Yang Yu Teng (Birth name – Maruyama Yusuke) is a Taiwanese actor, model and singer best known for his portrayal of Zhou Shu Yi in the series “We Best Love: No.1 For You” and its sequel “We Best Love: Fighting Mr. 2nd”.
He was born on January 3, 1995 in Taiwan but grew up in Nagoya, Japan. At around 18-19 years of age, he moved back to Taiwan for higher education. His alma mater is Shih Chien University.
YUSUKE’S TRACK-RECORD/ FILMOGRAPHY
Yusuke’s first major role in a series was that of Zhou Shu Yi in “We Best Love: No.1 For You” and its sequel. He is set to make his big screen debut this year through the film “Back To The Past”.
Apart from his acting track-record, Yusuke also boasts a well-received discography consisting of his two hit-songs:
1) Follow (2020)
2) Blue Lover (WBL OST – 2020)
As of 2021, Yusuke has been signed as the global ambassador of the International Accessory Brand – EAST ICE. This is a major breakthrough in the youth celebrity sensation’s career as it marks his first brand endorsement since his debut.
ZHOU SHU YI – CHARACTER PROFILE
Zhou Shu Yi is introduced as a confident, arrogant and highly competitive individual. He is a multi-talented and enterprising young college student who has made his mark in the fields of sports, music and studies. Any person of his age would dream to be another Zhou Shu Yi, but for some reason Shu Yi is never satisfied. The switch that flips Shu Yi’s happy and peaceful state of being is none other than his rival from childhood days – Gao Shi De. Right from his toddler years, Shu Yi has been stuck at No.2 due to Shi De and his superior talents. And now, even during their university years, his childhood nightmare continues to haunt him as Shi De transfers to the same university as Shu Yi.
Shu Yi is extremely childish and this characteristic of his personality can be seen reflected in many instances throughout the series – for example, where he pulls silly pranks on Shi De in pursuance of a delusional, perceived humiliation which the latter seems to have subjected him to.
A pleasant contrast to Shu Yi’s initial character impressions is his broad heartedness and self-sacrificing attitude when it comes to matters of friendship and love. When he discovers that his childhood crush and current best friend Jiang Yu Xin was in love with his other best friend Fang Zheng Wen, he painfully lets go of his decision to pursue her.
Haunted by pangs of heart-break, Shu Yi is at a loss when he is forced to mingle with the newly united couple, under the pretence that he is comfortable and happy with the unexpected turn of events. Shi De comes to his rescue and devises a plan to make Shu Yi his page boy, in an attempt to spend more time with him and win his heart in the process. This whole sequence of events exposes Shu Yi’s vulnerable side and the audience get a sneak-peek into how this character deals with sorrow and heart-ache. Shu Yi is one who would mask his real emotions under a make-believe attitude of happiness (as seen in the case of his two best friends getting together), anger (in Season Two of the series when he is confronted by Shi De about his lingering feelings for the former) or complacency.
Contrary to one’s expectations, Shu Yi turns out to be a very understanding and reasonable individual, as is evident when Shi De explains to him the reasons for his sudden disappearance and estrangement.
Overall, the general impression of this character is that although he presents a very aggressive and borderline hostile attitude on the surface, there are various Easter eggs to his persona which draws in the audiences’ attention as the story progresses.
ZHOU SHU YI – GAO SHI DE DYNAMICS
Shu Yi grew up with his father. He lost his mother at a very young age and has been in love with one woman since childhood – his friend Jiang Yu Xin. He has a good relationship with his father, but is not particularly affectionate or close with him. His father on the other hand, is quite the overprotective type as seen in later episodes of the series. As an afterthought, growing up in the absence of motherly guidance was probably one of the primary reasons that contributed to Shu Yi’s adulthood haughtiness and arrogance.
Shi De on the other hand had to face the sour reality of his parents’ divorce during the early years of his boyhood, when his father chose to abandon him and his mother. He grew up lacking the presence of a father figure in his life. These harsh circumstances of childhood was probably what shaped him into a sensitive, tolerant and patient individual.
One of the reasons which occurs to me as the crucial driving factor that brought these two characters together and fall hopelessly in love, is the fact that Shu Yi probably found in Shi De, the care and comfort he would have otherwise received from his mother had she been alive, and Shi De on the other hand saw in Shu Yi the promise of loyalty and non-abandonment (flashback to when grade-schooler Shu Yi said to a crying Shi De that he would “give himself” to the latter as compensation for Shi De’s father deserting him and his mother). It is deeply moving to see that Shi De was in fact right all along about Shu Yi’s loyalty as we see in the second season, Shu Yi is single and still harbors feelings for Shi De.
