Erika Sawajiri

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Erika Sawajiri
Native name 沢尻 エリカ
Born (1986-04-08) April 8, 1986 (age 30)
Nerima, Tokyo, Japan
Other names Erika
Kaoru Amane
Kacchan, Aachan
Years active 2001-2007, 2010–present
Notable credit(s) Aya Ikeuchi in 1 Litre no Namida
Hotarubi in Shinobi: Heart Under Blade
Spouse(s) Tsuyoshi Takashiro
(m. 2009; div. 2013)

Erika Sawajiri (沢尻 エリカ Sawajiri Erika?, born April 8, 1986, in Nerima, Tokyo) is a Japanese actress, model and singer. She appeared in the non-fiction Japanese television drama 1 Litre of Tears, playing the role of a girl who suffered from the intractable disease spinocerebellar degeneration (SCD).

On September 10, 2010, it was announced that Sawajiri had signed with Avex label for talent management and music releases. She was previously managed by the Stardust Promotion talent agency until her contract was terminated in late 2009, and was affiliated with Sony Music Entertainment Japan for her early recording career, recording under the name Kaoru Amane and, later, simply Erika.



Erika was born in Nerima, Tokyo, to a Japanese father and an Algerian-born French mother of Berber extraction[1][2][3] and is the youngest of three children. Her father owned sixteen racehorses, including Edonokoban (エドノコバン), giving Erika ample opportunities to engage in horseback riding as a child. Her father disappeared from home when Erika was 9 years old, returning when she was in her third year at junior high school, only to die from cancer that year. Her second eldest brother died in a traffic accident when she was in her first year at high school. Her eldest brother is a former actor. Her mother managed a Mediterranean restaurant that she sometimes worked at. The family is extremely close knit, and often used Erika's photoshoots and other work as an opportunity to travel together as a family.[4]

In 1999, Sawajiri passed the Stardust audition after graduating from elementary school. She became part of the idol unit Angel Eyes and began modeling for junior fashion magazines such as CUTiE and Nicola. She later won the grand prize for the 2001 Seikore and became a regular on the BS news program Harajuku Launchers. In 2002, Sawajiri started her career in film as well as extending her modeling career as a gravure idol. Her first film was Mondai no nai Watashitachi.

She became one of Fuji TV's Visual Queens in 2002. On the NTV variety show The Yoru mo Hit Parade, she became a regular from April till late June, shortly after leaving the program for the CX news program Chou VIP Fortune no Tobira from mid-June till late August. In November, she was on the CBC variety show Bijou Dokyuu and TBS show B-1. She got her big break when she was cast in the TBS TV drama Hotman. Her most notable role was in 1 Litre of Tears in 2005 when she portrayed a girl with the degenerative disease spinocerebellar degeneration.

Sawajiri first started her music career under the name "Kaoru Amane", the name of her character in her last drama, the TV adaptation of A Song to the Sun (Taiyo no Uta). The single went into number 1 in its second and fourth week. It was certified Triple Platinum for cell phone downloads of 750,000.[5] On July 16, 2007, Erika released her debut single under the name "Erika", "Free". The single was immediately ranked on its first day as number one on the Oricon Charts. "Free" was certified Platinum for cell phone downloads of 250,000.[6] Oricon stated that she is the only artist in 39 years to get their first two single hit number one since Hiroko Yakushimaru in 1983.

Sawajiri and her mother both stated on separate occasions that she would return to Japan and make a comeback as soon as late summer 2009.[7]

Sawajiri was originally scheduled to star in the live action film version of Space Battleship Yamato but was replaced by Meisa Kuroki.[8][9]


At the movie premiere for Closed Note on September 29, 2007, Sawajiri responded in a terse manner to reporters' questions.[10] After much criticism in the Japanese press, she posted an apology on her website. A few days later she appeared on a TV Asahi's morning news show Super Morning, and gave them an exclusive 120-minute interview. She also denied the rumors that she was being suspended by her management.[citation needed]

She had planned to attend the 12th Pusan International Film Festival on October 6, 2007, but she cancelled. It was later discovered that she had been seen in a club with Tsuyoshi Takashiro, a man 22 years her senior.[11] Sawajiri returned to Japan on March 29, 2008 after nearly three months in London with Takashiro. While in London, Sawajiri attended a language school. Her familiarity with English became evident at the airport when several cosmetics items fell out of her bag, and she exclaimed, "Oh shit!" She continued to mostly use English while at the airport, and she reportedly has become fluent enough to handle ordinary conversation.[12]

In September 2009, the Japanese media started releasing reports that her management company, Stardust Promotions, would void her contract for undisclosed reasons.[13] Her personal website became devoid of all content save one cryptic line: "See you at the next stage."[citation needed] Sawajiri's mother denied that termination of her contract was the result of substance abuse by Erika.[14]

On September 1, 2010, in an interview on, she said that her apology after the 2007 movie premiere incident was a mistake. She didn't want to apologize but her management at that time forced her to apologize; "I told them 'this is my way'... but in the end I surrendered. That was my mistake." Sawajiri believes that the agencies that are forcing too much from their idols are too old fashioned and that "The managers themselves are old but we have to change this situation."[3]

Personal life[edit]

On January 20, 2009, Sawajiri married media creator Tsuyoshi Takashiro at Meiji Shrine in Yoyogi. The pair registered their marriage on January 7, an auspicious day according to the six-day rokuyo calendar.[citation needed] But on December 28, 2013, at the press conference, they officially divorced after their divorce posted on their websites.



