Which actors achieved their breakthrough in 2017?

Oricon held a survey asking their readers which actors they thought achieved their breakthrough in 2017. It should be noted that many of the actors who made the list have appeared in very successful projects in previous years, but this survey determines who they feel truly became an A-list top of the crop actor in 2017. Both men and women participated in the survey, with the age ranging from late 10s to 50s.

With the first half of the year done many drama series and films have already been released, which actors do you think made the cut?

1. Issei Takahashi


Issei Takahasi took first place largely in part to his main role in the TBS Drama “Quartet”. Besides being a hit with viewers, the drama was highly critically acclaimed taking home numerous awards. At the 7th “CONFiDENCE AWARD DRAMA PRIZE” for example, the show took home 5 awards out of the 7 possible nominations. Issei got his start as a child actor, at 10 years old he starred in the 1990 film “Hoshiwotsugumono”. In 1995 he gained a lot of notoriety by voicing Seiji Amasawa in the Studio Ghibli film “Whisper of the Heart”. Since starring in the 2014 NHK Taiga Drama series “Gunshi Kanbei”, his career has been on a constant upward spiral.

Voters commented that his presence in whatever he acts in, especially the Taiga Drama, was amazing. Many also credited his appearance in “anan” magazine for helping increase his star power.

2. Kentaro Sakaguchi


Kentaro Sakaguchi took the runner-up position. Kentaro got his start as popular model for MEN’S NON-NO before transitioning into acting. The salt-faced* ikemen stole the show in NTV’s 2017 drama series “Tokyo Tarareba Girls”. His striking blonde hair not only suits his face, but set him apart from his fellow actors. The film “Kimi to 100 Kaime no Koi” was another big hit for Kentaro, where he became the guitar playing heartthrob “Riku Hasegawa”. Voters praised the versatility Kentaro shows with his roles, and attribute his various CM campaigns in helping raise his overall celebrity.

3. Kento Yamazaki


Coming in third is Kento Yamazaki. Last year he gained immense popularity with young girls after starring in the live-action film adaption of “Wolf Girl and Black Prince”. He was also heavily praised in his role in “Your Lie in April”. Later on in the year Kento will star as Josuke Higashikata in the highly anticipated live-action film “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable”.

Votes commented on Kento’s wide variety of roles as well as numerous high profile upcoming projects.

4. Ryoma Takeuchi
5. Ryohei Otani
6. Yudai Chiba
7. Asuka Kudo
8. Taishi Nakagawa
9. Ryo Narita
10. Kento Kaku


Salt face or “Shiogao” is Japanese term used to describe someones face. This refers to someone who typically has sharp narrow eyes, subtle face shape, fair skin, and a beautiful face line.

  • Comments

    • HoneyDew

      My votes go for Kudo Asuka … Wonderful actor..

    • Jiii

      masaki suda ?

      • Jo

        Last year

      • kashiyuka

        he has like a thousand projects coming out in the latter half of this year

    • Jo

      Great year for Taishi Nakagawa I’m glad he’s got a lot of work but I hope to see him in more challenging roles.

    • nerissa gibbens

      First time in a while im happy with this ranking.

    • rshina

      a lot of actors I know in the list, I’m so happy

    • People said YamaKen has been overexpose by his agency so I was expecting him to be #1 tbh.

      I remember seeing Takahashi Issei in Iryu 2. Cant believe that he only had his big break recently.

    • What

      These are very unflattering pictures lol

      • hasawa

        The Kentaro Sakaguchi one strikes me the most: why do Japanese men who dye their hair blonde always opt for this awful piss yellow color?? *yikes*

    • kashiyuka

      Such a fan of Takahashi Issei <33

    • iGleaux

      Otani Ryohei!!!!!!

    • Karen Khoo

      Yamaken looks so fierce. Why did they pick that photo out of all photos?!

    • sheng

      Oooooooh, Kaku Kento is rising. I haven’t watched anything recent with him in it, I remember fangirling over him years ago.