From The Straits Times    |

Images: @chiling.lin and @exileakira_official

The ever-youthful Lin Chiling was one of the most eligible bachelorettes in showbiz, and it took everyone by surprise when she suddenly announced her marriage to Japanese actor and member of boy band Exile, Akira whose real name is Ryohei Kurosawa.

For those of you who are not familiar with the hot guy who managed to capture the heart of the gorgeous Taiwanese supermodel, here are 10 things to know about Exile’s Akira.


1) He is a member of one of the biggest boybands in Japan

Exile is one of the most popular boybands in Japan. They are a 19-member group with two vocalists, and two vocalists and performers (yes, they’re different from the vocalists). The rest of the members take on the role of performers. After debuting in 2001, Exile has achieved great success and impressively sold more than 20 million records in Japan alone.

Akira joined the group in 2006 as a performer and has been active ever since. Their best-selling single is EXILE PRIDE ~Konna Sekai o Ai Suru Tame~, which sold more than a million copies in Japan.


2) He is an experienced actor

Akira began his acting career in 2006 when he performed his first stage performance. He subsequently started acting in dramas and films and won a Newcomer award at the 19th The Japan Movie Critics Award for his performance in the movie Be Sure To Share, which was written and directed by acclaimed Japanese director Sion Sono.

Some of you will also recognise him as Great Teacher Onizuka in the 2012 TV remake.  

He went on to act in several productions and also had small roles in Donnie Yen movie Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen as well as Martin Scorsese’s Silence. He last starred in Japanese movie This Old Road: Konomichi, which was released in Japan at the beginning of 2019.


3) He was the voice of Mad Max in Japan



A post shared by EXILE AKIRA (@exileakira_official) on

In 2015, Akira provided the Japanese voiceover for Tom Hardy’s character, Mad Max in movie Mad Max: Fury Road. It was his first voice-acting role.


4) He is the first Asian male global ambassador for Ralph Lauren

Akira made history by being the first Asian male to represent the American brand.

He shot his debut campaign for the brand’s Purple Label Spring Campaign 2018 and walked the runway for Ralph Lauren’s 50th Anniversary Show at New York Fashion Week.


5) He is the first Japanese person to be on the cover of The Rake Japan Edition magazine

The Rake magazine is a leading menswear publication that focuses on classic men’s elegance and all aspects of gentlemanly living.

Akira became the first Japanese person to grace its cover after being appointed as the global ambassador for Ralph Lauren.


6) He gave up playing soccer to be a dancer

When he was a student, Akira was passionate about playing soccer. He even went to a high school that was known for its soccer team and had dreams of becoming a professional soccer player.

However, he gave up his soccer dream after realising that becoming a professional player was no easy feat—instead, he decided to become a professional dancer after graduating from high school. A few years later, he officially became a member of Exile.


7) He has held a photo and art exhibition

Akira released his autobiography THE FOOL in 2018 and held a photo and art exhibition simultaneously with the book launch. Both he and the photographer were in-charge of all aspects of planning and producing the exhibition.

Fans were able to see numerous candid photos of Akira that were shot over the past two-and-a-half years of his life, as well as artistic photos that allowed him to express himself. Akira also created a huge painting just for the event.


8) He has done a collaboration with VANS

Akira chose the design and was involved in the whole production process of the collaboration sneaker model.


9) He regularly attends international events


With Dylan McDermott. at “GQ MAN OF THE YEAR” #GQ #ManOfTheYear #2018 #AKIRA #DylanMcDermott

A post shared by EXILE AKIRA (@exileakira_official) on

From fashion events in Milan and New York to the GQ Men Of the Year Awards in Los Angeles, Akira is no stranger to international red carpet events. In 2019, he attended the Short Shorts Film Festival in Hollywood as an ambassador.


10) He rubs shoulders with international famous figures

Scroll through Akira’s Instagram and you will see many familiar faces popping up such as Al Pacino, Steven Spielberg, Hillary Clinton, Anne Hathaway and even Korean actress Kim Hye Soo.

This article was first published in Cleo Singapore.