Table of Contents
Japanese models have always been admired for their skills as well as their beauty. They’ve long been appreciated for their spectacular acts and attractive features. With beautiful and youthful complexion, Japanese women appear younger than their age. Some may give credit for the beauty of Japanese ladies to their genetics, which is correct. I’ll enlist a few Japanese models down here, along with their accomplishments.
1 Rila Fukushima
Rila Fukushima, model-turned-actress, was born in Tokyo, Japan. Initially attempting to secure a position as a model agent at a Tokyo agency, she got convinced to try modelling instead. Throughout her professional years, she has worked for various labels and companies in various events and campaigns.
She is well recognized for her film and television performances based on comic books. She played Yukio in the superhero film The Wolverine (2013), Tatsu Yamashiro in the TV series Arrow and the Red Robed Geisha in Ghost the Shell (2017).
Nicolas Ghesquière’s longtime muses include Fukushima, which opened the Louis Vuitton Cruise show in Kyoto in 2017. Fukushima has appeared in advertisements for Dolce & Gabbana, Kenzo, and The Gap since her first work in 2004. Fukushima’s Instagram account has over 127,000 followers, including some of Japan’s most influential creatives.
She was selected one of Vogue Japan’s Women of the Year in 2013 after appearing on numerous Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar covers. She is a well-known actress who has represented Japan on an international stage.
2 Kiko Mizuhara
Audrie Kiko Daniel born on October 15, 1990. She was professionally known as Kiko Mizuhara. Kiko is an American-Japanese model, actress, singer and designer who has lived in Japan since childhood. Kiko started her modelling career at 12 when she participated in a contest and won an audition for Seventeen fashion magazine.
She was chosen as Miss Seventeen during the audition and became an exclusive model for Seventeen for the following three years. At 16, she moved to Tokyo alone to advance her career in modelling. Kiko Mizuhara signed a contract with the fashion magazine ViVi as an exclusive model. Kiko Mizuhara has been a frequent runway model at the Tokyo Girls Collection since 2008.
Olympia Le Tan’s Spring Show at The Paris Collections marked her international runway debut. She had walked for various big names, including Moschino in Milan Fashion Week, Nicola Formichetti’s first whole collection show for Diesel in Venice, Italy and at New York Fashion Week for Alexander Wang.
Apart from her runway appearances, Mizuhara has been on the covers of several magazines in Japan, Asia, and Europe. She’s appeared in Vogue Japan, Vogue China, Vogue Taiwan, American Vogue, Vogue Girl Japan, and L’Uomo Vogue editorials.
Mizuhara has also done covers and spreads for Nylon, Numero, Vivi, Seventeen, Grazia, GQ, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, L’Officiel, MAQUINA, Gisele, V Magazine, Another Magazine, Dazed and Confused, Cosmopolitan, Dedicate Magazine, Jalouse Magazine, etc. She has recorded ads both locally and internationally as a top it-girl in their country.
She has also been named a CHANEL ambassador, which entitles her to VIP and front-row invites to the brand’s fashion week and other events. Mizuhara was the face of Marc Jacobs Eyewear’s 2017 advertising campaign. Mizuhara got named the first Asian ambassador for Dior in 2018. She also got welcomed into the Coach family in the same year.
Mizuhara has made her first small-screen appearance in the Japanese television series Yae no Sakura. She featured in the drama Shitsuren Chocolatier in 2014. In 2015, she appeared in the Japanese drama Kokoro ga Pokitto ne (Crazy For Me) as part of the main cast. Mirza was successful in the modelling and acting fields.
Still, she was also successful in the design sector. She began her partnership with Opening Ceremony in Spring 2013 to commemorate the opening of the Opening Ceremony flagship shop in Japan. In the same year, she released her F/W collection, dubbed “Bad Girl of the 90s,” The iconic pizza costume grabbed news after being worn by top star Beyoncé.
