Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka made history by being the first player of Asian origin to hold the world number one rank in singles. Osaka made headlines when in 2021, she withdrew from the French Open after refusing to be part of a press conference to protect her mental health.
One of the most promising young wrestlers from Japan, Kanako Urai, better known as Asuka and Kana (previously), has been making a name for herself as part of the WWE. Known for her multi-colored hair, she is a Grand Slam Champion, and holds the NXT, Raw, and SmackDown Women’s titles.
Yoko Ono is a Japanese multimedia artist, peace activist, and singer-songwriter. She came into prominence after marrying John Lennon of the Beatles. She is widely criticized for her unquestionable influence over John Lennon and his music. She is also often blamed for the disbandment of The Beatles. Despite all these criticisms, Yoko Ono continues to go on her merry way.
Born to a Japanese mother and a French-Canadian father, Maria Ozawa was raised in Japan and began her career in adult films at age 19. Also known as Miyabi, she has worked on Japanese TV shows and has also worked as a model. She is also known as an AV Idol.
Japanese organizing expert Marie Kondo gained fame with her bestselling books on organizing, such as The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, which have been translated into languages such as Italian, Korean, French, and German. She also earned an Emmy nomination for her Netflix show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.
Sonoya Mizuno is an English actress, ballet dancer, and model. She started her professional career as a model, working for world-renowned brands, such as Saint Laurent, Chanel, and Louis Vuitton. Thanks to her skills as a ballet dancer, which she learnt at the Royal Ballet School, Mizuno landed roles in dance films like High Strung, which kick-started her film career.
Japanese kawaii metal sensation Suzuka Nakamoto is best known for being part of the band Babymetal. Also known as Su-metal, she entered the world of showbiz with Jewel Drop commercials and later won a kids’ audition. She has also been part of the idol girl group Sakura Gakuin.
Rinko Kikuchi is a Japanese actress who received an Academy Award nomination for her portrayal of Chieko Wataya in the 2006 psychological drama film Babel. Rinko is the first Japanese actress to receive an Oscar nomination in five decades. Her work in Babel also earned her several awards, such as Gotham Awards and a Chicago Film Critics Association Award.
Daughter of Hollywood actor Steven Seagal and Japanese aikido specialist Miyako Fujitani, Ayako Fujitani appeared as a lead actor in Man from Reno. A skilled writer, she has also released several books, both fiction and non-fiction. She has also directed a short play and performed as part of a band.
WWE wrestler and actor Kaori Housako, better known as Kairi Sane, initially represented Japanese women’s wrestling promotion Stardom, as Kairi Hojo, and also won many honors, such as the Artist of Stardom. She is also skilled in yachting, holds a degree in Japanese literature, and has taught Japanese in Cambodia.
Aiko, Princess Toshi, is the only child of Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako of Japan. She went to Gakushuin Kindergarten as a small child and later enrolled at the Gakushuin Girl's Junior High-school. Currently, she is studying the Japanese language and literature at Gakushuin University.
Hirai Momo is a Japanese dancer and singer based in South Korea. She is best known for being one of three Japanese members of the popular South Korean girl group, Twice. One of the most famous K-pop stars from outside Korea, Momo's popularity has been credited with boosting international relations between Japan and South Korea.
Born to a Korean-Japanese mother and an American father, Kiko Mizuhara plunged into modeling after winning a Seventeen Japan contest. After winning hearts in the Japanese modeling circuit, she became a Chanel ambassador. Her designs, made in collaboration with Opening Ceremony, have been worn by artists such as Beyoncé.
Hikaru Utada is a Japanese-American singer, producer, and songwriter. She achieved popularity after releasing her first Japanese-language studio album First Love, which became Japan's best-selling album of all time. Utada was regarded as the most influential artist of the 2000s in Japan. She is also one of the most decorated Japanese artists of her generation.
Queen Himiko was a shamaness-queen who reigned over Yamataikoku from 189 AD until her death in 248 AD. Over the years, Queen Himiko has been depicted in several graphic novels, anime, and video games across Japan. She is also depicted in video games as a tyrant or sorceress with sexually revealing clothing.
Japanese manga artist Naoko Takeuchi is best known as the author of Sailor Moon, a multiple-award-winning manga series. She was interested in becoming a manga artist from a young age. However, she studied chemistry in college to please her father. Shortly after graduation, she entered the manga industry and found success in her chosen field within a few years.
