Famous Japanese Actors

Find out more about the greatest Japanese Actors, including Maria Ozawa, Ken Watanabe, Rinko Kikuchi, Toshiro Mifune and Sola Aoi.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite Japanese Actors

 1 
Pat Morita
(Actor, Comedian)

Pat Morita
8
Birthdate: June 28, 1932
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Isleton, California, United States
Died: November 24, 2005

American actor, voice actor, and comedian, Pat Morita first gained recognition with drama series Happy Days, though it was his inspiring performance as Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid film series that really skyrocketed his fame. The Asian-American actor was also known for his TV movie Amos and animated movie Mulan and Mulan II where he voiced the Chinese Emperor.

 2 

Hiroyuki Sanada
22
Birthdate: October 12, 1960
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Shinagawa City, Tokyo, Japan

Hiroyuki Sanada gained prominence when he starred alongside Tom Cruise, in The Last Samurai. It opened the gates of Hollywood for him which was followed by various television shows and films. He bagged in the Japanese Academy Award for Tasogare Seibei (The Twilight Samurai).

 3 

Ken Watanabe
12
Birthdate: October 21, 1959
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Koide, Japan

While tragic hero characters shot him to fame, the Japanese actor is recognized by global audience for his roles in The Last Samurai and Godzilla. Having started his career as a stage actor, Ken Watanabe is known for playing Samurai roles in Japanese films. He was also cast in the lead role in The King and I staged on Broadway.

Recommended Lists:

 4 

Mako Iwamatsu
14
Birthdate: December 10, 1933
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Kobe, Hyogo, Japan
Died: July 21, 2006

Japanese-American actor Makoto Iwamatsu, or Mako, is remembered for his Academy Award- and Golden Globe-nominated role of Po-Han in The Sand Pebbles. He also appeared in Conan the Barbarian, Conan the Destroyer, and Seven Years in Tibet. He delivered a Tony-nominated performance in Pacific Overtures and co-founded East West Players.

 5 
Haruma Miura
(Actor, Singer, Voice actor, Child actor)

Haruma Miura
12
Birthdate: April 5, 1990
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Tsuchiura

Once a popular child actor, Haruma Miura stormed the Japanese film scene after an impactful performance as Hiro in Koizora. He had also tried his luck in singing and had starred in series such as Last Cinderella. He shocked his fans by committing suicide by hanging at age 30.

 6 

Toshiro Mifune
7
Birthdate: April 1, 1920
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Qingdao, China
Died: December 24, 1997

Toshiro Mifune was a Japanese actor best known for his collaboration with director Akira Kurosawa. The two worked together for 16 films, most of which are considered cinema classics. In 1986, Mifune was honored with the Medal of Honor with Purple Ribbon. In 2016, he was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

 7 
Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa
(Actor, Martial artist)

Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa
3
Birthdate: September 27, 1950
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Tokyo, Japan

Currently a Russian citizen, Japanese actor and martial artist Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa began his training in martial art while in junior school and acting while studying in Duarte High School, California, making his breakthrough as the Eunuch Chang in The Last Emperor. Thereafter he continued to appear in numerous productions, concurrently developing a new form of martial arts called Chun Shin

You May Like

 8 
Brian Tee
(Actor)

Brian Tee
10
Birthdate: March 15, 1977
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Okinawa, Japan

Brian Tee is a Japanese American actor. He is best known for playing Dr. Ethan Choi in the popular medical drama TV series, Chicago Med. Tee has reprised his role as Ethan in spin-off series, such as Chicago Fire and Chicago P.D. He has also appeared in popular films like The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift and Jurassic World

 9 

Kento Yamazaki
9
Birthdate: September 7, 1994
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Itabashi, Tokyo
Japanese actor/model Kento Yamazaki is best known for his performance as L in the series Death Note and as Minato Shindo in Good Doctor, with the latter winning him a Television Drama Academy Award. He also appeared in films such as Orange and previously modeled for Pichi Lemon magazine. 

 10 
Masi Oka
(Actor)

Masi Oka
6
Birthdate: December 27, 1974
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: hibuya City, Tokyo, Japan
Masi Oka soared to fame with his Emmy-nominated and Saturn Award-winning role of Hiro Nakamura in the superhero series Heroes. The Hawaii Five-0 star is a black belt in Japanese fencing and an avid chess player. He is also multilingual and has been a translator at the 1992 Summer Olympics.