In 2006, she launched her designer brand called “OK”. In its first year of operation, “OK” already landed several high-profile collaborations, creating fashion, art culture and lifestyle products. On September 1, 2018, OFFICE KIKO announced a new line of boots and shoes collaborating with Esperanza, a Japanese footwear company catering to young women. The line includes kogal platform boots and chunky heels in various poppy colours and fabrics.
3 Koyuki Kato
Koyuki Kato, best known by her stage name Koyuki, is a Japanese model and actress born on December 18, 1976. She rose to popularity in South Korea after acting in Kimi wa petto opposite Jun Matsumoto (2003). She also appeared in Blood: The Last Vampire (2009) live-action film starring Jun Ji-Hyun, where she plays Onigen, the arch-villain.
Her first international film was The Last Samurai (2003), where she played Taka, wife of a Samurai slain, by the character Nathan Algren, portrayed by Tom Cruise. Koyuki was well-known in Japan for years before that.
She first caught the public’s attention in 1997 by winning an exclusive modelling contract with the magazine Non-no, but quickly grew beyond modelling and has earned acclaim as an actress through her many roles on Japanese television and in several Japanese films.
She appeared in many commercials, including Coca-Cola Japan’s Sokenbicha, P&G Max Factor SK-II, and Suntory Kakubin. She has won several awards for her contributions to the entertainment industry, including the Hashida Rookie Prize and the Elan d’Or Award for New Artist.
Koyuki married actor Kenichi Matsuyama, with whom she co-starred in Kamui Gaiden, in 2011. Their first kid was born in South Korea in January 2012, and their second child was born in January 2013. The couple had their third child in July 2015.
4 Erika Sawajiri
Erika Sawajiri, born on April 8, 1986, is a famous Japanese actress, singer, and model. She is known by her stage name ErikaHe became a member of the Angel Eyes idol girl group and began modelling for junior fashion magazines like Cutie and Nicola. Erika went on to win the main prize at the 2001 Seikore and became a regular on the BS news show Harajuku Launchers. Sawajiri began her film career in 2002 and then expanded her modelling career as a gravure idol.
Mondai no nai Watashitachi was her debut film. . Sawajiri became one of Fuji TV’s Visual Queens in 2002. Her most prominent role was in the 2005 film 1 Litre of Tears, in which she played a young woman suffering from the degenerative disease spinocerebellar degeneration. Sawajiri’s performance in Helter Skelter won her Best Actress in a Leading Role at the 36th Japan Academy Awards in 2013.
Sawajiri began her music career as “Kaoru Amane,” the name of her character in the TV version of A Song to the Sun, which she played in her most recent drama. In its second and fourth weeks, the single reached number one. It received Triple Platinum certification for 750,000 cell phone downloads. “Free,” Erika’s debut song under “Erika,” was released on July 16, 2007. The single was quickly ranked number one on the Oricon Charts on its first day. “Free” received Platinum certification for 250,000 cell phone downloads.
She was arrested for drug possession on November 16, 2019, and during her trial in January 2020, she indicated that she had no plans to continue her profession.
5 Tao Okamoto:
Tao Okamoto, also known as Tao, is a Japanese actress and model born on May 22, 1985. Tao was born in the Japanese city of Chiba. When she was 14 years old, she began modelling in Japan as a teenager. In 2006, she chose to go to Paris and pursue an international career.
Tao, one of the few renowned East Asian models, made her debut on European runways not long after. She has modelled Alexander Wang, Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Fendi, Louis Vuitton, Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, and Yves Saint Laurent.
Tao has worked in the advertising industry as well as on editorial assignments. She has fronted campaigns such as Dolce & Gabbana with Mario Testino, Emporio Armani, Kenzo with Mario Sorrenti, and Tommy Hilfiger with Craig McDean. She has shot for i-D Magazine, V Magazine, W Magazine, and various international editions of Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue.
Tao is featured in the November 2009 edition of Vogue Nippon (Japanese Vogue). In 2010, the Japan Fashion Editors Club named her “Model of the Year” and one of Vogue Nippon’s “Women of the Year.” In 2013, Tao made her cinematic debut in The Wolverine, playing Mariko Yashida alongside Hugh Jackman.
