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Name: Ninomiya Kazunari
Native name: 二宮和也
Also Known as: Nino - neen - kazu-chan (from his mother)
Born: June 17, 1983
Kazunari Ninomiya (二宮 和也, Ninomiya Kazunari, born June 17, 1983), often called Nino (ニノ), is a Japanese idol, singer, songwriter, actor, seiyū and radio host. He is a member of Japanese boy band Arashi and is best known to movie audiences for his portrayal as Private Saigo in the 2006 Clint Eastwood war film Letters from Iwo Jima.
Ninomiya began his career in the entertainment industry when he joined the Japanese talent agency Johnny & Associates in 1996 at the age of 13. Prior to his debut as a singer with Arashi in 1999, Ninomiya started an acting career when he was cast as Chris for the stage play Stand by Me, which was based on the film of the same name. Since then, he has went on to appear in numerous drama, movie and stage productions, making him known as the actor of Arashi. Described as an actor who can act with his mouth and eyes, Ninomiya has won a number of awards and nominations for his roles.
Ninomiya was born in Katsushika, Tokyo as the youngest child of his family. His father and mother were both working as chefs when they met and his sister is two years older than he is. His parents divorced early in his life and his father left the family soon after. When Ninomiya was born, his grandfather immediately came home and named him the heir to the family's windshield factory since he was his grandfather's only grandson. However, when Ninomiya was twelve years old, his cousin sent in an application to Johnny & Associates without his knowledge. After attending and passing the auditions due to his mother's prodding, he joined the talent agency.
Ninomiya graduated from high school in March 2002 at the age of 18
Ninomiya began his acting career in a 1997 stage play based on the American coming of age film Stand by Me with future bandmates Masaki Aiba and Jun Matsumoto. He did not return to do any major stage productions for nearly seven years after Stand by Me, instead focusing on dramas. However, in 2004, Ninomiya appeared in his first lead role in the stage play Shibuya Kara Tooku Hanarete (シブヤから遠く離れて). From April 3, 2005 to May 4, 2005, he took up Rebel Without a Cause, playing the James Dean character Jim Stark.
From July 18, 2009 to August 11, 2009, Ninomiya appeared in his first stage play in four years. He starred as the psychopathic murderer Bruno in Mishiranu Jōkyaku (見知らぬ乗客, Strangers on a Train), which was based on the novel of the same name.
In 1998, he made his television debut as a fifteen-year-old runaway in the TBS television movie Amagi Goe (天城越え, Crossing Mt. Amagi). Just a few months before his debut with Arashi, he was given his first lead role in the drama Abunai Hōkago (あぶない放課後, Dangerous After School) with Subaru Shibutani acting as his stepbrother. His schedule became packed, causing him to lose 7 kg in a month as a result. From October 11, 1999 to October 29, 1999, because Arashi were the main supporters for the 8th World Cup of Volleyball Championships, all five members co-starred together for the first time in the volleyball-centered short drama V no Arashi (Vの嵐).
From 2003 to 2005, Ninomiya continued to appear in a wide range of dramas. He played a student who found himself to be one of the last four virgins left at school in the comedy series Stand Up!!, a boyfriend of a girl who mysteriously shrunk into a size of merely sixteen centimeters tall in the romance series Minami-kun no Koibito (南くんの恋人, Minami's Girlfriend) and a young man who accidentally killed his mother and developed an estranged relationship with his father as a result in the human drama series Yasashii Jikan (優しい時間, Affectionate Time)
In January 2010, Ninomiya co-starred with the other members of Arashi in their first drama in nearly ten years in the human suspense drama special Saigo no Yakusoku "最後の約束". Ninomiya portrayed Shūji Yamagiwa (山際 修司, Yamagiwa Shūji), a 27-year-old temporary security center employee who is caught up in a building hijack. On September 20, 2010, he made a guest appearance on the last episode of bandmate Matsumoto and Yūko Takeuchi's getsuku drama Natsu no Koi wa Nijiiro ni Kagayaku (夏の恋は虹色に輝く, Summer Love Shines in Rainbow Colors).
2006 proved to be a productive year for Ninomiya as he became the first artist from Johnny's & Associates to debut in Hollywood. He played a reluctant soldier called Saigo in Clint Eastwood's Academy Award-nominated Letters from Iwo Jima with Academy Award-nominated actor Ken Watanabe. His performance was praised by many film critics.
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