Rila Fukushima is a Japanese actor and model who has become a well-known face in Hollywood. Her performances as ‘Yukio’ in ‘The Wolverine’ (2013) and ‘Tatsu Yamshiro/Katana’ in the popular TV series ‘Arrow’ have made her a recognized face in the industry. She started her career as a model and eventually found her way into movies. As a model, she has appeared in campaigns for top brands. She made her acting debut with the short movie ‘Karma: A Very Twisted Love Story’ (2010), which featured her as ‘Rei.’ After a break of three years, Rila had her big break in ‘The Wolverine’ (2013), starring Hugh Jackman as the popular ‘Marvel’ superhero. Rila played ‘Wolverine’s sidekick, ‘Yukio.’ Some of her other noteworthy movies are ‘Twilight: Saya in Sasara’ (2014), ‘Gonin Saga’ (2015), ‘Warrior’ (2015), and ‘Terra Formars’ (2016). She made her TV debut in 2014 with the “Taiga” drama ‘Gunshi Kanbei.’ The series ran for 50 episodes. She also appeared in TV shows such as ‘The Long Goodbye’ (2014), ‘Arrow’ (2014–present), ‘Game of Thrones’ (2015), and ‘Million Yen Women’ (2017). Her latest appearance was in the film ‘Ghost in the Shell,’ in which her performance as the red-robed “geisha” was appreciated by all.
Childhood & Early Life
Rila Fukushima was born on the island of Kyushu, Japan, on January 16, 1989. She was raised in Tokyo, Japan.
Rila always dreamed of becoming a fashion model and moved to New York to fulfil her dreams. However, she had to move back to Tokyo in 2010, to take care of her sick mother.
Rila started working with a modeling agency as an assistant but was hired as a model by the same agency later. She started her modeling career at the age of 21, after working with various fashion magazines and labels.
She admired models such as Kate Moss, Cindy Crawford, and Helena Christensen. She also attended a music school for two years after graduating from high school.
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Rila had her first acting role in the budget TV movie ‘Karma: A Very Twisted Love Story,’ in which she played ‘Rei.’ The movie released in 2010, marking the beginning of Rila’s career.
She had her breakthrough role in the 2013 American superhero film ‘The Wolverine.’ The movie became the fifth highest-grossing movie of the ‘X-Men’ franchise. Rila played ‘Wolverine’s sidekick, ‘Yukio.’ Her character was based on a fictional character of the same name from ‘Marvel’s comics. ‘Yukio’s first appearance was in ‘Wolverine’#1 in September 1982. She was a Japanese ninja warrior who helped ‘Wolverine’ in his quest to save the world from bad guys. ‘The Wolverine’ was Rila’s first commercially successful movie. Rila had to travel from New York to Tokyo and Los Angeles to audition for the role.
She next appeared as ‘Erica’ in the drama ‘Twilight: Saya in Sasara,’ based on a novel by Tomoko Kanô. The movie was about a widow dealing with her dead husband’s return to the living world to help their child.
She played ‘Omichi’ in the ‘NHK’ “Taiga” drama ‘Gunshi Kanbei.’ The series told the story of ‘Kuroda Kanbei,’ son of ‘Kuroda Mototaka’, the chief retainer of ‘Kodera Masamoto’ who ruled ‘Harima Province.’ Junichi Okada played the lead role in the series. The Japanese drama ran for 50 episodes.
She also appeared in a TV miniseries named ‘The Long Goodbye’ in 2014. She played ‘Lily’ in the series.
The same year, she also became part of the American superhero TV series ‘Arrow.’ The series, based on the ‘DC Comics’ character ‘Green Arrow, premiered on ‘The CW,’ in October 2012. Rila portrayed ‘Tatsu Yamashiro/Katana’ in 15 episodes of the show. ‘Katana,’ a samurai warrior, first appeared in ‘The Brave and the Bold #200’ (published by ‘DC Comics’) in July 1983. With her extraordinary skills in handling her sword, ‘Katana’ saves the world and is associated with the ‘Outsiders,’ a superhero team put together by ‘Batman.’
In 2015, she appeared in a Japanese movie named ‘Gonin Saga,’ in which she played ‘Yoichi.’ The movie starred Masahiro Higashide and Kenta Kiritani in leading roles. The same year, she also appeared in the TV movie ‘Warrior,’ in which she played a character named ‘Tasu.’
Her highlight of 2015 was her role of a “Red Priestess” in an episode of the fantasy drama ‘Game of Thrones,’ titled ‘High Sparrow.’
In 2016, she played ‘Sakakibara’ in the film ‘Terra Formars.’ In 2017, her performance as a red-robed “geisha” in the American science-fiction film ‘Ghost in the Shell’ was appreciated widely. The movie, based on the Japanese manga series of the same name, was set in the future, where the line between humans and robots is almost blurred. The movie starred stalwarts such as Scarlett Johansson, Takeshi Kitano, and Michael Pitt. However, it failed miserably at the box-office.
Her latest appearance was in the Japanese “seinen” mystery/romantic–comedy manga ‘100 Manen no Onna-tachi,’ also known as ‘Million Yen Women.’ The series was turned into a live-action TV drama by ‘Netflix’ in 2017. The show revolved around the life of a struggling novelist, Shin Michima, living with five mysterious women for more than a year. Yojiro Noda played the role of ‘Shin Michima.’ Rila played ‘Minami Shirakawa,’ a nudist and one of the five women living with Shin. ‘Minami’ was portrayed as the president of the ultra-luxury ‘Call Girl Club’ and a 30-year-old with violent tendencies and weird behavior.
Awards & Achievements
In 2013, Rila Fukushima was chosen as one of the ‘Women of the Year’ by ‘Vogue Japan.’
Rila Fukushima was in a relationship with Naoto Takenaka in the past. She is reportedly single at present.