Japanese Actresses Who Should Have Been Considered for the ‘Ghost in the Shell’ Remake


It was announced this week that production is moving forward on the Western adaptation of Japanese manga classic Ghost in the Shell . Deadline revealed the first look at Scarlett Johansson as Major Motoko Kusanagi, the cyborg squad leader of Public Security Section 9, a fictional intelligence group. The Internet has been raging ever since, and rightfully so. It’s just another example of Hollywood whitewashing. Movie blog Screencrush reported that producers of the movie even tested visual effects that would make Johansson’s character appear Asian — although the filmmakers deny it. Need we remind Hollywood what a disaster it was when Cloud Atlas went full-on yellowface and turned Halle Berry and several of the film’s stars into Asian characters using prosthetic makeup? The Ghost in the Shell remake does feature several Asian stars, including the legendary Takeshi Kitano, but none in the movie’s most central and important role. We decided to highlight Japanese actresses who should have been considered for the part of Kusanagi. Pay attention, Paramount and Dreamworks.

Tao Okamoto

Actress and model Tao Okamoto has already tasted the science fiction world with a role as Betty in Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle. She made a four-episode appearance on Hannibal and played Yashida’s granddaughter, Mariko, in The Wolverine. From the Daily News during press rounds for Wolverine:

“While Tao may be new in the sense of acting in movies, the experience of camera and lenses and of exploring with self-consciousness while the cameras are clicking is a gigantic asset that many people with a lot more experience as actors would not even begin to understand,” says [director James] Mangold of his star’s first movie role.

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Karen Fukuhara

Look for Fukuhara as Tatsu Yamashiro / Katana in David Ayer’s Suicide Squad — a skilled swordswoman and martial artist. In her personal life, the Japanese-American actress is a martial arts champion.

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Devon Aoki

Aoki’s dad was famous as the founder of the Benihana restaurant chain. The actress is famous the modeling work she’s done for major fashion houses, including Chanel and Versace, as well as appearing in music videos for Duran Duran and others. Her film career as taken her from the fast-paced world of racing in 2 Fast 2 Furious to the comic book world of Sin City.

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Rinko Kikuchi

In 2006, Kikuchi became the first Japanese actress to be nominated for an Academy Award in 50 years when she won for her role in Babel. Audiences witnessed her dramatic chops in Norwegian Wood, based on Haruki Murakami’s novel of the same name, and 2014’s Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter. Her casting in Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim gave her a platform for action roles.

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Kiki Sukezane

A descendant of a famous samurai family, Sukezane plays a swordsmith and martial artist on NBC’s Heroes Reborn — handy skills for a movie adaptation that Hollywood will most likely turn into an all-out action extravaganza.

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Rila Fukushima

Japanese model Rila Fukushima was voted woman of the year in 2013’s Vogue Japan. She played Yukio in 2013’s The Wolverine and had a part in HBO’s Game of Thrones as a Red Priestess named Volantis. Weird fact: The IMDb for the Ghost in the Shell remake lists a stunt double for the actress, but not the actress herself on the cast list. We’re not sure if this means her participation will be announced or not as things change so quickly during production.

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Chiaki Kuriyama

Chiaki Kuriyama is a memorable face from Kinji Fukasaku’s film Battle Royale and Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill: Volume 1. Her work in America is limited, but the actress received positive recognition for her roles in the Japanese horror films Shikoku and Ju-on. Her IMDb page indicates that she’s currently working on improving her English and hopes to appear in more American movies soon.

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Kimiko Glenn

Kimiko Glenn is best known for her role as Brook Soso in the Netflix series Orange is the New Black, where her performance won rave reviews from fans of the Jenji Kohan prison comedy-drama. Glenn’s theater background would be an asset for some of the film’s intimate themes, like identity.