Yū Aoi

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Yū Aoi
蒼井 優
Aoi Yu at Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo International Film Festival 2017 (40170394542).jpg
Born
Yū Natsui

(1985-08-17) August 17, 1985 (age 34)
Other namesYu Yamasato (After marriage)
Occupation
Years active1999–present
AgentItoh Co.
Spouse(s)Ryota Yamasato (2019 - )
Websitewww.itoh-c.com/aoi

Yu Aoi (蒼井 優, Aoi Yū, born August 17, 1985 in Kasuga, Fukuoka) is a Japanese actress and model. She made her film debut as Shiori Tsuda in Shunji Iwai's 2001 film All About Lily Chou-Chou. She subsequently portrayed Tetsuko Arisugawa in Hana and Alice (2004), also directed by Iwai, Kimiko Tanigawa in the hula dancing film Hula Girls and Hagumi Hanamoto in the 2006 live-action adaptation of the Honey and Clover manga series.

She has won numerous awards for her performances on screen, including the Japan Academy Prize and Kinema Junpo Awards for best supporting actress in 2007 for Hula Girls and Rookie of the Year for continued performances in the field of Films in Media and Fine Arts by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan in 2009.[1]

Biography[edit]

Early career[edit]

Yu Aoi made her stage debut as Polly in the 1999 rendition of Annie, followed by her appearance as a regular on TV Tokyo's Oha Suta (The Super Kids Station) in 2000. A year later, she debuted in Shunji Iwai's All About Lily Chou-Chou playing Shiori Tsuda alongside Hayato Ichihara, Shugo Oshinari, Miwako Ichikawa, and Ayumi Ito. Aoi would later work in Ao to Shiro de Mizuiro and Gaichu with friend Aoi Miyazaki. With her first roles on the small and big screen came TV commercials and endorsements for Sony, Yamaha, DoCoMo, Toshiba and Coca-Cola.

In 2003, commemorating the 30th anniversary of Kit Kat in Japan, Shunji Iwai shot a series of short films starring Yu Aoi and Anne Suzuki, which later was expanded into the feature film called Hana & Alice, which earned Aoi the Best Actress award at the Japanese Professional Movie Award.[2]

2005–2007[edit]

In 2005, Aoi played her first lead on the big screen in Letters from Kanai Nirai, which was sold in Korea with the alternate title of Aoi Yu's Letter due to her popularity. She also had supporting roles in the Satoshi Miki film Turtles Swim Faster than Expected starring Juri Ueno, and Yamato with Shido Nakamura and Kenichi Matsuyama. This supporting role would earn her one of her double-nomination as Best Supporting Actress at the 2007 Japanese Academy Award.[3] She won against herself for her work as Kimiko Tanikawa in the Japanese hit Hula Girls, which was sent to the Academy Awards as the Japanese official selection that year.

To this date, her role as the hula dancing girl from small town Iwaki remains her most successful role yet, earning her a dozen awards as Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress,[4] alongside her other smaller roles that year as Hagu in Honey & Clover, and Kana Sato in the Shunji-Iwai-produced and Nirai-Kanai-directed Rainbow Song. Aoi also lent her voice to play Shiro in the animated film Tekkon Kinkreet, the adaptation to the Taiyō Matsumoto manga, Black and White, directed by Michael Arias.

During these years, she made commercials for Nintendo, Canon, Shiseido Cosmetics, Shueisha Publishing, Kirin Beverage and continued endorsing DoCoMo. Aoi also released two photobooks with Yoko Takahashi as photographer, and distributed by Rockin'on: Travel Sand in 2005 and Dandelion in 2007.

In 2007, she participated in the live-action adaptation of the manga series Mushishi alongside Joe Odagiri, as well as WOWOW's Don't Laugh at My Romance, Welcome to the Quiet Room with Yuki Uchida, and going back to the stage to play Desdemona in a rendition of Shakespeare's Othello. For these last two roles, Aoi lost 7 kg for her role as eating disorder patient, Miki.[citation needed]

2008–present[edit]

Yu Aoi at the LG exhibition fair in 2009

Aoi began 2008 with the release of Don't Laugh at My Romance, which earned her a nomination as Best Supporting Actress at the Asian Film Awards 2009. She appeared in the experimental drama Camouflage (aka. Aoi Yu x 4 Lies), in which she collaborated with four different directors exploring the theme of lies. The series lasted for 12 episodes, and included work with Ryō Kase, Yoichi Nukumizu, Shoko Ikezu, Nobuhiro Yamashita, and Yuki Tanada.

