1. He is a member of one of Japan's biggest boybands
Akira is a dancer and one of 19 members in Exile, one of the most popular boybands in Japan. The group has two vocalists, two vocalist-performers and the rest are performers. Since debuting in 2001, Exile has achieved great success and have sold more than an impressive 20 million records in Japan alone. Akira joined the group in 2006 as a performer and has been active ever since. Their best-selling single is “EXILE PRIDE ~Konna Sekai o Ai Suru Tame~”, which sold more than a million copies in Japan.
2. He gave up playing football to be a dancer
When he was a student, Akira was passionate about playing football. He even went to a high school that was known for its football team and had dreams of becoming a professional football player.
However, he gave up his football dream after realising that becoming a professional player was no easy feat. Instead, he decided to become a professional dancer upon graduating from high school. A few years later, he officially became a member of Exile.
3. He's an experienced actor
Akira began his acting career in 2006 when he performed onstage for the first time. In fact, the theatre is where Akira and Chi-ling first met eight years ago in 2011. Art imitates life as the pair played lovers in the stage production of Red Cliff.
He subsequently started acting in dramas and films, and even won a Newcomer award at the 19th The Japan Movie Critics Awards for his performance in Be Sure To Share, which was written and directed by acclaimed Japanese director Sion Sono.
Akira went on to act in several productions and also had small roles in Donnie Yen movie Legend of the First: The Return of Chen Zhen as well as Martin Scorsese’s Silence. He last starred in Japanese movie This Old Road: Konomichi, which was released in Japan at the beginning of 2019.
4. He also does some voice acting
In 2015, Akira provided the Japanese voiceover for Tom Hardy’s character, Mad Max, in Mad Max: Fury Road. It was his first voice-acting role.
5. He is the first Asian male global ambassador for Ralph Lauren
Akira made history by being the first Asian male to represent the American brand. He shot his debut campaign for the brand’s Purple Label Spring Campaign 2018 and walked the runway for Ralph Lauren’s 50th Anniversary Show at New York Fashion Week last year.
6. He's held a photo and art exhibition
Akira released his autobiography THE FOOL in 2018 and held a photo and art exhibition simultaneously with the book launch. Both he and the photographer were in charge of all aspects of planning and producing the exhibition.
Fans were able to see numerous candid photos of Akira that were shot over the past two-and-a-half years of his life, as well as artistic photos that allowed him to express himself. Akira also created a huge painting just for the event.
7. He is the first Japanese person to grace the cover of The Rake Japan Edition magazine
The Rake magazine is a leading menswear publication that focuses on classic men’s elegance and all aspects of gentlemanly living. Akira became the first Japanese person to grace its cover after being appointed as the global ambassador for Ralph Lauren.
8. He's collaborated with big fashion brands
In 2017, Akira produced a unique sneaker model in collaboration with VANS Japan. The VANS x 24karats shoe model features a retro-futuristic camo print and the words “TWO FOUR KARATS” embellished on the midsole. Akira chose the design and was involved in the entire production process of the unique sneaker model.
9. He regularly attends international events
From fashion events in Milan and New York to the GQ Men Of The Year Awards in Los Angeles, Akira is no stranger to the glitz and glamour of international red carpet events. In 2019, he attended the Short Shorts Film Festival in Hollywood as an ambassador.