Even though Chiaki's Go Go Yubari is not a main character in Kill Bill Vol. 1 and does not appear at all in Kill Bill Vol. 2, she nevertheless has one of the most elaborate credit sequences at the end of Vol. 2. In fact, other than Uma, Chiaki had more "face time" in the credits than anyone else.
Uma Thurman and Chiaki Kuriyama won the Best Fight award at the 2004 MTV Movie Awards. Uma and Quentin Tarantino went on stage to accept the award and both praised Chiaki with glowing compliments.
According to the April 16, 2004 issue of Entertainment Weekly, Quentin Tarantino has "a life-sized dead-on wax version of Kill Bill's psychopathic schoolgirl, Gogo" in the foyer of his LA home. The article also mentions that "the bar [in Tarantino's house] is actually part of Kill Bill's Beijing set. This is also confirmed by Japanese sources where Tarantino asked the Kill Bill crew to reconstruct in his California house the "Go Go Bar" where Chiaki's character stabbed the businessman. When questioned why he wanted that set recreated, he said he wanted to invite Chiaki and others there to party.
NECA, the maker of the Kill Bill action figures, initially did not have plans for a Go Go Yubari toy in the first wave. However upon Quentin Tarantino's personal request, NECA designers rushed to include Go Go in the first assortment which should enter stores in April 2004.
Chiaki turned 19 on October 10, 2003, the day Kill Bill opened in theaters. What a coincidence! The teen princess was born on October 10, 1984 in Tsuchiura, a city in the Ibaraki perfecture. It's not too far northeast of Tokyo on the big island of Honshu.
Chiaki's name in Japanese has four characters (see her name at the top of this page). As with most East Asian names, the last (family) name comes first, then the first (given) name. In Japan, her name would be Kuriyama Chiaki. In the four characters at the top of the page, the first character is kuri, which means chestnut. The second character of yama means mountain. The third character, chi, means thousand and finally the fourth character of aki means bright or clear. So her name roughly translates to chestnut mountain with full brightness.
Chiaki's measurements are bust: 85 cm ( 31.9 inches), waist: 59 cm (23.2 inches), and hips: 86 (33.9 inches). That makes her a size 0 in the American standard size for women's wear chart, which officially gives size 0 the measurements 31.5 in. (B), 23.5 in. (W), and 34 in. (H). And you thought Calista Flockhart was thin.
When Chiaki was younger, she called herself Chaki.
Chiaki-Related Kill Bill Trivia
Chiaki was deprived of her Go Go Ball from Kill Bill. Despite repeated pleas, Miramax has refused to give her the 9 lb. weapon as a souvenir. The Go Go Ball she holds in the pages of Eiga HIHO magazine was a replica made by Hiroshi Samukawae specifically for that photoshoot.
The fight between the Bride and Go Go in Kill Bill is the favorite scene of not only most film critics but Quentin Tarantino himself. He absolutely loves that sequence. It's unfortunate that Go Go does not survive though. And despite the fact that many guys desire Go Go, it's Uma who would finally "nail" her.
Neither Go Go nor Yubari are proper Japanese names. Yubari is the name of a Hokkaido town and is not a last name. Go Go was named after Mach GoGoGo, one of Tarantino's favorite animes when he was young. Mach GoGoGo is marketed in the United States as Speed Racer. Ironically, O-Ren is a real Japanese first name even though it's a rare one only older Japanese ladies have. It does not rank among popular names given to the younger generation.
Years ago, Quentin Tarantino went to Yubari, Japan for the annual Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival with his first movie, Resevoir Dogs. It was his very first time going to the land of the rising sun. The small town of Yubari made such an impression on Tarantino that he chose Yubari as Go Go's last name. Yubari, if you're curious, is in central Hokkaido, the northernmost of the four main Japanese islands. It has a tiny population of 14,000. Bonus: It was at this film festival where Quentin first met Julie Dreyfus, the actress who would play Sophie Fatale in Kill Bill. Sophie, if you remember, is the translator who was "disarmed" before the big melee at the House of Blue Leaves.
Quentin Tarantino has mentioned a number of times that Chiaki Kuriyama is his "Japanese Uma." Considering how highly Tarantino regards Uma Thurman, this is an exceptional compliment.
When asked by a Japanese magazine whether she'll be in Kill Bill Volume 2, Chiaki said "I appear in it as Mach Melon!" The joke is lost on most people outside Japan since it references very specific knowledge about the country. Mach GoGoGo (Speed Racer) is an anime that is at least partly responsible for the name Go Go. Melons are the primary product of the tiny town of Yubari. In fact, Yubari Melons are as famous in Japan as Idaho Potatoes and Florida Oranges are in the states. It's refreshing to know that in many interviews, Chiaki displays a (very) healthy sense of humor.
