Karen Fukuhara

Karen Fukuhara
Karen Fukuhara
Who is:
Birth date:
(32 y.o.)
Place of birth:
Los Angeles
5'2 ft ()
115 lb (52 kg)
Birth Sign:
Chinese zodiac:

Karen Fukuhara Biography

Karen Fukuhara is an American actress of Japanese descent, who gained fame for her role as the assassin Katana in the action movie "Suicide Squad". Fans of mystery and thrillers highly praised her performance in the film "Stray," where she transformed into the lead character Nori.

However, it was primarily her role as Kimiko Miyashiro, the most enigmatic character in the gripping series "The Boys," that brought Fukuhara widespread popularity. Even before the release of the fourth season, scheduled for 2024, fans of the actress learned that they would see her in the fifth season as well.
Actress Karen Fukuhara
Actress Karen Fukuhara

Childhood, Adolescence, Family

Karen was born in the winter of 1992 to Japanese immigrant parents, Katsumi and Hidemi Fukuhara, who settled in Los Angeles. Her mother taught piano, her father was a businessman, and Karen's younger brother was affectionately called "the troublemaker" by everyone.

Karen expressed her desire to become an actress at an early age, but her parents lacked the resources and connections to break into the film industry. Nevertheless, the actress spoke with deep respect about their parenting methods:
I grew up in a unique environment where I was equally immersed in both Japanese and American cultures. At home, I felt as if I was living in Japan. We spoke Japanese, ate Japanese food, and celebrated Japanese traditions and holidays. Japanese was my first language. Outside, I was treated like any other American kid. I went to school from Monday to Friday like everyone else, but on top of that, I attended a Japanese school on Saturdays. I did this for 11 years! Looking back, I am so grateful that my parents chose this type of dual education because being fluent in two languages and understanding both cultures have opened so many doors for me.
Karen grew up a true geek: she loved Pokémon anime and playing video games since childhood. In middle school, she joined a karate club and stayed there until college, earning a brown belt.

Fluent in both English and Japanese, Karen worked as a TV journalist for Disney's Movie Surfers, a show broadcast in Japan that featured interviews with Disney movie stars.

One of her first interviews was with Keira Knightley, Orlando Bloom, and Johnny Depp about "Pirates of the Caribbean." Karen was in eighth grade and very nervous. She recalled that Johnny had a special aura about him; he looked like a pirate even without his costume, wearing a hat, cool thick-framed glasses, and many bracelets: "He was the kindest person and very patient with me, even when I struggled to formulate questions for the interview."

After this job, Fukuhara hosted a Japanese-language sports radio show, interviewing athletes such as baseball players Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier from the Dodgers.

Acting Career

After graduating from the University of California, Los Angeles with a bachelor's degree in sociology, Karen worked for a while as a translator, subtitle editor, and waitress in a reggae-themed sushi restaurant.

She soon decided to pursue acting and signed with manager Sally Hinata, who arranged an audition for her in "Suicide Squad." Her years of practicing karate and kendo gave her an edge during the initial reading and led to an impressive outcome.
Katana - All Fight Scenes
The director of the adventure thriller "Suicide Squad," David Ayer, focused on having the actors perform their own stunts to create a realistic feel. The actors had a month and a half to prepare for filming. As for Fukuhara, she trained in sword fighting, martial arts, and fitness.
I practiced martial arts with David's old friend Richard Mesquita. And I had to work with Guy Norris, the second unit director, and Richard Norton, the fight coordinator—they worked on 'Mad Max: Fury Road.' They are the best in the industry for stunt work. By the end, I was able to do everything except one dive into the water. We all rehearsed and trained together. The rehearsals were more about emotional connection, sharing stories, and opening up to each other. But personally, I think the physical training also brought us together because you're hitting each other; you're crossing personal space and boundaries. Nowadays, people don't have such interactions, especially with technology – everyone's behind a screen.
The main characters in the action film about supervillains given a chance for redemption by the government were played by Will Smith, and Margot Robbie. Speaking about her character, Karen noted that her Katana has her own comic and the audience knows her backstory. This made working on the role even more interesting:
I was drawn to her connection with her sword (Soul Taker) and her husband, who is trapped inside it. She has a dark past, but she continues to fight for global justice. I'm curious to see how the writers will develop her story. I like that she's strong not just physically but also morally. Katana is very independent and doesn't need a savior. I respect such strong women.
Three years after "Suicide Squad" was released, Fukuhara played the lead role in the mystical action film "Stray." Her character Nori, endowed with supernatural strength, helped a police detective investigate her mother's strange murder.

