Famous people from Japan
Here is a list of famous people from Japan. Curious if anybody from Japan made it our most famous people in the world list? Read the aformentioned article in order to find out.
Yoko Ono is a Japanese artist and peace activist, known for her work in avant-garde art, music and filmmaking and for her 1969–1980 marriage to John Lennon. She received a Golden Lion Award for lifetime achievement from the Venice Biennale in 2009 and the 2012 Oskar Kokoschka Prize, Austria's highest award for applied contemporary art. She has also made significant philanthropic contributions to arts, peace and AIDS outreach programs. Mother to Kyoko Chan Cox and Sean Lennon, she also brought feminism to the forefront in her music. Eleven of her songs, mostly remixes of her older work, have hit No. 1 on the US dance charts since 2003.
Haruki Murakami is a best-selling Japanese writer. His works of fiction and non-fiction have garnered critical acclaim and numerous awards, including the Franz Kafka Prize, the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award and the Jerusalem Prize, among others. Murakami has also translated a number of English works to Japanese. His notable works include 1Q84, Kafka on the Shore, Norwegian Wood, and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. Murakami's fiction, often criticized by Japan's literary establishment, is often surrealistic and nihilistic, marked by a Kafkaesque rendition of themes of loneliness and alienation. He is considered an important figure in postmodern literature. Steven Poole of The Guardian praised Murakami as "among the world's greatest living novelists" for his works and achievements.
Akira Kurosawa was a Japanese film director, screenwriter, producer, and editor. Regarded as one of the most important and influential filmmakers in the history of cinema, Kurosawa directed 30 films in a career spanning 57 years. Kurosawa entered the Japanese film industry in 1936, following a brief stint as a painter. After years of working on numerous films as an assistant director and scriptwriter, he made his debut as a director in 1943, during World War II, with the popular action film Sanshiro Sugata. After the war, the critically acclaimed Drunken Angel, in which Kurosawa cast then-unknown actor Toshiro Mifune in a starring role, cemented the director's reputation as one of the most important young filmmakers in Japan. The two men would go on to collaborate on another 15 films. Rashomon, which premiered in Tokyo in August 1950, and which also starred Mifune, became, on September 10, 1951, the surprise winner of the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and was subsequently released in Europe and North America. The commercial and critical success of this film opened up Western film markets for the first time to the products of the Japanese film industry, which in turn led to international recognition for other Japanese filmmakers. Throughout the 1950s and early 1960s, Kurosawa directed approximately a film a year, including a number of highly regarded films such as Ikiru, Seven Samurai and Yojimbo. After the mid-1960s, he became much less prolific, but his later work—including his final two epics, Kagemusha and Ran —continued to win awards, including the Palme d'Or for Kagemusha, though more often abroad than in Japan.
Maria Ozawa, who used the name Miyabi early in her career, is a Japanese adult video actress known in Japan as an AV idol.
Hirohito, referred to as Emperor Shōwa in Japan, was the 124th Emperor of Japan according to the traditional order, reigning from December 25, 1926, until his death in 1989. Although better known outside of Japan by his personal name Hirohito, in Japan he is now referred to primarily by his posthumous name Emperor Shōwa. The word Shōwa is the name of the era that corresponded with the Emperor's reign, and was made the Emperor's own name upon his death. The name 裕仁 means "abundant benevolence". At the start of his reign, Japan was already one of the great powers — the ninth-largest economy in the world after Italy, the third-largest naval power, and one of the four permanent members of the council of the League of Nations. He was the head of state under the limitation of the Constitution of the Empire of Japan during Japan's imperial expansion, militarization, and involvement in World War II. After the war, he was not prosecuted for war crimes as many other leading government figures were, despite his involvement. During the postwar period, he became the symbol of the new state and Japan's recovery, and by the end of his reign, Japan had emerged as the world's second largest economy.
Keisuke Honda is a Japanese footballer who plays for CSKA Moscow and the Japan national football team. He plays as a central attacking midfielder, but he can equally play as a second striker or a deep-lying playmaker. He is also known for his free-kicks, dribbling and ability as a dead ball specialist.
Kimiko Date-Krumm is a Japanese professional tennis player. In her career, she has won over 200 tournament matches and won the Japan Open four times. In 1994, she was ranked in the top-ten women players in the world, reaching a career-high of World No. 4. In 1992, the WTA awarded her the "Most Improved Player of the Year". After playing in her second Olympic Games, she announced her retirement on 24 September 1996. However, she returned to tennis nearly 12 years later, announcing an unexpected comeback in April 2008. Since the comeback, she has won several ITF titles, and then won her eighth WTA Tour title at the 2009 Hansol Korea Open in Seoul, thus becoming the second-oldest player in the Open era, after Billie Jean King, to win a singles title on the WTA Tour. At 43 years old, she is the oldest player in the top 100. Moreover, she is almost 10 years older than two next oldest top 100 players – Venus Williams and Francesca Schiavone.
Alternative rock Artist
Yui is a Japanese singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, composer, actress and radio personality. Born and raised in Fukuoka prefecture, she played live at various locations in her hometown before being noticed by Sony Music Japan when she was 17 years old and released her debut single months later. However her singles were only met with moderate success until her breakout "Good-bye Days", which charted for 44 weeks on Oricon and marked her as one of the Japanese music industry's rising stars. Since her debut album, From Me to You, each of her albums has topped the charts, and has had at least one single reach number one yearly since 2007, including five straight from mid-2008 to late-2010. She is popular in Japan and in surrounding countries, ranking number one in 2011 Count Down TV "Dearest Female Artist" and Music Station "Artist You Most Want to Marry" polls, as well as Radio Television Hong Kong's "Most Popular Japanese Artist".
