20 most popular Japanese actors who made it in Hollywood

20 most popular Japanese actors who made it in Hollywood

Several talents are emerging every day in Hollywood. The industry has welcomed top actors from all corners who come to sharpen their acting skills and create new audiences for their films. Who are the most famous Japanese actors who made it in Hollywood?

japanese actors in hollywood
From (L-R) actors Kento Yamazaki, Takuya Kimura and Ken Watanabe. Photo: Sebastian Reuter, Chung Sung-Jun, Arnold Jerocki (modified by author)
Source: Getty Images

Japan has a lengthy history of compelling films and performers with a large fan base both domestically and globally. The country’s film market consists of interesting action, fictional, romance, and comedy movies. Some of its actors are also performing exceptionally well in Hollywood.

Famous Japanese actors in Hollywood

Here is the list of the some of the most popular Japanese actors in Hollywood who gained popularity due to their skills and awards.

1. Hiroyuki Sanada

Japanese actors
Hiroyuki Sanada attends the Premiere Of Lionsgate's "John Wick: Chapter 4" at TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, California. Photo: Kayla Oaddams
Source: Getty Images
  • Date of birth: 12 October 1960
  • Birthplace: Tokyo, Japan
  • Debut movie: Rokyoku Komori-Uta

Hiroyuki Sanada is a Japanese actor and martial artist who started acting at the age of five when he appeared in the movie titled Rokyoku Komori-Uta. Since then the actor has appered in other films and TV series such as The Twilight Samurai, The Wolverine, John Wick: Chapter 4 and Army of the Dead.

Read also

26 tallest actors in Hollywood: Stars that tower above their peers

2. Ken Watanabe

Japanese actors in Hollywood
Ken Watanabe attends a media call ahead of the Bvlgari Hotel Tokyo opening in Tokyo, Japan. Photo: Tomohiro Ohsumi
Source: Getty Images
  • Date of birth: 21 October 1959
  • Birthplace: Koide, Japan
  • Debut movie: Mibu no Koiuta

Ken Watanabe began acting in 1983 in the TV series Mibu no koiuta. He has appeared in more than 80 films and TV series. Some of his acting roles include in Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Pokémon: Detective Pikachu, The King and I, Transformers: The Last Knight and The Memories of Happiness.

3. Sota Fukushi

best japanese actors
Actor Sota Fukushi attends the 'The Head' set filming photocall at the Adisar studios in Madrid, Spain. Photo: Carlos Alvarez
Source: Getty Images
  • Date of birth: 30 May 1993
  • Birthplace: Tokyo, Japan
  • Debut movie: Misaki Number One

Sota Fukushi gained fame by portraying Gentaro Kisaragi in Kamen Rider Fourze. Since then, the actor has participated in numerous movies and TV shows such The Head and My Love from the Star.

4. Hiro Kanagawa

most famous Japanese actors
Jonathan Silverman guest stars as White House counsel for President Mackenzie's administration, Roland Cavanaugh. Pictured: Hiro Kanagawa: Photo: Robert Falconer
Source: Getty Images
  • Date of birth: 13 October 1963
  • Birthplace: Hokkaido, Japan
  • Debut movie: Born Too Soon

Read also

30 famous young black actors in Hollywood who are under 30

Hiro Kanagawa became one of the top Japanese actors after showcasing his knack in various TV series and movies such as The 100, The Killing, and Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes.

He also starred in Godzilla, Elekta, and The Five People You Meet in Heaven and won the Jessie Richardson Theatre Award In 2015.

5. Masi Oka

actors from Japan
Masi Oka attends the Los Angeles premiere of Columbia Pictures' "Bullet Train" at Regency Village Theatre in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer
Source: Getty Images
  • Date of birth: 27 December 1974
  • Birthplace: Shibuya City, Tokyo, Japan
  • Debut movie: Straight White Male

Masi Oka rose to fame after playing Hiro Nakamura in NBC's Heroes. He also played as Doctor Max Bergman on Hawaii Five-0.

He was nominated at the Golden Globes Awards in 2007 and won the TV Land Future Award. These made him one of the best Japanese actors to watch.

6. Noriyuki Pat Morita

Read also

20 famous Indian actors who are making strides in Hollywood

best Japanese actors
Portrait of American actor Pat Morita standing against a tapestry, 1988. Photo: Nancy R. Schiff
Source: Getty Images
  • Date of birth: 28 June 1932
  • Birthplace: Isleton, California, USA
  • Debut movie: Car Thieves

Noriyuki Pat Morita was a Japanese-American filmmaker, voice actor, and comedian. He appeared in various films and TV series such as Remove All Obstacles, American Fusion and The Biggest Fan. Morita died of kidney failure after a urinary tract and gallbladder infection in 2005.

