Birth Name: 蓼丸綾 (たでまる あや) / Tademaru Aya
Stage Name: Ayase Haruka
Date of Birth: March 24, 1985
Birth Place: Asaminami Ward, Hiroshima, Japan
Zodiac Sign: Aries
Height: 1.65 m (5 ft 5 in)
Blood Type: B
Profession: model, singer & actress
Talent agency: Horipro
Boyfriend/Husband: No (rumors were denied)
Hobbies: Watching movies, karaoke
Sports: running the marathon and basketball
I loved her performance in every drama/movie I watched. Let me fangirl a little first and show my journey how I became her fan. If you only want to know more about her career, please scroll through this part. 🙂
Okusama wa, Tori Atsukai Chui
I first saw her in Okusama wa, Tori Atsukai Chui (Wife, Handle with Care), which was a recommendation by a fellow MDLer.
Ayase Haruka plays the main character Nami. She is a former secret agent who fakes her death in order to lead an ordinary life. She aims to find a nice man and lead a quiet life as housewife and mother. Soon it seems like she reaches her goal, but then she notices that there are various problems and cases of violence in the neighborhood. She cannot act against her nature and starts to solve cases in secret.
I loved her character very much. She is intelligent, kind and strong, but realizes that she wants something different, and she goes for it regardless of what someone else would think. The actress perfectly pointed out that strong and soft are not contrary, but can be combined in this one figure.
For this role, she won the Best Actress Award of Television Drama Academy Awards in 2017.
Seirei No Morbito
After I finished watching this drama, I searched for other dramas in which she performed as the main character. I watched Seirei No Morbito (Guardian of the Spirit). Here she acted as Balsa, a female bodyguard. Because of certain circumstances, she became the bodyguard of the 10-year-old prince Chagum. The boy carries the great egg of the water spirit, who is about to awake.
The drama was special to me because I felt like watching an old fairy tale. The mystical fantasy world just caught me. Again, Ayase Haruka acted as a strong FL character with a very soft core who is not afraid to show this soft core to the people close to her. Her interaction with the young boy was touching. That was the moment I realized that she is typecasted very often, and the characters she is playing totally match my style.
Tengoku to Jigoku: Psychona Futari
Therefore, I tried a drama which is absolutely against my taste: Tengoku to Jigoku: Psychona Futari (Heaven and Hell). I am usually bored by ‘detective serial killer mystery stuff’, and annoyed by body swap stories, especially when a man and a woman switch their bodies. This drama deals with the ambitious female detective, Mochizuki Ayako, who switches bodies with the main suspect in a serial murder case.
I love how Ayase Haruka slips into a totally different personality when she changes the character. As detective Mochizuki she is imposing, upright and frank, while she becomes cold, calculating and polite when her opponent enters her body. There is a scene in which she smiles psychopathically, and there is another scene in which she has tears in her eyes and radiates warmth and kindness. For this performance, she received the Best Actress Award at the 24th Nikkan Sports Drama Grand Prix and The 14th Tokyo Drama Awards in 2021.
Watashi wo Hanasanaide
The last drama with her as one of the main characters, I want to share here, is Watashi wo Hanasanaide (Never Let Me Go).
Here, Ayase Haruka is seen as a different character. She plays Kyouko, a clone which was created to donate her organs after growing up. In this role, she plays a pushover – a girl without self-confidence and ambitions. The drama revolves around the short lives of the clones, how they grow up and how they deal with their life which they do not own. The story broke my heart!
It was interesting to see her as a non-badass character. The silent suffering, tearless crying character was also a role she played perfectly, in my opinion.
Of course, I have seen more of her movies/dramas, and there are many more of her works on my PTW-List!
Today she is one of the top 10 most influential actresses of Japan.
She played the main character in 22 Japanese dramas and 18 movies. For her achievements, she won various Best Supporting Actress and Best Actress awards. She was welcomed as guest on different TV-shows. Additionally, she is a sought-after model who gets booked for various magazine covers and commercials. International companies like Coca-Cola and KFC chose her to appear in their major commercial campaigns.
Debut as Singer
In 2006, Ayase Haruka debuted as a singer. I linked the YouTube videos to the songs.
Her first song was ‘Period (ピリオド)’. Her debut single went straight to #8 on the weekly Oricon
Singles Chart. However, until now she only published 2 more singles: ‘Hikoki Gumo (飛行機雲)’ and ‘Kosaten Days (交差点days)’. In 2010, she lounged her last song, ‘Māgaretto (マーガレット)’, so far.
In 2004, she did her only voice over role in the animation movie: The Incredibles. She spoke the Japanese version of Violet Parr. She did not take other voice over projects. However, when the second movie was published in 2014, she gave her voice again to this one character.
Debut as Actress
According to Asianwiki, she debuted as an actress in 2002 in the movie Jam Films (I could not find much information about it). The first drama she was acting in was Koufuku no Ouji (2003). With an overall rating of 2.0 it is the lowest rated drama I personally noticed on MDL.
The first main role she reiceived in a full-length drama was Kyokugen Suiri Coliseum (2005). It is also not a very popular drama on MDL. To be fair, it is almost not possible to find English subtitles for these dramas, and very few watchers rated them.
The Beginning of her Career
Ayase Haruka started her career as a Gravure idol.
Gravure idols are female models for magazines, photo-books and DVDs. Their photos are largely aimed at male audiences, with poses or activities intended to be provocative or suggestive. They appear rather playful and innocent, then aggressively sexual.
The first photo-book her pictures were released in was ‘Birth in Bali’, published in 2001.
Thank you for reading my first Ultra Fan Guide!
Picture sources: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Other pictures are self-taken screenshots from the respective dramas.