Japanese Celebrities Overview

Japanese Celebrities Active on a Global Scale

Image of a celebrity
Photo:Celebrity

There are many world-famous Japanese people in a wide variety of fields, including entertainers, eminent figures, writers/novelists, politicians and leaders, educators, activists, scholars, inventors, religious leaders, business people, martial arts athletes, military commanders, soldiers, poets, haiku poets, painters, artists, doctors, scientists, religious leaders, philosophers, scholars of Japanese literature and culture, rakugo storytellers, athletes, cartoonists (anime), and many more.

Popular/Famous Japanese People [Sports]

Image of a baseball field
Photo:Baseball field

・Baseball (Major League Baseball (MLB))
There are many Japanese athletes competing on the world stage. A few include Ichiro (retired), Hideo Nomo, Masahiro Tanaka, Yu Darvish, and Shohei Ohtani.
・Tennis
As of 2019, Kei Nishikori, Naomi Osaka, and others are some of the most prominent tennis players.
・Soccer (Football)
There are many Japanese soccer players active in many countries around the world, and players such as Shinji Kagawa, Hidetoshi Nakata, and Keisuke Honda, who have participated in the World Cup and the Olympics, are well known overseas.
・Others
Yuzuru Hanyu (Figure skating), Ai Fukuhara (Table Tennis), Rui Hachimura (Basketball).

Popular/Famous Japanese People [Anime & Manga]

Image of a manga artist
Photo:Manga Artist

Japanese anime and manga have become incredibly popular around the world.
Some of the most famous Japanese anime and manga artists are Akira Toriyama (Dragon Ball), Osamu Tezuka (Astro Boy, Black Jack), Eiichiro Oda (One Piece), Masashi Kishimoto (Naruto), Hayao Miyazaki (Ghibli Series), Hideaki Anno (Evangelion), and Katsuhiro Otomo (Akira).

Popular/Famous Japanese People [Writers & Novelists]

Image of typing on a laptop
Photo:Typing on a laptop

There are many prominent Japanese writers, including Haruki Murakami (Norwegian Wood, 1Q89), Banana Yoshimoto (Birds, Goodbye Tsugumi), Kenji Miyazawa (Night on the Galactic Railroad, The Restaurant of Many Orders, Gauche the Cellist), Yasunari Kawabata (The Dancing Girl of Izu), Natsume Soseki (I Am a Cat, Botchan), Yukio Mishima (Confessions of a Mask, The Temple of the Golden Pavilion), Ryunosuke Akutagawa (Rashomon, The Spider's Thread), and Kenzaburo Oe (Nobel Prize for Literature).

Popular/Famous Japanese People [Eminent Figures]

Some eminent Japanese figures include Inazo Nitobe (Educator, portrait of the old Japanese 5,000 yen note), Chiune Sugihara (diplomat), Fukuzawa Yukichi (Lumiere (Enlightener) and educator), Togo Heihachiro (Commander-in-Chief of the Navy), and Hideyo Noguchi (doctor and bacteriologist) (portrait of the old Japanese 1,000 yen note).

Popular/Famous Japanese People [Historical Figures]

Matsuo Basho (haiku poet), Murasaki Shikibu (Japanese classics), Katsushika Hokusai (ukiyo-e), Musashi Miyamoto (swordsman, philosopher, strategist), and warlords Oda Nobunaga, Tokugawa Ieyasu, and Toyotomi Hideyoshi (warlord) are all historical Japanese figures that are well-known throughout the world.

Popular/Famous Japanese People [Singers & Musicians]

Image of a concert
Photo:Concert

Kyu Sakamoto's "Ue wo muite arukou" (Sukiyaki) became the first Japanese song to become a huge worldwide hit.
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, Perfume, Hatsune Miku, and Babymetal became famous through videos on YouTube and other sites.
In addition, Miyavi, MAN WITH A MISSION, ONE OK ROCK, Wagakki Band, Mika Nakashima, Hello! Project, Morning Musume, Hikaru Utada, Ayumi Hamasaki, BOA, YUI, Namie Amuro, EXILE, Kumi Koda, Capsule, B'z, Mr. Children, Ikimono-gakari, X Japan, L'Arc-en-Ciel, BACK-ON, and DIR EN GREY are all popular worldwide.

Popular/Famous Japanese People [Entertainers]

Ebizo Ichikawa is one of the most popular performers of Japan's traditional culture, kabuki, with many fans even overseas.
Pikotaro is a comedian whose popularity exploded when Justin Bieber, one of the world's most famous artists, recommended him on SNS.

Popular/Famous Japanese People [Actors & Actresses]

Ken Watanabe (The Last Samurai, Iwo Jima, Inception), Hiroyuki Sanada, Rinko Kikuchi, Shinichi Chiba, Koji Yakusho, Youki Kudoh and Ryoko Yonekura are popular actors/actresses both in Japan and aboard.

Popular/Famous Japanese People [Film Directors]

Image of a film director
Photo:Film director

There are many Japanese films that are popular abroad. Akira Kurosawa and Takeshi Kitano are two popular directors that are famous overseas as well as in Japan.

Popular/Famous Japanese People [Nobel Prize Winners]

As of August 2020, there are twenty-eight Japanese recipients of the Nobel Prize.
Famous major Nobel Prize winners include Hideki Yukawa (Physics), Kenichi Fukui and Koichi Tanaka (Chemistry), Susumu Tonegawa (Physiology or Medicine), Yasunari Kawabata and Kenzaburo Oe (Literature), and Eisaku Sato (Peace Prize).

Popular/Famous Japanese People [Other]

There are many Japanese people who are famous for other reasons as well, including Japan's previous Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, competitive eater Takeru Kobayashi, Youtubers and many more.

COOL JAPAN VIDEOS is a site that introduces the charms of Japan through videos related to Japanese celebrities!

Recommended Articles