A couple of months later, NTV signed Aoi to play her first TV leading role as Handa Sen in the live-action adaptation of Shota Kikuchi's manga series Osen, which aired until the end of June with ten episodes.

Next, Aoi released One Million Yen Girl written and directed by Camouflage director Yuki Tanada, and also released by WOWOW. This was her latest leading film role since Nirai Kanai in 2005. She briefly participated in the Japanese World-War-II-jury-themed film Best Wishes for Tomorrow, as well as the international Tokyo! - a three-short-film collection by Michel Gondry, Leos Carax, and Bong Joon Ho.

In 2009, The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan named Yu Aoi Rookie of the Year in the field of Films in Media and Fine Arts, citing her work in her film debut in All About Lily Chou Chou, until her work in One Million Yen Girl. Later that year, Aoi provided the voice of Ikechan in the film Ikechan and Me, a live-action adaptation of the picture book of the same name by Rieko Saibara, as well as playing supporting roles in Honokaa Boy and Yoji Yamada's Ototo. The following year Aoi starred in Ryūichi Hiroki's 2010 film The Lightning Tree.[5] She later appeared in Vampire,[6] Rurouni Kenshin,[7] and Kiyoshi Kurosawa's 2012 television drama Penance.[8]

Aoi married comedian Ryota Yamasato on June 3, 2019.[9]

Filmography[edit]

Movies[edit]

Year Title Role Director Notes Ref(s)
2001 All About Lily Chou-Chou Shiori Tsuda Shunji Iwai
2002 Kinema Tōri no Hitobito Hikari Mariko Yamauchi
Harmful Insect Natsuko Akihiko Shiota
Hashire! Kettamashin: Wedding Kyosō Kyoku Lead Katsuhiko Ishizuka Musical
2003 Worst by Chance Harada's girlfriend Gu Su-yeon
1980 Rika Hashiba Keralino Sandorovich
2004 Hana and Alice Tetsuko (Alice) Arisugawa Shunji Iwai Lead
Mask de 41 Haruka Kuramochi Taishi Muramoto
Sea Cat Miya Noda Yoshimitsu Morita
2005 Tetsujin 28: The Movie Mami Tachibana Shin Togashi
Turtles Swim Faster Than Expected Kujaku Ogitani Satoshi Miki
Letters from Nirai Kanai Fuki Asato Naoto Kumazawa Lead
Shining Boy & Little Randy Emi Murakami Shunsaku Kawake
Henshin Kei Hamura Tomoki Sano
Jukai Harumi Futoshi Jinno
Yamato Taeko Junya Sato
2006 Honey and Clover Hagumi Hanamoto Masahiro Takata
Hula Girls Kimiko Tanikawa Lee Sang-il
Tekkon Kinkreet White (voice) Michael Arias
Rainbow Song Kana Sato Naoto Kumazawa
2007 Mushishi Tanyu Katsuhiro Otomo
Welcome to the Quiet Room Miki Suzuki Matsuo
2008 Don't Laugh at My Romance En-Chan Nami Iguchi
Best Wishes for Tomorrow Kazuko Moribe Takashi Koizumi
One Million Yen Girl Suzuko Sato Yuki Tanada Lead
Tokyo! Pizza delivery girl Bong Joon-ho Segment Shaking Tokyo
2009 Honokaa Boy Kaoru Atsushi Sanada
Good Bye, My Secret Friend Ikechan (voice) Toshihiko Ōoka
2010 Ototo Koharu Takano Yoji Yamada
Flowers Rin Norihiro Koizumi Lead
The Lightning Tree Ryūichi Hiroki Lead
Redline Sonoshee (voice) Takeshi Koike
2011 Patisserie Coin de rue Natsume Usuba Yoshihiro Fukagawa Lead
Vampire Mina Shunji Iwai
By Chance Traveler Mayumi Komatsu Lead
2012 Fukushima Hula Girls Narration Masaki Kobayashi
Rurouni Kenshin Megumi Takani Keishi Ōtomo
2013 Tokyo Family Noriko Mamiya Yoji Yamada
Space Pirate Captain Harlock Miime (voice) Shinji Aramaki
2014 Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno Megumi Takani Keishi Ōtomo
Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends Megumi Takani Keishi Ōtomo
Climbing to Spring Ai Takazawa Daisaku Kimura [10]
2015 The Case of Hana & Alice Tetsuko "Alice" Arisugawa (voice) Shunji Iwai Lead, prequel of Hana and Alice. [11]
Journey to the Shore Tomoko Kiyoshi Kurosawa
2016 Over the Fence Satoshi Tamura Nobuhiro Yamashita [12]
Japanese Girls Never Die Haruko Azumi Daigo Matsui Lead
What a Wonderful Family! Noriko Mamiya Yoji Yamada
2017 What a Wonderful Family! 2 Noriko Hirata Yoji Yamada
Tokyo Ghoul Rize Kamishiro Kentarō Hagiwara
Mixed Doubles Yo Junichi Ishikawa
Birds Without Names Towako Kazuya Shiraishi Lead [13]
2018 What a Wonderful Family! 3: My Wife, My Life Noriko Hirata Yoji Yamada
Penguin Highway Lady (voice) Yasuhiro Ishida
Killing Shinya Tsukamoto
2019 Miyamoto Yasuko Nakano Tetsuya Mariko [14]
A Long Goodbye Fumi Higashi Ryota Nakano Lead
Children of the Sea Ruka's mother (voice) Ayumu Watanabe
They Say Nothing Stays the Same A geisha Joe Odagiri
2020 Romance Doll Sonoko Yuki Tanada Lead
Rurouni Kenshin: The Final Megumi Takani Keishi Ōtomo
I'll Live By Myself Young Momoko Shūichi Okita [15]

