the conclusions of one who discards the stereotypes, and develops his own philosophies.
In everyday use he does not employ his noble title of di Liberatore which correctly appears after his family name of Ploszay. With an Italian father and a French mother, Ploszay began life empowered by diversity at home and in his wider surroundings. He was educated principally in Rome, and has also been a student of some level in Denmark, England, Mexico, the U.S. and Japan.
Ploszay made an early choice sometimes to play the parts of other people. He said, “My sideline acting career dates from when I was a willing teenager appearing in Italian television shows. Italian TV teamed up with several other networks across Europe to show how different and yet how similar we really all were. As I was able to speak several languages, and had the experience of living in other European states, that gave me an edge that was appealing to viewers. After that in England, I was cast in a BBC mini-series.
Since then I have been in over 70 commercials, and dozens of variety shows, movies, and dramas.” All the while, Ploszay observed, evaluated, and made decisions. “Life experience gives you the chance to reflect and to learn,” he said.
With the money he saved from acting, Ploszay went to California. “From that time I paid for my own education,” he said. He entered California State University to study economics and international relations. Toward the end of his four years there he said, “We were visited by the governor of Fukushima Prefecture. I was asked to escort him while he was there, and that led to his inviting me to visit Japan. I came for a three-month home stay.”
As a young graduate 17 years ago, Ploszay came to Tokyo. “It was lovely then to have someone come up to you on the street and ask if you would like to work in his company. Just amazing,” he said.
In Tokyo he is the economic adviser to the president of a Japanese multinational firm. Before he had been here long, his U.K. agent introduced him to Japanese television. One of his early successes was in a drama that was filmed on location on an island in the Inland Sea. That was “a wonderful time that gave me the chance to become good friends with the other actors and staff,” he said.
Since then he has come to lament the dearth of better roles on television for foreign actors. “My only wish is for something different, to be able to star as a good guy rather than appear in the negative parts that non-Japanese are asked to play,” he said.
Ploszay is picture perfect as well as word perfect when he wears traditional Japanese dress and attends a high-class tea ceremony. In Japan he appreciates “the lack of organized religion, yet the innate understanding, respect and tolerance of one another.
I am very much against any kind of racism, good or bad.” At the same time, he said, “Although I would prefer to focus only on the positive trends in today’s Japan, I believe that mentioning the ones I would like to see changed is worth more attention. There is a general trend that society is becoming more conservative and militaristic.
“Gone are the days of Buddhist-like pacifism and nonconfrontational charm. The new political wave is promilitary, antiforeigner, and takes a laisez-faire view on the violence that has gripped most of the world in this 21st century.” For a happy and successful life, Ploszay advocates “patience, love and diversity.”
Ploszay emphasized that he has traveled to dozens of countries and seen the culture of various nations of the world. “None chose me as a citizen the way Japan did. Tokyo chose me to be a Tokyoite rather than the other way round,” he said.
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