Mako Iwamatsu was a Japanese-born American actor and voice artist who has been nominated for numerous awards. Many of his acting roles credited him simply as Mako where he omits his surname. He is known for his acting role as Akiro the Wizard in both Conan the Barbarian and Conan the Destroyer and his voice roles as Aku from Samurai Jack, Splinter from TMNT and Iroh from Avatar: The Last Airbender. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7095 Hollywood Blvd.
Heavy metal Artist
Hideto Matsumoto, best known by his stage name hide, was a Japanese musician, singer and songwriter. He was primarily known for his work as lead guitarist of the heavy metal band X Japan, but was also a successful solo artist and co-founder of the United States-based band Zilch. He sold millions of records, both solo and as a member of X Japan. X Japan rose to prominence in the late 1980s and early 1990s, credited as founders of the Japanese visual kei movement. When they disbanded in 1997, hide focused on his solo career which started four years prior and went on to enjoy significant popularity. At the height of his fame, while recording his third studio album and about to launch an international career with the newly formed Zilch, he died in 1998 of what was ruled a suicide by hanging. hide was seen as an icon for Japanese youth rebelling against their country's conformist society and his death was labeled "the end of an era".
Sola Aoi or, less often, Sora Aoi, is the stage name of a Japanese AV idol, nude model, and film and television actress. Her popularity as an adult video actress has led to celebrity status as a media personality in Japan and abroad.
Toyotomi Hideyoshi was a preeminent daimyo, warrior, general and politician of the Sengoku period who is regarded as Japan's second "great unifier." He succeeded his former liege lord, Oda Nobunaga, and brought an end to the Sengoku period. The period of his rule is often called the Momoyama period, named after Hideyoshi's castle. After his death, his young son was displaced by Tokugawa Ieyasu. Hideyoshi is noted for a number of cultural legacies, including the restriction that only members of the samurai class could bear arms. He financed the construction, restoration and rebuilding of many temples standing today in Kyoto. Hideyoshi played an important role in the history of Christianity in Japan when he ordered the execution by crucifixion of twenty-six Christians.
Kitarō is Grammy Award and Golden Globe Award winning recording artist, composer, record producer and arranger who is regarded as a pioneer of New Age music.
Olivia de Havilland
Olivia de Havilland was an actress.
Mitsuo Terada, better known professionally as Tsunku, is a prolific Japanese record producer, songwriter, and vocalist. He is best known for having two major roles in the Japanese music landscape: first as the lead singer of the popular rock group Sharam Q, and now as the producer, primary composer, lyricist and main studio backing vocalist for idol supergroup Morning Musume, in addition to Aya Matsuura and other associated artists under the Hello! Project banner, for whom he has written and produced vast majority of their chart-topping hits. He has also produced music for other Japanese artists, including Ayumi Hamasaki's first number one single. His musical influences include The Beatles, and Queen.
Ryuichi Sakamoto is a Japanese musician, activist, composer, record producer, writer, singer, pianist, and actor, based in Tokyo and New York. He began his career in 1978 as a member of the pioneering electronic music group Yellow Magic Orchestra, where he played keyboards and was an occasional vocalist. The band was an international success, with worldwide hits such as "Computer Game / Firecracker" and "Behind the Mask", the latter written and sung by Sakamoto. He concurrently began pursuing a solo career, debuting with the experimental electronic fusion album The Thousand Knives of Ryūichi Sakamoto, and later released the pioneering album B-2 Unit, which included the electro classic "Riot in Lagos". After YMO disbanded in 1983, he produced more solo records, including collaborations with various international artists, through to the 1990s. He began acting and composing for film with Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, which he starred in and composed the score for; the song "Forbidden Colours" which he composed for it became a worldwide hit, and he won a BAFTA Award for the film's score. He later won an Academy Award and Grammy Award for scoring The Last Emperor, and has also won two Golden Globe Awards for his work as a film composer. In addition, he also composed music for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics opening ceremony.
Kumiko Kōda, better known by her stage name Kumi Koda, is a Japanese singer from Kyoto, known for her urban and R&B songs. Having debuted in 2000 with the single "Take Back", Koda gained fame for her seventh single, "Real Emotion/1000 no Kotoba", the songs of which were used as themes for the video game Final Fantasy X-2. Her popularity grew with the release of her fourth studio album Secret, her sixteenth single "Butterfly", and her first greatest hits album Best: First Things, reaching the number-three, number-two and number-one spot respectively. Though her early releases presented a conservative, quiet image, since as early as 2003 Koda has adopted a sexier and more provocative style. Because of this image, she has become a fashion leader among young women, setting trends such as the ero-kakkoii style. She has also won many fashion awards such as, the "Best Jeanist Award" and the title of "Nail Queen" yearly since 2006. Since the rise in her popularity, Koda has lent her face and songs to many advertisements. In 2006 and 2007, Oricon named Koda as the top selling artist of the year. Jonathan Ross has called her the Christina Aguilera of Japan, while many also compare her career to that of Britney Spears. Koda has sold more than 15,000,000 physical records in Japan alone, making her the 18th best selling solo Japanese female artist of all-time.
Oda Nobunaga was the initiator of the unification of Japan under the shogunate in the late 16th century, which ruled Japan until the Meiji Restoration in 1868. He was also a major daimyo during the Sengoku period of Japanese history. His work was continued, completed and finalized by his successors Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu. He was the second son of Oda Nobuhide, a deputy shugo with land holdings in Owari Province. Nobunaga lived a life of continuous military conquest, eventually conquering a third of Japan before his death in 1582. His successor, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, a loyal Oda supporter, would become the first man to unify all of Japan, and was thus the first ruler of the whole country since the Ōnin War.
