Sunday, December 11, 2011
Yui Aragaki (新垣結衣, born June 11, 1988) is a Japanese idol,model, actress, singer, seiyū and occasional radio show host of Ryukyuan ancestry. She is particularly recognized for her beauty and her movie projects.
Aragaki's career began when she appeared in the junior fashion magazine nicola. Upon learning that the magazine was looking for a new face, Aragaki's sister turned in an audition profile for her. Aragaki won the Grand Prix and officially became an exclusive model for nicola or a "nicomo". In 2001, her fellow nicomo Ayako Enamoto nicknamed her Gakky.
Aragaki expanded her modeling career into gravure in 2004. She also appeared in variety shows and commercials; she is best remembered for her TV advertisements for Pocky. In 2005, she graduated from the magazine and subsequently acted in the TBS drama Dragon Zakura alongside fellow Japanese idol Tomohisa Yamashita and actress Masami Nagasawa, marking her breakthrough in show business. Since Dragon Zakura, Aragaki had been cast in various dramas such as Gal Circle and My Boss, My Hero. Despite graduating from 'nicola', she still appears in the magazine occasionally. She currently holds the record of appearing the most number of times as its cover girl.
In 2007, she starred in Waruboro with Shota Matsuda and Yuu Shirota. Afterwards she was cast alongside Hiroshi Tachi and Shigeaki Kato in the TBS summer drama, Papa to Musume no Nanokakan in which Aragaki plays a high school student who exchanged bodies with her father, a middle-aged salaryman. Aragaki was also cast in the movie Koisuru Madori (Tokyo Serendipity) with Ryuhei Matsuda. Later that year she appeared in the tragic drama Koizora/Sky of Love with Haruma Miura which won Aragaki a string of Newcomer awards, most notably in the Japan Academy Awards. To date, Aragaki has won five Newcomer awards for the movies Waruboro, Tokyo Serendipity and Koizora. Her fifth award was in honor of her role in the ¥3.6 billion-grossing movie, Koizora. Her tremendous number of movie shoots as well as the preparation for her debut album resulted in her suffering from work-related stress in 2007.
Outside acting she also released her first album, Sora, and the single "Heavenly Days", a song from Koizora. "Memories", the theme song for Tokyo Serendipity, was included in her debut album. She also performed her at Budokan. She also released two singles in 2008, "Make my Day" and "Akai Ito". "Make my Day" was used in the NHK drama Hachi-One Driver, while "Akai Ito" is a cover of a song written and performed by Kobukuro during their indie days, in commemoration of the duo's tenth anniversary in the Japanese music industry.
In August 2008 Aragaki' played intern Megumi Shiraishi in the medical drama Code Blue: Doctor Heli Kinkyuu Kyuumei, with Tomohisa Yamashita and Erika Toda. At the same time she made the movie Fure Fure Shojo. She also appeared in Ballad, with Tsuyoshi Kusanagi, as a feudal princess. She released her fifth single PIECE in February 2009.
Aragaki also hosts GIRLS LOCKS!, part of the Japanese radio program, SCHOOL OF LOCKS!, together with other U-20 idols Maki Horikita, Chiaki Kuriyama and Nana Eikura. She also works as a voice actor.