Famous Japanese people

Log in to copy items to your own lists.
Hayao Miyazaki
Director, Spirited Away
Hayao Miyazaki is a Japanese film director, producer, screenwriter, animator, author, and manga artist. Through a career that has spanned five decades, Miyazaki has attained international acclaim as a masterful storyteller and as a maker of anime feature films and, along with Isao Takahata, co-founded Studio Ghibli...
Ken Watanabe
Actor, Inception
Ken Watanabe was born on October 21, 1959 in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. In 1978, he moved to Tokyo to pursue his career as an actor. He drew the attention of the critics when Yukio Ninagawa, a famous Japanese director, chose him for the lead role in one of his plays even though Ken was still an acting student...
Hiroyuki Sanada
Hiroyuki Sanada was born on the 12th of October, 1960 in Tokyo. He made his film debut when he was 5 in Game of Chance (Shin'ichi Chiba played the lead role.) Sanada's father died when he was 11. Sanada joined Japan Action Club, organized and run by Sonny Chiba, when he was 12. Sanada first became famous as an action star for his role in The Shogun's Samurai...
Akira Kurosawa
Writer, Yojimbo
After training as a painter (he storyboards his films as full-scale paintings), Kurosawa entered the film industry in 1936 as an assistant director, eventually making his directorial debut with Sanshiro Sugata. Within a few years, Kurosawa had achieved sufficient stature to allow him greater creative freedom...
Tadanobu Asano
Actor, Thor
Asano Tadanobu is a Japanese film actor. His father, an actors' agent, suggested he take on what became his first role, in the TV show "Kimpachi Sensei," at the age of 16. His film debut was in the 1990 Swimming Upstream (Bataashi kingyo), though his first major critical success was in Shunji Iwai's Fried Dragon Fish...
Takashi Miike
Takashi Miike was born in the small town of Yao on the outskirts of Osaka, Japan. His main interest growing up was motorbikes, and for a while he harbored ambitions to race professionally. At the age of 18 he went to study at the film school in Yokohama founded by renowned director Shôhei Imamura, primarily because there were no entrance exams...
Born in Japan, Mako was living there with his grandparents while his parents studied art in the United States, when Japan and the U.S. went to war in 1941. His parents remained in the U.S., working for the Office of War Information, and, at the cessation of the conflict, were granted U.S. residency by Congress...
Takeshi Kitano
Takeshi Kitano originally studied to become an engineer, but was thrown out of school for rebellious behavior. He learned comedy, singing and dancing from famed comedian Senzaburô Fukami. Working as a lift boy on a nightclub with such features as comic sketches and striptease dancing, Kitano saw his chance when a comedian suddenly fell ill...
Yotta Kasai
Yotta Kasai began making movies at age 11, but his formal film education began after high school, He soon made a short film. his next work, uncensored videos during University, was produced by the Darkness Production. It was released in Japan, introducing to some underground audiences. After dropped out of University He began taking film study classes at the film school in Sydney...
Gaining her first exposure to Western audiences in Edward Zwick's 2003 film The Last Samurai, Koyuki was well-known in Japan for years before that. She first caught the attention of the public in 1997 by winning an exclusive modelling contract with the magazine Non-no, but quickly grew beyond modelling...
Mika Nakashima
Actress, Nana
Shin'ichi Chiba
Pivotal figure in the 1970s explosion of martial arts cinema as lethal "fists for hire" trouble shooter, Takuma (Terry) Tsurugi, starring in the phenomenally popular and ultra violent "The Street Fighter" series of action films. Sonny Chiba wasn't a graceful, fluid fighter like screen icon Bruce Lee...
Yasujirô Ozu
Director, Tokyo Story
Tokyo-born Yasujiro Ozu was a movie buff from childhood, often playing hooky from school in order to see Hollywood movies in his local theatre. In 1923 he landed a job as a camera assistant at Shochiku Studios in Tokyo. Three years later, he was made an assistant director and directed his first film the next year...
Satoshi Kon
Satoshi Kon was born in 1963. He studied at the Musashino College of the Arts. He began his career as a Manga artist. He then moved to animation and worked as a background artist on many films (including Roujin Z by 'Katsuhiro Otomo'). Then, in 1995, he wrote an episode of the anthology film Memories (this Episode was "Magnetic Rose")...
Actor, Bunraku
Gackt Camui, was born in Okinawa, Japan. His father was a music teacher, and his mother also a teacher. He is the second of three children, with an older sister and younger brother. His musical education began early, and he started learning classical music theory and piano from the age of three. After exposure to rock music during his teenage years he practiced electric guitar and drums intensely...
Togo Igawa
Togo Igawa is an actor/director living in England. He trained in Japan at The Haiyuza Theatre Company Acting School and Toho Gakuen College of Drama and Music. In 1986, he became the first Japanese actor to become a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company. His work spans stage, film, anime, games and television...
Takayuki Yamada
Japanese actor, born on 20th October 1983, teen heartthrob Yamada Takayuki, first started out co-starring in a handful of Jdoramas before making a big splash on Waterboys. He followed with Fireboys (2004), his award winning performance in Crying Out Love, in the Center of the World, Churasan 3 and the recent H2 (2005). His remarkable acting makes him most outstanding among the younger generation of Japanese actors.
Shôhei Imamura
Director, The Eel
Imamura's father was a doctor. During the war, his father could not be drafted but his two brothers were. As a result, his eldest brother got killed in action. Imamura spent his youth in the middle of small-time hoods and prostitutes at a time when black market was rampant. He later enrolled in a technical school in Tokyo which he left for the Waseda university where...
Hitoshi Matsumoto
Hitoshi Matsumoto and his childhood friend Masatoshi Hamada teamed up as comedy duo Downtown. When they had their own TV shows in late 80s, they became phenomenal pop culture among young Japanese people. Unlike other comedy duos in Japan, they are still together, and they dominate prime time TV shows in Japan.