Gravure idols are to Japan as, well, we will let you figure that one out. As the image of Japan’s top idols continues to mature with the times, we can say for certain that age is not an issue. Although the average age of the professional eye-candy models has increased over the years, when it comes to gravure idols, things only get better with time. For the full article describing the history and background of Japan’s gravure idols make sure to check out the “Japan 101: Gravure Idols” article [ link ]. But who are we kidding, you are probably already halfway down the list…without further delay, here are Axiom’s picks for the top 10 gravure idols based on recognizability and progression from gravure idol to celebrity.
10. Ogura Yuko (小倉 優子)
Measurements B:80C W:60 :H90 cm
Height 162 cm (5 ft 4 in) / 43 kg
Born on November 1, 1983 (age 29) in Chiba Prefecture, this gravure model has also made a career as a singer. Not stopping at simply playing the role of every schoolboys’ dream girl, Yuko has claim to an international fanbase through her song featured as the ending theme for the anime “School Rumble” called “”Onna no Ko ♡ Otoko no Ko” (“Girls Love Boys”). Although her gravure career has slowed down since its start in 2001, she still makes appearances on variety television.
9. Sugihara Anri (杉原 あんり)
Measurements B:89G W:56 :H80 cm
Height 157 cm (5 ft 2 in) / 39 kg
Born on June 12, 1982 (age 30), in her hometown of Hiroshima Prefecture, this petite model has a taste for travel with a love Thailand and the Brazilian martial art of Capoeira. Since her debut in 2003, she has complemented her calendar girl physique with her on-air charm as the center of a slew of TV programs. And as if a model of her character could not be more unique, she is also left handed.
8. Morishita Chisato (森下 千里)
Measurements B:88F W:55 :H87 cm
Height 158 cm (5 ft 2 in)
Born on September 1, 1981 (age 31), this Aichi Prefecture has checked of all the boxes in becoming the perfect idol as a race queen, gravure idol, and TV personality. Although she started her career with a pursuit in financial management, Chisato soon realized she belonged in the spotlight and left university to pursue a successful modeling career. To top things off, she supposedly makes a mean curry (even though it’s the only thing she can cook).
7. Dan Mitsu (壇 蜜)
Measurements B:85E W:60 :H89 cm
Height 158 cm (5 ft 2 in)
Born on December 3, 1980 (age 31), in Akita Prefecture, Dan is one of the few gravure who seem to openly enjoy the notion of scandalous rumors. Declaring her bi-sexuality is one of the many announcements she has made that have continued to spur up the media around her life. As a certified English teacher, dance instructor, and culinary artist, she might just be considered the ultimate idol.
6. Isoyama Sayaka (磯山 さやか)
Measurements B:88F W:60 :H86 cm
Height 155 cm (5 ft 1 in)
Born on October 23, 1983 (age 29), in Ibaraki Prefecture, Sayaka is often teased on TV shows for being on the “plus” side of gravure idols. Taking it all in good stride, this actress/singer/idol makes it blatantly obvious that having a little more to love is never a bad thing. Known for always being friendly with her co-workers and staff, she pursues her dream of working in the entertainment industry with a glowing personality (oh, and being easy on the eyes doesn’t hurt).
5. Kumada Yoko (熊田 曜子)
Measurements B:92J W:56 :H84 cm
Height 165 cm (5 ft 5 in) / 51 kg
Born on May 13, 1982 (age 30), in Gifu Prefecture, Kumada Yoko is another gravure idol who gradually made her way out of a bikini and onto variety shows. Debuting in 2001, around the same time as fellow idols Aki Hoshino and Sayaka Isoyama, the three have long since been close friends on and off the air. She is especially known not only for her looks, but her apparent skills on a unicycle.
4. Koike Eiko (小池 栄子)
Measurements B:91F W:59 :H87 cm
Height 166 cm (5 ft 5 in) / 60 kg
Born on November 20, 1980 (age 32), and hailing from Tokyo, Eiko is one of the most established gravure idols who began her career back in 1998. Though she has since hung up her bikini, she still pursues her passion as an entertainer through a budding career in television talk shows and narration. Although her catch copy during her debut was “the melon bread from space,” she has since shed the former shadow of her deal breaking pair to focus on a more professional career.
3. Hoshino Aki (星野 亜希)
Measurements B:88E W:53 H:87
Height 165 cm (5 ft 5 in)
Born on March 14, 1977 (age 35), this Tokyoite started her career as a bikini gravure idol in 2001 and is one of the few who has managed to stay in the spotlight. Known for her uncanny ability to become increasingly attractive as she ages, Hoshino stuck with what she knows best and authored a book in 2010 called “Hoshino’s Body.” She is still enjoying a healthy entertainment career as both an idol, mom, and a regular TV talent.
2. Tejima Yuu(手嶋 ゆう)
Measurements B:95I W:58 :H86 cm
Height 165 cm (5 ft 5 in) / 47 kg
Born on August 27, 1982 (age 30), this Tochigi Prefecture native has since risen to a popular status for her top-heavy assets and always seemingly honey-glazed lips. Although her recent fame has moved her up from gravure idol to television regular, she is often casted as a guaranteed spike in male ratings. Her catchphrase is “愛がいっぱい I カップ” or “An I-cup full of love.”
1. Watanabe Natsuna (渡辺 夏菜)
Measurements B:83F W:57 :H86 cm
Height 165 cm (5 ft 5 in)
Born on May 23, 1989 (age 23), this Saitama Prefecture native went from elite gravure idol status to becoming one of the most recognized and adored idols on network television. More than just a cute face, Natsuna is the perfect dream girl as an actress and self-proclaimed gamer! That, plus the fact that she played a leading role in one of our favorite movies “Gantz” [ link ], puts her on the top of our list of the best gravure idols in Japan of 2012.
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