Erika Sawajiri (沢尻 エリカ, Sawajiri Erika?, born April 8, 1986 in Nerima, Tokyo) is a Japanese 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 is currently affiliated with Sony for her record label as formerly Kaoru Amane and later Erika, and Stardust Promotion for her talent agency as her real name, Erika Sawajiri, and 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-French mother and is the youngest of three brothers and sisters. Her father owned sixteen racehorses, including the horse, Edonokoban (エドノコバン, Edonokoban?). Her father died of cancer when she was in her third year at junior high school. Her second eldest brother died in a car accident when she was in her first year at high school. Her mother managed a Mediterranean restaurant (closed down for unknown reason) and Erika sometimes helped with it. Erika has been horseback riding since she was a child.
In 1999, Erika 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, Erika 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 also 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.
Erika 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 entitled "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.
Controversy and criticism
On September 29, 2007, Sawajiri showed up at the Closed Note movie premiere and was visibly upset. Many people perceived this as a 'bad attitude'. She answered questions she was asked with very short, impolite answers. The Japanese press treated this issue as a very big deal. On October 2, she posted an official apology on her website. She states that she regrets her attitude, and what she did was very unprofessional and she shouldn't have let her mood affect her job. A few days later she appeared on a TV Asahi's morning news show "Super Morning", and gave them an exclusive 120 minute interview. She said again that she was sorry for what she did, and she knew there was nothing she could do to change what happened, but she would try to make up for it. She also denied the rumors that she was being suspended by her management.
Following this issue, she was going to attend at 12th Pusan International Film Festival, which was held on October 6, 2007, but she announced she would not attend this.
What was later found out after the interview was that she had been seen in the club with a man who was said to be her lover.
She has been rumored to not have anything in her 2008 schedule and that she is staying in United Kingdom for a year and take a break in the entertainment industry. Stardust Promotion have confirmed to replace her during that time period with an actress Kaho.
As on January 4, 2008 She and her lover Tsuyoshi Takashiro had been spotted at the Narita Airport checking in for a flight with destination London. She with a black coat and glasses, carrying a teddy and a camera has been in a visibly good mood. Her sour face since the stage greeting changed into a bright smile. She had been shaking hands with some of her fans. Reporters tried asking her questions about her future plans, but all she did was smile and continue on her way.
She is also known as a fan of English rock band Led Zeppelin. In Led Zeppelin's reunion concert at The O2 in London, England on December 10, 2007, 3 seats for Japanese celebrities were prepared. Only she and her lover saw this concert as Japanese. (Another Japanese audience except them called Tomoaki Ogura refused to go to the concert because he worked on Japanese TV program.)
Date Movie Role Production Company
2004.02.28 Mondai no nai watashitachi Shintani Maki (新谷麻綺, Shintani Maki?) Asmik Ace
(We Shall Overcome Someday)
Lee Kyung-ja 李慶子、リ･キョンジャ、이경자 Asmik Ace
2005.04.16 Ashura jo no hitomi 谷地 Shochiku
2005.09.17 Shinobi: Heart Under Blade  Hotarubi (蛍火, Hotarubi?) Shochiku
