Those who are familiar with the popular anime Yuri!!! On Ice would have definitely heard of their opening theme song “History Maker” by Dean Fujioka. This song has been a hit since the anime’s debut on October 5th, 2016, and the name Dean Fujioka has been linked to the anime ever since.
However, did you know that Dean Fujioka, who is widely known as a ‘reverse-import artist’ (becoming famous overseas and then coming back to your home country) in Japan, was already a popular artist before Yuri!!! on Ice? Let’s check out his story and how he became famous overseas before coming back to Japan!
DEAN FUJIOKA、日本テレビ系ドラマ「今からあなたを脅迫します」主題歌「Let it snow!」 含む2nd EPを12月にリリースすることが決定❄️
— A-Sketch (@ASketch_JP) October 4, 2017
Born on 19 August 1980 to Japanese parents in Fukushima Prefecture, his birth name is Fujioka Tatsuo (藤岡 竜雄). He then moved with his family and grew up in Chiba Prefecture. He is currently happily married to an Indonesian-Chinese wife and welcomed a baby in March 2017, in addition to their three-year old boy and girl twins!
This multi-talented artist has found success in the entertainment world as an actor, musician, model, director, artist, and radio host. He is also multilingual, being able to speak fluent Japanese, English, Cantonese and Mandarin Chinese.
When he was young, he wanted to escape Japan, partially due to him suffering from debilitating hay fever every spring (it’s a national affliction!). Upon graduating from college in Seattle, he embarked on a journey to Hong Kong to practice photography.
His involvement in the entertainment world began when he was scouted by a fashion magazine editor in Hong Kong. This then lead to him staring in his first drama series followed by his first Hong Kong movie The August Story as one of the main actors.
His success in Hong Kong lead him to another success in Taiwan with the drama series Miss No Good alongside the popular Taiwanese artists Rainie Yang and Wilber Pan.
At the same time, he also did some modelling for magazines and got himself involved with commercial advertisements. He then went on to star in more drama series and movies, but none of them were Japanese.
— 【公式】今からあなたを脅迫します (@kyohaku_ntv) September 24, 2017
Despite being a household name in Japan, Dean Fujioka has not been very well-known until recently. In fact, a Japanese article about him, found here (Japanese only) even labeled the title as “Who the heck is this hot guy?!”.
In an interview with Asia Times, found here, he even commented that “I was treated like a Taiwanese actor who can speak Japanese but one who knows a little more about Japan than other Chinese celebrities.”
In 2011, he signed with Amuse Inc. and completed his first work in Japan. It was a biopic movie called I Am Ichihashi: Journal of a Murderer released in 2012, of which he directed, starred in and even composed the music. He also went on to star in some other Japanese shows followed by a brief acting stint in a Canadian detective series, The Pinkertons. At that time, he had been dividing his time between Taipei, Jakarta, Tokyo, and Canada, for both his work and family life.
It was his appearance on an NHK morning TV drama called Here Comes Asa in 2015, which found him fame in Japan. In the series, he played Tomoatsu Godai, who is a real-life pioneer in the Osaka commerce industry. The real-life Godai is said to have created a commerce boom commonly called the ‘Godai-sama Boom’.
In 2016, Dean Fujioka made headlines again with the opening song for the hit anime Yuri!!! On Ice. The song “History Maker” which was composed and sung by him, is etched in the ears of many. His latest anime-related work includes Fullmetal Alchemist, where he plays Roy Mustang.
Let’s enjoy his current achievements and anticipate his exciting future work!