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Youki Kudoh

Youki Kudoh was most recently seen in Columbia Pictures' Memoirs of a Geisha, directed by Rob Marshall, in which she played the much loved character, Pumpkin. She also starred in the Scott Hicks film, Snow Falling on Cedars, opposite her Rush Hour 3 co-star Max von Sydow. She received an equal amount of attention for the Australian black comedy Heaven's Burning and the independent film Picture Bride, which won the Audience Award at the 1995 Sundance Film Festival and earned Kudoh the International Actress of the Year Award from the Japan Film Critics.

At age 20, she became the youngest person ever to receive her country's Best Actress Award for her starring role in War and Youth, the last film directed by renowned director Tadeshi Imai. This role also earned her Best Actress awards from the Japan Film Critics, Hochi Film Festival and the 34th Blue Ribbon Award.

The American phase of Kudoh's career was set in motion by Jim Jarmusch, who cast her in Mystery Train as half of a rockabilly-loving couple on a pilgrimage to Memphis. This early performance gained Kudoh a Best Actress nomination at that year's Independent Spirit Awards.

A singer as well as bilingual actress, Kudoh is something of an icon for young women in her native Japan. Her career began when she was only 12, having been spotted in the streets of Tokyo by an agent. Though show business was hardly unfamiliar (her mother is a famous singer), Kudoh subsequently debuted in a quirky comedy The Crazy Family, which was screened at the Cannes Film Festival and became a cult hit in Japan. She sang several songs in the film, some of which launched her singing career. She has recorded seven albums and become an alternative music pop star in Japan.

At the same time she continued acting, appearing in many Japanese films, including The Blue Mountain Ranges, Labyrinth of Flower Garden, Real Life Girls, Congratulatory Address and Typhoon Club.

Her television appearances include the Sci-Fi Channel series Chronicle and Showtime's Masters of Horror.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2007.

Youki Kudoh Facts

OccupationActress, Musician
BirthdayJanuary 17, 1971 (50)
BirthplaceHachioji, Tokyo, Japan
Height5' 2" (1m57)  How tall is Youki Kudoh compared to you?

Selected Filmography

Rush Hour 3
Snow Falling on Cedars
Heaven's Burning
The Limits of Control
Mystery Train
Blood: The Last Vampire
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