7. Cary Hiroyuki Tagawa

most popular Japanese actors
Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa is seen during the 71st annual Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France. Photo: Target Presse Agentur Gmbh
Source: Getty Images
  • Date of birth: 27 September 1950
  • Birthplace: Tokyo, Japan
  • Debut movie: Big Trouble in Little China

Cary Hiroyuki Tagawa's worthy performances are seen in movies like Mortal Kombat, Licence to Kill, Pearl Harbour, Planet of Apes, and Memoirs of a Geisha. He is best known for his evil roles and acquired Russian citizenship when he started working with Russian film stars.

8. Toshiro Mifune

Read also

Top 25 Hallmark actresses: discover the channel's leading ladies

top Japanese actors
Portrait of Toshiro Mifune. Photo: CBS
Source: Getty Images
  • Date of birth: 1 April 1920
  • Birthplace: Qingdao, China
  • Debut movie: Snow Tail

With more than 150 films under his belt, Toshiro Mifune became one of his century's most famous Japanese actors. He worked with Akira Kurosawa in 16 cinema classics like Rashomon, Throne of Blood, Seven Samurai, and The Hidden Fortress. He also received the Medal of Honour with Purple Ribbon in 1986 and the title of Best Actor at the Venice Film Festival. He was also honoured with a Hollywood Walk of Fame star in 2016.

9. George Takei

Japanese movie stars
George Takei visits the SiriusXM Studios in New York City. Photo: Noam Galai
Source: Getty Images
  • Date of birth: 20 April 1937
  • Birthplace: Los Angeles, California
  • Debut movie: Rodan

George Takei became famous when he played Hikaru Sulu in a television series titled Star Trek. He is among the most successful Japanese-American actors, having been featured in various Hollywood movies. Takei also won a place on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his exceptional contribution to the entertainment industry.

Read also

20 most beautiful Indian actresses from Bollywood to Hollywood

10. Takuya Kimura

most popular japanese actors
Takuya Kimura attends the "Blade Of The Immortal photocall during the 70th annual Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals in Cannes, France. Photo: Stephane Cardinale
Source: Getty Images
  • Date of birth: 13 November 1972
  • Birthplace: Tokyo, Japan
  • Debut movie: About Her Brother

Takuya is an actor, singer, and radio personality. He has starred in blockbuster films, including Love and Honor, Hero and Howl's Moving Castle.

11. Brian Tee

Japanese actors in Hollywood
Brian Tee attends SCAD aTVfest 2020 - The Windy City Trifecta in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo: Vivien Killilea
Source: Getty Images
  • Date of birth: 15 March 1977
  • Birthplace: Okinawa, Japan
  • Debut movie: What Planet Are You From?

Brian Tee, real name Jae-Beom Takata, excelled as one of the Japanese movie stars in Hollywood after acting in various films such as Chicago, The Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift, The Wolverine, Jurassic World, and Teenage Mutant: Ninja Turtles. His debut was when he appeared in the film What Planet Are You From? (2000).

12. Mako Iwamatsu

famous Japanese actors
Mako Iwamatsu speaks during a press conference in Tokyo, Japan. Photo: The Asahi Shimbun
Source: Getty Images
  • Date of birth: 10 December 1933
  • Birthplace: Kobe, Japan
  • Debut movie: Never So Few

Read also

15 best female rappers you should add to your playlist in 2024

Mako Iwamatsu is remembered for his role in The Sand Pebbles, where he played as Po-Han. The film gave him Academy Awards and Golden Globe nominations. He also appeared in top hits like Conan the Barbarian, Conan the Destroyer, Seven Years in Tibet, and Pacific Overtures.

13. Kento Yamazaki

most famous Japanese actors
Kento Yamazaki attends the press conference for 'Kingdom' Singapore premiere at the Sands Theatre, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. Photo: Suhaimi Abdullah
Source: Getty Images
  • Date of birth: 7 September 1994
  • Birthplace: Tokyo, Japan
  • Debut movie: Atami no Sosakan

As one of the youngest Japanese movie stars, Kento Yamazaki made his name in Japan and Hollywood for his performance when he played L in Death Note and Minato Shindo in Good Doctor. His skills also gave him the Television Drama Academy Award.

14. Tadanobu Asano

actors from Japan
Tadanobu Asano arrives at the premiere of Marvel's "Thor: The Dark World" at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, California. Photo: Kevin Winter
Source: Getty Images
  • Date of birth: 27 November 1973
  • Birth place: Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan
  • Debut movie: Mr. Kinpachi in Class 3B

Read also

Top 50 Nigerian male actors every movie buff will recognize

Tadanobu Asano first appeared in Mr. Kinpachi in Class 3B when he was only six years old. Along his career path, he has worked with various movie directors and appeared in movies like Mongol: The Rise of Genghis Khan, Thor, and Thor: Ragnarok.