Namie Amuro is a Japanese R&B singer, fashion icon and former actress who at the height of her popularity was referred to as the "Teen Queen" and the title "Queen of Japanese Pop Music". Born in Naha, Okinawa, Amuro debuted at the age of 14 as an idol in the girl group Super Monkey's. Though mostly unsuccessful, the group gained popularity during their final year together with the single "Try Me". Amuro left Toshiba-EMI after releasing two more solo singles; she continued her music career as a solo singer with the then-small independent label Avex Trax. Under the guidance of producer Tetsuya Komuro, Amuro quickly became a commercial success, producing several million-selling records and starting several fashion trends. Her single "Can You Celebrate?" became Japan's best selling single by a solo female artist. However, in late 1997, Amuro put her career on hold due to her pregnancy and marriage. She returned to music in 1998 with the number-one single, "I Have Never Seen", but faced gradually declining sales. After unofficially severing ties with Tetsuya Komuro in 2001, Amuro joined the Suite Chic group, and then as a solo singer made forays into R&B and hip-hop. Since reinventing herself as a hip-pop singer with her sixth studio album Queen of Hip-Pop, Amuro has achieved new-found fame and popularity. Her seventh album Play debuted at the top of the charts, and was followed by a number one single 60s 70s 80s.
Heavy metal Artist
Takamasa Ishihara better known by his stage name Miyavi, is a Japanese singer-songwriter, guitarist and record producer. He has been active since 1999, first as guitarist for the now defunct visual kei rock band Dué le Quartz under the name Miyabi. He toned down his on-stage attire for his solo career which started in 2004 and has since toured worldwide several times. In 2007, he became a member of the supergroup S.K.I.N., and in 2009 founded his own company J-Glam Inc.. On October 12, 2013, Miyavi's website announced news of the artist branching out into professional acting with his success in being chosen to play the role of Mutsuhiro Watanabe in Angelina Jolie's upcoming directorial debut, Unbroken. This announcement was then reported the next day on Miyavi's official Facebook page on October 13, 2013.
Akira Toriyama is a Japanese manga artist and game artist. He is best known for his manga series Dr. Slump and Dragon Ball, as well as for being the character designer for the Dragon Quest series of video games. Toriyama is regarded as one of the artists that changed the history of manga, as his works are highly influential and popular, particularly Dragon Ball, which many manga artists cite as a source of inspiration. He earned the 1981 Shogakukan Manga Award for best shōnen or shōjo manga with Dr. Slump, and it went on to sell over 35 million copies in Japan. It was adapted into a successful anime series, with a second anime created in 1997, 13 years after the manga ended. His next series, Dragon Ball, would become one of the most popular and successful manga in the world. Having sold more than 230 million copies worldwide, it is the second best-selling manga of all time and is considered to be one of the main reasons for the "Golden Age of Jump," the period between the mid-1980s and the mid-1990s when manga circulation was at its highest. Overseas, Dragon Ball's anime adaptations have been more successful than the manga and are credited with boosting Japanese animation's popularity in the Western world.
Video game developer
Shigeru Miyamoto is a Japanese video game designer and producer. Sometimes called "the father of modern video gaming," he is best known as the creator of some of the best-selling, most critically acclaimed, most enduring, and most influential games and franchises of all time. Miyamoto joined Nintendo in 1977, when the company was beginning its foray into video games and starting to abandon the playing cards it had made starting in 1889. His games have been seen on every Nintendo video game console, with his earliest work appearing on arcade machines. Franchises Miyamoto has created include Mario, Donkey Kong, The Legend of Zelda, Star Fox, F-Zero, Pikmin, and the Wii series. Noteworthy games include Super Mario Bros., a pioneer of the sidescrolling genre; Super Mario 64, a pioneer of 3D control schemes; The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, which is widely considered the greatest game ever made; and Wii Sports, the best-selling game of all time. He currently manages the Nintendo Entertainment Analysis and Development branch, which handles many of Nintendo's top-selling titles. Miyamoto was born and raised in Kyoto Prefecture; the natural surroundings of Kyoto inspired much of Miyamoto's later work. He has a wife, Yasuko, and two children.
Yukio Mishima is the pen name of Kimitake Hiraoka, a Japanese author, poet, playwright, actor, and film director. Mishima is considered one of the most important Japanese authors of the 20th century; he was nominated three times for the Nobel Prize in Literature and was poised to win the prize in 1968 although lost the award to his fellow countryman Yasunari Kawabata, presumably because of his radical right-wing activities. His avant-garde work displayed a blending of modern and traditional aesthetics that broke cultural boundaries, with a focus on sexuality, death, and political change. He is also remembered for his ritual suicide by seppuku after a failed coup d'état. Mishima was also known for his natural bodybuilding and modelling career. A 1985 biographical film by Paul Schrader titled Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters depicts Mishima's life.
Kei Nishikori is a Japanese tennis player, currently ranked World No. 19 as of October 2013. He began playing tennis at the age of five and qualified for his first ATP main draw event at the Countrywide Classic in Los Angeles at the age of 17. Nishikori was named ATP Newcomer of the Year in 2008. He has won three singles titles and has reached the quarter-finals of the 2012 Australian Open. On 17 June 2013, he reached a career-high singles ranking of World No. 11.
Shinji Kagawa is a Japanese footballer who plays for English club Manchester United and the Japanese national team - Kagawa began his professional career in his homeland with Cerezo Osaka before joining German club Borussia Dortmund in 2010. After two years with Dortmund, Kagawa signed for Manchester United on a four-year contract. A goal-scoring midfielder, he is known for his "vision, technique, movement and deft passing." On 29 November 2012, Kagawa was named Asian Football Confederation International Player of the Year.
