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Famous Japanese People

Japan flag. Famous Japanese People & Foreign Residents Of Japan: Listing

Historical Figures | Artists | Actors & Directors | Business Leaders | Writers | Musicians | Politians | Sportsmen & Women

Famous Japanese People

See a listing of famous Japanese people in the world of art, film, literature, politics and sport plus famous Japanese people from history.

This list of well-known Japanese includes historical figures such as Sakamoto Ryoma, Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Tokugawa Ieyasu and Lafcadio Hearn.

From the world of art, music and literature read biographies of Yoko Ono, Yayoi Kusama, Yukio Mishima, Ayumi Hamasaki, Sakamoto Ryuichi and Taro Okamoto.

Giants of Japanese industry and technology include Konosuke Matsushita and Soichiro Honda. Sports stars' biographies include baseball's Ichiro Suzuki and Sadaharu Oh, golfer Ryo Ishikawa and soccer player Hidetoshi Nakata.

Film directors Akira Kurosawa, Shohei Imamura and more recently anime director Hayao Miyazaki are among the most famous Japanese celebrities known or once known overseas for their movies.

Politians include Junichiro Koizumi and Kakuei Tanaka.

Japanese Historical Figures

William Adams 1564-1620 - the first Englishman in Japan.

Fukuzawa Yukichi 1835-1901 - founder of the prestigious Keio University and the man pictured on the 10,000 yen note.

Itagaki Taisuke 1837-1919 - Meiji-era politician and civil rights campaigner.

Kukai 774-835 - aka Kobo Daishi influential founder of Shingon Buddhism.

Lafcadio Hearn 1850-1904 - influential poet and writer on Japan.

Oda Nobunaga 1534-1582 - medieval warlord renown for his cruelty and artistic sense.

Toyotomi Hideyoshi 1536-1598 - second in the trio of the great unifiers of Japan.

Tokugawa Ieyasu 1543-1616 - began the Tokugawa dynasty that was to rule Japan for over 250 years during the Edo Period.

Sakamoto Ryoma 1836-1867 - political activist in the Bakumatsu Period from Kochi, murdered in Kyoto.

Sesshu Toyo 1420-1506 - one of Japan's greatest artists and garden designers.

Yamagata Aritomo 1838-1922 - influential Meiji-era genro and arch-conservative politician.

Statue of Sakamoto Ryoma, a famous Japanese person.

Statue of Sakamoto Ryoma at Katsurahama Beach, Kochi

Kusama Yayoi, a famous Japanese artist.

Yayoi Kusama on the cover of Tokyo's Big Issue

Japanese Artists

Fumio Asakura 1883-1964 - prolific sculptor known for his fabulous bronzes of people.

Kawai Kanjiro 1890-1966 - ceramic artist an a leader in the mingei (folk art) movement.

Yayoi Kusama 1929- - artist and sculptor.

Taro Okamoto 1911-1996 - Art is Magic.

Yoko Ono 1933- - wife of John Lennon and avant garde musician.

Japan Film / Movies

Shohei (Shouhei) Imamura 1926-2006 - film writer, producer, and director

Akira Kurosawa 1910-1998 - Japan's pre-eminent movie director.

Hayao Miyazaki b.1941 - renown director of such films as Princess Mononoke and Castle in the Sky.

Watanabe Ken b. 1959 - actor famous for his roles in The Last Samurai, Batman Begins and Godzilla.

Business & Industry

Soichiro Honda 1906-1991 - founder of Honda Motor Corporation.

Konosuke Matsushita 1894-1989 - giant of Japanese electronics.

Minoru Mori 1934-2012 - mega-rich international property developer.

Japanese Literature

Osamu Dazai 1909-1948 - one of Japan's most famous 20th century writers

Lafcadio Hearn 1850-1904 - author of such works as Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan and Kwaidan.

Yukio Mishima 1925-1970 - controversial novelist, effete and rightist.

Music in Japan

Ayumi Hamasaki 1978 - J.Pop diva.

Ryuichi Sakamoto 1952 - musician, actor and record producer.

Toru Takemitsu 1930-1996 - Japanese composer.

Japanese Politics & Politicians

Junichiro Koizumi b.1942 - Prime Minister of Japan 2001-2006

Kakuei Tanaka 1918-1993 - highly effective though tainted politician.

Japanese Sports

Ryo Ishikawa b. 1991 - young starlet of Japanese golf.

Hidetoshi Nakata b.1977 - well-traveled Japanese soccer player.

Sadaharu Oh b.1940 - Japan's Babe Ruth.

Ichiro Suzuki b.1973 - the greatest Japanese export to MLB.

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