Born Jan. 6, 1981, in Kanagawa, Japan, Kikuchi began modeling at age 15. Skilled in the traditional arts of Japanese dance and archery, Kikuchi landed her first film role in Kaneto Shindô's Ikitai and followed that with strong performances in films such as 2002's Hole in the Sky and 2004's The Taste of Tea.
Determined to win the part of Chieko in Babel, Kikuchi learned sign language to prepare and eventually won over director Alejandro González Iñárritu, who originally wanted a deaf actress for the part.
Huge alien creatures rise from the seas to threaten life on Earth, and humanity responds with mind-controlled robotic weapons. But when these defenses fail, the task of saving the planet falls to a former pilot and a raw trainee.