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Network Notes Ref(s)
2001 Ao to Shiro to Mizuiro Kimiko Shiina NTV TV movie
2002 Ukiwa - Shōnen-tachi no Natsu Miyuki Yamashita NHK TV movie
Shin Zukkoke Sanningumi Megumi NHK
2003 High School Teacher Mami Ezawa TBS
Engimono Koyomi Fuji TV Mini-series
14 Months 17-year-old Yūko Igarashi NTV
2004 Ichiban Taisetsu na Dēto Tokyo no Sora- Shanghai no Yume Kaori TBS
Yo ni mo Kimyō na Monogatari: Kako kara no Nikki Yurie Kotajima Fuji TV Short drama
Nanako and Nanao: The Day They Became Sister and Brother Nanako NHK Lead, TV movie
2005 Tiger & Dragon Risa TBS
Twenty-Four Eyes Kotoe Katagiri NTV TV movie
2006 Dr. Kotō Shinryōjo 2006 Mina Nakai Fuji TV
2008 Camouflage Chika, Makoto, Umeko, and Suzuko Wowow Lead
Osen Sen Handa NTV Lead
2010 Ryōmaden Omoto NHK Taiga drama
2012 Penance Sae Kikuchi Wowow Mini-series
2013 Galileo Season 2 Atsuko Kanbara Fuji TV Episode 8
Mottomo Tooi Ginga Akane TV Asahi Mini-series
2014 Mozu Season 2 Shiori Nanami Wowow
All About My Siblings Azusa Fuji TV
2017 Dr. Rintarō Yumeno NTV [16]
Hello, Detective Hedgehog Setsuko Kawai TBS
2018 Miyamoto kara Kimi e Yasuko Nakano TV Tokyo
2020 The Spy's Wife Satoko Fukuhara NHK Lead, TV movie [17]

Stage[edit]

