Rinko Kikuchi was born as Yuriko Kikuchi on January 6, 1981, in Hadano, Kanagawa, Japan. She is a well-known Japanese actress who was discovered by a talent agent when she was only 15. The agent spotter her while she was walking on the street. Her debut movie was the Kaneto Shindo film Will to Live back in 1999. Two years later, she starred in the much celebrated film by renowned filmmaker Kazuyoshi Komuri, Sora no Ana. The movie was internationally featured in several film festivals including the Rotterdam Film Festival, an annual film fest held in various cinemas in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. It is equivalent in stature with more notable film festivals like the ones held in Cannes, Venice, Berlin, and Locano. Kikuchi was also chosen to star in the 2004 critically-acclaimed film The Taste of Tea by Katsuhito Ishii, another film that was eventually selected and shown at the Cannes Film Festival.
Rinko Kikuchi’s shining star shone even brighter in 2006 when she was chosen by Japanese film producer Yoko Narahashi for the international film, Babel of Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. Kikuchi played Chieko Wataya, a deaf-mute teenaged girl. Her impressive performance gained her an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. With this recognition, Rinko Kikuchi became the first Japanese actress to be nominated for the award in more than 50 years. This elevated her as one of Japan’s leading female celebrities and household names. She is also only the fifth actress in Academy Award history to be nominated for a role where she does not speak a single word.
In March of 2011, Rinko Kikuchi was cast in the motion picture 47 Ronin headlined by American actor Keanu Reeves. It is the first English adaptation of Japan’s most storied take on samurai loyalty and revenge. Two years later she starred in the worldwide blockbuster Pacific Rim by acclaimed director Guillermo Del Toro.