Shinzō Abe is the Prime Minister of Japan, and has held office since December 2012. He is the President of the Liberal Democratic Party and chairman of the Oyagaku propulsion parliamentary group. Abe became the 90th Japanese Prime Minister when he was elected by a special session of the National Diet on 26 September 2006. He became Japan's youngest prime minister since World War II, and is the first to be born after the war. Abe served as prime minister for less than a year, resigning on 12 September 2007. He was replaced by Yasuo Fukuda, beginning a string of Prime Ministers, none of whom retained office for more than one year. On 26 September 2012, Abe defeated former Minister of Defense Shigeru Ishiba in a run-off vote to win the LDP presidential election. Abe became the Prime Minister again on 26 December 2012, following the LDP's landslide victory in the 2012 general election. He is the first former Prime Minister to return to the office since Shigeru Yoshida in 1948. Abe is viewed as a right-wing nationalist and holds views that have caused concern in Japan's neighbours, South Korea and China.
Tokugawa Ieyasu was the founder and first shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate of Japan, which ruled from the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600 until the Meiji Restoration in 1868. Ieyasu seized power in 1600, received appointment as shogun in 1603, abdicated from office in 1605, but remained in power until his death in 1616. His given name is sometimes spelled Iyeyasu, according to the historical pronunciation of we. Ieyasu was posthumously enshrined at Nikkō Tōshō-gū with the name Tōshō Daigongen.
Osamu Tezuka was a Japanese cartoonist, manga writer/artist, animator, producer, activist, and medical doctor, who never practiced medicine. Born in Osaka Prefecture, he is best known as the creator of Astro Boy, Kimba the White Lion, and Black Jack. He is often credited as the "Godfather of Anime" and is often considered the Japanese equivalent to Walt Disney, who served as a major inspiration during his formative years. His prolific output, pioneering techniques, and innovative redefinitions of genres earned him such titles as "the father of manga", "the god of comics", and "kamisama of manga".
Miyamoto Musashi, also known as Shinmen Takezō, Miyamoto Bennosuke or, by his Buddhist name, Niten Dōraku, was a Japanese swordsman and rōnin. Musashi, as he was often simply known, became renowned through stories of his excellent swordsmanship in numerous duels, even from a very young age. He was the founder of the Hyōhō Niten Ichi-ryū or Niten-ryū style of swordsmanship and the author of The Book of Five Rings, a book on strategy, tactics, and philosophy that is still studied today.
Mari Yaguchi is a Japanese pop artist, actress and TV personality and former member of Hello! Project. She is a former member of Japanese idol group Morning Musume and sub-group Tanpopo, one of its first sub groups, and also founded Minimoni. She later became the leader of both Morning Musume Sakuragumi and ZYX. She is currently a member of Japanese pop group Dream Morning Musume.
Yu Darvish is a Japanese professional baseball starting pitcher for the Texas Rangers of Major League Baseball. Darvish pitched in the 2008 Beijing Olympics as well as the 2009 World Baseball Classic as a member of the Japanese national team. He was considered by many to be the best pitcher in Japanese professional baseball prior to his arrival in Major League Baseball in 2012.
Aiko is a J-Pop singer-songwriter and vocalist.
Nana Mizuki is a Japanese singer-songwriter and voice actress represented by the agency Sigma Seven. She was born and raised in Niihama, Ehime, Japan. Mizuki was trained as an enka singer, and made her debut as a voice actress in 1998; however, she released her debut single "Omoi", under the King Records label on December 6, 2000. A year later, she released her debut album, Supersonic Girl on December 5, 2001. In the years that followed, Mizuki enjoyed modest success that concluded with the release of her single "Innocent Starter", which reached the top 10 Oricon singles chart, charting at No. 9. Since then, Mizuki's releases have charted steadily higher in Japan, establishing her as a successful singer in the country. Despite this, she remains a prolific voice actress, with over 130 voice roles in separate media. On June 3, 2009, her album Ultimate Diamond reached #1, her first release to do so; while her single "Phantom Minds", released on January 13, 2010, also charted at #1. Mizuki is the first voice actress to top the weekly Oricon albums chart and the weekly Oricon singles chart since its inception in 1968.
Robert Griffin III
American Football Quarterback
Robert Lee Griffin III, nicknamed RG3, is an American football quarterback for the Washington Redskins of the National Football League. He played college football for Baylor University, and won the 2011 Heisman Trophy. He was selected by the Redskins with the second pick of the 2012 NFL Draft. Griffin III won the 2012 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
Rinko Kikuchi, born Yuriko Kikuchi, January 6, 1981, is a Japanese actress. Kikuchi is the first Japanese actress to be nominated for an Academy Award in 50 years, for the 2006 movie Babel. She also starred in Guillermo del Toro's science fiction action film Pacific Rim.
Shizuka Itō is a Japanese voice actress and singer. She is represented by Ken Production. When voicing adult games, she is also known as Maya Takashi, Suno Toba, Teruka Neno and Rina Misaki. Itō loves drinking very much. She and fellow voice actress Hitomi Nabatame formed a voice acting unit called "Hitomi Nabatame and Shizuka Itō". Together they are known by the name Hitoshizuku, which is Japanese for "a single droplet". In 2012, on her 32nd birthday, she announced that she had married.
Joan de Beauvoir de Havilland, known professionally as Joan Fontaine, is an Anglo-American actress. Born in Japan to British parents, de Havilland and her older sister Olivia de Havilland moved to California in 1919. Fontaine began her career on the stage in 1935 and signed a contract with RKO Pictures that same year. In 1941, she earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress for her role in Rebecca, directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The following year, she won the Academy Award for Best Actress for Hitchcock's Suspicion making Fontaine the only actress to ever win an Academy Award in a film directed by Hitchcock. Fontaine and sister de Havilland are the only siblings to have won lead acting Academy Awards. During the 1940s to the 1990s, Fontaine continued her career in roles on the stage and in radio, television and film. She released her autobiography, No Bed of Roses, in 1978. After a career spanning over 50 years, Fontaine made her last on-screen appearance in 1994. Fontaine currently lives in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California where she owns a home, Villa Fontana. Fontaine, along with sister Olivia de Havilland, Luise Rainer, Maureen O'Hara, Marsha Hunt, Jane Withers, Mary Carlisle, Joan Leslie, Marta Eggerth, Lupita Tovar, Michèle Morgan, Danielle Darrieux, Movita, Nova Pilbeam and Shirley Temple, are the last of the great female film stars from the 1930s.
