Famous Japanese Film & Theater Personalities

Find out more about the greatest Japanese Film & Theater Personalities, including Hayao Miyazaki, Maria Ozawa, Akira Kurosawa, Ken Watanabe and Takami Akai.

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 Film & Theater Personalities

 1 Asa Akira

Asa Akira
38
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: January 3, 1986
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: New York City, New York, USA

 2 Hayao Miyazaki

Hayao Miyazaki
2
Famous As: Film director
Birthdate: January 5, 1941
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Bunkyō

Considered one of the most prominent filmmakers in the history of animated films, Hayao Miyazaki is a Japanese animator and manga artist. A co-founder of Studio Ghibli, Miyazaki has gained worldwide acclaim as a maker of animated films and a masterful storyteller. Miyazaki has served as an inspiration to several world-renowned animators and directors, including James Cameron and Wes Anderson.

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 3 Hiroyuki Sanada

Hiroyuki Sanada
9
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: October 12, 1960
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: 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).

 4 Akira Kurosawa

Akira Kurosawa
0
Famous As: Filmmaker
Birthdate: March 23, 1910
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Shinagawa
Died: September 6, 1998

Akira Kurosawa was a Japanese filmmaker. Widely considered one of the most influential and important filmmakers of all time, Kurosawa's works opened up Western film markets to the products of the Japanese entertainment industry, enabling other Japanese filmmakers to achieve international recognition. Such is his impact as a filmmaker that he is credited with contributing to the development of Asia.

 5 Makoto Shinkai

Makoto Shinkai
0
Famous As: Film director, Voice actor, Animator, Screenwriter
Birthdate: February 9, 1973
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Koumi

 6 Ken Watanabe

Ken Watanabe
3
Famous As: Actor
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.

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 7 Mako Iwamatsu

Mako Iwamatsu
1
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: December 10, 1933
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Kobe, 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.

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 8 Haruma Miura

Haruma Miura
1
Famous As: Actor, Singer, Voice actor, Child actor
Birthdate: April 5, 1990
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Tsuchiura
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 9 Toshiro Mifune

Toshiro Mifune
0
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: April 1, 1920
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Qingdao, Shandong, Republic of 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.

 10 Brian Tee

Brian Tee
1
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: March 15, 1977
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Okinawa Prefecture, 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

 11 Richard T. Jones

Richard T. Jones
1
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: January 16, 1972
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture

Richard T. Jones is an American actor known for playing important roles in films like Full Court Miracle, The Wood, and Why Did I Get Married? Apart from being an actor, Richard T. Jones is also a preacher/minister and often appears in Christian drama films, such as A Question of Faith.

 12 Kento Yamazaki

Kento Yamazaki
0
Famous As: Actor
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. 

 13 Tadanobu Asano

Tadanobu Asano
0
Famous As: Actor, Guitarist, Musician, Singer, Film director, Model
Birthdate: November 27, 1973
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Yokohama

 14 Sola Aoi

Sola Aoi
0
Famous As: Adult Film Star, Actor, Singer, AV idol, Tarento
Birthdate: November 11, 1983
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Tokyo

 15 Yoshihiro Akiyama

Yoshihiro Akiyama
0
Famous As: Mixed martial artist
Birthdate: July 29, 1975
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Ikuno Ward, Osaka, Japan

 16 Takeshi Kaneshiro

Takeshi Kaneshiro
0
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: October 11, 1973
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Wanhua District, Taipei

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.

 17 Shun Oguri

Shun Oguri
0
Famous As: Actor, Seiyū, Film director, Child actor, Stage actor
Birthdate: December 26, 1982
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Kodaira

 18 Yui Hatano

Yui Hatano
4
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: May 24, 1988
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Kyoto, Japan

 19 Takeru Satoh

Takeru Satoh
0
Famous As: Actor, Singer
Birthdate: March 21, 1989
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Iwatsuki-ku

 20 Sessue Hayakawa

Sessue Hayakawa
0
Famous As: Actor, Novelist, Screenwriter, Film director
Birthdate: June 10, 1889
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Chiba
Died: November 23, 1973

 21 Marica Hase

Marica Hase
8
Famous As: Adult Film Stars
Birthdate: September 26, 1981
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Tokyo, Japan

 22 Junichi Suwabe

Junichi Suwabe
0
Famous As: Voice actor
Birthdate: March 29, 1972
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Tokyo, Japan

 23 Tomohisa Yamashita

Tomohisa Yamashita
0
Famous As: Singer, Actor
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.