In January 2015, it got revealed that Tao will feature alongside Alodia Gosiengfiao in the film Crossroads. In 2015, Tao played Betty Kasoura, the wife of lawyer Paul Kasoura and a customer at Robert Childan’s American Artistic Handcrafts, in the Netflix series The Man in the High Castle. Tao starred as Mercy Graves in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in 2016.
6 Ai Tominaga:
Ai Tominaga, a Japanese fashion model and actress, was born in Kanagawa on August 1, 1982. When she debuted on the runway, she was one of the first Asian models on European catwalks.
She has been on the covers of Vogue in Japan, Harper’s Bazaar in China, Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia, Elle in Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Marie Claire in Hong Kong, and Madame Figaro in France (Taiwan, Thailand). Tominaga has walked the runways for various designers, including John Galliano, Vivienne Tam, Anna Sui, Christian Dior, Karl Lagerfeld, Lanvin, Gucci, Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, Dolce & Gabbana, Givenchy, Elie Saab, Alexander McQueen, and Valentino.
Tominaga has been photographed by photographers such as Annie Leibovitz, Nick Knight, Steven Meisel, Ellen von Unwerth, Mert & Marcus, and Peter Lindbergh for various fashion publications, including Vogue (American, French, British, Japanese, Russian, and German).
Yves Saint Laurent, Gucci, Hermès, Tag Heuer, Banana Republic, and Moschino have all used Tominaga in their ads. Tominaga was also included in the Pirelli Calendar for 2004. She is now located in Tokyo and continues to take on new challenges as a TV, radio, event personality, and modelling.
7 Keiko Kitagawa:
Kitagawa was born in Hyogo Prefecture, Japan, on August 22, 1986. A talent agency discovered her.
Kitagawa had been chosen as a model as well as an actress. She was chosen as Miss Seventeen in 2003, and she worked as a model for the Japanese Seventeen until September 2006, when she graduated from the magazine. She had her regular segment, “Keiko’s Beauty Honey,” towards the end of the run. Kitagawa began her acting career when cast in the live-action television series Sailor Moon as Rei Hino.
Her first big film part was in Mamiya Kyodai, and she opted to focus on acting rather than modelling due to the director, Yoshimitsu Morita’s influence. She started as a film actor, appearing in films such as Cherry Pie and Dear Friends.
She earned her first starring part in a TV drama in the late-night drama Mop Girl in late 2007. In 2008, she was cast as the heroine in Fuji Television’s programme Homeroom on the Beachside. Mizu ni Sumu Hana (2006), Mamiya Kydai (2006), The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006), Cherry Pie (central part) (2006), and Dear Friends (lead role) (2006) are among her film credits (2007). Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon (2003–2004), Mop Girl (central part) (2007), Homeroom on the Beachside (2008), Buzzer Beat (2009), and Moon Lovers were among her television appearances (2010).
Kitagawa describes herself as a homebody who enjoys watching movies on DVD. Listening to music and reading books are two of her favourite pastimes. Kitagawa was asked what would she do if the world ended tomorrow; she said, “I would read books.”
8 Kurara Chibana:
Kurara Chibana, a Japanese humanitarian, actor, model, and beauty pageant winner, was named Miss Universe Japan 2006 and participated in Miss Universe 2006, finishing as the first runner-up.
Chibana is most known for representing Japan in the 2006 Miss Universe pageant. She received the first runner-up in the Best National Costume Award for her samurai-themed dress by artist Yuichi Miyagawa and designer Yoshiyuki Ogata.
Chibana was the popular favourite during the pageant hosted in Los Angeles, and her flirtatious winks garnered an incredibly passionate response from the audience. Even though she was wearing an average gown, her performance in both the swimsuit and evening gown portions was consistently the best, and she made it to the top 5 over heavy favourites Miss Mexico and Miss Colombia.