Miwa is a Japanese singer-songwriter. She debuted in 2010 with the single "Don't Cry Anymore", which was used as the theme song for the drama Nakanai to Kimeta hi.
Alternative rock Artist
Hideto Takarai, known exclusively by his stage name Hyde, is a Japanese musician, singer-songwriter, record producer and actor. He is best known as vocalist for the rock band L'Arc-en-Ciel, as well as for Vamps. While in L'Arc-en-Ciel his name is stylized as hyde, whereas in his solo work and Vamps it is stylized as HYDE. He joined L'Arc-en-Ciel in 1991 after leaving the band Jerusalem's Rod for which he was the guitarist. In addition to being the lead singer and main lyricist of L'Arc-en-Ciel, Hyde has released 4 solo albums and 8 singles. In 2008 he formed Vamps with K.A.Z, and started his own independent record label called Vamprose.
May Hashimoto, better known by her stage name May J., is a R&B and pop singer from Yokohama, Japan. Born of Iranian, Japanese and Russian descent, May J. made her major label debut under Sony Music Japan on July 12, 2006 with her first mini-album All My Girls.
Misia, commonly stylized as MISIA, is a Japanese singer, songwriter, and record producer. Born in Nagasaki, Misia moved to Fukuoka at the age of 14 to pursue a recording career. There, she continued her secondary education and briefly attended Seinan Gakuin University before withdrawing to focus on her musical career. She was signed to BMG Japan in 1997, after auditioning for record producer Haruo Yoda. Misia came to prominence following the release of her debut album, Mother Father Brother Sister, which became the seventh best-selling Japanese debut album of all time, earning her two Japan Gold Disc Awards and one Japan Record Award. In 2000, Misia released her second studio album, Love Is the Message, which earned her another Japan Gold Disc Award and Japan Record Award. Her third studio album, Marvelous, spawned her first number-one single on the Oricon singles chart, "Everything". The song became the fourth best-selling single of the 2000s in Japan, as well as the fourth best-selling single by a Japanese solo female artist of all time. In 2001, Misia and her agency, Rhythmedia, signed a recording contract with Avex and formed their own label, Rhythmedia Tribe. The first album under Rhythmedia Tribe, Kiss in the Sky, became Misia's fourth consecutive number-one album on the Oricon albums chart. This made her the fourth solo female artist with the longest streak of number-one albums since their debut.
Anri, real name Eiko Kawashima, is a Japanese singer and singer-songwriter, born in Yamato, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. She has written much of her own music as well as singing songs written by others such as her debut release Oribia o Kikinagara, by Amii Ozaki. Her song "Cat's Eye" was used as the first opening theme for the eponymous 1983 anime series Cat's Eye and debuted as #1 on Countdown Japan. It was one of the first J-pop songs used as an anime theme song, and it was included in a recent Dance Dance Revolution game. Her popularly increased following her appearance at the Red and White New Year's Music Special at the end of that same year. Other hit songs include Summer Candles and Dolphin Ring, both of which became standard songs played at Japanese wedding and receptions. Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, Anri's albums were bestsellers. She is often cited as being one the first Japanese singers to fuse Britain and American music into j-pop. She has highly successful tours—one with attendance of almost 100,000—and toured Hawaii for the first time in 1987. She was given a boost by singing the closing theme for the 1998 Winter Olympics at Nagano. In 2002, she began collaborating with jazz fusion guitarist Lee Ritenour who produced her 2002 LP "Smooth Jam - Quiet Storm".
Taku Iwasaki is a Japanese composer and arranger. His hometown is Tokyo, Japan. He is a graduate of Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music. Iwasaki is generally known for his jazz-like score music.
Video Game Designer
Tetsuya Takahashi is currently the head of game software company Monolith Soft, Inc. In the past, Takahashi has worked at Square and on such games as Final Fantasy V, Final Fantasy VI and Chrono Trigger. His most notable works are those within the Xenogears, Xenosaga and Xenoblade series, all of which he directed. He is married to Soraya Saga, who also worked with him at Square Enix, as well as on Xenogears, Xenosaga, and Soma Bringer. He is the co-founder and president of Monolith Soft.
Kana Uemura is a Japanese singer-songwriter, who debuted in 2004. She is best known for her song "Toilet no Kamisama", an acoustic ballad about her grandmother, which became a hit in 2010.
Tatsuo Kamon, real name Tatsuo Torikai, is a Japanese singer-songwriter born 25 March 1959 in Ibaraki, Osaka Prefecture, Japan. He is represented by the talent management firm Daikan'yama Production, and releases works through Daipro-X, a record company which is a subsidiary of Daikan'yama. He made his professional singer-songwriter debut in 1983 by winning two major awards and being named the "Rookie of the Year" for his single Yankee no Niichan no Uta.
Film story contributor
Hikaru Nakamura is a Japanese manga artist. She is mostly known for Saint Young Men and Arakawa Under the Bridge.
Film Score Composer
Takayuki Hattori is a film score composer.
Hōjō Tokimasa was the first Hōjō shikken of the Kamakura bakufu and head of the Hōjō clan. He was shikken from 1203 until his abdication in 1205.
