Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Top 10 Japanese Actresses

Japan may
be a small country but its film industry has given some of the best actors and
actresses over the years. After writing about
ten Japanese actors
, I bring you Top Ten Japanese actresses. Many of these
actresses are not only famous in
Japan but
also in Western countries as well. Their talented acting inspired movie makers
around the world. Many Japanese actresses worked in major
Hollywood movies
and became famous in the

Masami Nagasawa:
Born on June
at Iwata in
Masami Nagasawa
a Japanese actress working for Toho Entertainment. Her father,
is the former manager of
the J. League team, Júbilo Iwata.
entered into the
entertainment industry through winning a beauty contest at the age of 12. In
2000, Masami Nagasawa auditioned in the 5
th Toho
“Cinderella Contest.” She became the youngest winner to win that contest out of
total 35,153 individuals. That same year, Masami Nagasawa made her debut in a
movie titled,
Crossfire. Instead
of pursuing a career in acting, she became a professional model for the popular
Japanese teen magazine, “Peach Lemon.” As a model, she became very popular after
appearing in the Nabisco CM in 2002. This earned her the title of “The Pretty
Gril from the Nabisco CM.” In 2003, she landed with her first lead role in a
movie titled
Robokon. In this
movie, she played the character of high school girl who reluctantly joins the
National Robot Contest for High School Students. For her performance in
Nagasawa received the Best New Comer Award in the 27
th Japanese
Academy Awards. Her other major movies include:
  • Ashura no Gotoku
  • Crying Out Love,
    In the Center of the World
  • Shinkokyu no
  • Godzilla: Final
  • Touch
  • Rough
Kyoko Fukada:
Born on November
2 1982
, Kyoko Fukada is an actress, model and singer. As an actress, she
first appeared in 1997 in an NTV drama titled
Five. The
name of her character was Yodobashi Sanae/Kanae. That same year, she appeared in
another television drama,
Sore Ga
Kotae Da!
Fuji TV.
Sore Ga Kotae Da!, the name
of her character was Mizuno Kazune. For the next two years, Kyoko Fukada
appeared in several television dramas and established herself as an actress.
Between 1997 and 1999, she appeared in the following television dramas:
no Kiss, To Heart, Oni no Sumika, Kamisama Mou Sukoshi Dake, and News no Onna
Kyoko Fukada made her debut in a movie titled
2. Ring 2
was a horror movie. In Ring
, Kyoko Fukada played the character of Kanae Sawaguchi. That same year, she
also appeared in another movie titled
Dolls which
released in 2002.
InDolls, Kyoko
Fukada played the character of Haruna, a famous pop-star, who became disfigured
in a car accident. A talented JPop singer, Kyoko Fukada made her first single
“The Last Fruit” in 1999. She also released her first album “Dear” in that same
year. To Japanese people, Kyoko Fukada is also known as Fukakyon. Kyoko Fukada
swimming and
red and blue are her favorite colors
Rinko Kikuchi:This actress may not have too many hit
movies to her credits but Rinko Kikuchi is among those fortunate actresses who
got to work with some of
top movie directors at a very young age. Rinko Kikuchi made her debut in 1999 in
a movie titled
Ikitai. It was
directed by famous Japanese director, Kaneto Shindo. In 2001, Rinko Kikuchi
appeared in
critically acclaimed
Sora no Ana which
was screened in the famous Rotterdam Film Festival. In 2004, Rinko Kikuchi
appeared in
Cha no Aji, a
film directed by famous director Katsuhito Ishii. The movie was also selected
for the Cannes Film Festival. Her big break came in 2006 in
Babel. Directed
by Alejandro González Iñárritu, in the movie, Rinko Kikuchi played the character
of a deaf-mute teenage girl named Chieko Wataya. For her performance in the
movie, she received numerous awards and nominations including nomination for the
Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actress. Rinko Kikuchi is one of eight Asian
actors to receive a nomination for Academy Awards in acting category. She is
also one of the five actresses to receive Academy Awards nomination for playing
a speechless character. Born on
6 1981
, Rinko Kikuchi
currently lives in central
her boy-friend actor
. Rinko is a skilled sword-fighter, an accomplished motorcyclist and
horseback rider.