2006.05.13 Mamiya kyodai Naomi Honma (本間直美, Naomi Honma?) Asmik Ace
2006.09.16 Sugar & Spice Noriko Watanabe (渡辺乃里子, Noriko Watanabe?) Toho
2006.09.30 Otoshimono (Ghost Train) Nana (奈々, Nana?) Shochiku
2006.10.21 Tentama 天使の卵 Natsuki Saito (斎藤夏姫, Natsuki Saito?) Shochiku
2006.11.11 Tegami 手紙  Yumiko Iraishi (白石由美子, Yumiko Iraishi?) Gaga Communications
2007.09.29 Closed Note (クローズド・ノート, Closed Note?) Kae Toho
Year Drama Role Broadcasting Company
Hotman ホットマン Satsuki Akikawa (秋川さつき, Satsuki Akikawa?) TBS
Hitonatsu no Papa e ひと夏のパパへ Satsuki (さつき, Satsuki?) TBS
2004 Sakura Sakumade 桜咲くまで Naoko Hayashi (林菜穂子, Naoko Hayashi?) MBS
Aikurushii あいくるしい Honoka Kizaki (木崎 ほのか, Honoka Kizaki?) TBS
1 Litre of Tears 1リットルの涙 Aya Ikeuchi (池内 亜也, Aya Ikeuchi?) Fuji Television
2006 A Song to the Sun タイヨウのうた  Kaoru Amane (雨音 薫, Kaoru Amane?) TBS
Date Drama Role Broadcasting Company
2003.02.02 NorthPoint Friends Mami Iwasa (岩佐マミ, Mami Iwasa?) Hokkaido Cultural Broadcasting
2004.02.11 Fuyuzora ni Tsuki ha Kagayaku 冬空に月は輝く - Fuji Television
2004.04.03 Cheers ~ Tenkou e no Ouenka Yukari Akikawa (秋川ゆかり, Yukari Akikawa?) Nihon Television
2004.11.23 Mumei - TBS
2005.09.10 The Winds of God Misaki Ohara (大原美咲, Misaki Ohara?) Asahi Television
2006.10.22 Tenshi no hashigo Natsuki Saito (斎藤夏姫, Natsuki Saito?) Fuji Television
Year Singer Music Video Clip Information
2003 Kishidan Secret Love Story -
Zeebra feat. Hiro Big Big Money -
2005 Rip Slyme Hey! Brother Theme song of Mamiya kyodai
Kaoru Amane A Song to the Sun (タイヨウのウタ, Taiyou no Uta?) Theme song of A Song to the Sun
Kaoru Amane Stay With Me Insert song of A Song to the Sun
Miliyah Kato I Will Theme song of Otoshimono
Sunset Swish Kimi ga Iru Kara 君がいるから Theme song of Tentama
Hitomi Takahashi Komorebi Theme song of Tegami
2007 Erika Free Commercial song of Subaru Stella + R2
Erika Fantasy Commercial song of music.jp
Yui Love & Truth Theme song of Closed Note
Erika Destination Nowhere Commercial song of music.jp
Year Variety Show Broadcasting Company
2001 Harajuku Ronchazu -
2002 The Night of Hit Parade Nihon Television
2002 Super VIP -
2002-2003 B-1 TBS
2003-2004 Aidoru wa -
Unknown Mecha x2 Ikederu! -
Year DVD Publisher
2002 Cava? Wani Book
2003 D-Splash! -
2003 Erica 学習研究
2005 Color For-side.com
Year Product Company
2005-2006 Amenity, Cook Nuevo & Yulax Yamahisa
Flet's Phone NTT Docomo
K Album Beyond the Sea SonyMusic
- ANA Live
2006 Xylish Show Meiji Seika
Kaoru Amane Single Taiyou no Uta SonyMusic
2007 SonyEricsson W51S SonyEricsson
Pepsi Nex Zero Pepsi
Stella + R2 Subaru
SonyEricsson W52S SonyEricsson
SonyEricsson W53S SonyEricsson
Fran Meiji Seika
Erika Single Free Studioseven Recordings
Erika Single Destination Nowhere Studioseven Recordings
Year Book Title Publisher
2003 P-chu! Wani Book
2004 Erika 学習研究
2007 Erika2007 SDP
Release Title Oricon singles sales chart peak positions and sales Album Label
Daily Weekly Monthly Yearly Debut Overall
2006.08.30 "Taiyou no Uta (The Sun's Song)" (2 weeks)
Kaoru Amane #1 #1 #1 #10 150,056 488,000 - Sony Music Japan
1st Single #1 #1 #4 #67 50,287 119,817 TBD Studioseven Recordings
2007.11.28 "Destination Nowhere"
2nd Single #4 #7 #18 #190 26,624 43,209 TBD Studioseven Recordings
Awards and Nominations
Year Award Title Movie/Drama
2001 Young Jump Uniform Collection Runner up -
2002 Fuji TV's Visual Queen of the Year - -
2005 18th Nikkan Sports Movie Award Best New Comer Award Pacchigi!
30th Houchi Movie Award Best New Comer Award Pacchigi!
15th Tokyo Sports Movie Award Best New Comer Award Pacchigi!
79th Kinema Junpo Award Best New Comer Award [Female] Pacchigi!
29th Japan Academy Awards Best New Comer Award [Female] Pacchigi!
2006 Elandor Award Best New Comer Award 1 Litre of Tears
43rd Golden Arrow Award Best New Comer Award 1 Litre of Tears