Shion Tsuji is a Japanese singer-songwriter. She is best known for her song "Sky Chord," which was used as the 18th ending theme song for the anime Bleach.
Misono Koda, who performs under the mononym Misono, is a Japanese singer-songwriter from Kyoto. She is also the younger sister of Japanese singer Kumi Koda. Misono was the lead singer of pop band Day After Tomorrow, until the group disbanded in 2005. In 2006, Misono made her debut as a solo artist, remaining under the Avex Trax label. Since her debut as a solo artist, she has released thirteen singles and two studio albums.
Masashi Kishimoto is a Japanese manga artist, well known for creating the manga series Naruto. A reader of manga ever since a young age, Kishimoto showed a desire to write his own manga, citing authors Akira Toriyama and Katsuhiro Otomo as his main inspirations. His younger twin brother, Seishi Kishimoto, is also a manga artist and creator of the manga series 666 Satan and Blazer Drive. During the publication of Naruto, Kishimoto married and became a father.
Antonio Inoki is a Japanese professional wrestling promoter and politician and retired professional wrestler and mixed martial artist. He was also the founder and former owner of New Japan Pro Wrestling before selling his controlling share in the promotion to Yuke's. Best known for most of his life by the ring name Antonio Inoki, he fashioned this name after the wrestler Antonino Rocca as a homage to him. Inoki announced in 2012 that he had converted to Islam in 1990 and his Muslim name is Muhammad Hussain.
Hip hop Artist
Jun Seba was a Japanese hip hop producer and DJ who recorded under the name Nujabes, the reverse spelling of his name in Japanese order. Nujabes, usually pronounced, was also owner of the Shibuya record stores, T Records and Guinness Records and founder of the independent label Hydeout Productions. He received widespread acclaim for his unique and innovative approach to hip-hop.
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu
Kiriko Takemura, better known by her stage name Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, is a Japanese model, blogger and recording artist. Her public image is associated with Japan's kawaisa and decora culture centered in the Harajuku neighborhood of Tokyo. Kyary's first single, PonPonPon, made Japan's top ten and became known as her signature song. The singles Candy Candy and Fashion Monster followed. She has since released two full-length albums, Pamyu Pamyu Revolution and Nanda Collection in June 2013. Though most of her success as a recording artist has been in Asia, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu has also gained popularity in western countries due in part to internet videos which have gone viral. Media outlets have referred to Kyary as "Queen of J-Pop" and "Harajuku Pop Princess", and she has been photographed for magazines such as Dazed & Confused. In 2013, Kyary signed a distribution deal with Sire Records to release her material in the United States.
Daisuke Matsuzaka is a Japanese professional baseball pitcher who is a free agent. He previously played for the Boston Red Sox, New York Mets and the Seibu Lions. Matsuzaka was selected the MVP of the inaugural and the second World Baseball Classic, and is an Olympic bronze medalist.
Kotoko is a Japanese J-pop singer from Sapporo, Hokkaido. Kotoko began her singing career as a member of I've Sound in 2000, and was later signed to Rondorobe under Geneon from 2004 to 2010. Kotoko left Geneon in 2010, and left I've Sound in 2011 and signed to Warner Home Video. She composes and writes lyrics for numerous other song collections. She has contributed songs to numerous anime and video games including Please Teacher!, Maria-sama ga Miteru, Hourglass of Summer, Hayate the Combat Butler, Kannazuki no Miko, Shakugan no Shana, BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger and Accel World, among others.
Victoria Principal is an American actress, author and businesswoman best known for her role as Pamela Barnes Ewing on the CBS nighttime soap opera Dallas from 1978 to 1987.
Hidetoshi Nakata, Cavaliere OSSI, is a retired Japanese football player. He was one of the most famous Asian footballers of his generation. Nakata began his professional career in 1995 and won the Asian Football Confederation Player of the Year award in 1997 and 1998, the Scudetto with A.S. Roma in 2001, played for Japan in three FIFA World Cup tournaments and played in the Olympics twice. In 2005, he was made the Knight of the Order of the Star of Italian Solidarity, one of Italy's highest honors, for improving the country's image overseas. Nakata has also been involved in fashion, regularly attending runway shows and wearing designer clothing. Nakata announced his retirement at age 29 on July 3, 2006 after a ten-year career that included seven seasons in the Italian Serie A and a season in the English Premier League. In March 2004, Pelé named Nakata in his FIFA 100, a list of the top living footballers at the time.
Emperor Meiji, or Meiji the Great, was the 122nd emperor of Japan according to the traditional order of succession, reigning from 3 February 1867 until his death on 30 July 1912. He presided over a time of rapid change in the Empire of Japan, as the nation quickly changed from a feudal state to a capitalist and imperial world power, characterized by Japan's industrial revolution. His personal name was Mutsuhito, and although outside of Japan he is sometimes called by this name, in Japan deceased emperors are referred to only by their posthumous names. At the time of his birth in 1852, Japan was an isolated, pre-industrial, feudal country dominated by the Tokugawa Shogunate and the daimyo, who ruled over the country's more than 250 decentralized domains. By the time of his death in 1912, Japan had undergone a political, social, and industrial revolution at home and emerged as one of the great powers on the world stage. A detailed account of the state funeral in the New York Times concluded with an observation: "The contrast between that which preceded the funeral car and that which followed it was striking indeed. Before it went old Japan; after it came new Japan."
Aska, Ryo Aska or Ryō Asuka is a Japanese singer-songwriter. Aska is best known for work as part of the music duo Chage and Aska. As a composer, he wrote most of the principal hit songs for the duo, such as "Morning Moon", "Love Song", "Say Yes", and "Meguriai". Over half of their released singles were written by him. He has also written for many singers and groups in addition to Chage and Aska. In particular, his songwriting for Hikaru Genji in the late 1980s produced some of his most notable works. He began a solo career in 1987, and was highly successful in the first half of 1990s. His most well-known song as a solo singer is "Hajimari wa Itsumo Ame", which was a single from his second solo album. The song reached #2 on oricon and sold over 1,160,000 copies. Success of this song lead him to widespread popularity across East Asia.