Tokyo-born Rila Fukushima initially wished to be a model agent but ended up being one of Japan’s most popular models, walking the ramp for Louis Vuitton and gracing magazines such as Vogue Japan. She later appeared in The Wolverine and the series Arrow and Gunshi Kanbei.
Koyuki is a Japanese actress and model best known for her portrayal of Hiromi Ishizaki in the 2005 film Always: Sunset on Third Street, for which she received a nomination for Best Actress at the 29th Japan Academy Film Prize in 2006. Over the course of her career, Koyuki has also won awards, such as the Nikkan Sports Film Award.
Empress Kōjun was an Empress consort of Japan. As the wife of Emperor Shōwa, Kōjun was one of the most important members of the Imperial House of Japan. She reigned as empress consort from 1926 to 1989, becoming the longest-serving empress consort in the history of Japan. Kōjun performed her ceremonial duties and accompanied Emperor Shōwa on his foreign tours.
Seiyu Award-winning voice actor Rie Kugimiya is best known for her work in anime/manga productions such as Toradora! and Nabari no Ou. Known as the Queen of Tsundere, she is fond of reading in her leisure time. She has also appeared on stage and in video games.
At age 2, Sadako Sasaki survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, being just 2km away from the bombing site. However, years later, she developed leukemia, as an aftermath of the bombing. While in hospital, battling the terminal disease, she folded over 1,000 origami cranes, in the hope of getting better.
One of the best-known Japanese voice actors, Maaya Sakamoto soared to fame with her performances as Kiyomi Takada in Death Note and Lunamaria Hawke in Gundam Seed Destiny. She is also a successful singer and a sociology major. She has also dubbed for films such as the Star Wars trilogy.
Mari Osaka is a Japanese tennis player. In 2014, she made her WTA Tour debut at the Bank of the West Classic, partnering with Marina Shamayko in the doubles event. A few years later, she made her WTA Tour singles debut at the 2019 Miami Open. Her sister, Naomi Osaka, is also a tennis player.
Following her debut with the film My Grandpa, Japanese actor Satomi Ishihara became a star both in films and on TV. She has been involved in charitable activities in Africa and was also chosen as a torchbearer for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, before the event was postponed due to COVID-19.
Though Chiaki Kuriyama gained immense fame as a child model, especially for her photos in the bestselling book Shinwa-Shojo, the book was banned for child pornography later. Now an actor-singer, too, she is known for her roles in films such as Battle Royale and Kill Bill: Volume 1.
Princess Kako of Akishino, the second child of Japan’s Prince Fumihito and Princess Kiko, excelled in figure skating in school. She later studied performing arts and psychology at the University of Leeds. Kako isn’t eligible to rule ever, as Japan doesn’t include women in the line of royal succession.
Murasaki Shikibu was a Japanese poet and novelist. She is credited with authoring one of the world's first novels, The Tale of Genji. Murasaki's works played a key role in establishing Japanese as a written language and she continues to influence Japanese writers. Over the years, she has also been a popular subject of illustrations and paintings in Japan.
Japanese pop icon Ayumi Hamasaki had started a TV career after moving to Tokyo at 14. She later gained fame with her dance hits and ballads. Also known for her dramatic costumes and videos, The Empress of J-pop has been rendered totally deaf in one ear, owing to a ear infection.
Seiyu Award-winning voice actor Maaya Uchida is the sister of fellow voice actor Yuma Uchida. Initially interested in gaming, she later aspired to be a voice actor for gaming characters and thus ventured into voice acting. She owns a fan club named LIFE IS LIKE A SUNNY DAY.
Rei Kawakubo is a Japanese fashion designer and the founder of Dover Street Market and Comme des Garçons. She is known as one of the most influential designers and is widely regarded as a fashion icon all over the world.
Japanese voice actor Ayana Taketatsu is known for her work in anime/manga series such as Sword Art Online and Guilty Crown. She has also dubbed for movies such as The Angry Birds Movie 2 and is part of the band Hokago Tea Time. She is married to fellow voice actor Yûki Kaji.
Akie Abe is the wife of former Japanese prime minister Shinzō Abe. The daughter of a confectionery magnate, Akie has previously worked for Dentsu Inc. She has also been a DJ, using the pseudonym Akky. She once partnered with Michelle Obama to promote classroom education for girls worldwide.