Ryoko Hirosue:Born on July
18 1980,
Kochi Prefecture,
Ryoko Hirosue started her career at the age of fourteen by winning the “P&G”
model competition. In the next year, Ryoko Hirosue made her first television
appearance as a singer in a program named 18,TK Music Camp. In 1995, Ryoko
Hirosue made her debut as an actress in Fuji Television’s drama titled,
ni S.
Since then, Ryoko
worked in numerous
television dramas and movies. In 1997, Hirsoue Ryoko debuted as a pop singer.
That same year, she recorded a commercial for Asahi Soft Drinks and after one
month, she took glasses. The actress appeared in Mitsuya commercial with her
glasses. This talented actress, model and singer went to
WasedaUniversity in
1999 and studied for four years but did not graduate. In 2004, Ryoko Hirosue was
married to Takahiro Okazawa, an accomplished model and designer. In the end of
2003, she announced her pregnancy. Because of child birth, Hirosue could not
work for one and half-year. Rumor of their divorce spread out in 2006 when
and Ryoko Hirosue
started to live separately. In March 2008, the couple got
divorced. According to the latest news, Ryoko Hirosue got custody of her three
year old son. Okazawa will not pay any alimony for the child.

Keiko Kitagawa:
This innocent looking girl is an
established model, actress and a commercial science major at
Meiji University in Tokyo.
Keiko Kitagawa had no intention of entering into the entertainment world. She
wanted to become a doctor. By the time she reached high school, she was not sure
about her future career. At that time, a talent agency approached her.
Initially, her parents did not agree but then they gave her permission. In
Keiko Kitagawa was chosen as Miss Seventeen 2003 and started her career as a
model for the popular Japanese teen magazine
She worked there from late 2003 to mid 2006 and stopped modeling upon leaving
the magazine. That same year, she started her acting career in the live action
television series,
Pretty Guardian
Sailor Moon.
Keiko Kitagawa
played the character of Rei Hino in that series. After Sailor Moon, Keiko
Kitagawa worked in both
Hollywood and
Japanese movies. Her major
Hollywood movie
includes, The Fast and The Furious sequel,
Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift
. Born on
22, 1986
in HyogoPrefecture,
Keiko Kitagawa is a fortunate survivor of the Great Hanshin Earthquake in 1995.
She lost many of her friends in that earthquake. When she was young she was hit
by a car and had to stay in the hospital for a long time. A stay-at-home person,
Keiko Kitagawa enjoys watching DVD, listening to music and reading books. She
also likes swimming. She has a pet cat named Jill.

Miho Nakayama:
The most interesting thing about Miho
Nakayama is that unlike other actors and actresses she started her career as a
singer. She was an established J-Pop singer. Miho Nakayama was one of the few
Adirou (pop idols) of the 80s. From singing, she switched to acting. Born on
1, 1970,
Miho Nakayama is the elder sister of famous J-Pop singer
. She started her J-Pop singing career on
June, 1985
, at the age of
15 with the single C. That same year, she appeared in a teen movie,
High School
. In the next five years, Miho Nakayama released 17 music
albums. Later in the 90s, she started to write her own songs and tried other
music genres such as Jazz and Latin music. At this time, Miho Nakayama released
another 23 albums. Miho Nakayama
starred in a video game titled Nakayama Miho no
Tokimeki High
In this game, her character was a high school student who is trying to mask her
true identity. As an actress, she got her big break in 1995. She played dual
roles of Hiroko Watanabe and Itsuki Fujii in the movie
. Directed by Shunji Iwai,
the movie was a huge commercial success and won her numerous awards including
the prestigious Blue Ribbon Awards.

