Takako Fuji(藤 貴子,Fuji Takako?, born July 27, 1972) is a Japanese actress and voice actress with strong ties to theatre. She is well known for her praised performance as Kayako Saeki in The Grudge and Ju-on franchises.
A native of Tokyo, Honshū Island, Japan who was born there in 1972, Fuji studied acting at the Aoyama Gakuin University, and subsequently joined the Ein Theatrical Company. Her work was usually on-stage or in voice-over studios, but occasionally she would also appear in films. Her most famous role to this date is that of Kayako Saeki, the vengeful ghost in the Ju-on series, which she subsequently played in The Grudge series later on as well. She first played Kayako in the 1998 short movie Katasumi, part of the Gakkô no kaidan G collection. She then reprised her role in the direct-to-video film Ju-on and its sequel, Ju-on 2. When director Takashi Shimizu decided to direct two additional installments for a broader theatrical release, which he called (Ju-on: The Grudge and Ju-on: The Grudge 2), Fuji played the character of Kayako twice more. When the films were subsequently remade for an American audience as The Grudge Fuji played the role yet again. She reprised the role for the last time in The Grudge 2. Fuji did not play Kayako in The Grudge 3, the third installment of The Grudge series.
Fuji later stated in interviews that she had grown a bit tired of the role and that sometimes it was hard for her to keep herself motivated, since she had played the role 7 distinct times by then. Fuji admitted, however, that she would continue playing the role of Kayako as long as director Takashi Shimizu desired to hire her again for the role. Fuji also stated, in other interviews, that sometimes she pretended to be Kayako Saeki in front of her friends at parties. She also confessed that she fully understood from where Kayako's anger derived. (As of early April 2011, no reliable English translation of the explanation Fuji gave for the source of Kayako Saeki's anger was known to have been made public in the United States.)
Fuji's specialties are dancing, modern ballet, and is fluent in both Japanese and English. She is also a well-trained contortionist, which helped her to play Kayako. She has been married once, to co-member of the Ein Theatrical Group Watanabe Joji, from January 2000 until October 2005. Fuji stated that the first time after playing Kayako, she saw a pale woman leaving her house at night.