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Rinko Kikuchi (菊地 凛子, Kikuchi Rinko) (born Yuriko Kikuchi (菊地 百合子, Kikuchi Yuriko) January 6, 1981) is a Japanese film actress. She was the first Japanese actress to be nominated for an Academy Award in 50 years, for her work in Babel (2006). Kikuchi's other notable films include Norwegian Wood (2010), which screened in competition at the 67th Venice Film Festival and Guillermo del Toro's science fiction action film Pacific Rim (2013). For her role in the drama film Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter (2014), Kikuchi received an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Female Lead.

Rinko Kikuchi
Rinko Kikuchi Berlinale 2015.jpg
Kikuchi at the 65th Berlin International Film Festival, February 2015
Native name
菊地 凛子
Yuriko Kikuchi

(1981-01-06) January 6, 1981 (age 38)
Years active1999–present
Height1.69 m (5 ft 6 12 in)
Shōta Sometani (m. 2014)


Early lifeEdit

Kikuchi was born on January 6, 1981, in Hadano, Kanagawa, the youngest of three children. She was discovered by a talent agent on the street at the age of 15.[1]


Kikuchi made her debut in 1999, under her birth name, Yuriko Kikuchi, with the Kaneto Shindo film Will to Live. Soon after, in 2001, she starred in the celebrated Kazuyoshi Komuri film Sora no Ana (空の穴), which was featured at several international festivals, including the Rotterdam Film Festival. In 2004, Kikuchi appeared in the well-received Katsuhito Ishii film The Taste of Tea, which was selected for the Cannes Film Festival.[2]

In 2006, Kikuchi was chosen by Japanese film producer Yoko Narahashi for the Alejandro González Iñárritu film Babel,[3] where she played Chieko Wataya, a troubled, deaf teenage girl, for which she received international attention.[2] She was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.[4] Kikuchi was the fourth person in Academy Award history to be nominated for a role in which she does not speak. She won several awards, such as the National Board of Review Award for Best Breakthrough Female Performance (tying with Jennifer Hudson) and the Gotham Award for Breakthrough Actor.

She has appeared in two of Mamoru Oshii's films: The Sky Crawlers (2008) and Assault Girls (2009). Kikuchi starred in Rian Johnson's second film, The Brothers Bloom (2009), which was her first full English-language feature. Though she plays a main character, she only speaks three words; her character is said to only know three words of English.

In 2010, Kikuchi was cast as Naoko in Tran Anh Hung's adaptation of Haruki Murakami's novel Norwegian Wood. In March 2011, she was added to the cast of 47 Ronin, the first English-language adaptation of the Chushingura legend, Japan's most famous tale of samurai loyalty and revenge.[5] Kikuchi described her villain character to the American version of Glamour as "a real bitch."[1] In 2013, she starred in the Guillermo del Toro film Pacific Rim, having improved her English by watching the American television series The Voice.[1] In 2014, Kikuchi starred in Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter, directed by David Zellner. In 2018, Kikuchi joined the cast of the second season of the HBO science fiction series Westworld.

Personal lifeEdit

Kikuchi married Japanese actor Shōta Sometani on December 31, 2014.[6] Shōta Sometani is 11 years her junior. In October 2016, Kikuchi gave birth to their first child.[7]



Year Title Role Notes
1999 Will to Live
2000 By Player
2000 Akai Shibafu
2001 Paradise
2001 Hole in the Sky Taeko
2001 Drug Mai
2002 Mike Yokohama: A Forest with No Name Number 51
2002 Hachigatsu no Maboroshi
2003 Age 17 : 17-sai Hitomi
2004 Tori
2004 The Taste of Tea Yuriko Kikuchi
2004 69
2004 Survive Style 5+
2004 Riyū
2005 Tagatameni: Portrait of the Wind
2006 Funky Forest The First Contact Hataru
2006 Arch Angels Nobuko Sakurai
2006 Babel Chieko Wataya Austin Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress
Capri Exploit Award
Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Gotham Independent Film Award for Best Ensemble Cast
Gotham Independent Film Award for Breakthrough Actor (tied with Shareeka Epps)
National Board of Review Award for Breakthrough Performance — Female
Palm Springs International Film Festival Award for Best Ensemble Cast
San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast
San Francisco Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Cast
Nominated—Central Ohio Film Critics Association for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Most Promising Performer
Nominated—Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Breakthrough Performance
Nominated—San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Nominated—Toronto Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
2006 Umi de no hanashi Kaori
2007 Zukan ni Nottenai Mushi[8] Sayoko
2007 Genius Party Voice
2007 Tokyo Serendipity Junda Atsuko
2008 The Brothers Bloom[9] Bang Bang
2008 The Sky Crawlers[10] Suito Kusanagi Voice
2008 Kiru – KILL
2009 Map of the Sounds of Tokyo Ryu
2009 Strawberry Seminar
2009 Sideways Mina Parker
2009 Assault Girls Lucifer
2009 42 One Dream Rush
2010 Shanghai Sumiko Uncredited
2010 Norwegian Wood Naoko Nominated—Asian Film Awards for Best Actress
Nominated—Asian Film People Choice Award for Favorite Actress
2011 At River's Edge Tazu
2011 Love Strikes! Naoko Hayashida
2011 The Warped Forest
2013 Pacific Rim Mako Mori
2013 47 Ronin Witch
2014 Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter Kumiko Nominated—Independent Spirit Award for Best Actress
2014 Last Summer[11] Naomi
2015 Nobody Wants the Night Allaka
2015 Dear Deer Cameo
2016 Terra Formars Asuka Moriki
2017 Highheels: A Fairy Tale Born of Obsession Short film
2018 Pacific Rim: Uprising Mako Mori
2019 We Are Little Zombies Yūko


Year Title Role
1999 Bakayaro! Special 2
1999 Kawaii dakeja Dame kashira
2001 Chura-san
2001 kokiku
2002 The Private Detective Mike Hama
2003 Uchu ni Ichiban Chikai basho
2003 Ai to Shihonshugi
2004 Ryu
2009–10 Liar Game 2 Ryo Katsuragi
2010 Moteki Naoko Hayashida
2014 Gu-Gu Datte Neko de Aru Chikako
2015 To Give a Dream Mikiko Abe
2018 Westworld Akane

Awards and nominationsEdit


  1. ^ a b c Carlson, Erin, "We ♥ Rinko," Glamour, September 2013, p. 363.
  2. ^ a b "Midnight Eye interview: Rinko Kikuchi". Retrieved 2007-02-14.
  3. ^ Corkill, Edan. "From Hollywood to Hirohito". The Japan Times. Retrieved 2014-02-05.
  4. ^ a b " - 79th Annual Academy Awards - Nomination". Retrieved 2007-02-14.
  5. ^ "Keanu's "47 Ronin" has A-List Japanese Cast". Retrieved 2011-03-02.
  6. ^ Rinko Kikuchi, Shōta Sometani marry
  7. ^ Sometani, Shôta. "無事第1子を出産しましたことをご報告させていただきます。 母子共に健康です。". Shôta Sometani Official Website.
  8. ^ "ANORE INC". Retrieved 2007-02-14.
  9. ^ "Brody and Kikuchi in Bloom -". Retrieved 2007-02-14.
  10. ^ "Oshii Casts Oscar-Nominated Kikuchi for Sky Crawlers - Anime News Network". Retrieved 2008-07-05.
  11. ^ "Rome Film Review: 'Last Summer'". Retrieved 2014-12-03.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit