Takuya Kimura (木村 拓哉) (born November 13, 1972), nicknamed Kimutaku, is a Japanese singer and actor. He is also a member of the Japanese idol group SMAP. Most of the TV dramas he starred in produced high ratings in Japan. He has become one of the most well-known and successful actors/singers/entertainers in Japan and Asia.
Early life and pre-fame
Born in Tokyo, Kimura lived in Minoo, Osaka Prefecture until he was six years old. Then, he lived and attended elementary school and junior high school in Chiba. One of his relatives sent in the application to the Johnny & Associates talent agency, which specializes in young male teen idols, and he became a member of Johnny's Juniors, a group of trainees, in 1987. Then he became one of the 12 members in a unit called "Skate Boys". Skate Boys used to be backup dancers of Hikaru Genji, which at the time was a very popular group. In 1988, SMAP was created, and he joined. The group then consisted of six members: Masahiro Nakai, Takuya Kimura, Goro Inagaki, Katsuyuki Mori, Tsuyoshi Kusanagi, Shingo Katori; Katsuyuki Mori later left SMAP to pursue an autoracing career in mid 90s. After SMAP was formed, each member pursued an individual career by starring in B-list dramas. Their first single "Can't Stop!! ~Lovin." was released in 1991, but it received mixed reviews. When SMAP had their first concert, the hall was almost empty, too.
Rise to fame
1993 can be considered to be a breakthrough year for Kimura and SMAP. After years of starring in low-budget dramas, Kimura played a leading role in the teen drama Asunaro Hakusho (あすなろ白書) as Osamu Toride, a college freshman in love with a friend Narumi Sonoda. The series, based on a then-popular manga of the same name, quickly became a hit. SMAP also released their hit single $10. In 1994, a phrase "Kimutaku Syndrome" started to be observed in some media. The term refers to a phenomenon in which some young boys copy his fashion. In 1995, he played a role in a movie Kimi o Wasurenai (君を忘れない). In 1996 he starred with Yamaguchi Tomoko in a TV series Long Vacation, which also became a hit. Kimura played a young shy pianist "Sena" who falls in love with an older woman, a former model. In the same year, SMAP began to host a weekly Japanese variety show SMAP×SMAP. During 1997, Kimura continued his streak of hit dramas with Gift and Love Generation. However Gift, was criticized for its violent plot which allegedly promoted teenage crime. In 2000, he played a leading role in a TV series Beautiful Life. He also announced his marriage with Shizuka Kudo, another idol. By the time of the announcement, Shizuka was pregnant. In 2001, Kimura starred in Hero, which set a record with its high TV ratings of about 36.8%. He enjoyed more success in string of many hit series after Hero, such as Sorakara Furu Ichiokuno Hoshi, Good Luck!!, Pride, and "ENGINE." "Good Luck" topped 2003's TV view ratings at 37.6%.
In 2004 Kimura made an appearance as a supporting actor in the movie 2046, nominated at Cannes. The cast of this Hong Kong film included Zhang Ziyi, Gong Li, and Faye Wong. The film won many awards including Best Art Direction and Best Original Film Score at Golden Horse Film Festival in 2004 and scored Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design and Make-Up, Best Art Direction, and Best Original Film Score at the Hong Kong Film Awards in 2005. In the original version shown in the Cannes Film Festival, his scene lasted about 7 minutes, although in the final edition, which was played in Japan, it was extended to approximately 20 minutes. In 2005 he voiced Howl in Hayao Miyazaki's animation Howl's Moving Castle. In July 2006, Fuji TV aired a 2 hour long HERO special. Along with the original cast, he revived his role as prosecutor Kuryu Kohei. Additional big name stars were also seen in this drama, including Socrates in Love star Haruka Ayase. Kimura's latest movie is Bushi no Ichibun, released in December 2006. Directed by Yoji Yamada he played a young blind samurai during the Edo period. He earned a Japan Academy Prize nomination for Best Actor. However, he declined it because his agency, Johnny & Associates, was reluctant to have him compete with the other nominees, who are experienced film actors. This has been said to be the first case of decline for such reason. The film is the final in the trilogy, which includes The Twilight Samurai(2002) and The Hidden Blade(2004). In 2007, Kimura starred in TBS' 55th Anniversary drama, Karei-naru Ichizoku, which stars other big-name actors and actresses. In September, the movie sequel to 2001's HERO was released, continuing the story from where the last episode on TV special in 2006 left off. It has proved a major success, sparking rumours that a sequel will be produced. Continuing his huge success, Kimura will appear in a 2009 film produced in France, I Come with the Rain with Hollywood actor, Josh Hartnett.
In 1999 he ended the nine-year relationship with his longtime girlfriend Kaorin. The next year on November 23, he announced he was going to marry Shizuka Kudo, another Japanese pop idol. They married on December 5, 2000. His first daughter, Kokomi (心美?), was born on May 1, 2001 and his second daughter, Mitsuki (光希?), was born on February 5, 2003.