Takuya Kimura, aka “Kimutaku,” is a celebrated Japanese actor, singer, and radio personality. He is referred to as the “King of Japanese Drama” in Asia. His popularity is often described as the “Kimutaku Phenomenon.” At the age of 15, he auditioned for ‘Johnny & Associates.’ His life as a celebrity started at the early age of 16, when he was launched as part of a boy band named ‘SMAP.’ The agency that formed the band was famous for its invasive and domineering rules. Takuya became the first performer of his agency to revolt against its rules and lived according to his choices. He got married to pop idol Shizuka Kudo in 2000. They have two daughters. A lot of people thought that getting married would be detrimental to his popularity, which is the usual trend in Japan, but his fans stayed loyal to him. Five of his shows are still listed among the 10 most-viewed TV series in Japan.
Childhood & Early Life
Takuya was born on November 13, 1972, to Kimura Hideo and Masako. He was their first child. His family moved around a lot because of his father’s job as an interior designer. When he was 3 years old, they moved to Osaka for a couple of years. They then moved to Mihama district, City of Chiba, about 35 minutes away from Tokyo, in 1978.
He completed his elementary and junior high school in Chiba. He grew up watching his father make amazing sketches of interiors for his work and wanted to contribute to the art himself. He started attending drawing lessons before he entered kindergarten. His mother pasted sheets of white paper on the walls of their Chiba house to encourage him to draw wherever he wanted.
At school, he was a popular kid. He won nine prizes for his paintings and drawings in elementary and junior-high school. However, Takuya hated his name. His friends at school would tease him by calling him “takuan,” which means “pickle” in Japanese.
His love for movies started at an early age, influenced by his father who loved watching old English movies such as ‘West Side Story’ and ‘Rebel without a Cause.’ Takuya became a huge Matt Dillon fan and later revealed that he mostly liked heroes who were “the rebel kind.”
In 1987, when he was 15 years old, Takuya joined ‘Johnny & Associates,’ an agency that recruited and trained teen boys to become singers or form boy bands. Later that year, he was one of the 20 shortlisted boys to be featured as background dancers for ‘Hikaru Genji,’ a famous boy band in Japan.
In April 1988, six of the 20 boys were picked by the agency to form a new boy band, ‘SMAP,’ and Takuya was one of those boys. He lived in his Chiba house till 1995, before moving to an apartment in Tokyo. He gifted his parents a luxurious house in Mihama district at the same time.
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Takuya’s first acting stint was with his band members, in a TV series named ‘Abunai Shonen III’ in 1988. He acted in a few low-budget TV dramas initially. He was first spotted for his role in ‘Asunaro Hakusho’ in 1993. An onscreen hug between him and co-actor Hikari Ishida became a teenage sensation and was later known as the “Asunaro Hug.”
He became a fashion and youth icon and grew popular, especially with young girls. People started copying his hairstyle and clothes. Even the black-rimmed glasses that he wore in ‘Asunaro Hakusho’ began selling like hot cakes. This wave of sudden popularity was named the “Kimutaku Syndrome/Phenomenon.”
In 1994, he appeared in his first big-screen project, ‘Shoot,’ and was given the ‘Ishihara Yujiro New Artist Award.’
Though he was already a popular name and considered a social phenomenon of sorts by then, there was more to come his way. In 1996, he landed the lead role in one of Japanese TV’s biggest series, ‘Long Vacation.’ It ended up becoming a social craze and was the highest-rated program that year. It still holds its place among the 10 most-watched Japanese series.
In 1996, he became the first male actor to promote female cosmetic products for ‘Kanebo.’ The brand experienced a spike of 300% in their sales after the advertisement was aired.
For Takuya, it was the beginning of a highly successful TV career. In 2000, he played the lead in yet another Japanese TV sensation, ‘Beautiful Life.’ It holds the record of being the highest-rated TV series in the primetime slot in Japan.
Continuing his stint of TV hits, in 2001, Takuya starred in ‘Hero,’ which became an instant hit. Each of its 11 episodes got the highest viewership rating.
In 2004, his movie ‘2046’ was nominated for the ‘Palme d’Or’ at the ‘Cannes Film Festival.’ In 2006, he received an array of nominations at the ‘Japanese Academy Awards,’ the ‘Cinema Junpo Awards,’ and the ‘Blue Ribbon Awards.’
He worked as a voice actor in the movies ‘Howl's Moving Castle’ and ‘Redline.’
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‘Hero’ (2001), ‘Beautiful Life’ (2000), ‘Love Generation’ (1997), ‘Good Luck’ (2003) and ‘Long Vacation’ (1996) are Takuya’s five most successful TV projects and are ranked among the 10 highest-rated series in Japan.
His movie ‘2046’ received international recognition and was nominated for the prestigious ‘Palme d’Or’ at the 57th ‘Cannes Film Festival.’
Awards & Achievements
He received the ‘Best Actor’ award at the 2007 ‘Seoul Drama Awards.’
He was named ‘People’s “Sexiest Man Alive” (2006) in the category “International Male: Hot Around the World.”
Although he was nominated for numerous prestigious awards for ‘Love and Honor,’ including the ‘Japan Academy Award,’ his agency, ‘Johnny & Associates,’ declined all nominations.
Family & Personal Life
As a ‘Johnny & Associates’ boy, he was not allowed to openly date anyone. However, Takuya lived by his own rules and dated Kaorin for 9 years, before breaking up with her in 2000.
On December 5, 2000, he got married Japanese idol and artist Shizuka Kudo. They have two daughters, Kokomi, born on May 1, 2001, and Mitsuki, born on February 5, 2003.
Takuya is a huge soccer fan and was a guest at the ‘FIFA World Cup 2002.’
Chinese mediapersons refer to him as “Wan-Ren-Mi,” which means “Thousands of people are crazy about him.”