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Ryoko Yonekura the Famous Japanese Actress Known for Her Role in the American Musical Chicago

Updated on October 19, 2019
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Ara is a Journalism graduate from California State University Northridge who is looking to always explore his writing opportunities.

Who is Ryoko Yonekura?

Ryoko Yonekura is a Japanese actress that combines both talent and amazing beauty. Born on August 1, 1975 in Kanagawa, Japan, Yonekura originally began her career as a supermodel. She eventually transitioned to a career as a movie and TV actress. In 1992 at the age of 17, a she won a national young beauty award. The following year is when her modeling career began. She began working for various fashion magazines such as CanCam. Yonekura is also gifted in ballet. She studied classical ballet for 15 years starting from when she was five years old. She still continues to show an interest in ballet as well as bossa nova and salsa. She is said to be really charismatic. In October 2011, Yonekura received the Clarino Beautiful Legs Award.

Ryoko Yonekura at the Premiere Event for Avengers Age of Ultron

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How Does Ryoko Yonekura Maintain the Beauty of Her Legs?

When she was asked about the beauty of her legs, Yonekura said that she tries to get massages, exercise, and she also uses creams.

A Little Bit of Information About Ryoko Yonekura's Marriage & Divorce

But like many celebrities, Yonekura has also experienced getting divorced. After marrying a company owner two years younger than her in 2014, she announced in December 2016 that after many discussions she has filed from divorce from her husband. When Yonekura’s agency was asked to comment on the situation, since the man is not a celebrity, they have agreed to not say anything other than the fact that Yonekura and her husband had divorced.

The Start of Yonekura's Movie Career & Awards

In 1999, Ryoko began her acting career. In 2000, she starred in her debut TV drama called God of Love. That is the English translation of that Japanese film. In 2003, Yonekura was appointed a goodwill ambassador for Korea and Japan. During the 42nd Television Drama Academy Awards, she won an award for the best dresser in “Okusama wa Majo.” The following year at the 43rd Television Drama Academy Awards, she won an award for the best outfit in “Kurokawa No Techo.” She also won an award for best actress for that drama. Yonekura is signed to the Oscar Productions talent agency. In 2002, Yonekura starred in her movie debut Homeless Girl.

Photos of Ryoko Yonekura at the Premiere for Diana in London in September 2013

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Ryoko Yonekura's Really Big International Success: Being on a Broadway Musical

Yonekura reached a huge milestone in her career when she was selected to star in the Broadway musical Chicago in July 2012. This was significant because it was the first time that a Japanese actress would star in a Broadway musical since Nancy Umeki in 1958. It was also the first time that any Japanese actor or actress will be playing the role of an American character in a musical. Yonekura had starred in the Japanese version of this musical in 2008 and 2010. By the end of the 2nd season of the musical, plans were being made to perform the musical in English in the United States. American producers were ecstatic about the idea. They requested that Ryoko prove her English skills. They sent a total of seven recorded videos to the US. It became official that Yonekura would star as Roxie Hart. She was really looking forward to it and described it as a “big chance” for her. US choreographer Gary Krist mentioned that if there is anyone that can do this role, it is Ryoko. He felt confident that she would win lots of fans in America with her beauty, charm, and humor. Yonekura then could not hold back the tears. She believes that she was born to perform in this musical and described it as one of her “big treasures” in her life. She also mentioned that there is pressure that is building up. She also had the goal to expand her career outside of Japan. She was taking 3-4 English lessons per week and her effort is evident and she should be congratulated for it.

Ryoko Yonekura's Quote About the Musical Chicago

"I’d like to show myself as a self-confident Asian woman.”

Ryoko Yonekura Plays in a Medical Drama as a Sexy Surgeon

Note: this next drama role has been one of the more interesting roles of Ryoko Yonekura's career.

Yonekura would once again return to continue her role as a sexy doctor wearing a miniskirt. She would return for the 4th season of TV Asahi’s drama called “Doctor X Surgeon Michiko Daimon.” This happened in 2016. It is considered unusual for a series to run for more than one season on Japanese TV. But the viewership rate for the first two seasons of this drama has been around 19.1% which is considered to be high for a commercial TV series. Doctor X is about the interesting yet unusual lifestyle of a freelance surgeon named Michiko. Michiko (played by Yonekura) works at many hospitals and she wears sexy miniskirts under her white coat. This doctor works under a special contract which allows her to leave work at 5 PM. Her “after five” life consists of dancing at clubs, playing mahjong, going to hot springs and public bathhouses. Michiko’s favorite phrase is “failure is not an option.” Yonekura commented on the role saying that she is excited to be playing it again and that she fits into the part naturally. When it comes to her lifestyle in real life, Yonekura said that it is very similar to the one that this doctor has. Although Yonekura loves to go out and drink sake (Japanese rice wine), she says that she goes to the gym to exercise and stay in shape. She also does exercises while she listens to the radio.

Ryoko Yonekura Set to Return

She has been on the cover of many magazines and is considered to be a rival to actress Rei Kikukawa. The two of them would star in the crime drama called Gun Crazy which came out in 2002. In January 2019, it was announced that Yonekura would return for her role in the musical Chicago for 16 performances once again playing the role of “Roxie Hart.” The performances will be from July 1st through July 14th at the Ambassador Theatre in New York City.

© 2019 Ara Vahanian

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