My Favorite Japanese Actresses Round-Up


With the new fall jdrama season around the corner, jdramas are on my mind!  Here’s a round-up of some of my favorite Japanese actresses.  NOTE THE EMPHASIS ON SOME.  Obviously there are also many other excellent Japanese actresses out there, so don’t feel bitter if I didn’t acknowledge your favorite in this post.  There is no way I can cover them all!

Amami Yuki
Enka no Jouou, BOSS 1 & 2

Ah yes, it’s no surprise that I will start out this post with Amami Yuki.  Especially ever since BOSS, it seems that Amami Yuki has been stereotyped into these roles of the strong independent lady leader.  Which I’m not complaining about, because she fits the part.  However these roles may not let her demonstrate the full range of her acting abilities.  I have heard that she was excellent in Fumo Chitai, when she had a different role than her usual BOSS ones.  Also my first time watching her was in her drama old Enka no Jouou, which is one where she wasn’t quite your BOSS-like character we are so used to now. Overall I think Amami Yuki is fun to watch, but she could also break free of the stereotypes if she wants to.  Oh, and did I mention she can actually sing?

Narumi Riko
1 Litre of Tears, Kimi ni shika kikoenai, BOSS 2, Honey & Clover, How to Become Myself

What a coincidence, Narumi Riko was also in Enka no Jouou with Amami Yuki! :O  AND in BOSS 2 with Amami Yuki!!  Anyways you all probably remember her, way back in your distant memory of 1 Liter of Tears when she played Ikenouchi’s sister.  I have been a fan of Narumi Riko because she is an excellent young actress with a lot of charisma on screen!  I admit that there are some roles she could’ve done better in (i.e. Honey & Clover) but overall I think she’s AWESOME.  I really wish she would get more roles, particularly a leading role as I feel she could handle it.  Not to be hating on Takei Emi, who I’m pretty neutral about (loved Asuko March but not so much her recent dramas) but..I think it’s ridiculous that she’s landed SO MANY lead roles in the past YEAR whereas other talents like Narumi Riko……have..not. 

Shinohara Ryoko
Unfair, Tsuki no Koibito, Haken no Hinkaku, Anego

 I can’t help but love Shinohara Ryoko’s dramas!!!!  Is it her characters?  Is it her natural charm?  I have no idea but I loved Unfair, Haken no Hinkaku, and Anego back in the day.  Her acting isn’t amazing…but she also has great charm on screen.  Her most recent dramas Tsuki no Koibito and Ogon no Buta were..sorta….flops……….BUT I loved her character in Tsuki no Koibito too!! 

Toda Erika
BOSS 1 & 2, Keizoku 2 SPEC

Yes, yes, all you Toda Erika fans, I shall appease you now.  I am not a die-hard Toda Erika fan but her characters in BOSS and SPEC left great impressions on me.  It’s great to see her portraying unconventional roles that are quirky and fun.  In case you were wondering, it’s not a coincidence that my pictures in this post of her are from SPEC and BOSS.  HEHEHE. 

Mizuki Alisa
OL Nippon, Ohitorisama

Last but not least, MIZUKI ALISA.  Although I’ve seen some of her dramas, I didn’t realize until recently that she’s like a DIVA.  She is just awesome.  You may recognize her from more recent-ish dramas like Ohitorisama & Hanawake no Yon Shimai (<<BLEHH) but I remember her most fondly in OL Nippon.  Also, I heard that she is fantastic in Saito-san (although I haven’t seen it).  All in all, she is another one of those actresses that tends to take on strong lady roles.  However, in my opinion, she has a much more infectious personality than Amami Yuki does. 

So, there’s my round-up of favorite Japanese actresses! In case you were wondering about actresses from say, China/Taiwan/Korea, I will probably talk about them in other posts.  It is just too much to mix all my favorite actresses into a gigantic post! 

So, got any favorite Japanese actresses that I didn’t mention here?  Are you fans of any of my favorites as well?  Let me know!


I'm heisui, an Asian drama blogger and the creator of My Drama Tea. I love stories and writing, so I watch dramas and blog. I especially have a penchant for Japanese and Chinese dramas, and those hidden gems that are waiting to be discovered. Oh, and I'm Legend of Zhen Huan-obsessed!
Haken no Hinkaku: Eps 1-10 (Overall)
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  • I’m watching amami yuki in queen’s classroom now but agree that she was her best in BOSS. Loved Erika Toda too! I like Ayase Haruka too for her performance in Hotaru no Hikari but she isn’t acting much nowadays….Aya Ueto I like as well 🙂

    • I’m also quite impressed by Toda Erika’s acting, it makes her stand out from her similar-aged counterparts such as Aragaki Yui. I think Ayase Haruka is memorable in Hotaru no Hikari, but she was also quite beautiful in JIN as well!

      As for Ueto Aya, I heard she got married to a singer from EXILE. *in shock* She is also going to star in a new drama in the winter season!

  • My fav jap actresses – and when i fell for them:
    1) Shinohara Ryoko – Anego, Unfair, Haken no Hinkaku, Kogane no Buta (i love her to bits)
    2) Kanno Miho – Hataraki Man, Kiina, Mageranai Onna
    3) Ueno Juri – Nodame Cantabile
    4) Aoi Miyazaki – Tada Kimi o Aishiteru
    5) Aoi Yu – Osen
    6) Shida Mirai – Seigi no Mikata
    7) Ayase Haruka – Jin
    8) Yonekura Ryoko – Koshonin
    9) Toda Erika – Death Note
    10) Kashii Yu – because she’s half chinese

    Sorry, Amami Yuki scares me.

    • Hmm I think I must add Kanno Miho to my list as well. She is an excellent actress! Toda Erika is awesome as well but I am not a hardcore fan of hers.

      And I never knew Kashii Yu is half-Chinese! O: I loved her in My Boss My Hero, HEHEHE.

      • And Kashii Yu is married to Joe Odagiri who fell in love with her because they share the same birthday! So I’m off dreaming Sam Wang Shao Wei proposing to me for sharing the same birthday. Eagerly awaiting your post on fav C/T/K actresses.

        • LOL a girl can dream right?

          Hmm I will think about it. I guess the thing is that I know of more Japanese actresses than Chinese/Taiwanese/Korean ones. O_O So it is a bit harder for me to write about.

  • OOoooohhh how surprised!
    I am a big fan of Shinohara Ryoko and Amami Yuuki too! also others you mentioned, I know them all. LOL

    ..kind of..I’m always fall for the (getting old)woman. And yes i’m a girl. :p

    • Yay! Shinohara Ryoko & Amami Yuki are so awesome! I guess I also like some of the sorta-older actresses like Amami Yuki since they are not just depending on their looks, they actually have a certain charm to them! (don’t worry, I’m also a girl)

  • Asami Nagasawa is an old favorite of mine! She’s not drop dead gorgeous, but I think she does a protagonist well. She’s got a really expressive face and good control over charisma. She was also in the earliest dramas I’ve seen (Proposal Daisakusen, Dragon Zakura, Last Friends) so I just have a soft spot for her pipelining me into the Jdrama world.

    I also really like Ayase Haruka! Now I think she’s truly a pretty looking girl. She was so cute in Tatta Hitotsu no Koi and Jin. They didn’t seem like particularly difficult roles, so maybe it’s not really her acting, but she really does it for me. She feels very natural and pleasant to watch as a character.

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