Meet Rila Fukushima: A Japanese Actress Taking the Leap to Hollywood

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  • Ken Watanabe. Devon Aoki. Rinko Kikuchi. They are just a few Japanese actors that are widely recognized in Hollywood. While Hollywood is no stranger to Asian artists trying to cross over, there are just a few who stand out. One of them is Rila Fukushima (福島リラ), who is slowly but surely making her name a well-known one on the Sunset Strip.

    From Agent to Model

    Born in Kyushu on January 16, 1989, with looks that demand her own personal catwalk, Rila Fukushima didn’t originally intend to become a model. An aspiring model agent at a top Tokyo agency, Rila was persuaded that she had what it takes to be on the runway, not behind it. The rest is history, and she started doing modelling work for no less than Dolce and Gabbana in Tokyo, 2004. Other big brands followed suit in securing her as their model, also appearing in various important fashion magazines. It wasn’t long before Rila Fukushima was noticed by American modelling agencies and started to get booked left and right.

    From Model to Actress

    In 2010, Rila Fukushima dipped her toes in acting by appearing in a short drama entitled ‘Karma: A Very Twisted Love Story’. She played Rei, a character that she described as “quiet”, with no action at all. This character is a far cry from her first major Hollywood film, ‘The Wolverine’, alongside A-Lister Hugh Jackman and another famous Japanese actor, Hiroyuki Sanada. In the 2013 film Rila played Yukio, a scarlet-haired female ninja who teams up with Wolverine.

    ‘The Wolverine’ was received well at the box office and has definitely opened more doors for Rila in Hollywood. In 2014, she appeared on the hit tv series ‘Arrow’ as Tatsu Yamahiro/Katana. She made a recurring appearance in the show’s third season, replacing Devon Aoki in the role. Her appearance in ‘Arrow’ was followed by another high profile tv appearance, albeit with a minor role. Rila played a Red Priestess in the 5th season of ‘Game of Thrones’.

    What’s next for Rila Fukushima? She has been making some appearances in Japan and has continued her modelling work. Her Hollywood fans are eagerly awaiting her return to the Western big screen, and with the type of allure and talent that Rila has, this is sure to be very soon!

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