Arama They Didn't

11:35 pm - 04/14/2012

Overseas-born celebs with careers in Japan

(For lack of a relevant photo)

So I decided to do a compilation of some of the foreign born celebrities in the Japanese entertainment business. I know for sure that I didn't get everyone, so feel free to add in anyone you know. On what grounds did I make this list? Well the celebrity just had to be born in a foreign country and have a career in Japan. That's why people like Hikaru Utada is on it, despite the fact she was born to two Japanese parents, she was born an US American national, she then went to Japan to start her career. I tried to put in a wide range of people, not just talento (some foreign talento make a career out of feeding to the stereotypes about foreigners in Japan). I was going to add in people who tried, but basically flopped like Beckii Cruel and the Cruel Angels (I guess I can do it in another post). For a list of mixed entertainers in Japan: Notable Mixed JPN Entertainers

Yuna Ito

She was born in Los Angeles on Sept 20th, 1983; born to a Japanese father and a Korean-American mother. She was then raised in Hawaii. Despite adversity from her parents, she moved to Japan after graduating high school. She then officially debuted in 2005 as Reira in the movie adaption of manga, Nana. There she sang the main theme, Endless Story, and it was her singing debut.
Where you may know her from: Reira from Trapnest in the movie, Nana
Songs: Endless Story, No one else


Gisele was an AV idol in Japan unders Marks Japan, she was active from 2008 to 2009. She officially debuted in her solo film, 'MEGA WOMAN Black Person'. She was born on Feb 19th, 1988 in the US.
Where you may know her from: Fuck Yeah AV Gyaru (NOT SAFE FOR WORK)


JERO was born Sept 4th, 1981 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the country of USA. His full name is Jerome Charles White, Jr. His mother is of African-American and Japanese descent (JERO's grandmother is Japanese) and his father is African-American. His grandmother influenced his love for enka at such a young age. During university and high school, he studied Japanese and information technology. When he graduated, he permanently moved to Japan and worked as an English teacher and for a company as a computer engineer. 2 months after arriving in Japan, he competed in NHK Nodo Jiman competition. He tried to pursue the dream of becoming an enka singer after promising his grandmother to perform at Kohaku. However his grandmother passed in 2005, three years before he made it big. In 2008, he debuted with his first single, Umiyuki.
Where you may know him from: He's the first black enka singer; he's been on Shin Domoto Kyoudai, NHK Osaka’s “Tennoji Broadway
Songs: Umiyuki, Eisa

Utada Hikaru

Utada was born on Jan 19th, 1983 in New York, USA. She was born to Terunzane Utada, a music producer and Keiko Fuji (real name: Junko Utada), a famous enka singer. Utada's parents had a significant musical influence on her at an early age and as she got older, she also got into R&B. She did recording with her parents under the group name U3 (or Utada 3). In 1995, the group changed their name to cubic U. In 1997, Hikaru changed her stage name from H* IKASO to Cubic U to distinguish herself from the name of her family's group for her solo efforts and released a single in the US. In January of 1998, Cubic U (Hikaru) sprung onto the music scene with her debut album, Precious in which all the songs were in English. In 1997, she moved to Japan where attended international schools. She was signed with Toshiba-EMI. Leading up to the release of her Japanese debut album First Love (1999), Utada released two successful million-selling singles. Since then, Utada has been releasing music between the US and Japan, continuing her successful career. Currently she has been on hiatus as of the beginning of 2011.
Where you may know her from: One of the four queens of Jpop, You're Easy Breezy and I'm Japaneesy
Songs: Deep River, Be My Last, Final Distance, Blue

Dante Carver

Dante Carver was born in New York, USA on Jan 17th, 1977. He comes from a well rounded family as his father is an interpreter and his mother a government nurse. He studied international business at a university in Virginia and his third year, he worked for a health insurance company and did acting at night. In 2004, he went to Japan to visit some of his friends, that was his first time there. During his trip, he was scouted by four different modeling agencies while out on the street. In 2005, he went to Japan to try his hand at acting. He thought English in Kyoto and later got his big break doing the infamous white family commercials for Softbank. He is currently married to ex-model, Akiko Matsumoto.

A quote from Dante: “If it is the stupid foreign character, I won’t do it because I don’t want to get typecast,” he explains. “For those foreigners who really don’t care and just want to do it for the money, more power to them. For myself, I am an artist, and if it is anything that I couldn’t show my parents, I wouldn’t do it.”

