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, born  , January 6, 1981, is a Japanesemarker film actress. Kikuchi is the first Japanese actress to be nominated for an Academy Award in 50 years. She is Japan's only living female Academy Award nominee in acting categories, since Miyoshi Umeki, who won in 1957 for Sayonara.


Kikuchi was born in Minamigaoka, Hadano City, Kanagawamarker Prefecture. She debuted in 1999 under her birth name, Yuriko Kikuchi, with the Kaneto Shindo-directed film . Soon after, in 2001, she starred in the acclaimed Kazuyoshi Komuri-directed film , which was featured across several international film festivals, including the Rotterdam Film Festival. In 2004, she appeared in the critically acclaimed Katsuhito Ishii-directed film , which was selected for the Cannes Film Festivalmarker.

In 2006, she appeared in the critically-acclaimed Alejandro González Iñárritu-directed film Babel, where she played Chieko Wataya, a deaf-mute teenage girl, in a role for which she was critically acclaimed and nominated for numerous awards, including the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. She won several, such as the National Board of Review Award for Best Breakthrough Female Performance (tying with Jennifer Hudson) and the Gotham Award for Best Breakthrough. Kikuchi is also the fifth actress in Academy Award history to be nominated for an award for a role in which they do not speak a word. (The others were Jane Wyman, Patty Duke, Holly Hunter, and Samantha Morton.) Her emotionally intense role in Babel has led to her being noticed by many international directors, such as Rian Johnson, auteur director of Brick. She starred in his second film, 2009's The Brothers Bloom, which was her first fully English-language feature. Though she plays a main character, she only speaks three words in the film; her character is said to only know three words of English.

She was mentioned in an episode of the TV show Robot Chicken on the Adult Swim network in a parody of the popular movie-themed Lego play sets.

Kikuchi is a fan of Chanel and its designer Karl Lagerfeld. She is constantly being outfitted by the label, and says that she only wears something if she "digs it" and "...Chanel is how I feel right now."


Year Title Director Notes
1999 Ikitai Kaneto Shindo a.k.a. Will to Live
2000 Sanmon Yakusha Kaneto Shindo
Akai Shibafu Mieko Umeuchi a.k.a. Red lawn
2001 Paradice Tatsuya Moriyama a.k.a. Paradise
Sora no Ana Kazuyoshi Kumakiri a.k.a. Hole of Sky
DRUG Hiroshi Sugawara
2002 Hachigatsu no Maboroshi Kosuke Suzuki a.k.a.Mirage of August
2003 Jyunanasai Hoka Kinoshita a.k.a. Seventeen
2004 Tori Tadanobu Asano
Cha no Aji Katsuhito Ishii a.k.a. The Taste of Tea
69 sixty nine Sang-il Lee
Survive Style 5+ Gen Sekiguchi, Taku Tada
Riyū Nobuhiko Obayashi
2005 Tagatameni Taro Hyugaji
2006 Nice no Mori: The First Contact Katsuhito Ishii, Shunichiro Miki, Hajime Ishimine (ANIKI)
Warau Michael Issei Oda aka Archangels
Babel Alejandro González Iñárritu Nominated — Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Film nominated for 7 Oscar including Best Picture Non-speaking Role
2007 Zukan ni Nottenai Mushi Satoshi Miki a.k.a. The Bug That's Not in the Guide
2008 The Brothers Bloom Rian Johnson
The Sky Crawlers Mamoru Oshii Animated film
2009 Map of the Sounds of Tokyo Isabel Coixet
Sideways Cellin Gluck Remake of the 2004 film
2010 Shanghai Mikael Håfström In post-production
Norwegian Wood Tran Anh Hung Naoko


Year Title Channel
1999 Bakayaro! Special 2
Kawaii dakeja Dame kashira ANBmarker
2001 Chura-san NHKmarker
2002 The private detective Mike Hama YTVmarker #1
2003 Uchu ni Ichiban Chikai basho
Ai to Shihonshugi WOWOW

Awards and nominations

Year Group Award Result Film
2006 Gotham Awards Breakthrough Award Won Babel
Best Ensemble Cast Won
National Board of Review Best Breakthrough Performance - Female Won
Chicago Film Critics Association Awards Best Supporting Actress Won
Most Promising Performer Nominated
2007 Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards Best Supporting Actress Nominated
Online Film Critics Society Awards Best Breakthrough Performance Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role Nominated
Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Nominated
Golden Globes Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture Nominated
Academy Awards Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role Nominated


External links


  • Morris, Jerome C. "Exposed! Interview with Riko Kikuchi", in Asian Cult Cinema, #55.

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