Ayako Fujitani Biography
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Also Known As: Fujitani Ayako
Born in: Ōsaka, Japan
Famous as: Actor, Writer, Novelist
father: Steven Seagal
mother: Miyako Fujitani
siblings: Annaliza Seagal, Arissa Seagal, Dominic Seagal, Kentaro Seagal, Kunzang Seagal, Savannah Seagal
Ayako Fujitani is a Japanese actress, writer, director, film critic, translator and an occasional musician. She is the daughter of Aikido Black Belt and Martial Arts trainer, Steven Seagal. Ayako is famous for her much-acclaimed film ‘Tokyo’. She has many other films as well to her credit such as ‘Shiki-Jitsu’ and ‘Man from Reno’. She is a well-known writer of both fiction and non-fiction genre and many of her articles have been published in different journals. In addition to directing movies, acting and writing, she has also translated one of her favorite novels, ‘Stitches: A Memoir’ written by David Small, from English to Japanese.
- Ayako Fujitani was born on December 7, 1979, in Osaka, Japan, and her full name is Ayako Faith Fujitani. She is the daughter of Aikido trainer couple, Steven Seagal and Miyako Fujitani.
- Ayako has a brother, Kentaro Seagal, who is an actor. Her other half-siblings from her father’s side, includes Annaliza, Dominick, Arissa, Savannah and Kunzang Seagal.
- Her parents separated when Ayako was a toddler. Her mother got Ayako’s custody and together they stayed in Osaka, Japan.
- She had been a film buff from an early age. Her favorite genres included zombie films, horror and art flicks. Highly influenced by movies she watched, Ayako decided to become an actor and director.
- Ayako’s singing talent came to the fore when she sang songs for the band ‘Father’s Girls’ created by her favorite author, Ramo Nakajima.
- She lived in Los Angeles, California, the United States, where she studied acting, filmmaking and English language. She also won a beauty pageant at the age of twelve, which led to a modeling career.
- Ayako made her cinema debut when she was just 13. She starred in the cult classic fantasy flick ‘Gamera-Guardian of the Universe’. She was not at all satisfied with her performance in the film and decided to polish her acting skills.
- Thereafter, she moved to the US to learn acting. She also started studying English and during her workshop days itself, she wrote her first novel ‘Touhimu’. She had also penned many articles and film reviews for the magazine Roadshow, a couple of years earlier.
- Ayako was 21 when she was approached by director Hideaki Anno, who wanted to make a film based on her novel ‘Touhimu’. She not only gave the copyrights but also agreed to act in the film which was titled ‘Shiki-Jitsu’.
- Both the novel and the film failed to make a commercial success but the film was highly praised by the critics. She continued appearing in many art films which changed her image of the child artist from Gamera.
- Next, Ayako was seen in a French flick ‘Sansa’ which released in 2003. In the next few years, she appeared in films like ‘Ikusa’, ‘Private Detective No.5’ and ‘Captain Tokyo’.
- Meanwhile, Ayako got into theatre. Some of her stage plays are ‘Hiking for Human Life’, ‘Rope’, ‘Kung Fu John’ and ‘The Black Cat’. In 2006, she became director with her first venture ‘Drama Factory Program’, a television series.
- Ayako’s reputation as an actor increased further in 2008 when she played the role of Hiroko in the Michel Gondry directed anthology film ‘Tokyo’. The actor-director duo was highly impressed by each other's work and expressed their wish to work together again.
- Their professional bond strengthened when they made a short documentary on Ayako's life story ‘How to Blow Up a Helicopter- Ayako’s Story’.
- She seamlessly maintained a balance between writing and acting. In 2014, Ayako wrote the script for a short film titled, Ermenegildo Zegna. The same year she was seen in the film ‘Daylight Savings’, which was directed by Dave Boyle.
- Ayako once again worked with Dave in ‘Man from Reno’. Thereafter, she appeared in few more films such as ‘Kazemi’, ‘Tatsu Lion’, and ‘The Last Ship’.
- Gamera-Guardian of the Universe: Ayako appeared as a child artist in this Japanese fantasy film which was based on the character of a giant monster, Gamera. This film was a part of the Gamera film series. Ayako appeared as Asagi Kusanagi, who accidentally discovered a magical pendant which helped her to create a spiritual connection with the monster. The film released on March 11, 1995. The film proved as a visual treat but failed to impress with its content. Ayako later appeared in the next two sequels of the film, Gamera 2: Attack of Legion (1996) and Gamera 3: The Revenge of Iris (1999).
- The Patriot: Ayako shared the screen space with her father, Steven Seagal, in this American action film. She appeared as Ayako Seagal, the assistant of Dr. Wesley McClaren, played by her father. The film released on July 10, 1998, worldwide. The film was rejected by the audience and bombed miserably at the box office.
- Shiki-Jitsu: This film is an adaptation of Ayako’s novel ‘Touhimu’ in which she has penned her experiences from the time she was in the US. She has also mentioned about her troubled relationship she shared with her father. The critics labeled the film as dark themed for it displayed the emotional turmoil one goes through while having suicidal tendencies. The film hit the theatres on December 7, 2000, and was declared a hit. The film also received the Best Artistic Contribution award at the 13th International Film Festival in Tokyo.
- Tokyo: This is an omnibus with three different stories of which Ayako worked in the directed by Michel Gondry directed segment ‘Interior Design’. The film has an interesting plot where Hiroko, played by Ayako, struggles to make a living in a completely unknown city, Tokyo. She has recently moved there with her husband who is an aspiring filmmaker. The story unfolds and Hiroko starts feeling neglected and unappreciated for her efforts. The director brilliantly uses a useless piece of wooden furniture to show her emotional state. The film was premiered at the Cannes Film Festival on May 14, 2008. The film mostly received positive reviews.
- A man from Reno: Ayako played the lead in this mystery film which was premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival on June 15, 2014. Ayako played as Aki, a famous novelist who is in the search of a mysterious man, whom she had slept once with. The story unfolds when this plot coincides with another plot, where an unknown man gets accidentally killed by a county official.
- Ayako married Spanish scriptwriter Javier Gullon in 2006.
- As of October 2017, Ayako’s current net worth is estimated at 1.6 Million US Dollars.
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