 11 
Tadanobu Asano
(Actor who rose to prominence for his roles in Electric Dragon 80,000 V and Ichi the Killer.)

Tadanobu Asano
4
Birthdate: November 27, 1973
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan

Japanese actor Tadanobu Satō, better known as Tadanobu Asano, had begun his acting career at 16, with the show Kimpachi Sensei, at his father’s insistence. He later gained critical acclaim with roles in films such as Maborosi and Fried Dragon Fish. He has also sung for the band Mach 1.67.

 12 
Mamoru Miyano
(Actor who was nominated for the award for Death Note at the 1st Seiyu Awards and won the "Best Voice Actor" award at the 2008 Tokyo International Anime Fair.)

Mamoru Miyano
6
Birthdate: June 8, 1983
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Saitama Prefecture, Japan

Best known for his award-winning voice role of Light Yagami in the manga series Death Note, Mamoru Miyano is an anime artist who has also released singles such as Kuon and Discovery. The artist, who is also known as Mamo, or Mamo-chan, is also a skilled harmonica/harp player.

 13 

Takeshi Kaneshiro
4
Birthdate: October 11, 1973
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Taipei City, Taipei, Taiwan

Taiwanese-Japanese actor Takeshi Kaneshiro was not seen in any major projects after his successful stint in the romantic comedy This Is Not What I Expected, till he announced he was part of the much-delayed Sons of the Neon Night. He is also popular as Samanosuke from the Onimusha video games.

 14 
Takeshi Kitano
(Comedian)

Takeshi Kitano
10
Birthdate: January 18, 1947
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Adachi, Tokyo, Japan

Takeshi Kitano is a Japanese comedian, TV presenter, author, actor, and filmmaker. He gained international fame in the 1970s as one half of the comedy duo Two Beat. He later pursued a solo act and became one of the top comedians in Japan. He then ventured into acting and direction as well. He won the Golden Lion award in 1997.   

 15 
Hideaki Anno
(Film director, Animator, Actor, Screenwriter, Film producer, Film actor)

Hideaki Anno
6
Birthdate: May 22, 1960
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Ube

 16 
Daisuke Ono
(Voice Actor, Singer)

Daisuke Ono
5
Birthdate: May 4, 1978
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Sakawa, Kochi, Japan

Though Daisuke Ono initially wished to build a career in TV broadcasting, criticism from one of his art institute professors made him move toward acting. The Seiyu Award-winning voice actor is now known for his performances in manga series such as Black Butler and JoJo's Bizarre Adventure.

 17 

Takuya Kimura
3
Birthdate: November 13, 1972
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Tokyo, Japan

Takuya Kimura is a Japanese actor, radio personality, and singer. He is best known for his association with SMAP, one of East Asia's best-selling boy bands. After starting his career as a singer, Kimura found considerable success as an actor, which catapulted him to stardom and turned him into a Japanese icon. His acting skills have earned him several awards.

 18 
Sonny Chiba
(Acclaimed movie actor and martial artist who appeared in Kill Bill.)

Sonny Chiba
3
Birthdate: January 22, 1939
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Fukuoka, Japan
Died: August 19, 2021

Sadao Maeda, better known as Sonny Chiba, was initially a talented gymnast, aspiring to be part of the Japanese Olympic team, though a back injury ended his sports career. Trained in martial arts, he later soared to fame with movies such as The Street Fighter. He died of COVID-19 at age 82.

 19 
Takeru Satoh
(Actor, Singer)

Takeru Satoh
7
Birthdate: March 21, 1989
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Iwatsuki-ku

Scouted while still in high school, Takeru Satoh is best known as Ryotaro Nogami from the Kamen Rider Den-O franchise. He had earlier worked as a child actor and was also skilled in baseball and martial arts. He has also starred in the live-action movie Rurouni Kenshin, based on a popular manga.

 20 
Sessue Hayakawa
(Actor, Novelist, Screenwriter, Film director)

Sessue Hayakawa
5
Birthdate: June 10, 1889
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Chiba
Died: November 23, 1973

Sessue Hayakawa was a Japanese actor who became a popular Hollywood star during the silent film era. He was the first Asian actor to achieve stardom in Europe and the United States of America. Renowned for portraying sexually dominant villains, Sessue Hayakawa became a heartthrob among American women; he was also one of Hollywood's first male sex symbols.

