Kikuchi was born in Minamigaoka, Hadano, Kanagawa. She debuted in 1999 under her birth name, Yuriko Kikuchi, with the Kaneto Shindo–directed film Ikitai (生きたい). Soon after, in 2001, she starred in the celebrated Kazuyoshi Komuri–directed film Sora no Ana (空の穴), which was featured across several international film festivals, including the Rotterdam Film Festival. In 2004, she appeared in the much-commended Katsuhito Ishii–directed film Cha no Aji (茶の味), which was selected for the Cannes Film Festival. In 2006, she appeared in the critically acclaimed Alejandro González Iñárritu–directed film Babel, where she played Chieko Wataya, a deaf-mute teenage girl, in a role for which she received international attention and was nominated for numerous awards, including the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. She won several, such as the National Board of Review Award for Best Breakthrough Female Performance (tying with Jennifer Hudson) and the Gotham Award for Best Breakthrough. Kikuchi… read more
i read in an interview that she was inspired to become an actor when she saw gena rowlands in "opening night". that got me. she's gorgeous, intelligent and has huge potential.