“We each of us had our thing, our exercise,” Sonoya says. Their father, thousands of miles away, was so aesthetically inclined that, to this day, his art-filled home is used for commercial photoshoots. And just outside in the garden, or close by in the kitchen, their mother encouraged them to express themselves through art and movement. It was rural England in the 1980s, and they were a mixed race family with a single mother. They say they weren’t exactly fighting off party invitations.
“It was actually quite hard to fit in at schools,” says Miya.
“We’re definitely kind of like a strange-looking family because we were six children, all half-Japanese, with a white mother, growing up in very rural Somerset, and it was very unusual for that time, or maybe even now, for there to be families like that,” says Sonoya. “We very much stuck together.”
So they painted. They danced. They sang arias. They cooked. Their mother died when they were still relatively young, and the older children helped parent the younger ones. They kept up working until their childhood hobbies turned into adult professions, even as they had to take up side-hustles, one brother becoming a pest-control worker, the sisters taking on odd jobs. Eventually, it paid off.
“None of us work in investment banking,” Mariya jokes, summing up the Mizuno family destiny. “My mum used to make this joke that she had six children so she could have one dentist, one doctor, and one lawyer.”
“But we ended up being the same,” Maya says.
“Bummer!” jokes Sonoya.
Older sister Saya is a painter, designer, and landscape architect. Jinya is the head technician in an arts gallery. Tomoya is the head chef at a boutique hotel and a DJ. And the three younger sisters’ work—Sonoya’s acting, Miya’s photography, and Mariya’s AD work—is so closely tied that it led them to the same set for the high-concept, futuristic Devs.
A production still of Sonoya in Devs, taken by Miya:
Being on set together “meant that someone always had your back, if you were having a bad day one of your sisters would be there to catch you,” Mariya says. They ate lunch together. After long, grueling hours, they carpooled home together. During tired moments, Miya would show them still photographs she had taken. “We would celebrate together,” Miya says. When Sonoya had difficult scenes to film, she says, “it really was such a support having my sisters there because at the end of the day I know that I could just see their faces.” For her sisters, watching her do takes was difficult, in its own way. Miya says she would have to remind herself, again and again, “It’s just TV! It’s not real!”