Famous Japanese people

by eb-abca-bbad6 | created - 16 Oct 2012 | updated - 16 Oct 2012 | Public

1. Hayao Miyazaki

Director | Gake no ue no Ponyo

Hayao Miyazaki is one of Japan's greatest animation directors. The entertaining plots, compelling characters, and breathtaking animation in his films have earned him international renown from critics as well as public recognition within Japan. The Walt Disney Company's commitment to introduce the ...

2. Ken Watanabe

Actor | The Last Samurai

Ken Watanabe was born on October 21, 1959 in Uonuma, Niigata Prefecture, Japan. Both of his parents were teachers: his mother taught general education and his dad taught calligraphy. He became interested in acting at the age of 24, when a director of England's National Theatre Company, where he was...

3. Hiroyuki Sanada

Actor | Tasogare Seibei

Hiroyuki Sanada was born on the 12th of October, 1960 in Tokyo. He made his film debut when he was 5 in Rokyoku komori-uta (1965) (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 ...

4. Akira Kurosawa

Writer | Kakushi-toride no san-akunin

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 (1943). Within a few years, Kurosawa had achieved sufficient stature to allow him greater...

5. Tadanobu Asano

Actor | Mongol

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 (1990)), though his first major critical success was in ...

6. Masi Oka

Actor | Heroes

Masayori "Masi" Oka is a Japanese American actor, producer and digital effects artist. He became widely known for his role on NBC's Heroes as Hiro Nakamura and in CBS' Hawaii Five-0 as Doctor Max Bergman. Oka was born in Tokyo, Japan, to Setsuko Oka. His parents divorced when he was one month old; ...

7. Takashi Miike

Director | Koroshiya 1

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, ...

8. Mako

Actor | Conan the Barbarian

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...

9. Takeshi Kitano

Actor | Zatôichi

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 ...

10. Yotta Kasai

Director | The Viscera

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 ...

11. Tatsuya Fujiwara

Actor | Batoru rowaiaru

Tatsuya Fujiwara was born on May 15, 1982 in Chichibu, Japan. He is known for his work on Battle Royale (2000), Death Note (2006) and Battle Royale II (2003).

12. Koyuki

Actress | The Last Samurai

Gaining her first exposure to Western audiences in Edward Zwick's 2003 film The Last Samurai (2003), 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 ...

13. Mika Nakashima

Actress | Resident Evil: Retribution

Nakashima Mika is a well-known Japanese singer, and also actress, whose album have reached the number one position several times in her homeland's Oricon charts. She has also appeared in movies, most notably portraying one of the two characters named Nana in the namesakes movies, which are based on...

14. Shin'ichi Chiba

Actor | Kill Bill: Vol. 1

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...

15. Yasujirô Ozu

Director | Tôkyô monogatari

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 ...

16. Satoshi Kon

Writer | Papurika

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 (1991) by 'Katsuhiro Otomo'). Then, in 1995, he wrote an episode of the anthology film ...

17. Gackt

Actor | Moon Child

Gackt was born Gakuto Oshiro 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 ...

18. Kôji Yakusho

Actor | Jûsan-nin no shikaku

Yakusho Koji is an acclaimed and famed Japanese actors who has appeared in many notable films, including Tampopo, Unagi and Babel, but may be best known internationally for his role in Shall We Dance, which at the time of its release was Asia's biggest film export. He was born in the southern city ...

19. Togo Igawa

Actor | Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi

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 ...

20. Takayuki Yamada

Actor | Jûsan-nin no shikaku

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 (2003). He followed with Fireboys (2004), his award winning performance in Sekai no chûshin de, ai wo sakebu (2004), ...

21. Shin'ya Tsukamoto

Actor | Tetsuo

Shin'ya Tsukamoto was born on January 1, 1960 in Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan. He is an actor and director, known for Tetsuo, the Iron Man (1989), Tokyo Fist (1995) and Vital (2004).

22. Takashi Shimizu

Director | Ju-on

Takashi Shimizu was born on July 27, 1972 in Maebashi City, Gunma Prefecture, Japan. He is a director and writer, known for Ju-on: The Grudge (2002), The Grudge (2004) and Marebito (2004).

23. Ryûhei Kitamura

Director | The Midnight Meat Train

Ryûhei Kitamura was born on May 30, 1969 in Osaka, Japan. He is a director and writer, known for The Midnight Meat Train (2008), Azumi (2003) and Gojira: Fainaru uôzu (2004).

24. Kiyoshi Kurosawa

Director | Tokyo Sonata

Kiyoshi Kurosawa was born on July 19, 1955 in Kobe, Japan. He is a director and writer, known for Tokyo Sonata (2008), Kairo (2001) and Cure (1997).

25. Masanobu Andô

Actor | Kizzu ritân

Masanobu Andô was born on May 19, 1975 in Kanagawa, Japan. He is an actor, known for Kizzu ritân (1996), Battle Royale (2000) and Monday (2000). He has been married to unknown since 2014. They have one child.

26. Hiroshi Abe

Actor | Gojira ni-sen mireniamu

Hiroshi Abe was born on June 22, 1964 in Kanagawa, Japan. He is an actor, known for Godzilla 2000 (1999), Terumae romae (2012) and Still Walking (2008).

27. Shôhei Imamura

Director | Kuroi ame

Shohei Imamura's films dig beneath the surface of Japanese society to reveal a wellspring of sensual, often irrational, energy that lies beneath. Along with his colleagues Nagisa Ôshima and Masahiro Shinoda, Imamura began his serious directorial career as a member of the New Wave movement in Japan....

28. Hitoshi Matsumoto

Writer | Dai-Nihonjin

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 ...