American Vogue Profiles Rising Japanese Models

The Fashion Weeks of New York, London, Milan, and Paris ended recently and a number of Japanese models garnered attention. American Vogue recently put a spotlight on some of these models, who are following the footsteps of predecessors such as Ai Tominaga and Tao Okamoto. This new wave of Japanese models ranges from designer muses with impressive street style to the men changing the face of male modeling. See what American Vogue had to say about them below!

Miki Ehara

Instagram: @miki_ehara

With her tousled hair and cool-girl attitude, it’s easy to see why Ehara caught the eye of Louis Vuitton creative director Nicolas Ghesquière. Discovered by a photographer while working in a sporting goods shop last year, she made her runway debut via an exclusive with the brand during Fall 2017. Ehara experienced a breakout for Spring 2018, walking for Dior, Hermès, Nina Ricci, and more.

Manami Kinoshita

Instagram: @kinoshitamanami

Who doesn’t love a model with edge? With her ever-changing hair color and mullet-y pixie cut, Kinoshita fits the bill, but she’s more than her arresting looks. On the runway for Balenciaga and Kenzo, Kinoshita delivered streetwise cool, and on social media she’s downright kooky. She brings a welcome antidote to the typical model selfies and runway pictures, posting engaging snapshots of graffiti, Sailor Moon, artwork, and whatever else catches her eye.

Kiko Mizuhara

Instagram: @i_am_kiko

Mizuhara already was a superstar in Japan before settling foot on Alexander Wang’s runway, but her international debut opened the door for a multifaceted career abroad. A fashion influencer with the ability to set trends on and off social media, Mizuhara has created capsule collections worn by Beyoncé and Rihanna and cultivated a following in the millions.

Kiko Arai

Instagram: @kikoarai

How do you celebrate moving from Miss Japan to becoming one of Spring 2018’s top models? If you’re Arai, it’s about never forgetting where you came from. Already racking up one top show after another at Amazon Fashion Week Tokyo, Arai shows no signs of slowing down.

Safil Kawamura

Instagram: @_safil

Nothing beats a model who brings something fresh to the runway. At 19, Kawamura has already made waves at such shows as J.W.Anderson, Ann Demeulemeester, and Craig Green. As one of the most popular faces for menswear, Kawamura is now poised to translate his rakish good looks into editorial success.

Kohei Takabatake

Instagram: @kohei_326

Takabatake’s shaved head and high cheekbones made him an unmistakable presence this season, where he walked alongside the supermodels at Calvin Klein, Bottega Veneta, and Coach. Rising through the ranks and providing a welcome alternative to male modeling’s fixation on interchangeable blonds, Takabatake could be the next guy to become a fixture in high fashion campaigns.


  • Comments

    • hasawa

      This ranking is a bit underwhelming.

      Ehara is like a mix of Rina Fukushima and Chiaki Kuriyama, but doesn’t have the appeal of any of them.
      That Kiko Arai is so dull omg lol And as for the other Kiko, it’s funny she gets noticed only now, but that’s true that her first real breaktrough on an international catwalk.
      This Safil Kawamura guy has a pretty distinctive face for a Japanese guy, I’ll give him this.
      I already spotted Manami Kinoshita since she modelled for IKUMI a few seasons ago. I’m quite surprised she made it big cause sis has the weirdest body proportion I ever witnessed on a model… :×1024.jpg
      But I agree her Insta is seems more personal and authentic of any model insta filled with boring “LOOK my latest editorial” “LOOK I am
      shooting!!”. She’s seems like a chill and crazy cool person. But other than her being so ace personality wise and her original haircut I don’t find her that appealling as a model. I’m pretty done with the whole gimmick of models with crazy haircut/haircolor (which a fair share of them are Asian :
      that bleached blonde Korean -I don’t remember her name- who was everywhere a few season ago and walked for Chanel an impressivre number of times, who is now replaced by another red haired one, Fernanda Li, etc…).
      Besides, it’s funny how they emphasize their high checkbones when this kind of physical attritube is like, quite typical to Asians(?)

      Anyway, like I said above, Im nowhere excited by these newcoming faces which are so dull in comparison to the former generation : Sen Mitsuji, Lee Soo Hyuk, Kim Won Joong (I’ll never get over the fact he never made it big – dude is of the most handsome male models alive imho)

      It’s interesting how their presence on social medias/number of followers has been brought up in that ranking as well. I tend to forget how web celebrity is (unfortunately) now a HUGE factor in a model relevance in the industry.

      Also I’m very surprised Rina Fukushima is nowhere to be seen. She’s already been hailed as one of the hottest models. I think she has quite an appeal but is very one dimensional (her sulky face+pouty lips signature combo is getting old)

      • Ol

        Bleach blonde Korean model = Daul Kim (RIP)? & the redhead = Hoyeon Jung?

        And the West love high/prominent cheekbones, whereas the East doesn’t (and in some cases they even have them surgically diminished, which is crazy to someone used to Western beauty standards). I guess because they’re common in the East, but uncommon in the West. I know being a model is more about being unique/striking than it is about being conventionally beautiful, but it’s interesting to me quite a few of the people pictured here probably wouldn’t be considering good looking in their home country and probably wouldn’t easily be able to have a modelling career if they were only working in the East.

        And Safil is half-something other than Japanese (Middle Eastern? South Asian? not sure), right?

        • The blonde is probably Soo Joo Park, and the redhead (pink actually) is Fernanda Ly.

          And yes, international Asian models probably couldn’t have careers in their own countries, unless they made a name for themselves in the West first. But then again, the people who are doing those Tokyo Girls Collection shows would get no attention in the West. Honestly, Kiko wouldn’t even be on this list if she wasn’t friends with Alexander Wang, hence the reason she was in the show. And it was the only show she walked. She was an Alexander Wang exclusive I guess you could say, but that’s like several ranks below being a Vuitton exclusive like Miki since Vuitton is a much, much bigger company. Nobody’s really clamoring to be an Alexander Wang exclusive, LOL.

          • hasawa

            Fun fact: Lee Soo Hyuk actually had a career in Korea before trying his chance in Paris but it flopped lol. He then tried again a few seasons later and he got casted in few (major) shows in Paris. Sometimes it’s just a matter of timing.
            I feel like it’s the time of Asian models atm. Mona has been a Céline exclusive this season.
            (and the redhaired model I was talking about was Hoyeon Jun)

        • hasawa

          No the blonde Korean model I was talking about is still alive (I’d never forget Daul Kim name…), but the redhaired one is indeed Hoyeon Jun! Thanks!!
          High cheekbones are actually pretty common in the fashion industry. I’m not fond of them, but I always found this type of physical suited better on East Asians. Some Western model have them -naturally- tho (esp Eastern Europe ones) but sometimes I feel like it’s a consequence of malnutrition :/ it doesn’t look as ‘natural’ or good as on Asians imo.
          Yes, people brag that the modelling industry now is all about having a striking physique (and good mensurations ofc) than being actually pretty. They marvel about ‘the rise of unconventional physiques’ when fashion shows are still filled with 85% of dull ass wet bread looking models running down the runway… This statement is a bit overreached when we know that the fashion industry is actually utterly conservative, and that using stricking ‘neo ugly’ models to milk some relevance and act like there is some progressive fresh wind coming through the industry is actually a plot to hide the fact that ALL models still struggle with its dictature of extreme skinininess and ageism/rampant pedophilia (deeming models are ‘old’ & using models more and more younger).

          This Safil guy looks a bit mixed yes. Interesting how a good bunch of Japanese models who made it to the West are actually from mixed ethnicities : Rina Fukushi, Mona Matsuoka, Kiko Mizuhara…

          • Ol

            Just looked Safil up. He is apparently half-Japanese, a quarter-French, and a quarter-Pakistani.

          • Yumi Lambert’s career is basically based off of the fact she’s 25% Japanese.

            And yes, Lily is a beast. Molly Bair when she debuted though…

    • Black_winds

      idk what the person down there is blabbing about but Miki Ehara is perfect and I am in this article because I was scrolling and her face captivated me so…..If I had fashion brand, I would want her to walk for me all the time. The eyes….

    • ʕ→ᴥ←ʔ

      That first girl!!! omg.. girl crushing so hard.. t.t