On July 19, 2007, The New York Times published a pre-release story written by Kakutani about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. An account of the ensuing controversy, including the critical comments of some Harry Potter fans, can be found on the Times Public Editor's blog.
Kakutani was parodied in the essay "I Am Michiko Kakutani" by one of her former Yale classmates, Colin McEnroe.
She is referenced in an episode of the HBO series Sex and the City. In "Critical Condition" (season 5, episode 6), Carrie Bradshaw releases a book that Kakutani reviews. Various characters deem the critic's name "too hard to pronounce," including Miranda Hobbes, who memorably states, "Just don't say her name again — it will drive me over the edge."
Kakutani is mentioned in an episode of the short-lived ABC sitcom It's Like, You Know... (season 2, episode 4).
She is mentioned in an episode of HBO's Girls (season 3, episode 5).
In The Affair, a publisher who wants to print Noah Solloway's second novel tells him that "Michi Kakutani will flip for this, and she hates everything" (season 1, episode 10).
She is mentioned in the fourth and final season of The O.C.