Stereotyping can be a perennial problem in Japan, where most African-Americans are typecast as soldiers, basketball players, musicians or drug dealers. “That often happens,” says Carver. “They want me to play this really bad guy, but I can do so much more than that.”
Where you may know him from: Softbank's White Family CMs, Kaze ga tsuyoku fuiteir, My Darling Is a Foreigner, Be Pon Kiki

Sahel Rosa

Sahel Rosa is an Iranian model and talento in Japan. She was born on Oct 21st, 1985. At the age of 4, she was orphaned during the Iran-Iraq war when an aerial bombing was dropped on her home. When she was 7, she was adopted by the nurse, Flora, who rescued her from the rubble, 3 years prior. When she was 8, she moved to Japan with Flora and Flora's Japanese finance. However, 3 weeks after arriving in Japan, he threw them out. Sahel has to go through many tribulations such as bullying at school and poverty. However, just before she graduated from high school Rosa got a job as a reporter on J-Wave radio, thus launching her entertainment career. However, she decided to continue her education and went to Tokai University where she studied IT, and a drama school to study stage acting.
Where you may know her from: Super J Channel, Tokyo Jima

Leah Dizon

Leah Dizon was born in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA on Sept 24th, 1986. She is a former talento, model and singer in Japan. She was born to a mother of French descent and a father who is Chinese-Fillipino. In 2005, she worked as a promotional model for local car shows. And due to her popularity with Japanese people, she decided to submit demo tapes and dance videos to Victor Ent. She was then signed to the company. In 2006 she debuted with her her first photobook, Petite Amie and later debuted musically in 2007 with Softly. In 2008 she married her stylist and later gave birth to their first child, Mila in 2009. She then divorced her husband, Bun, in 2010 and has since moved back to the USA and currently lives in NYC where she takes classes in acting.
Where you may know her from: Kiba Gaiden, Traffic in the Sky
Songs: Love Paradox, Softly


Hiromi Shinhata was born on March 21, 1990 in the Philippines). She is better known as HiROMi. She is a fashion model, who debuted in 2005 as a model for Egg. She currently is a model for JELLY and as a DJ, and is known for her androgynous looks. In 2011, she came out as a lesbian with her model girlfriend, AURA.

Ukrainian celebs
Nataliya Gudziy - Singer

Finnish celebs
Keisuke Ogihara - member of Rip Slyme
Marutei Tsurunen - politician

Russian celebs
Origa - singer

Australian celebs
Kaytlyn Gilson - Talento
Chris Glenn - Radio DJ, talento
Micheal Nakamura - Professional baseball player
Chad Maren - Comedian
Joshua Kennedy - Professional football (soccer) player

German celebs
Marius Yo - member of Sexy Zone
Natascha Nagaoka - German conversation lecturer
LIZA - model, talento

French celebs
Marc Panther - Rapper
Christel Takigawa - TV announcer and TV News presenter
Giry Vincent - actor, talento
Julie Dreyfus - actress
Frédéric VIENNOT - musician
Philippe Troussier - soccer player

Pakistani celebs
Hussain Shah Syed - Professional boxer
Taimur Hussain - Professional golfer

Bangladeshi celebs
Islam Mohamed Himu - a Bangladeshi businessman in Japan
Rola - born 1990, fashion model of half Bangladeshi descent

Romanian celebs
Gyarmath Bogdan - Toei animaton producer
Delcea Mihaela Gabriela - talento, actress

British celebs
Clive Williams Nicol - novelist
Peter Barakan - Radio DJ, music critic
Ken Lloyd - musician
MiChi - singer

Canadian celebs
HIMEKA - singer
Blaise Plant and Maynard Plant - both are vocalists and guitarists for MONKEY MAJIK

USA celebs
Kylee - singer
melody. - singer
Hasegawa Jun - model
Akebono Tarō - retired sumo wrestler
Kiko Mizuhara - model
Joe Inoue - rock artist
AI - singer
Becca - singer
Quinton Jackson - actor; mixed martial artist
JAMIL - singer
Hirata Rina - member of AKB48
Billy Blanks - fitness guru
Runa Takamura - singer, actress
Thane Camus - talent
Kent Derricott - talent, actor
Paul Gilbert - guitarist
Marty Friedman - guitarist, talent, music critic
Patrick Harlan - comedian, actor
Daniel Kahl - translator, businessman, talent
Donald Keene, Japanologist, scholar, teacher, writer, translator and interpreter of Japanese literature and culture
Konishiki Yasokichi - former sumo wrestler and the first foreign-born wrestler to reach ozeki rank
J. R. Sakuragi - Professional basketball player
Dave Spector - talento
Takamiyama Daigoro - former sumo wrestler

Vietnamese celebs
Nguyen Tran Phuoc An - Baseball player
Masato Seto - Photographer

Mongolians celebs
Asashoryu Akinori (Dolgorsuren Dagvadorj) - sumo wrestler
Hakuhō Sho (Mönkhbatyn Davaajargal) - sumo wrestler
Kyokutenho (Masaru Tsebeknyam Nyamjyab) - sumo wrestler
Kyokutenzan Takeshi (Enkhbat Batmunkh) - sumo wrestler
Harumafuji Kohei (Davaanyamyn Byambadorj) - sumo wrestler

