Women in Japan used to be subjugated before the Second World War. This changed after the war when women were finally given equal rights. They are now allowed and expected to have equal participation in society. One thing that they will always dominate, however, is the top ten list of the most beautiful celebrities in Japan.
1. Norika Fujiwara
She started out as a beauty queen, winning the Miss Japan pageant in 1992. She then became a model for various products, including a stint as the exclusive model for CanCam magazine. Fujiwara then turned to journalism, playing a role in the 2002 World Cup of football as an ambassador to Japanese and Korean friendship, before going on to report about the 2004 Olympic Games in Greece and staging a photo exhibit in war-torn Afghanistan. She also served as an interviewer in one of the major Japanese television channels.
Fujiwara has since become a voice actress, working on video games and on Japanese-dubbed Hollywood movies, like Shrek where she did the voice of Princess Fiona. She is also doing acting work in both Japan and Hollywood.
2. Yukie Nakama
Nakama began her career as a singer when she was only 17 years old when she released the song called Moonlight to Daybreak. She then burst into the limelight with a defining role in the movie Ring 0: Birthday in 2000, where she played the lead role of Sadako. She showed her range by doing comedy work when she starred on the television series Trick. She then became a mainstay in Gokusen in 2002. It was a live action version of manga, and it established Nagawa as a star. Since then, she has been sought after as an endorser, with her face being used to advertise Asahi, Nissin, Glico, Lotte and Shiseido. She was also a spokesperson for the Japanese Tax Agency and Japan Railways.
3. Koyuki Kato
You have probably seen her in a Hollywood movie, as she played the role of Taka in the Tom Cruise movie called The Last Samurai. Her quiet dignity after the death of her husband was etched on the minds of viewers. Kato, however, played a completely villainous role in the Japanese movie entitled Blood: The Last Vampire, thereby showcasing the range of her talent. She is now married to one of her co-stars in Kamui Garden.
4. Nanako Matsushima
Matsushima played the main role in the well-loved Japanese show entitled A Story of Love. She is probably better known, however, for her prominent role in Ring, the horror movie that took the world by storm. She also starred in Great Teacher Onizuka, where she met her husband Takashi Sorimachi.
5. Misaki Ito
Ito started out as a commercial model in 1999, when she became the image girl for Asahi Beer. She also had an exclusive contract with CanCam magazine at the time. Gateway Computers and Choya Umeshu also used her as a commercial model. She is current the image model for Seiko watches and Shiseido’s cosmetics MAQuillAGE line. She is also the endorser of Vodafone.
Ito has also ventured into acting, appearing in a starring role in the 2002 hit Ju-on, or The Grudge. She also features in the video game James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing, where she appears as Miss Nagai, the assistant of Q.
6. Yuko Takeuchi
Takeuchi is a noted actress and commercial model in Japan. She is well known for her endorsement of the JT Green commercial. She burst into the limelight with her role in Asuka, a television series shown in NHK. She also starred in Be with You, a 2005 movie where she met her husband. They got a divorce three years later.
7. Ko Shibasaki
Ko Shibasaki is the screen name of Yukie Yamamura. The name Ko Shibasaki was taken from the main character of Golden Delicious Apple Sherbet, a popular Japanese manga.
Shibasaki started out as a commercial model in 1995. She then co-starred in the 2000 movie entitled Battle Royale. She then won several acting awards after playing a role in the 2001 movie called Go. She then ventured into recording, with her second single entitled Tsuki no Shizuku becoming one of the most famous J-Pop hits of 2003. The song was also used in the movie Yomigaeri.
Shibasaki will be making her bow in Hollywood in 2013 in the movie 47 Ronin, a Keanu Reeves movie adaptation of the Chushigura story.
8. Meisa Kuroki
Kuroki is a noted model and singer from Okinawa. Aside from appearances in several television dramas, movies and theater plays, Kuroki has also modeled for JJ, a popular Japanese fashion magazine. She is also the face behind Epson and Giorgio Armani in the country. Her real name is Satsuki Shimabukuro.
9. Keito Kitagawa
Kitagawa was the exclusive model of Seventeen magazine of Japan from 2003 to 2006. She has also appeared in a number of movies, with her initial stint with the Sailor Moon live action show entitled Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon. In it, she played the role of Sailor Mars. She also appeared in the movie called Mamiya Kyodai. Kitagawa left behind her modeling career after this movie, as she decided to concentrate in acting. She then appeared in the 2006 film The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, one of the installments of The Fast and the Furious movie franchise. She was also in the 2008 release Handsome Suit.
10. Miki Nakatani
She started out as a model when she was just 17. She then ventured into acting when she was 19 in the movie Daishitsuren. She released a song entitled Mind Circus when she was 20. In 1999, at the age of 23, Nakatani hit it big with the television series Keizoku. She also appeared in Ring 2, the sequel to the hit horror movie. In 2003, she got a nod as the Best Supporting Actress of Japan for her role in Mibugishiden. She has since turned full circle, appearing as a model for IBM Thinkpad and for Apple Macintosh.