She began her music career in 1997 as a teenage idol singer in the J-pop groups Folder and Folder 5. Although she made her acting debut in 1997 with Rebirth of Mothra II, she did not start acting regularly until 2005. She appeared in manga-based thriller film Death Note in 2006 and the controversial drama Love Exposure, directed by Sion Sono, in 2008. Her performance in the latter brought her to critical attention and won her several awards. Since then she has had starring roles in Kakera: A Piece of Our Life (2009) and Sawako Decides (2010), written and directed by Yuya Ishii, whom she subsequently married in late 2010.