Filipino celebs
Kenji Roa - visual-kei vocalist
Mike Sakan, born 1983 in the Philippines, a basketball player
Ruby Moreno - actress

Korean celebs
Shion - singer
JONTE - singer
SONIM - singer
Nakamura Yuri - actress, singer
BoA - singer
Many of the hallyu acts
JYONGRI - singer
(Many of the artists in the source of born in Japan to parents of Japanese descent)

Taiwanese celebs
Takeshi Kaneshiro - Singer, actor
Ōuyáng Fēifēi - singer
Chen Ta-Feng - Pro-baseball player
Yinling - model, race queen, singer, former wrestler
Naudei - university model, talento
Shosei Go - Pro-baseball player
Sheng-hsiung Chuang - Pro-baseball player
Judy Ongg - actress, singer, author and woodblock-print artist
Chin Shunshin - novelist, translator and cultural critic
Genji Kaku (Yuen-chih Kuo) - former professional baseball player
Kin Bí-Leng - commentator
Vivian Hsu - model, singer
Renho - politician (was original born a citizen of Taiwan; later changed to citizen of Japan)

Chinese celebs
Rola Chen - gravure idol
Linin - former Morning Musume member
Junjun - former Morning Musume member
Chen Qu - former SDN48 member
Abe Tsuyoshi - actor
Leena - model; CanCam's exclusive model
Wei Son - model
Kyou Son - model; Wei Son's sister
Emi Suzuki - model
Agnes Chan - singer

Nigerian celebs
Bobby Ologun - talent

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zomboid 15th-Apr-2012 03:43 am (UTC)
Kyou Son, Wei Son's sister is also a popular gyaru mama personality with a regular spot on PON! :3

Kiko MIzuhara was also born in the US too. :D
liime_arix 15th-Apr-2012 03:45 am (UTC)
I'm scratching my head wondering how I forgot Kiko, lol. I'll add those two in =3
asaphira_sachi 15th-Apr-2012 03:46 am (UTC)
I think Vivian Hsu (Taiwanese) is pretty well-known in Japan as a model and singer too :)

Edited at 2012-04-15 03:46 am (UTC)
roomgirl 15th-Apr-2012 03:50 am (UTC)

flawless Taiwanese god of disco
liime_arix 15th-Apr-2012 03:51 am (UTC)
What's his name? =3
molly_hime 15th-Apr-2012 03:53 am (UTC)
kimivalkyrie 15th-Apr-2012 03:54 am (UTC)
I'm surprised Ann Lewis isn't on this list, but then she was born in Hyogo wasn't she? Ah well, great list though!
liime_arix 15th-Apr-2012 04:02 am (UTC)
Thanks, I fixed it ^^
(no subject) - Anonymous
spread 15th-Apr-2012 07:27 am (UTC)
My kween of communication<33
onyanko 15th-Apr-2012 04:02 am (UTC)
hirata rina of akb48
liime_arix 15th-Apr-2012 04:07 am (UTC)
Wasn't she born in Fukuoka?
tennyo29 15th-Apr-2012 04:09 am (UTC)
Awesome list! Must have taken a while to put together.

But where are the Canadian celebs? Where is Monkey Majik?
shroomko 15th-Apr-2012 04:10 am (UTC)
The Plant brothers are so amazing, they need to be on this list like yesterday <333333
scubajr 15th-Apr-2012 04:18 am (UTC)
"You're Easy Breezy and I'm Japaneesy"
LMAO. I have heard that song in years!
liime_arix 15th-Apr-2012 04:59 am (UTC)
I love that song, I won't lie.
l3luelillie 15th-Apr-2012 04:19 am (UTC)
captainmarvel 15th-Apr-2012 04:25 am (UTC)
Adding BoA would open the door to adding every Korean artist that has crossed over into the Japanese music scene.
ohprecioustime 15th-Apr-2012 04:20 am (UTC)
Leah Dizon <3

ide wanna know awkward it must be to be a foreigner doing porn, good god
liime_arix 15th-Apr-2012 04:28 am (UTC)
There's a niche market for ones with black men *shrugs*.
fuu1130 15th-Apr-2012 04:26 am (UTC)
how about AKB48's Akimoto Sayaka? her mom is a Filipino if I'm not mistaken. :D
wapiko 15th-Apr-2012 05:57 am (UTC)
but was Sayaka born in Japan?
sporkof_doom 15th-Apr-2012 04:33 am (UTC)
Ito Yuna has the most amazing voice. Loved her Koi na Groovyx2!
pocco_moco 15th-Apr-2012 08:42 am (UTC)
I know! I love her voice, her ballads, her PVs (and dresses xD), and her personality!
I miss her so much!
chibi_hime 15th-Apr-2012 04:35 am (UTC)
Dante-san!!! Good for him for not doing stupid stereotype jobs.

I remember when Obama was running for president in 2008, Dante was invited to speak on the talk show. It was like they put together that they were both American and black, so he MUST know everything about politics...
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