Akihito is the reigning Emperor of Japan, the 125th emperor of his line according to Japan's traditional order of succession. He acceded to the throne in 1989. In Japan, the emperor is never referred to by his given name, but rather is referred to as "His Imperial Majesty the Emperor" which may be shortened to "His Imperial Majesty". In writing, the emperor is also referred to formally as "The Reigning Emperor". The Era of Akihito's reign bears the name "Heisei", and according to custom he will be renamed "Emperor Heisei" by order of the cabinet after his death. At the same time, the name of the next era under his successor will also be established.
Keiji Mutoh is a Japanese professional wrestler who first gained international fame in the National Wrestling Alliance. He is mostly known for his work as The Great Muta in New Japan Pro Wrestling during the 1990s, but he has also worked in United States, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Taiwan. He is a former owner and president of All Japan Pro Wrestling, as well as being a full-time wrestler for the promotion from 2002 to 2013. Mutoh is widely regarded as one of the greatest wrestlers of all-time, both in Japan and America. Mutoh is credited as one of the first Japanese wrestlers to achieve a fanbase outside of his native Japan in the United States. The Great Muta gimmick is one of the most influential gimmicks in puroresu, having been emulated by many wrestlers including Satoshi Kojima, Kazushi Miyamoto and Atsushi Onita. In addition, countless independent wrestlers have paid tribute to Muta through emulation and imitation. Mutoh is one of two wrestlers to hold the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, the AJPW Triple Crown Championship and the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. He is also famous for taking part in what is generally considered to be the bloodiest professional wrestling match of all time against Hiroshi Hase, leading to the creation of the "Muta Scale".
Eiichiro Oda is a Japanese manga artist, best known for his manga series One Piece. Having sold over 300 million copies worldwide, One Piece is the best-selling manga series of all time. The series' popularity resulted in him being named one of the manga artists that changed the history of manga.
Maaya Sakamoto is a Japanese singer-songwriter, actress, and voice actress who made her debut as a voice actress in 1992 as the voice of Chifuru in Little Twins, but is better known as voice of Hitomi Kanzaki in The Vision of Escaflowne. She released her debut single Yakusoku wa Iranai, in collaboration with Yoko Kanno under Victor Entertainment on April 24, 1996. She is among the more popular voice actresses who have also branched into singing, performing songs in both English and Japanese. As well as being a prolific voice actress, she has also had several successful releases; despite initially only modestly selling, her singles Tune the Rainbow, Loop, Ame ga Furu, and Triangler have all reached the top 10 Oricon singles chart: Triangler in particular charted at #3 and remained charting for 26 weeks. Her albums have had similar success, with Shōnen Alice and Yūnagi Loop both reaching the top 10 Oricon albums chart; and her album You Can't Catch Me, released on January 12, 2011, became her first release to ever reach #1. She held a concert at the Nippon Budokan on March 31, 2010, her thirtieth birthday. She is also considered to be the official Japanese voice dub-over artist for Natalie Portman.
Daisuke Ono is a Japanese voice actor who won the 4th Seiyu Awards for best voice actor for his role as Sebastian Michaelis in Kuroshitsuji.
Yayoi Kusama is a Japanese artist and writer. Throughout her career she has worked in a wide variety of media, including painting, collage, sculpture, performance art and environmental installations, most of which exhibit her thematic interest in psychedelic colors, repetition and pattern. A precursor of the pop art, minimalist and feminist art movements, Kusama influenced contemporaries such as Andy Warhol and Claes Oldenburg. Although largely forgotten after departing the New York art scene in the early 1970s, Kusama is now acknowledged as one of the most important living artists to come out of Japan, and an important voice of the avant-garde. Born in Matsumoto, Nagano into an upper-middle-class family of seedling merchants, Kusama started creating art at an early age, going on to study Nihonga painting in Kyoto in 1948. Frustrated with this distinctly Japanese style, she became interested in the European and American avant-garde, staging several solo exhibitions of her paintings in Matsumoto and Tokyo during the 1950s. In 1957 she moved to the United States, settling down in New York City where she produced a series of paintings influenced by the abstract expressionist movement. Switching to sculpture and installation as her primary mediums, Kusama became a fixture of the New York avant-garde, having her works exhibited alongside the likes of Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg and George Segal during the early 1960s, where she became associated with the pop art movement. Embracing the rise of the hippie counterculture of the late 1960s, Kusama came to public attention when she organized a series of happenings in which naked participants were painted with brightly colored polka dots.
Alternative rock Artist
Cocco is a female J-pop / folk rock singer.
Hiroshi Kamiya is a Japanese voice actor who works for Aoni Production. He is best known for being the voice of Nozomu Itoshiki from Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei, Koyomi Araragi from the Monogatari, Levi from Attack on Titan, Soma from Working!!, Izaya from Durarara and Tieria Erde from Mobile Suit Gundam 00. He won "Best Lead Actor" and "Best Personality" at the Third Seiyu Awards, and "Best Supporting Actor" at the Second Seiyu Awards.
Takeru Satoh is a Japanese actor. His debut role was as the lead in Kamen Rider Den-O, and is known for his subsequent roles in the dramatizations of Q10, Ryōmaden and recently Rurouni Kenshin.