 24 Yûki Furukawa

Yûki Furukawa
0
Birthdate: December 18, 1987
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Tokyo

 25 Yoshimasa Hosoya

Yoshimasa Hosoya
0
Famous As: Voice actor
Birthdate: February 10, 1982
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Onomichi, Hiroshima, Japan

 26 Tatsuya Fujiwara

Tatsuya Fujiwara
0
Famous As: Seiyū, Stage actor, Film actor
Birthdate: May 15, 1982
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Saitama Prefecture

 27 Kenichi Matsuyama

Kenichi Matsuyama
0
Famous As: Actor
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.

 28 Sota Fukushi

Sota Fukushi
0
Famous As: Actor
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. 

 29 Masaki Suda

Masaki Suda
0
Famous As: Actor
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.

 30 Kazuya Kamenashi

Kazuya Kamenashi
0
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: February 23, 1986
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Edogawa, Tokyo, Tokyo

 31 Taishi Nakagawa

Taishi Nakagawa
0
Famous As: Japanese actor
Birthdate: June 14, 1998
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Tokyo

 32 Ryo Nishikido

Ryo Nishikido
0
Famous As: Japanese singer
Birthdate: November 3, 1984
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Osaka Prefecture

 33 Shota Matsuda

Shota Matsuda
0
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: September 10, 1985
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Suginami-ku

 34 Yasutaka Tsutsui

Yasutaka Tsutsui
0
Famous As: Actor, Novelist, Writer, Playwright, Science fiction writer, Screenwriter
Birthdate: September 24, 1934
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Ōsaka

 35 Kōji Seto

Kōji Seto
0
Famous As: Actor, Singer, Tarento
Birthdate: May 18, 1988
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Kama

 36 Glenn Howerton

Glenn Howerton
5
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: April 13, 1974
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Japan

 37 Grant Imahara

Grant Imahara
0
Famous As: Electrical engineer
Birthdate: October 23, 1970
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, USA

Grant Masaru Imahara, a Japanese-American electrical engineer, roboticist, television host and actor, began his career at Lucasfilm, where he got involved with several big budget films including Star War franchise. Later, he joined MythBusters as a member of Build Tea and was well-known for his contribution in it. His other important works include White Rabbit Project, BattleBots, Star Trek Continues etc.

 38 Mark Dacascos

Mark Dacascos
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: February 26, 1964
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Honolulu, Hawaii, USA

 39 Maria Ozawa

Maria Ozawa
0
Famous As: Adult Film Star, AV idol, Stripper, Actor, Glamour model, Model
Birthdate: January 8, 1986
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Hokkaidō

 40 Yukio Mishima

Yukio Mishima
0
Famous As: Playwright
Birthdate: January 14, 1925
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Yotsuya, Tokyo
Died: November 25, 1970

Japanese author, poet, and playwright Yukio Mishima is counted amongst the most important Japanese authors of the 20th century. His best-known works feature a fusion of traditional Japanese and modern Western literary styles. He was the founder of the Tatenokai, an unarmed private militia dedicated to traditional Japanese values. He was considered controversial due to his political activities. 

 41 Rinko Kikuchi

Rinko Kikuchi
0
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: January 6, 1981
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Hadano, Kanagawa, Japan

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.

 42 Takeshi Kitano

Takeshi Kitano
3
Famous As: Comedian
Birthdate: January 18, 1947
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Adachi, Tokyo, Japan

 43 Merle Dandridge

Merle Dandridge
0
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: May 31, 1975
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Okinawa, Japan

 44 Masi Oka

Masi Oka
0
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: December 27, 1974
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: 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.

 45 Ayako Fujitani

Ayako Fujitani
0
Famous As: Actor, Writer, Novelist
Birthdate: December 7, 1979
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Ōsaka, Japan

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.

 46 Satoshi Kon

Satoshi Kon
0
Famous As: Animator, Film director, Screenwriter, Mangaka
Birthdate: October 12, 1963
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Kushiro
Died: August 24, 2010

 47 Kiko Mizuhara

Kiko Mizuhara
0
Famous As: Actress, Model
Birthdate: October 15, 1990
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Dallas, Texas

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.

 48 Hiroshi Kamiya

Hiroshi Kamiya
0
Famous As: Voice actor
Birthdate: January 28, 1975
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Chiba, Japan

 49 Samaire Armstrong

Samaire Armstrong
0
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: October 31, 1980
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Tokyo, Japan

 50 Mamoru Miyano

Mamoru Miyano
0
Famous As: Actor, Singer, Seiyū, Child actor
Birthdate: June 8, 1983
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Saitama Prefecture