Actors & Actresses

Fujiwara Norika

(Hyogo Prefecture, 1971- )

Fujiwara NorikaShe can safely be described as the female face of the late '90s. It was impossible to walk the streets, read a magazine or watch TV without seeing the chipmunk features of this former Miss Japan beaming at you. The most ubiquitous advertising was for the mobile phone company J-Phone but Fujiwara's marketing power has boosted sales for countless other products over the last few years.

She was scouted while still in high school and pursued a modeling career through her university years, gracing the covers of several national magazines. After the huge break of winning the Miss Japan contest in 1992, she moved to the capital and started on expanding her resume. Her looks landed her prime TV roles opposite such heart-throbs as Takahashi Katsunori and Inagaki Goro of SMAP. Her biggest Tv hits include Okuman-choja to Kekon Suru Hoho (How to Marry a Millionaire) and Naomi. In the latter, she played a predatory high school teacher whose sexual exploits with her students led to complaints from viewers about her 'immoral behavior'.

Something of a 'daikon yakusha' (ham actor) she needs to rely on her looks rather than her dramatic skills to survive. A strategic change of hairstyle is enough to send the gossip shows into a frenzy and put her on the front page of the tabloids. Perhaps in order to live up to the figure of her very own Barbie-style 'Norika' doll, Fujiwara keeps in shape by regularly working out. She is also known as a keen fan of the martial arts and was a friend of the late Swiss K-1 fighter Andy Hug. This less than cutesy side to her character indicate that there may be more to this woman than her PR machine let us see. But the always image-conscious Japanese geinokai (entertainment world) will no doubt have the last say so she is a prime candidate for Celebrity Bride of the Year should such an event come about. Reports of her relationship with US-based actor Kato Masaya are routinely denied but the rumor mills keep churning.

Fujiwara has a better than average English ability and appeared in the Hong Kong action movie China Strike Force in 2000. We may be seeing more of her on the international stage yet.