Born : April 8, 1986 Nerima, Tokyo, Japan
Other names : Kaoru, Amane Erika, Kacchan, Aachan
Occupation : Actress, model, musician
Erika Sawajiri 沢尻 エリカ born April 8, 1986 in Nerima, Tokyo is a Japan-based actress, model, and musician. Her alias in her music career was Kaoru Amane, but she has recently started her own project under the name Erika. She was affiliated with Sony Music Entertainment Japan for her record label (formerly as Kaoru Amane and later Erika), and Stardust Promotion for her talent agency (with her real name, Erika Sawajiri) before her contract was terminated in late 2009. On September 10, 2010, it was announced that she signed with Avex label for talent management and music releases. She became popular after playing a girl who suffered from an intractable disease called spinocerebellar degeneration (SCD) in the nonfiction drama 1 Litre of Tears.
Erika was born to a Japanese father and an Algerian-born French mother of Berber extraction and is the youngest of three children. Her father owned sixteen racehorses, including Edonokoban (エドノコバン), giving Erika ample opportunities to engage in horseback riding as a child. Her father disappeared from home when Erika was 9 years old, returning when she was in her third year at junior high school, only to die from cancer that year. Her second eldest brother died in a traffic accident when she was in her first year at high school. Her eldest brother is a former actor. Her mother managed a Mediterranean restaurant and Erika sometimes worked. The restaurant is no longer in business. The family is extremely close knit, and often used Erika's photoshoots and other work as an opportunity to travel together as a family.
In 1999, Sawajiri passed the Stardust audition after graduating from elementary school. She became part of the idol unit Angel Eyes and began modeling for junior fashion magazines such as CUTiE and Nicola. She later won the grand prize for the 2001 Seikore and became a regular on the BS news program Harajuku Launchers. In 2002, Sawajiri started her career in film as well as extending her modeling career as a gravure idol. Her first film was Mondai no nai Watashitachi.
She became one of Fuji TV's Visual Queens in 2002. On the NTV variety show The Yoru mo Hit Parade, she became a regular from April till late June, shortly after leaving the program for the CX news program Chou VIP Fortune no Tobira from mid-June till late August. In November, she was on the CBC variety show Bijou Dokyuu and TBS show B-1. She got her big break when she was cast in the TBS TV drama Hotman. Her most notable role was in 1 Litre of Tears in 2005 when she portrayed a girl with the degenerative disease spinocerebellar degeneration.
Sawajiri first started her music career under the name "Kaoru Amane", the name of her character in her last drama, the TV adaptation of A Song to the Sun (Taiyou no Uta). The single went into number 1 in its second and fourth week. On July 16, 2007, Erika released her 'debut' single under only 'Erika,' "Free". The single was immediately ranked on its first day as number one on the Oricon Charts. Oricon stated that she is the only artist in 39 years to get their first two single hit number one since Hiroko Yakushimaru in 1983.
She decided to enter the entertainment world because she wanted to meet singer Namie Amuro whom she idolizes.
On January 20, 2009, Sawajiri married media creator Tsuyoshi Takashiro at Meiji Shrine in Yoyogi. The pair registered their marriage on January 7, which fell on the most auspicious of the days according to the six-day rokuyo calendar, and they held a small reception for close friends and family in Hawaii later that month.
Sawajiri and her mother both stated on separate occasions that she would return to Japan and make a comeback as soon as late summer 2009.
Sawajiri was originally scheduled to star in the live action film version of Space Battleship Yamato but was replaced by Meisa Kuroki.
In May 2010 it was announced that Sawajiri would be getting a divorce.
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