Koyuki is making a name for herself as an actress. Now 26, she appears in magazines, TV shows, advertisements and movies in Japan, and has also landed a role as a heroine in an American movie The Last Samurai, co-produced by Hollywood star Tom Cruise, who also has the leading role in the film. The Last Samurai is scheduled for release in January 2004.
Koyuki explains, "The action takes place in Japan, something unusual for a big Hollywood production. I play the wife of a samurai in the 1870s, just after the Meiji Restoration. It's a big responsibility, representing one aspect of Japan. I have to wear a kimono and move and behave like a woman of that period. Right now I'm practicing the gestures and postures of those days. It's not at all easy!"
"It's a great honor being chosen to work overseas, and a wonderful experience, too. I will do each job that comes along as well as I can. But I don't have a strong ambition to become famous in Hollywood, or a famous movie star. That doesn't interest me much."
Koyuki's first chance to enter the world of performing arts came when a close friend in senior high school suggested they both participate in the competition of a magazine looking for models among its readers. "It was a whim I wasn't that interested in becoming a model. I kept working as a model after graduation, and attended nursing school, as well. But it was difficult and physically demanding doing both, so I decided to concentrate on modeling. I realized that a nurse has her patients' lives in her hands, and that it would be irresponsible to do both jobs half-heartedly."
At 19, Koyuki was a professional model. She began appearing on magazine covers and in fashion shows and ads, then debuted as a TV actress two years later. "The first acting role I got was playing the part of a model! At the beginning I was really annoyed with myself, not being able to act the way I felt I should. Now my work involves more acting than modeling. Whatever role I get, I want to do it as well as I can. If I had more spare time, I'd like to learn how to play a musical instrument, or study dancing, or take up horseback riding. But I've got too much work now, and there's no time to become good at something new. I wish I had time to step outside myself and see who I really am."