During the production of Kill Bill, everyone including Quentin Tarantino called Chiaki by her character name of Go Go. Only Uma Thurman called her Chiaki.
Chiaki has been in the U.S. twice. The first time was when she came to the U.S. for training during the production of Kill Bill. The second time was in October 2003, when Chiaki was spotted at both the Los Angeles and the New York premieres.
Chiaki was 17 years old during the shooting of Kill Bill, the exact same age as her character Go Go Yubari.
At 17 years old, Go Go is seen drinking at a Tokyo bar. The legal age for alcohol consumption in Japan is 20. She is also seen driving O-Ren in a Mercedez, an afront to Japan's requirement that drivers must be 18 before hitting the road. Flaunting laws and courting juvenile delinquency with her underaged drinking and license-free driving, who does Go Go think she is? The average American teenager? :P
Chiaki-Related Battle Royale Trivia
Although Battle Royale the film is very difficult to obtain in the states, the book is strangely widely available at your neighborhood Barnes & Noble. Written by Koushun Takami and released in Japan in 1999, Battle Royale the novel was a huge hit. The film which ensued soon after however deviates from the book in a number of ways and in some instances provides more background and detail to the characters. With respect to Chiaki's character, Takako Chigusa, we learn that her designated weapon was not the flick-knife as shown in the film but a handy icepick. In the book, the boy who confronts her in the infamous scene is not a weak geek but an imposing athlete with muscle. Nevertheless, the battle still ends badly for the young boy and his manhood. The scene that comes after that struggle is worthy of note. In the film, Mitsuko Souma, psychotic class slut extraordinaire, magically appears and shoots at Chigusa without even a simple hello. In the book, this is not so. Mitsuko does show up but she starts an eerie conversation with Chigusa. "I really like girls like you. Maybe I'm a bit of a dyke." Mitsuko is of course the misunderstood nymphet who has no qualms about using her good looks to entice and kill waves of boys (and girls). As Chigusa thinks about the possibilities (yes!), Mitsuko continues, "I was always a little envious. You were so pretty, and you were a better girl than me." Before Mitsuko is even finished, Chigusa realized there was something amiss. Why was Mitsuko referring to her in the past tense? If you haven't seen or read Battle Royale, I don't want to spoil any more story. Go buy the book and movie and get your Chiaki fix.
It seems that Chiaki Kuriyama is not the only talent from Battle Royale involved in Kill Bill. Apparently, Ai Maeda is the voice of young O-Ren Oshii in the Anime portion of Tarantino's revenge adventure. Although Ai Maeda had only a small role in Battle Royale, her younger sister Aki Maeda played teacher's pet Noriko Nakagawa, thus making Aki the female lead in that Japanese film. Quentin Tarantino made an excellent casting decision with Ai Mada as clearly evidenced by her superb vocal portrayal of O-Ren in the animated sequence, a performance that was anything but...two dimensional. Alert: There is some evidence that the Ai Maeda who provided the voice of young O-Ren is an older professional voice actress who has the same name as the the sister of Aki Maeda. Need further investigation into this matter to determine which Ai Maeda worked on Kill Bill.
Battle Royale loyalists must be in nirvana. Not only was Chiaki Kuriyama sashaying across the screen in her Go Go schoolgirl uniform but Battle Royale fans were also treated to a Tarantino-style "replay" of her notorious scene from the Japanese film. In Battle Royale, a boy was brutally stabbed in the crotch multiple times after making "lewd suggestions" to Takako Chigusa, played by always nice Chiaki. In Tarantino's continuity, Go Go was accosted by a Japanese businessman who wanted to buy her love. Go Go's response to his suggestion of Enjo Kosai is a prompt "penetration" to his nether region by way of her knife. Ouch. Guys cried, feminists cheered.
Chiaki wore a yellow track-suit in Battle Royale, not unlike what Uma sports in Kill Bill. Of course, we all know that Uma's attire is a tribute to Bruce Lee's the Game of Death. However, it's possible that Tarantino first hit upon the idea of the yellow track-suit after watching Battle Royale. Tarantino is a huge fan of the violent film; so much so that he decided to recruit Chiaki to be his Go Go. QT also gave credence to the film big time when he showed up at the Boston screening of Kill Bill in a Battle Royale T-shirt.
Go Go Yubari and the Crazy 88 Trivia