She declined a job offer from a publishing house to compete in the Miss Universe Japan pageant, which took place in Tokyo on April 25, 2006. Kurara currently works as a feature reporter for a prominent Japanese fashion magazine, travelling worldwide to interview individuals. She chronicles their lives via writing and photography.
She is multilingual, speaking English, Spanish, French, and Japanese. Since October 2006, Kurara has been a regular on Nippon Television’s “News Zero,” reporting from domestic and international locations. She started her endorsement career in 2007 as a spokesperson for more than four well-known companies.
Kurara is the Maybelline Angelfit Make-Up New York spokeswoman. In late December, Kurara was awarded the Sexiest Woman Alive 2006 by Global Beauties, a distinction formerly held by her co-patriot and beauty goddess Miyako Miyazaki. Because of her efforts to the UN World Food Program as a celebrity partner, In December 2013, Chibana became elected as the Japanese Ambassador to the United Nations World Food Program.
9 Meisa Kuroki:
Satsuki Shimabukuro, known professionally as Meisa Kuroki, is a Japanese actress, model, and singer born on May 28, 1988, in Okinawa Prefecture. She is contracted to Sony Music Japan and is handled by the agency Sweet Power. In 2004, she made her acting debut.
She has previously posed for JJ, a renowned Japanese fashion magazine, and is currently the Japanese spokesperson for Epson and Giorgio Armani. She’s appeared in several TV dramas, advertisements, films, and theatrical performances.
Kuroki made her acting debut in the Khei Tsuka play Atami Satsujin Jiken in February 2004. She has continued to act in theatre since her debut, most notably in the Azumi stage performances in 2005 and 2006, the Endless musical Shock (2005), and, most recently, Onna Nobunaga (2009) and Hiryuden 2010: Last Princess (2010).
Kuroki first appeared on television in the Fuji TV drama Medaka in 2004. She has been in several critically regarded drama shows as a supporting character. Kuroki sang on the soundtrack of Crows Zero, a 2007 film in which she also starred. Her debut single, “Like This,” was released on the Sony Music Japan subsidiary’s Studioseven recordings on June 21, 2008. Kuroki’s debut EP, Hellcat, was announced on February 17, 2009, and was set to be released on April 8, 2009.
In January 2010, she released her second EP, Attitude. Kuroki’s debut studio album, Magazine, was released in January 2011 and reached number 6 on the Oricon Weekly Albums list. Kuroki has produced two photo books, one of her own, Love Meisa, and a collaborative one, Mismatch, with her closest friend and actress, Maki Horikita, both taken by Kishin Shinoyama.
Kuroki was named the Japanese face of the international design house Emporio Armani in 2009, and she has since attended several Emporio Armani events across the world. Kuroki was chosen as the worldwide face of L’Oréal, a French cosmetics company, in 2010.
10 Masami Nagasawa:
Masami Nagasawa, born June 3, 1987, is a Japanese actress and model. She won several awards, including a Japan Academy Prize, a Mainichi Film Award and a Blue Ribbon Award.
Nagasawa debuted in the film business by winning the fifth “Toho Cinderella” competition. She competed against tens of thousands of other 6th graders for a chance to star in a Toho film. Crossfire, Yomigaeri, Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S., Godzilla: Final Wars, and Crying Out Love in the Center of the World were her early Toho roles.
Nagasawa won a Blue Ribbon Award and a Japan Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in Crying Out Love in the Center of the World. She was nominated for a Japan Academy Award in the Best Actress category in 2007 for her work in the 2006 film Nada Soso. Nagasawa made his voice acting debut in the Studio Ghibli film From Up on Poppy Hill, playing the character “Umi Matsuzaki.” She performed the voice for “Miki Okudera” in the international hit Your Name in 2016.
In the Un Certain Regard category, Nagasawa featured in the Kiyoshi Kurosawa film Before We Vanish, which premiered at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival. In Japan, before We Vanish earned her a nomination for a Japan Academy Award for Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role and a Mainichi Film Award for Best Lead Actress.