Their chemistry is very versatile and dynamic in the sense that both of them can be equally playful yet beguiling, and alternatively pro-active in terms of physical intimacy as well. Their relationship teaches both parties and also to the viewers, some much-needed lessons on the importance of communication, patience and honesty.
PRAISE-WORTHY MENTIONS OF YUSUKE’S ACTING PROWESS
1. Heartbreak Scene + Tearful Monologue [S1 – EP 1]
Unrequited love is something most of us have gone through at some point in life. The pain of seeing someone you have secretly loved for years get together with another person; even worse, another best friend, is a different type of pain altogether.
When a clueless Shu Yi accidentally overhears the conversation between the woman he loved and his best friend from childhood, the bitter realisation of losing his first love to a best friend dawns on him. Being the sincere and selfless friend he is, Shu Yi congratulates the couple on their union and rushes off to the swimming pool to give vent to his sorrow and vexation.
The tearful monologue that ensues is relatable as well as emotionally afflicting to the viewers. Sam and Yu discussed this scene in their IG live, wherein Sam stated that the challenging bit of this scene was that it was Yu’s solo sequence. He had no co-star to say the lines to or bounce the emotions off of. He had to bring forth the emotions for this scene all on his own and it was a great success indeed.
2. Skybridge Confession Scene [S1 – EP 5]
Chih Tian wasn’t lying when he said Yusuke really “threw caution to the wind in this scene and put himself out there”.
In the lead-up to this celebrated scene, Gao Shi De starts avoiding Shu Yi in a frantic attempt to evade any awkward interactions after his “secret” is out. Although initially Shu Yi holds his own and puts up a nonchalant attitude towards the sudden change, the frustration at the thought of Shi De not liking him any more gradually builds in him until he finally explodes in an intense confrontation with Shi De, at the Skybridge.
Shu Yi is by nature an aggressive conversationalist. Whatever his feelings be, he expresses them fiercely. This characteristic of Shu Yi is clearly brought out in this scene. After the realisation strikes him hard that he had feelings of reciprocation towards Shi De, the latter’s continuous elusive behaviour strikes a fear of loss in Shu Yi. The fact that he misses Shi De is evident in his actions of searching for him in places they had run into each other priorly. He fails repeatedly and is finally at the brim of his emotional threshold.
This mental state of Shu Yi is excellently portrayed by Yusuke in the confrontation scene followed by the tearful and distraught confession scene.
3. Shu Yi’s Epic Entry Scene in Season 2 [S2 – EP 1]
The ending of the previous season undoubtedly left Shu Yi as well as the audience in a confused mix of emotions. As Shu Yi struggles in an emotional hotpot, tormented by the pain of betrayal and grief, the audience in an equally vexed and anxious state of mind, scramble for explanations regarding Shi De’s questionable actions.
The second season presents to the viewers an unwavering, steadfast Shu Yi who has risen from the ashes of his misfortune, stronger than ever. His entry scene in the second season is in my opinion, one of the most satisfying scenes in the entire WBL franchise for it literally packs a punch. Confidently strutting into Shi De’s company like the unbothered diva he is, Shu Yi stands face-to-face with his ex-boyfriend, not breathing a word. After a disdainful smirk invalidating Shi De’s very existence itself, Shu Yi unapologetically slaps the man hard, in front of the entire office.
Though this reaction may come off as overly offensive to some, Shu Yi’s bittersweet words in episode two of the sequel throw light on the reasons behind his actions. Being the son of a well-off businessman, Shu Yi reveals the dark side to being born with a silver spoon. In a tone of accustomed forlornness, he speaks of how the people around him have always befriended him eyeing his wealth, status and social reach. Hence “pretending to be someone’s buddy” has always come easy to him as opposed to placing his trust in someone, which was more or less a feat as far as Shu Yi was concerned. Gao Shi De was the first and only exception to this rule.
Yusuke has wonderfully embodied Shu Yi’s pent-up frustration, angst and thirst for vengeance in this scene as it literally screams the words “I have waited five years to do this”
4. The Bar Scene [S2 – EP 4]
After witnessing Shi De’s “unfaithfulness”, a crestfallen Shu Yi is seen drinking away his pain at the bar, with his broken phone in hand. With all his barriers lowered, he is in an extremely vulnerable and broken-hearted state of emotional turmoil.