 21 
Hiroshi Kamiya
(Voice actor)

Hiroshi Kamiya
6
Birthdate: January 28, 1975
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Chiba, Japan

Initially a karate enthusiast, Hiroshi Kamiya later deviated to theater and eventually became one of the most successful anime artists in Japan. He is best known as Trafalgar Law from One Piece and has also co-hosted the radio show Dear Girl: Stories. He often collaborates with director Akiyuki Shinbo.

 22 
Takahiro Sakurai
(Voice Actor)

Takahiro Sakurai
4
Birthdate: June 13, 1974
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Okazaki, Japan

 23 
Shun Oguri
(Actor, Seiyū, Film director, Child actor, Stage actor)

Shun Oguri
5
Birthdate: December 26, 1982
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Kodaira

 24 
Yoshihiro Akiyama
(Mixed martial artist)

Yoshihiro Akiyama
6
Birthdate: July 29, 1975
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Ikuno Ward, Osaka, Japan

 25 
Takashi Miike
(Film director, Film producer, Screenwriter, Actor)

Takashi Miike
5
Birthdate: August 24, 1960
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Yao

Japanese filmmaker Takashi Miike is best known for his masterpieces such as the action-horror Ichi the Killer and the samurai film 13 Assassins. Though he initially wished to be a motorbike racer, he later joined a film school. His films are known for his controversial, violent, and sexually provocative themes.

 26 
Junichi Suwabe
(Voice actor)

Junichi Suwabe
5
Birthdate: March 29, 1972
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Tokyo, Japan

 27 
Tomohisa Yamashita
(Singer, Actor)

Tomohisa Yamashita
5
Birthdate: April 9, 1985
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Funabashi, Chiba

Tomohisa Yamashita is a Japanese singer, TV host, and actor. After joining talent agency Johnny & Associates at the age of 11, Yamashita has been active on TV ever since. He is best known for his portrayal of Kusano Akira in the 2005 TV drama Nobuta Wo Produce. Over the years, he has won several Nikkan Sports Drama Grand Prix awards.

 28 

Masaki Suda
4
Birthdate: February 21, 1993
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Minoh, Osaka Prefecture

Initially aspiring to be a math teacher, Masaki Suda later stepped into the world of entertainment. He was scouted by agents in school and later gained fame with the Kamen Rider TV and film franchise. His debut movie, The Backwater, won him the Japan Academy Prize for the best newcomer.

Yûki Furukawa
6
Birthdate: December 18, 1987
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Tokyo

 30 
Yoshimasa Hosoya
(Voice actor)

Yoshimasa Hosoya
6
Birthdate: February 10, 1982
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Onomichi, Hiroshima, Japan

 31 

Kenichi Matsuyama
4
Birthdate: March 5, 1985
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Mutsu, Aomori Prefecture

Initially a model, Japanese actor Kenichi Matsuyama later stepped into films. He is best known for playing L in the Death Note film franchise and Toru Watanabe in the movie version of Norwegian Wood. He has also won awards such as the Japan Academy and the Blue Ribbon awards.

 32 
Kyu Sakamoto
(Singer)

Kyu Sakamoto
4
Birthdate: December 10, 1941
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Kawasaki Ward, Kawasaki, Kanagawa, Japan
Died: August 12, 1985

With his Billboard number one track Sukiyaki, Kyu Sakamoto became the first to score a pop number one with a song entirely sung in Japanese. Born to a restaurateur, he had started his career singing in jazz clubs. He died in a 1985 plane crash that killed over 500 people.

 33 

Sota Fukushi
3
Birthdate: May 30, 1993
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Tokyo

Sota Fukushi is a Japanese actor who has been active in the entertainment industry for over a decade. He started his career by playing minor roles in TV shows and films. He gained international prominence with his role of Gentaro Kisaragi in the Kamen Rider franchise. He is also popular for his appearance in the TV show My Lover's Secret. 

