Haruka Ayase is a popular Japanese actress, model, and singer who was discovered during a prestigious talent contest in 2000. Starting off as a gravure idol, she went on to become a mainstream model, actress and singer. Her singles ranked high in weekly charts. She has set herself apart by showcasing her acting skills by playing diverse characters in TV series and movies. Her talent has fetched her several awards, not only in Japan, but in Asia as well. Her most popular films include ‘Our Little Sister’, ‘Oppai Volleyball’ and ‘Kyō wa Kaisha Yasumimasu’. She is also remembered for her role as a nurse in the Edo dramas ‘Jin’ and ‘Jin 2’. She became a popular face among the public and went on to become the brand ambassador for many reputed companies, including SK-II Skincare and Gilco, and was the hostess of many TV shows. Ayase currently lives in Tokyo and is represented by HoriPro talent agency.
Haruka Ayase was discovered when she successfully auditioned in the 25th HoriPro Caravan Talent Scout competition. Her parents initially objected to her decision of pursuing a career in show business, but Ayase’s determination won them over. Ayase moved from Hiroshima to Tokyo after winning the audition. She began by working as a gravure idol (bikini model) where she released a photobook and later a DVD. Upon recognition, she was given minor and supporting roles in TV dramas, including the TBS series ‘Kindaichi Shonen no Jikenbo’ in 2001 and the 2003 drama ‘Boku No Ikiru Michi’ on Fuji TV. Thereafter, she starred in small roles in movies such as ‘Justice’ (2002), ‘Jam Films’ (2002) and ‘Amemasu No Kawa’ (2004). She worked as a voiceover actor for ‘The Incredibles’ in 2004.
Her big break came in 2004 when she won the role of Hirose Aki in the TV series ‘Crying Out Love, in the Center of the World’, a TBS production. She became famous after this role. She also played lead role in the TV series ‘Koi Suru Sokuratesu’ and ‘Journey Under the Midnight Sun’. These roles won her Television Drama Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actress.
Since 2004, Ayase started getting lead roles in both television and films. She also started focusing on singing and released her debut single ‘Period’ in 2006. This single went on to rank #8 in the weekly charts. Following this, she released two other singles: ‘Kosaten Days’ in 2006 and ‘Hikoki Gumo’ in 2007. All her singles proved to be successful.
She had several film releases in 2008. These included: ‘Cyborg She’, ‘Happy Flight’, and ‘Ichi’. In 2009, she starred in ‘Rookies’, ‘Oppai Volleyball’, and ‘Oblivion Island: Haruka and the Magic Mirror’. Her performance as a high-school coach in ‘Oppai Volleyball was highly praised. She starred as a nurse in the hit TV series ‘Jin’, an Edo period drama; she starred in its sequel ‘Jin 2’ as well. Since her entry into mainstream movies, she has established herself as an important actress and has several accolades to her name, including the Best Actress title at the Blue Ribbon Awards for ‘Oppai Volleyball’.
From 2010 to 2014, she would be cast in ‘The Incite Mill’ (2010),’Princess Toyotomi’ (2011), ‘Hotaru no Hikari’ (2012), ‘Himitsu no Akko-chan’ (2012), ‘Real’ (2013), and ‘All-Round Appraiser Q’ (2014).
Her next big break came when she starred in ‘Our Little Sister’, a drama directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda. The film was commercially and critically successful and was shortlisted for the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 2015. She won the Best Actress award at the 37th Yokohama Film Festival for this role. Subsequently, she starred in another hit ‘The Kodai Family’ (2016), a comedy drama directed by Masato Hijikata.
Her biggest hit till date is Masayuki Suzuki’s movie ‘Honnōji Hotel’, released in 2017; the movie resembled Wes Anderson’s ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ in its theme. In 2018, she played the lead role in the fantasy film ‘Tonight, at the Movies’.
Ayase’s popularity and fame ensured that she was selected as the most beautiful actress in several surveys held across Japan. Due to her popularity, she became a brand ambassador for many reputed companies. She became the face of SK-II skincare and later became a spokeswoman for Gilco. She is currently among the most sought-after actresses in Japan.
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Haruka Ayase was born as Tademaru Aya on March 24, 1985 in Asaminami ward in the Hiroshima prefecture. In school, she played basketball and even competed in the Ekiden tournament. Apart from sports, she loves karaoke. As for her relationships, she was rumored to be dating her co-star Takao Oswa, but Ayase has denied the speculation stating that she respects him as an actor.
Her stage name ‘Haruka Ayase’ was chosen by her fans when she made her debut.