Photo of Rinko Kikuchi Rinko Kikuchi

Thrust to the attention of American audiences for the first time with her Oscar-nominated performance as the deaf-mute teenager at the heart of one of the three intertwining stories that make up Babel (2006), Rinko Kikuchi was already well-known in Japan, where she had been performing in films since the beginning of the decade.

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.

Rinko Kikuchi in Pacific Rim

Pacific Rim

2013 PG-13

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.

  • Rinko Kikuchi in 47 Ronin 47 Ronin
  • Rinko Kikuchi in The Brothers Bloom The Brothers Bloom
  • Rinko Kikuchi in Babel Babel
  • Rinko Kikuchi in Assault Girls Assault Girls
  • Rinko Kikuchi in Shanghai Shanghai
  • Rinko Kikuchi in The Sky Crawlers The Sky Crawlers
  • Rinko Kikuchi in Map of the Sounds of Tokyo Map of the Sounds of Tokyo
  • Rinko Kikuchi in Norwegian Wood Norwegian Wood