Meiko Kaji:Have you seen Quentin Tarantino’s Kill
Bill (Vol 1&2)? It is a movie
about a lady who takes revenge upon some people who once harmed her. Famous
Japanese actress, Meiko Kaji was the first women to introduce and popularize
this character. Originally named Masako Ota, Meiko Kaji was born in
Tokyo on March
24 1947
. In the mid sixties, Meiko joined Nikkatsu Studio, the oldest and
most prominent Japanese Movie studio which was established in 1912. During this
time, she worked in minor roles. In Nikkatsu, her major work was
, a five part movie series about a group of female delinquents. In the
70s, Nikkatsu went into producing
romantic porno movies
but Meiko
Kaji did not want any part of that and joined Toei Studio, the rival of Nikkatsu
in 1972. This was the most prominent time in Meiko Kaji’s career. Along with
Shunya Ito, Meiko Kaji made four
Prisoner Scorpion
series movies.
In this movie, she played the character of Nami Matsushima, aka Sasori, aka
Matsu the
Scorpion, a female prisoner who was unfairly humiliated, tortured by prison
officials and then she goes on and takes revenge by killing them. This character
made Meiko Kaji immensely popular in

Nanako Matsushima:
Nanako Matsushima is an established
Japanese model and actress. She started her
as a model
. Born on
13, 1973
, Nanako
Matsushima is well known both in
Japan and
in the Western countries for her role in the hit horror movie
Ring, but
Nanako Matsushima is mainly famous for her roles in television dramas. One
interesting thing about her modeling career is, unlike other models who start as
a ‘campaign girl’ or swimwear poster girl,
year old
Nanako Matsushima
modeled for a pharmaceutical company, Asahi Kasei. For the next couple of years
she struggled as a model. Her luck changed after she landed with the lead role
in the 1996 NHK morning drama
. The drama
was very successful
and Nanako’s luck changed forever. That same year, she
worked in
Ring. The
movie became popular in both
Japan and
Nanako also played the main character in the 1997 drama,
Story of Love.
In this drama
series, she worked with Hiroyuki Sanada, who also worked with her in
Ring. After
her performance in the 1998 popular Fuji TV drama series,
Great Teacher
, Nanako Matsushima became the highest paid actress in
After this drama series, all the drama series she appeared in were very
successful. On
21, 2001
, Nanako
Matsushima married Takashi Sorimachi, her co-star in
Teacher Onizuka
Miyazawa Rie:Actress, model and singer Miyazawa Rie was
the 80s darling of Japanese media. Born onApril
she was raised by a single mother who was very ambitious. Her father was a Dutch
whom she did not know. At the age of eleven, Miyazawa made her first appearance
in an advertisement for Kit Kat. From the early age, Miyazawa Rie got media
attention for her exceptional beauty. At the age of 12, she became a ‘
young adolescent beautiful girl that were used to promote products. She appeared
in numerous television commercials even with famous
Hollywood actor
Arnold Schwarzenegger.
became one of the most
popular faces on Japanese television. By the time, she was 18, she was earning
400 million yen per year from product endorsements. Her mother set up her own
agency to control her daughter’s career. In 1988, Miyazawa Rie made her movie
debut in
Bokura no Nanokakan Senso (Our
Seven Days War). For her performance, she received the Japanese Academy Award
for Best Newcomer the next year. For the next couple of years, she remained very
successful in both television and movies. In 1991, she made a huge splash in the
Japanese media with the publication of her nude photo book
. The book
sold over 1.5 million copies in 3 months and started a whole new trend.
Fujiwara Norika:
Born on June
Norika Fujiwara is a Japanese beauty queen, model and actress. She won the Miss
Japan beauty contest in 1992. Fujiwara Norika started as a model while studying
in the high school and continued modeling
her university years
. After winning the Miss Japan contest, she went to
In the 90s
Fujiwara Norika dominated both the print and the electronic media. Not a day
would go by that Japanese people would see her face on the
and in television commercials
. Her most famous advertisement was for the
J-Phone company but there are numerous products that saw huge boost in sales
after being endorsed by Fujiwara Norika. Because of her good looks, she also
appeared in many television dramas with popular actors like Takahashi Katsunori
and Inagaki Goro. Her most successful television dramas include
Kekon Suru Hoho (How to Marry a Millionaire),
an Naomi.
In 2000, Fujiwara Norika worked in a
action movie China
Strike Force
. In 2002, Fujiwara Norika worked as the main character in a
video game titled Project Minerva (PS2). She played the central character of the
game Alicia. In 2001, Fujiwara Norika gave her voice as Princess Fiona in the
hit animated movie
Shrek. She
also worked in the sequel of the movie,
in 2004.


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