Tarō Asō is a Japanese politician, currently the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance. Asō was the 92nd Prime Minister of Japan serving from September 2008 to September 2009, and was defeated in the August 2009 election. He has served in the House of Representatives since 1979. He was Minister for Foreign Affairs from 2005 to 2007, and was Secretary-General of the Liberal Democratic Party briefly in 2007 and in 2008. He was President of the LDP from 2008 to 2009. His successor, Sadakazu Tanigaki, was chosen on 28 September 2009. After the LDP's victory in the 2012 general election under Shinzō Abe he was appointed to the cabinet as Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance, and State Minister for Financial Services. He has held the positions since 26 December 2012.
Takuma Sato is a Japanese automobile racing driver. He is racing for A. J. Foyt Enterprises in the 2013 IndyCar Series season.
Electronic rock Artist
Takanori Nishikawa is a renowned Japanese singer and actor. He performs as T.M.Revolution, which stands for "Takanori Makes Revolution" although the name stems from the famous 80s pop electronic band TM Network. Despite most of his songs being written by Akio Inoue and composed/arranged by Daisuke Asakura, T.M.Revolution is considered Nishikawa’s solo project. Nishikawa is also known for contributions of ending and opening themes to many notable anime and game series. Nishikawa debuted as TMR with the release of his first single "Dokusai" in May 1996. Later that year, his third single "Heart of Sword" was used as the third ending song for the anime series Rurouni Kenshin, further expanding his fan base. He also contributed six songs to the Mobile Suit Gundam SEED franchise – three for Gundam SEED and three for Gundam SEED Destiny. Nishikawa has guest starred as a minor character in each of those anime series that featured his songs. In 2010, his single "Save the One, Save the All" was used as the ending theme song for the movie Bleach: Hell Verse.
Yuma Asami is a Japanese adult video actress who has also appeared in soft-core "gravure" videos, V-Cinema, pink films and TV dramas.
Junichiro Koizumi is a Japanese politician who was the 87th Prime Minister of Japan from 2001 to 2006. He retired from politics when his term in parliament ended in 2009. Widely seen as a maverick leader of the Liberal Democratic Party, he became known as an economic reformer, focusing on Japan's government debt and the privatization of its postal service. In 2005, Koizumi led the LDP to win one of the largest parliamentary majorities in modern Japanese history. Koizumi also attracted international attention through his deployment of the Japan Self-Defense Forces to Iraq. His visits to Yasukuni Shrine led to diplomatic tensions with neighboring China and South Korea. Koizumi was the fifth longest serving prime minister in the history of Japan.
Computer and video game Artist
Yoko Shimomura is a Japanese video game composer. She has been described as "the most famous female video game music composer in the world". She has worked in the video game industry ever since graduating from the Osaka College of Music in 1988. From then until 1993, she worked for Capcom, where she composed wholly or in part the scores for 16 games, including Final Fight and Street Fighter II. From 1993 to 2002 Shimomura worked for Square, where she composed for a further ten games. While working for Square, she was best known for her work on the soundtrack for Kingdom Hearts, which was her last game for the company before leaving. Starting with Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, she began working as an active freelancer, writing for over a dozen titles. Her works have gained a great deal of popularity, and have been performed in multiple video game music concerts, including one, Sinfonia Drammatica, that was focused half on her "greatest hits" album, Drammatica: The Very Best of Yoko Shimomura, and half on the music of a previous concert. Music from several of her games has been published as arranged albums and as piano scores.
Akiho Yoshizawa, often known simply as Acky, is a Japanese adult video, pink film, and mainstream film and TV actress.
Hip hop Artist
Minmi is a Japanese hip-hop, soca, and reggae musician, as well as a singer-songwriter and record producer. She is the first soca artist from Japan. Since 2007, she has been married to Wakadanna, a member of Japanese reggae group Shōnan no Kaze. She began playing reggae music in Japanese clubs in 1996. Her 2002 debut single, "The Perfect Vision", went on to sell over 500,000 copies.
Yukana Nogami, known professionally as Yukana, is a Japanese voice actress. She is affiliated with Sigma Seven.
Mihiro, also known as Mihiro Taniguchi, is a Japanese model, singer, TV personality and award-winning adult video actress.
Hitomi Furuya, known mononymously as hitomi, is a Japanese singer-songwriter. She began her career as model, but after meeting Tetsuya Komuro he began managing her career as a pop singer. In 1998 she left the "Komuro Family" and started working with other musicians and producers, oriented to other musical genres such as pop rock, and more recently to electropop.
Kōichi Yamadera is a Japanese voice actor, actor, tarento, narrator, master of ceremonies and impressionist from Shiogama, Miyagi Prefecture. He graduated from Tohoku Gakuin University's economics school, and is currently affiliated with Across Entertainment. Before that, he was affiliated with the Tokyo Actor's Consumer's Cooperative Society. His nickname is Yama-chan. As a radio personality, he is known as Bazooka Yamadera among other things. He is best known for his roles in Ninja Scroll, Cowboy Bebop, Ghost in the Shell, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Anpanman, Ranma ½ and the current voice of Koichi Zenigata. He is known for voicing Jim Carrey and Eddie Murphy in the Japanese language releases of their respective films.
Tommy heavenly6 is an alter-ego pseudonym created by Tomoko Kawase. Under the name she has released ten singles, four albums, and one compilation album. The persona features a more punk sound than Kawase's previous works.
Ayako Fuji, born May 10, 1961, is a Japanese enka singer. She is signed onto Sony Music Japan. Born in Kakunodate, Akita, Fuji graduated from Akita Prefectural Kakunodate South High School.
Kazuo Kamimura is a manga artist. Kamimura illustrated Lady Snowblood. Hitoshi Iwaaki, a manga artist was his assistant
Setsu Sawagata is a former Japanese football player. He has played for Japan national team.
Kimmy Suzuki is an actress and stunt performer.
Yuji Sadai is a film producer.
Kikuzo Kisaka is a former Japanese football player. He has played for Japan national team.