Year Japanese Title English Title Role Film Production
2004 問題のない私たち Mondai no nai Watashitachi Maki Shintani Asmik Ace
2005 パッチギ! Pacchigi! Lee Kyung-ja Asmik Ace
阿修羅城の瞳 Ashurajō no Hitomi Yachi Shochiku
忍-SHINOBI- Shinobi: Heart Under Blade Hotarubi Shochiku
2006 間宮兄弟 Mamiya kyodai Naomi Honma Asmik Ace
シュガー&スパイス 風味絶佳 Sugar & Spice Noriko Watanabe Toho
オトシモノ Ghost Train Nana Shochiku
天使の卵 The Angel's Egg Natsuki Saito Shochiku
手紙 Tegami Yumiko Iraishi Gaga Communications
2007 クローズド・ノート Closed Note Kae Horii    Toho
2012 ヘルタースケルター Helter Skelter Ririko   Asmik Ace
2015 新宿スワン Shinjuku Swan Ageha   Sony Pictures

TV dramas[edit]

Year Japanese Title English Title Role Network Notes With
2003 ホットマン Hotman Satsuki Akikawa TBS Supporting Role
ひと夏のパパへ Hitonatsu no Papa e Satsuki
ノースポイント フレンズ NorthPoint Friends Mami Iwasa Hokkaido Cultural Broadcasting
2004 Sakura Saku made Naoko Hayashi MBS
冬空に月は輝く Fuyuzora ni Tsuki wa Kagayaku Misa Takano Fuji Television
天国への応援歌 チアーズ ~チアリーディングに懸けた青春 Cheers: Tenko e no Oenka Yukari Akikawa Nihon Television
Mumei TBS
2005 あいくるしい Aikurushii Honoka Kizaki
1リットルの涙 1 Litre of Tears Aya Ikeuchi Fuji Television Lead Role Nishikido Ryo
零のかなた The Winds of God Misaki Ohara Asahi Television Main Cast
2006 天使の梯子 Tenshi no Hashigo Natsuki Saito Fuji Television Supporting Role
タイヨウのうた Taiyo no Uta Kaoru Amane TBS Lead Role Takayuki Yamada
2012 L et M わたしがあなたを愛する理由、そのほかの物語 L et M: Watashi ga Anata o Ai suru Riyu Eru and Emu BeeTV
悪女について Akujo ni Tsuite Tomikoji Kimiko/Suzuki Kimiko TBS Eiichiro Funakoshi
2013 時計屋の娘 Tokeiya no Musume Ryo Miyahara
2014 ファースト・クラス First Class Chinami Yoshinari Fuji Television Yuichi Nakamaru
ファースト・クラス 2 First Class 2
2015 ようこそ、わが家へ Yōkoso, Wagaya e Asuka Kandori Masaki Aiba
2016 大奥 Ōoku Omiyo and Ume Hiroki Narimiya

Music videos[edit]

Year Singer Title Remarks
2003 Kishidan Secret Love Story -
Zeebra feat. Hiro Big Big Money -
2005 Rip Slyme Hey! Brother Theme song of Mamiya kyodai
2006 Kaoru Amane A Song to the Sun (タイヨウのウタ Taiyo no Uta?) Theme song of A Song to the Sun
Kaoru Amane Stay With Me Insert song of A Song to the Sun
Miliyah Kato I Will Theme song of Otoshimono
SunSet Swish Kimi ga Iru kara 君がいるから Theme song of Tentama
Hitomi Takahashi Komorebi Theme song of Tegami
2007 Erika Free Commercial song of Subaru Stella + R2
Erika Fantasy Commercial song of
Yui Love & Truth Theme song of Closed Note
Erika Destination Nowhere Commercial song of

Variety shows[edit]

Year Variety Show Broadcasting Company
2001 Harajuku Ronchazu -
2002 The Night of Hit Parade Nihon Television
Super VIP -
2002–2003 B-1 TBS
2003–2004 Aidoru wa -
Unknown Mecha x2 Ikederu! -


Year DVD Publisher
2002 Cava? Wani Book
2003 D-Splash! -
Erica 学習研究
2005 Color


Year Book title Publisher
2003 P-chu! Wani Book
2004 Erika 学習研究
2007 Erika2007 SDP

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Title Movie/drama
2001 Young Jump Uniform Collection Runner up -
2002 Fuji TV Visual Queen of the Year - -
2005 18th Nikkan Sports Movie Award Best New Comer Award Pacchigi!
30th Hochi Movie Award Best New Comer Award Pacchigi!
15th Tokyo Sports Movie Award Best New Comer Award Pacchigi!
79th Kinema Junpo Award Best New Comer Award [Female] Pacchigi!
29th Japan Academy Awards Best New Comer Award [Female] Pacchigi!
2006 Elandor Award Best New Comer Award 1 Litre of Tears
43rd Golden Arrow Award Best New Comer Award 1 Litre of Tears
2013 36th Japan Academy Awards Best Actress in a Leading Role Helter Skelter



Release Title Oricon Album Label
Daily Weekly Monthly Yearly Debut Overall
August 30, 2007 "Taiyo no Uta (The Sun's Song)" (c/w Stay with me)
Kaoru Amane
1 1 1 10 150,056 488,000 - Sony Music Japan
July 4, 2007 "Free" 1 1 4 67 50,287 119,817 - Studioseven Recordings
November 28, 2007 "Destination Nowhere" 4 7 18 190 26,624 43,209 - Studioseven Recordings


External links[edit]