  • Zipang Punk: Goemon Rock III (2014), Silver Cat Eyes

Awards & Nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Work Result
2005 14th Japan Film Professional Awards Best Actress Hana and Alice Won
2006 31st Hochi Film Awards Best Supporting Actress Hula Girls, Honey and Clover Won
19th Nikkan Sports Film Awards Best Newcomer Hula Girls Won
2007 61st Mainichi Film Awards Best Supporting Actress Hula Girls, Rainbow Song, Honey and Clover Won
80th Kinema Junpo Awards Best Supporting Actress Won
49th Blue Ribbon Awards Best Actress Hula Girls, Honey and Clover Won
28th Yokohama Film Festival Best Actress Won
30th Japan Academy Film Prize Best Supporting Actress Hula Girls Won
Yamato Nominated
Newcomer of the Year Hula Girls Won
2009 3rd Asian Film Awards Best Supporting Actress Don't Laugh at My Romance Nominated
2010 35th Hochi Film Awards Best Actress The Lightning Tree Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Otōto Nominated
23rd Nikkan Sports Film Awards Best Supporting Actress Won
2011 34th Japan Academy Film Prize Best Supporting Actress Nominated
5th Asian Film Awards Best Supporting Actress Nominated
2014 37th Japan Academy Film Prize Best Supporting Actress Tokyo Family Nominated
8th Asian Film Awards Best Supporting Actress Nominated
2017 42nd Hochi Film Awards Best Actress Birds Without Names Won
30th Nikkan Sports Film Awards Best Actress Won
2018 39th Yokohama Film Festival Best Actress Won
60th Blue Ribbon Awards Best Actress Nominated
41st Japan Academy Film Prize Best Actress Won
91st Kinema Junpo Awards Best Actress Won
12th Osaka Cinema Festival Best Actress Won
12th Asian Film Awards Best Actress Nominated
2019 44th Hochi Film Awards Best Actress A Long Goodbye Nominated
32nd Nikkan Sports Film Awards Best Actress A Long Goodbye, Miyamoto Nominated
2020 74th Mainichi Film Awards Best Actress Miyamoto Nominated
Kinuyo Tanaka Award Herself Nominated
62nd Blue Ribbon Awards Best Actress A Long Goodbye Nominated

References[edit]

  1. ^ 平成20年度芸術選奨 受賞者及び贈賞理由 (in Japanese). The Agency for Cultural Affairs. Archived from the original on 2009-03-10. Retrieved 2015-10-30.
  2. ^ "Japanese Professional Movie Award". Retrieved 4 October 2014.
  3. ^ 第30回日本アカデミー賞優秀作品 [The 30th Japan Academy Award] (in Japanese). Japan Academy Prize Association. Retrieved 2015-10-30.
  4. ^ "Yû Aoi". IMDb. Retrieved 4 October 2014.
  5. ^ Schilling, Mark (October 29, 2010). "'Raiou (The Lightning Tree)'". The Japan Times.
  6. ^ DeFore, John (January 26, 2011). "SUNDANCE REVIEW: Vampire". The Hollywood Reporter.
  7. ^ Lee, Maggie (October 29, 2012). "Rurouni Kenshin". Variety.
  8. ^ Fainaru, Dan (August 29, 2012). "Penance - Review - Screen". Screen International.
  9. ^ "山里亮太と蒼井優3日に結婚". Nikkan Sports (in Japanese). June 5, 2019. Retrieved June 5, 2019.
  10. ^ "Cast". Haru o Seotte official website (in Japanese). Toho. 2014. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  11. ^ Kevin Ma (October 17, 2014). "Iwai Shunji to direct first anime feature". Film Business Asia. Retrieved October 18, 2014.
  12. ^ オーバー・フェンス (in Japanese). eiga.com inc. Retrieved 2015-10-30.
  13. ^ "彼女がその名を知らない鳥たち". eiga.com. Retrieved December 22, 2019.
  14. ^ "Miyamoto". TIFF. Retrieved February 6, 2020.
  15. ^ "田中裕子と蒼井優が2人1役 若竹千佐子『おらおらでひとりいぐも』映画化". Cinra.net. Retrieved January 24, 2020.
  16. ^ 蒼井優、"芸者"役で堺雅人を翻ろう 新水10ドラマ豪華キャストが発表 (in Japanese). oricon ME inc. Retrieved 2015-05-31.
  17. ^ "黒沢清×蒼井優の8Kドラマ「スパイの妻」20年春放送! 脚本に濱口竜介&野原位が参加". eiga.com. Retrieved December 21, 2019.

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