Nagasawa has appeared in several Japanese television dramas. Nagasawa has appeared in several Japanese television dramas. In the Nikkan Sports Drama Grand Prix Best Actress category, her Daisakusen (Operation Love) earned the most votes.
11 Aya Ueto:
On September 14, 1985, Aya Ueto was born in Japan. She is an actress, singer, and television personality. Ueto received the special jury prize at the sixth Japan Bishjo Contest in 1997. Soon after, she joined the talent agency Oscar Promotion and began attending singing, dance, and acting courses.
She founded the female group Z-1 with three other Japan Bishjo Contest contestants in 1999. After the trio dissolved in 2002, Ueto signed with Pony Canyon and released “Pureness,” her first song as a lead artist, later that year. She has now published five studio albums, resulting in 10 top-ten Oricon singles.
Ueto made her acting debut at thirteen in the 1999 movie Satsujinsha: Killer of Paraiso. Ueto made her TBS debut in the sixth season of 3-nen B-Gumi Kinpachi-sensei in 2001. Her depiction of a high school teenager dealing with gender dysphoria received critical praise, resulting in many significant parts and commercial endorsements, establishing Ueto as one of Japan’s most known faces. Ueto has won the yearly title of CM Queen five times since 2004.
Ueto has won two Television Drama Academy Awards, one for Best Actress for her performance in Ace o Nerae! (2004) and the other for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Nagareboshi, a human drama (2010). Ueto then went on to star in the remakes of Attention Please (2006) and Hanzawa Naoki (2013), as well as Hirugao: Afternoon Love Affairs (2014).
Ueto first appeared on the big screen in Ryuhei Kitamura’s 2003 blockbuster Azumi, for which she was nominated for a Japan Academy Award for Best Actress. She featured in the sequel Azumi 2: Death or Love (2005) and the film version of Mari Yamazaki’s manga series Thermae Romae (2012). Ueto featured in the feature film adaptation of the drama series Hirugao, which was released in 2017.
12 Yui Aragaki:
On June 11, 1988, Yui Aragaki was born in Tokyo, Japan. She’s a Ryukyuan Japanese actress, model, singer, and radio show host on occasion. On Oricon’s annual survey, she was named the most sought girlfriend, and the most desired female celebrity face numerous times.
She applied for an audition for Nicola’s junior fashion magazine after reading an advertisement and winning the Grand Prix prize for the audition. She began her Nicola modelling career in 2001, at the age of 13, and was warmly welcomed as a Nicola model, having been on the magazine’s cover 15 times. Ueto moved to Tokyo at the age of 15 and enrolled at Horikoshi High School.
Seiko Matsuda is a prominent alumnus of the school. She made her acting debut in Shibuya in 2005. Her performances in Pocky commercials also helped her gain recognition. In 2006, she ventured into voice acting, and in 2007, she began appearing in films. According to some reports, the tension is caused by the adverse reactions to her singing.
She has, however, continued to perform on both the minor and large screens and has produced more music since then. She also hosted the radio show Girls Locks, which she hosted from 2010 to 2012.
In 2005, Aragaki starred with Japanese superstars, including Tomohisa Yamashita and Masami Nagasawa, in the TBS drama Dragon Sakura; this was a watershed moment in her acting career. She has since been cast in several other dramas, including My Boss, My Hero, and Gal Circle.
She also appeared in the tragic love tale in Koizora, which earned her her first award, the Nikkan Sports Film Award for Best Newcomer, in 2007. She now holds five newbie honours. In 2008, Aragaki received the Film award at the 45th Golden Arrow Awards. In 2007, she suffered from work-related stress due to her large number of movie shootings and the preparation for her first album.
She was asked to participate in the 58th NHK Kohaku Uta Gassen as a judge. She also published her debut album, Sora, and the single “Heavenly Days,” a song from Koizora, outside of acting. Her debut album contained “Memories,” the title song for Tokyo Serendipity. She also had a performance at Budokan.