Yukie Yamamura (山村幸恵, born August 5, 1981), known by her stage name Kou Shibasaki (柴咲コウ) is a Japanese actress and singer. Born in Toshima, Tokyo, Japan, she began her career at the age of fourteen after being scouted by an agent. Shibasaki made her singing debut in 2002 with the song Trust My Feelings. Her song 月のしずく (released under the pseudonym RUI) was one of the most successful hits of 2003. She has attained fifteen Oricon top ten hits and has had six albums debut in the top five.
Shibasaki is also known for her acting career, which took off after her performance in the controversial 2000 film, Battle Royale, where she portrayed the cold-hearted and ruthless Mitsuko Souma. Shibasaki also garnered critical acclaim for her role in 2001 film, Go, which earned her several awards, including a Japanese Academy Award, a Hōchi Movie Award, and a Kinema Junpō Award for Best Supporting Actress.
In 2002, Shibasaki took a supporting role as Yuki Mazashita in the television mystery drama, Sora Kara Furu Ichioku no Hoshi, where she co-starred with Takuya Kimura earning her an award as "Best Supporting Actress" while the show was named Best Drama at the 33rd Television Drama Academy Awards (Japan). She also starred in both seasons of Fuji TV drama, Dr. Koto Shinryojo, which aired in 2003 and 2006 respectively. The show was awarded Best Drama at the 38th Television Drama Academy Awards for its first season. In 2003, she re-unites with her former co-star Takuya Kimura in a television drama about an airline pilot (Takuya Kimura) called Good Luck!!. The story revolves around an up-and-coming pilot, Hajime Shinkai and Kou plays his love-interest as an airline mechanic with a fear of flying.
In 2005, Shibasaki appeared in the independent Japanese film, Maison de Himiko. In this film, she plays Saori, an unhappy young woman whose father is gay. In 2006, she took the title role in Dororo, working with Satoshi Tsumabuki (her co-star from the 2004 television drama, Orange Days). The film topped the Japanese box office for nearly six weeks. Shibasaki participated in two more movies, Maiko Haaaan!!! (2007) and Shaolin Girl (2008).
Shibasaki returned to television in 2007 in the drama Galileo as the female lead co-starring with Masaharu Fukuyama (福山雅治). They formed a musical unit called KOH+ to perform and release the show's theme song, KISSして (Kiss Me). Highly rated among viewers (it finished its 10 episode run with an average viewership rating of 22%), the role continued her winning run in the medium when she won "Best Supporting Actress" at the 55th Television Drama Academy Awards. The show also won 5 other awards, including "Best Drama". It was followed by a film sequel, Suspect X, which was the 3rd best-selling film of 2008 in Japan.
In March 2011, it was announced that Shibasaki would make her "Hollywood debut" in a Keanu Reeves-led adaptation of the famous Chushingura story. A story of samurai loyalty and revenge and titled "47 Ronin," it is billed as the first ever English-language adaptation of the legend based on historical events in the early 18th century.
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