 34 

Nobu Matsuhisa
3
Birthdate: March 10, 1949
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Saitama, Japan

 35 
Tatsuya Fujiwara
(Seiyū, Stage actor, Film actor)

Tatsuya Fujiwara
3
Birthdate: May 15, 1982
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Saitama Prefecture

 36 
Charles Robert Jenkins
(Soldier, Actor)

Charles Robert Jenkins
0
Birthdate: February 18, 1940
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Rich Square, North Carolina, United States
Died: December 11, 2017

 37 
Tatsuya Nakadai
(Actor, Seiyū, Singer)

Tatsuya Nakadai
3
Birthdate: December 13, 1932
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Tokyo

Tatsuya Nakadai is a Japanese actor best known for his versatility and collaborations with popular Japanese film directors. One of the most celebrated actors, Nakadai has been honored with prestigious awards like the Blue Ribbon Award. In 2013, Tatsuya Nakadai received the Asahi Prize for his outstanding contribution to the field of art.

 38 
Sho Kosugi
(Japanese Martial Artist and Actor Known for His 'Ninja' Roles in 1980s Film 'Revenge of the Ninja)

Sho Kosugi
2
Birthdate: June 17, 1948
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Minato, Tokyo, Japan

Apart from being a martial artist, Sho Kosugi was also one of the best actors of the Japanese ninja craze of the 1980s. The son of a fisherman, he had begun learning martial arts at age 5. Nicknamed The Visible Ninja, he later impressed audiences in films such as the Cannon ninja trilogy.

 39 
Kiyoshi Kurosawa
(Film director, Screenwriter, Film critic, Journalist, Television director, Actor)

Kiyoshi Kurosawa
3
Birthdate: July 19, 1955
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kōbe

Kiyoshi Kurosawa is a Japanese film director and film critic. He is also a professor at Tokyo University of the Arts. Interested in filmmaking from a young age,he received his training under prominent film critic Shigehiko Hasumi before beginning his career. He has worked in numerous genres and is best known for his many contributions to the Japanese horror genre. 

 40 
Shōta Sometani
(Actor, Child actor)

Shōta Sometani
3
Birthdate: September 3, 1992
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Tokyo

 41 
Kōichi Yamadera
(Actor, Seiyū, Tarento)

Kōichi Yamadera
3
Birthdate: June 17, 1961
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Shiogama

 42 
Ken Shimura
(Comedian)

Ken Shimura
2
Birthdate: February 20, 1950
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Higashimurayama, Tokyo, Japan
Died: March 29, 2020

 43 
Kensuke Sasaki
(Professional wrestler, Tarento)

Kensuke Sasaki
3
Birthdate: August 4, 1966
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Fukuoka

 44 
Ken Takakura
(Actor, Singer)

Ken Takakura
2
Birthdate: February 16, 1931
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Kitakyūshū
Died: November 10, 2014

Popularly known as the Clint Eastwood of Japan for playing brooding characters, Ken Takakura has mostly been part of yakuza movies that dealt with organized crime. He soared to fame with Abashiri Prison and later delivered award-winning performances in films such as Station, The Yellow Handkerchief, and Poppoya.

 45 
Takashi Shimura
(Actor, Film actor)

Takashi Shimura
3
Birthdate: March 12, 1905
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Asago
Died: February 11, 1982

 46 
Masakatsu Funaki
(Professional wrestler, Mixed martial artist, Actor)

Masakatsu Funaki
3
Birthdate: March 13, 1969
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Hirosaki

Masaharu Funaki, better known by his stage name, Masakatsu Funaki, is not just a skilled mixed martial artist and wrestler but also a fine actor. He also co-established the MMA promotion company Pancrase. Nicknamed the Modern-Day Samurai, he has performed in movies such as Shadow Fury and Godzilla: Final Wars.

 47 

Kazunari Ninomiya
3
Birthdate: June 17, 1983
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Katsushika, Tokyo

Kazunari Ninomiya is a Japanese singer, radio host, songwriter, voice actor, and actor. He is best known for his association with the popular boy band, Arashi. Over the course of his successful career, Kazunari Ninomiya has won several prestigious awards, such as Nikkan Sports Drama Grand Prix, Japan Broadcast Film Arts Award, Hochi Film Award, Hashida Award, and Galaxy Award.

 48 
Hiroshi Abe
(actor, model)

Hiroshi Abe
3
Birthdate: June 22, 1964
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kanagawa-ku, Yokohama

 49 
Mitsuyasu Maeno
(actor, film actor)

Mitsuyasu Maeno
3
Birthdate: 1947 AD
Birthplace: Tokyo
Died: March 23, 1976

 50 
Takeshi Kaga
(Actor, Seiyū)

Takeshi Kaga
3
Birthdate: October 12, 1950
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Kanazawa