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Rinko Kikuchi

“Rinko Kikuchi, almost unknown in her native Japan, took centre stage yesterday as the country’s second actress to be nominated for an Oscar.”

Born in 1981 in Kanagawa Prefecture, Rinko Kikuchi (Kikuchi Rinko, Yuriko Kikuchi or Kikuchi Yuriko) was just an ordinary actress and her previous roles were mostly in low-budget domestic films. After starring in Babel, she was suddenly featured on television broadcasts and graced the front pages of daily tabloids.

Rinko Kikuchi’s role in Babel has been her breakthrough role. She won the Gotham Awards for Best Breakthrough; she was thence nominated for a Golden Globe, a Golden Satellite, and a Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Supporting Actress; and she won the National Board of Review for Best Breakthrough Female.

Babel is one of the most intelligent and artfully made films of 2006. The film has two central themes – culture and communication. The movie begins with a tragic incident involving an American couple in Morocco and thence it sparks a chain of events for four families in different countries throughout the world. Tied by circumstance but separated by continent, culture and language, each character discovers that it is family that ultimately provides solace.

In Babel, you can see Rinko act as a rebellious Deaf Japanese teenage girl, Chieko, who is traumatized by the recent suicide of her mother and a sense that she is not seen by others which is especially exemplified by interactions with her father, Yasujiro (Kôji Yakusho), and boys her age. In response, she has started exhibiting sexually provocative behavior, such as wearing a short skirt and no underpants. She attempts unsuccessfully to initiate a sexual encounter with her dentist. She even goes so far as to try to seduce a police detective, Kenji (Satoshi Nikaido), who visits the house to question Chieko’s father about his gun.

The audition process for Rinko to get the role was actually took a year. She got to know Alejandro via his other movies “21 grams” and “Amores Perros”. These two movies have inspired Rinko to appear for Babel’s audition. When she was asked about the character in the movie on how she expressed her sexuality, the young Rinko said: “Being sexual is certainly part of her character, but as far as that scene is concerned, yes she does strip herself naked, but it’s more emotional longing, a basic human need, a desire to have someone by her side who understands her. That was the most important aspect that I paid attention to, in that scene she basically has nothing to lose, nothing more to lose, so she is throwing herself at this man just so she can have an emotional connection. So to me that feels like a very basic human need”.

Rinko is up for the best supporting actress award against four actresses including Mexico’s Adriana Barraza who co-stars in Babel, a drama that weaves together storylines unfolding on three continents.

Besides Rinko, the only other Japanesse actresss to have been nominated for an Oscar was Nancy Umeki, who won the award for best supporting actress for her role in the 1957 Hollywood film with Sayonara.

Other movies by Rinko:
Babel (2007)
– Warau Michael (2006)
– Nice no mori:The First Contact (2006)
– Tagatameni (2005)
– Riyuu(2004)
– Etc.

View video clips of interview with BABEL star Rinko Kikuchi

Babel Trailer

Rinko Kikuchi in Babel

Short clip of Rinko Kikuchi nudity scene in Babel

Rinko Kikuchi photo gallery
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Babel (2006) – Rinko Kikuchi

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Babel (2006) – Rinko Kikuchi

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Babel (2006) – Rinko Kikuchi

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Babel (2006) – Rinko Kikuchi

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Rinko Kikuchi

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Rinko Kikuchi

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Sexy Rinko Kikuchi

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Young and pretty Rinko Kikuchi

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Rinko Kikuchi