YOUKI KUDOH (Hatsue Miyamoto)

A singer as well as bi-lingual actress, YOUKI KUDOH (Hatsue Miyamoto) is something of an icon for young women in her native Japan, projecting a mixture of independence and vulnerability which has great appeal.

She received an equal amount of attention here for the Australian black comedy Heaven's Burning and for the independent film Picture Bride (which won the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival in 1995).

Her career began when she was only 12, having been spotted in the streets of Tokyo by an agent. Though show business was hardly unfamiliar (her mother is a famous singer) Kudoh saw the opportunity primarily as a chance to get out of school. She subsequently debuted in a quirky comedy The Crazy Family, which was screened at the Cannes Film Festival and became a cult hit in Japan. Some of the several songs she sang in it launched her singing career. She has recorded seven albums and become an alternative music pop star.

At the same time she continued acting, appearing in many Japanese films. At age 20, she became the youngest person ever to receive her country's Best Actress Award for her starring role in War and Youth, the last film directed by renowned director Tadeshi Imai.

The American phase of Kudoh's career was set in motion by Jim Jarmusch who cast her in Mystery Train, as half of a rockabilly loving couple on a pilgrimage to Memphis.

© 1999 Universal Studios