Witnessing this side of Shu Yi naturally activates a protective attitude amidst the audience. Despite being a short scene, Yusuke succeeded in connecting with the viewers and effortlessly brought about the intended heart-wrenching effect through this scene.
5. Father – Son Moment Scene [S2 – EP 6]
Throughout S2, Shu Yi’s father’s deleterious interventions in DeYi’s relationship coming to light propelled mixed reactions from the audience. Shu Yi himself is displeased and irritated after the truth about his father’s mischievous involvements in his relationship with Shi De are revealed. This causes him to distance himself from his father. His father on the other hand has always been overprotective of his only son and is left heavy-hearted and guilt-ridden when the repercussions that his actions have caused dawn on him.
The series would have ended on an incomplete note if this father-son fallout had not been mended through an open and honest communication. During this heart-warming father-son moment, we get to see Shu Yi’s transformation into the adorable and caring son he is.
YUSUKE’S OFF-SCREEN CHEMISTRY WITH HIS CO-STAR
Ardently known by their ship name “SamYu”, this couple rose to fame in the BL circuit for their captivating off-screen chemistry, with a good majority of their fanbase comparing their dynamics to that of Thai ex-BL-Power-Couple MewGulf.
During interviews and talk shows, owing to language barrier issues, Yusuke is often spotted turning to his co-star Sam for help, who readily explains matters in his stead. Often times, the duo can be seen comforting each other, especially before major promotional events.
It is refreshing to see their goofy off-screen interactions, which are also testament to how comfortable they are with one another. In one of the fandom’s celebrated livestreams, where Sam surprised YU by turning up in front of his house unannounced, it was revealed that Yusuke would never let anyone into his room and Sam was probably the first one to enter.
In Part One of “Together with Lai Interview”, SamYu were asked about their first impressions of each other and Yu stated that Sam looked scary when he was silent, while the latter stated that Yu was someone who spoke softly. They also expressed their desire to collaborate on a song in the future.
On another instance, his colleague and WBL actor Chih Tian, remarked about how Yusuke was extremely nervous during the casting audition for the series and Sam had found a way to “get him to open up”.
Even after the wrap-up of filming, the actors are seen to be keeping in close touch, continuing to send love and support to each other. In a recent interaction where Yusuke held his first online concert, Sam sent him a heartfelt video message expressing his encouragement and best wishes.
EARLY LIFE AND FAMILY
Originally of Japanese nationality, Yusuke is of mixed ethnicity with his mother being Taiwanese and father being of Japanese heritage respectively. He is an only child. He was scouted by a brokerage company after his performance in a Japanese campus-level fashion show. He is fluent in Japanese and speaks conversational–level Taiwanese.
YANG YU TENG – GET TO KNOW THE PERSON
Unlike his on-screen character, Yusuke is a quiet and introverted person who enjoys music and watching anime. He grew up in Japan until the age of 18-19, and moved to Taiwan for pursuing a degree, which was the only condition his parents had set him up to. Since he had to live by himself in Taiwan, he also picked up basic cooking skills. Yusuke is an acclaimed guitarist and singer. If acting was not his chosen line of profession, he would probably be spotted working as a hair stylist.
Addressing the question of his “ideal type”, he stated that he doesn’t have a specific type, and would rather follow his emotions in his pursuit of the “right one”. However, in another interview, he stated that his ideal type was Keiko Kitagawa. In one of his solo interviews, he confessed that he found cheesy lines cringe-worthy and embarrassing and that one wouldn’t find him iterating such lines to others.
He has his own YouTube channel where he releases self-produced tracks. Martial arts is yet another forte of this rising star. Regarding activities he finds difficult, he opened up that dancing was especially challenging for him. For the live performance of his song – Follow – he stated that he spent all his practice hours on learning and perfecting the choreography for the song.
YU TALKS ABOUT HIS CHARACTER ZHOU SHU YI
He stated that although there were stark differences in their respective personalities, he shared few similarities with his on-screen character Shu Yi. Yusuke himself, is an introverted person who wouldn’t speak much, whereas Shu Yi was an energetic person who wouldn’t speak his mind. This likeness in personalities is what made them alike, according to Yusuke.
Yusuke confessed in one of his Instagram lives that unlike Shu Yi, he wasn’t an expert at playing the piano, or swimming.
If he had the opportunity to choose another character to play in the series, he stated that he would still opt for Shu Yi’s character as he already had an in-depth understanding of the character and could portray him relatively better if he were to play the role a second time.
References- In the comments section
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