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Erika Sawajiri ( Sawajiri Erika, born April 8, 1986 in Nerima, Tokyo) is a Japanese actress, model, and musician. Her alias in her music career was Kaoru Amane, but she has recently started her own project under the name Erika. She is currently affiliated with Sony for her record label as formerly Kaoru Amane and later Erika, and Stardust Promotion for her talent agency as her real name, Erika Sawajiri, and became popular after playing a girl who suffered from an intractable disease called spinocerebellar degeneration (SCD) in the nonfiction drama "1 Litre of Tears".


Erika was born to a Japanese father and an Algerian-French mother and is the youngest of three brothers and sisters. Her name is derived from an orchids's name, Ericaceae's Erica. Her father owned sixteen racehorses, including the horse, Edonokoban . Her father died of cancer when she was in her third year at junior high school. Her second eldest brother died in a car accident when she was in her first year at high school. Her mother managed a Mediterranean restaurant and Erika sometimes helped with it. Erika has been horseback riding since she was a child.

In 1999, Erika passed the Stardust audition after graduating from elementary school. She became part of the idol unit Angel Eyes and began modeling for junior fashion magazines such as CUTiE and nicola. She later won the grand prize for the 2001 Seikore and became a regular on the BS news program Harajuku Launchers. In 2002, Erika started her career in film as well as extending her modeling career as a gravure idol. Her first film was Mondai no nai Watashitachi.

She also became one of Fuji TV's Visual Queens in 2002. On the NTV variety show The Yoru mo Hit Parade, she became a regular from April till late June, shortly after leaving the program for the CX news program Chou VIP Fortune no Tobira from mid-June till late August. In November, she was on the CBC variety show Bijou Dokyuu and TBS show B-1. She got her big break when she was cast in the TBS TV drama Hotman. Her most notable role was in 1 Litre of Tears in 2005 when she portrayed a girl with the degenerative disease spinocerebellar degeneration.

Erika first started her music career under the name "Kaoru Amane", the name of her character in her last drama, the TV adaptation of A Song to the Sun (Taiyou no Uta). The single went into number 1 in its second and fourth week. On July 16, 2007, Erika released her 'debut' single under only Erika entitled "Free". The single was immediately ranked on its first day as number one on the Oricon Charts. Oricon stated that she is the only artist in 39 years to get their first two single hit number one since Hiroko Yakushimaru in 1983.

She decided to enter the entertainment world because she wanted to meet singer Namie Amuro whom she idolizes.

On January 20, 2009, Erika Sawajiri married media creator Tsuyoshi Takashiro at Meiji Shrine in Yoyogi. The pair registered their marriage on Jan 7, which fell on the most auspicious of the days - or “taian” - according to the six-day “rokuyo” calendar, and they held a small reception for close friends and family in Hawaii later that month.

Erika and her mother both stated on separate occasions that she would return to Japan and make a comeback as soon as late Summer 2009.


Date Movie Role Production Company
2004.02.28 Mondai no nai watashitachi Shintani Maki Asmik Ace
2005.01.22 Pacchigi!

(We Shall Overcome Someday)

Lee Kyung-ja Asmik Ace
2005.04.16 Ashurajou no Hitomi
2005.09.17 Shinobi: Heart Under Blade Hotarubi Shochiku
2006.05.13 Mamiya kyodai Naomi Honma Asmik Ace
2006.09.16 Sugar & Spice Noriko Watanabe Toho
2006.09.30 Otoshimono (Ghost Train) Nana Shochiku
2006.10.21 Tentama Natsuki Saito Shochiku
2006.11.11 Tegami Yumiko Iraishi Gaga Communications
2007.09.29 Closed Note Kae Hori

Awards and Nominations

Year Award Title Movie/Drama
2001 Young Jump Uniform Collection Runner up -
2002 Fuji TV's Visual Queen of the Year - -
2005 18th Nikkan Sports Movie Award Best New Comer Award Pacchigi!
30th Houchi Movie Award Best New Comer Award Pacchigi!
15th Tokyo Sports Movie Award Best New Comer Award Pacchigi!
79th Kinema Junpo Award Best New Comer Award [Female] Pacchigi!
29th Japan Academy Awards Best New Comer Award [Female] Pacchigi!
2006 Elandor Award Best New Comer Award 1 Litre of Tears
43rd Golden Arrow Award Best New Comer Award 1 Litre of Tears


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