Born in Naha, Okinawa, Yui Aragaki was born the youngest of three girls on the eleventh of June 1988. As a teenager, Aragaki enjoyed going out for karaoke, reading manga and drawing. So far, she has attended three schools, Naha Elementary School, Ozato Middle School and Sunrise High School.
After seeing an audition notice for the junior fashion magazine nicola, Yui's sister sent in Yui's profile to the publishers and she auditioned, winning its Grand Prix award. As soon as she won, she became a nicomo, a term used to refer to the models of the said magazine. By 2001, her fellow nicomo, Ayako Enamoto, nicknamed her Gakky. Since then, she has been popularly known for this nickname.
Aragaki put her modeling stint in nicola on hold in order for her to expand her modeling career into gravure in 2004. Simultaneously, she has also started appearing on variety shows and commercials, her commercials for Glico's Pocky being the most popular ones. A year after, she officially graduated from the magazine. During the same year, she acted in the TBS drama, Dragon Zakura, alongside fellow Japanese idol, Tomohisa Yamashita and actress Masami Nagasawa. Her role in the said drama became her breakthrough performance in the field of acting. Since then, Aragaki started to pursue an acting career, being cast in various dramas like Kanojo no Koibumi, Gal Circle and My Boss, My Hero. Despite the expiration of her contract with nicola, she still appears in the magazine occasionally. She currently holds the record for appearing the most number of times as a cover girl for nicola.
2007 became a successful year for Aragaki, as she started the year with a movie, Waruboro, together with Shota Matsuda and Yuu Shirota. After which she had been cast alongside famous veteran actor Hiroshi Tachi and NEWS member Shigeaki Kato in TBS' Sunday drama for the summer season, Papa to Musume no Nanokakan. Aragaki plays a young high school student at the prime of her high school life who, by some stroke of fate, exchanges bodies with her father, a middle-aged salary man stuck in a dead-end project that may cost his job.
Aragaki was also cast in the movie Koisuru Madori/Tokyo Serendipity, with actor Ryuhei Matsuda (who is the older brother of her pervious movie co-star Shota Matsuda). Later that year came her breakthrough movie Koizora and, together with Haruma Miura, brought to life the story of two young lovers in a movie that was said to 'have moved Japan to tears'. In this film, she plays Mika, an ordinary high school student who later experiences a series of misfortunes after having a relationship with her punk classmate Hiro, played by Haruma Miura.
Aside from being active in movies and in television she has also released her first album, Sora under Warner Music Japan, the carrier single of which was heavenly days, a song used in the movie Koizora.
Indeed 2007 had been an active year for her, as she starred in four acting projects, three films and a drama, and recorded a debut album all in a span of less than months. However, this streak of opportunities compromised her health. Reportedly, Aragaki's condition went ill after being subjected to a lot of pressure and being deprived of enough sleep, in an effort to attend all her commitments and promote her movies. Her ill state did not stop her, and her presence was definitely missing during the press conference of the Koisuru Madori in October that year. It was later personally reported by Aragaki through her blog by the month of November that she has already recovered.
To date, Aragaki has won five Newcomer awards from various award-giving bodies for the roles she played in each of her three 2007 movies Waruboro, Tokyo Serendipity and Koizora/Sky of Love. Her fifth Newcomer recognition was in honor of her character in the ¥3.6 billion-grossing movie, Sky of Love. The peak of her winning streak was a major award she won from the prestigious Golden Arrow Awards on March 2008; she won the Film prize for acting in three different roles in a year.
Aragaki also made her singing debut in 2007. The ballad called Memories, the theme song for Tokyo Serendipity, marked the beginning of her career as a singer, which was included in her debut album Sora, released on December 5. She also performed her debut performance in Budoukan. Her performance in the said stage made her the third singer to debut in the stadium. Moreover, it is very rare for Japanese artists to release an album before releasing a single.
She has also released two new singles in 2008, Make my day and Akai Ito. Make my Day (released August 2008) was used as the opening theme in the NHK drama Hachi-One Driver, while Akai Ito (released October 2008) is a cover of a song written and performed by Kobukuro during their indie days. Her revival of the song is a collaboration project with the Japanese singing duo Kobukuro, in commemoration of the duo's tenth year anniversary in the Japanese music industry.
August 2008 also saw Aragaki's comeback on television, as she played the role of the flight doctor intern Megumi Shiraishi in the medical drama Code Blue: Doctor Heli Kinkyuu Kyuumei/Code Blue: Doctor Heli Emergency Lifesaving, together with Tomohisa Yamashita and Erika Toda. At the same time she was also filming for the movie Fure Fure Shoujo, where she plays the role of an ouedan, to show her support for her character's high school baseball team, whose team captain had captivated her heart.
Currently she is doing a period movie entitled Ballad with SMAP member Tsuyoshi Kusanagi where she plays a feudal princess. The movie was inspired by one of the award-winning episodes of Crayon Shin-chan. She is also set to release her fifth single PIECE on February 2009.
Aragaki also hosts for the GIRLS' ROCKS! segment of the radio show, SCHOOL OF ROCKS!, together with other U-20 idols Maki Horikita, Chiaki Kuriyama, Nana Eikura, Erika Toda and Riko Narumi. Aside from that, she also works as a voice actor.
2005 Dragon Zakura
Onna no Ichidaiki!
2006 True Love
2006 Kanojo no Koibumi
2006 Gal Circle
2006 My Boss, My Hero
2007 Papa to Musume no Nananokan
2008 Code Blue
2007 Koisuru Madori (Tokyo Serendipity)
2007 Koizora (Sky of Love)
2008 Fure Fure Shojo
2009 Ballad: Namonaki Koi no Uta (Ballad)
Year Title Type Character
2006 Digimon Savers Anime series Yoshino Fujieda
Digimon World Data Squad Video game Yoshino Fujieda
Sgt. Keroro Anime film Mirara
Daio Paper - Elleair (2003)
Seika - Meiji (2005)
Senoby - JT Beverage (2005)
NTT East (2005)
Pantene - Procter & Gamble (2006)
DAILIES AQUA - CIBA Vision (2006)
Pocky - Glico (2006-current)
Townwork - Recruit(2006-current)
Japanese Red Cross (2007)
Mitsuya Cider - Asahi Soft Drinks(2007)
Release Title Daily Weekly Debut Overall
2008/07/16 1st Single-"Make my day" 1 2 53,471 85,341
2008/10/15 2nd Single-"Akai Ito" 1 3 34,236 64,461
2009/02/25 3rd Single-"Piece" 6 7 18,204 25,283
2009/05/27 4th Single-"Utsushie" 9 10 15,946 22,048
(Oricon Single charts peak positions and sales)
Release Title Daily Weekly Debut Overall
2007/12/05 1st Album "Sora" 2 3 72,879 133,086
2009/06/17 2nd Album "Hug" 3 5 22,540 40,704
(Oricon Album charts peak positions and sales)