15. Takeshi Kaneshiro

best Japanese actors
Takeshi Kaneshiro attends the "Wu Xia" Photocall during the 64th Annual Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals in Cannes, France. Photo: Venturelli
Source: Getty Images
  • Date of birth: 11 October 1973
  • Birthplace: Taipei, Taiwan
  • Debut movie: Executioners

Takeshi Kaneshiro’s transition from pop star to actor was coupled with a lot of challenges. However, after making his debut with a movie titled Executioners, Takeshi became one of the popular Japanese actors in Hollywood.

He has also appeared in various global hits like Fallen Angels, Lost and Found, Chungking Express, and House of Flying Daggers.

16. Takeshi Kitano

most popular Japanese actors
Takeshi Kitano attends the "Kubi" photocall at the 76th annual Cannes film festival at Palais des Festivals in Cannes, France. Photo: Stephane Cardinale - Corbis
Source: Getty Images
  • Date of birth: 18 January 1947
  • Birthplace: Tokyo, Japan
  • Debut movie: Go, Go Second Time Virgin

Read also

25 best Asian comedians to check out when you need a laugh

Takeshi Kitano is a popular TV presenter, actor, filmmaker, and author. Although he started as a comedian, Takeshi Kitano became a successful movie director and hosted games like Takeshi Castle. He also made his Hollywood presence in movies like Blood and Bones, Violent Cop, and Outrage Coda.

17. Hiroshi Abe

Japanese actors
Hiroshi Abe attends Mitsubishi air-conditioner launching event in Taipei, Taiwan of China. Photo: Visual China Group
Source: Getty Images
  • Date of birth: 22 June 1964
  • Birth place: Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan
  • Debut movie: Yawara!

Hiroshi Abe made his debut with a movie titled Yawara! From there, he went ahead to feature in more Hollywood films like Godzilla 2000: Millennium, Chocolate, Still Walking, and After the Storm. These movies made him one of the most popular Japanese actors in Hollywood.

18. Sessue Hayakawa

Japanese actors in Hollywood
Sessue Hayakawa on the train upon his arrival in Paris. Photo: Keystone-France
Source: Getty Images
  • Date of birth: 10 June 1886
  • Birthplace: Minamiboso, Japan
  • Debut movie: The Typhoon

Read also

50 famous black male actors every cinephile should know about

Sessue Hayakawa was among the first Japanese actors in Hollywood who gained stardom during the silent film era. He was famous for portraying attractive, dominant villains and became the first American male sex symbol. These traits made him the favourite actor among American women.

19. Tomohisa Yamashita

famous Japanese actors
Tomohisa Yamashita attends the Series Mania Festival - day three in Lille, France. Photo: Sylvain Lefevre
Source: Getty Images
  • Date of birth: 9 April 1985
  • Birthplace: Funabashi, Chiba, Japan
  • Debut movie: Dangerous Relationship

Tomohisa Yamashita became one of the top Japanese actors to make it to Hollywood after appearing in the TV series Dangerous Relationship. He was featured in movies like Operation Proposal Special, Monsters, and The Man from Toronto to further cement his acting profession.

20. Yuji Okumoto

most famous Japanese actors
Yuji Okumoto arrives for the season five premiere of Cobra Kai at LA State Historic Park in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Michael Tran
Source: Getty Images
  • Date of birth: 20 April 1959
  • Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, US
  • Debut movie: I Do Mind Dying

Yuji Okumoto is known for his role Cobra Kai, Inception, and The Karate Kid Part II. He currently lives in Seattle, Washington, with his wife Angela and their three daughters.

Read also

Who's Matt Kaplan, Alex Cooper's boyfriend? Age, net worth, movies, dating history

It is almost impossible to tell the most famous Japanese actors who have made it in Hollywood. Japanese actors have graced the biggest global screens due to their amazing acting skills. Some of the other factors considered are their contribution to the film industry, active years, and overall global recognition.

Legit.ng recently published an article 15 richest men in Africa in 2023. The African continent is endowed with brilliant minds, talented entrepreneurs, and accomplished professionals. Africa's richest man is worth billions of dollars.

There are several other billionaires on the continent who are involved in a variety of sectors. The continent's wealthiest people do not have a single source of income. Learn about the richest men in Africa, their age, and how they became wealthy.

Source: Legit.ng

Tags:
Online view pixel