The film wasn't a huge success, but the actress was noticed and invited to the series "The Boys," featuring Karl Urban, Jack Quaid, and Tomer Capone. Karen took on the role of the mysterious Kimiko, a superhero who gained superpowers during tragic events.

Talking about the filming, the actress recalled how upset she was when her scene with a mouse was cut from the series:
There were so many shocking moments, especially with the whale and the boat, but I also remembered one cut episode. I had a scene with a mouse; I worked with a real animal, and it was actually a real mouse, which shocked me quite a bit. This scene was related to my past; the mouse was just supposed to appear in the Boys' hideout. Kimiko would have seen something familiar in it. But it upstaged me! That’s why the mouse didn't make it into the second season but appeared in the third season.
In 2022, Fukuhara starred in the American-Japanese crime action film "Bullet Train" directed by David Leitch, featuring Brad Pitt and Aaron Taylor-Johnson.

The Boys - Making The Musical
In addition, Karen was involved in voicing various female characters in animated series and films, including "Craig of the Creek" (Sewer Queen), "RoboCop: Alpha Commando" (Eliza Maza), "Star Wars: Visions" (F), and Hayao Miyazaki's "The Boy and the Heron" (Kumi).

In 2022, Fukuhara made her debut in the video game "The Callisto Protocol," developed by Glen Schofield, CEO of Striking Distance Studios. It is a survival horror game set in the Black Iron prison on one of Jupiter's moons, Callisto.
Dani Nakamura Actress Karen Fukuhara talks THE CALLISTO PROTOCOL and Motion Capture
Karen played Dani Nakamura, the leader of a resistance group called "Outer Way," who, along with her comrades, must uncover the dark secrets of Black Iron prison and escape while preserving their lives. Chris Stone, the creative director of the company, noted:
Karen just brings energy to everything she does. She just jumps off the screen. We knew we needed a strong and resilient character but also complex and human. Karen provides that in abundance. There’s so much variety in her acting skills, and she's very creative on her own.

Karen Fukuhara's Personal Life

Rising star of American thrillers Karen Fukuhara was often rumored to have romances with her co-stars. Jai Courtney, who played Captain Boomerang in "Suicide Squad," and Tomer Capon, also known as Frenchie from "The Boys," with whom her character Kimiko develops a romance in the storyline, were among those reported to be her boyfriends. However, Karen never dated either of them.

To avoid media speculation, in 2019 Fukuhara revealed that she was dating renowned photographer and model Keith Tio. Karen thanked her partner for "warming her during the cold winters."

Karen is also a loving daughter and sister and has repeatedly expressed her love for her family, especially her mother. According to the actress, her mother Hidemi taught her to enjoy each day and not to dwell on failures.
Karen's Kitchen Spaghetti Carbonara (Japanese Style)
Fukuhara's work ethic is also inherited from her parents. She allows herself small gastronomic pleasures, loves dishes made from pasta and rice prepared according to Japanese recipes. To stay in shape, Karen engages in rowing, running, and visits the gym.

Karen Fukuhara Now

The year 2024 has brought the actress another season of the superhero series by Eric Kripke, "The Boys," in which she returned as Kimiko. Details of the plot development were kept secret, but even before the release of the fourth part, it was known that the series would be renewed for a fifth season.

Critics speak favorably about the script and plot, noting the humor and talented acting, and their fans eagerly await new stories about their favorite characters. In addition to that, Fukuhara has lent her voice to new animated series: "Pokémon Concierge" (Haru) and "Alice's Wonderland Bakery" (Sakura).

Interesting Facts

  • Fukuhara will always remember the moment when "Suicide Squad" director David Ayer made the decision to cast her in the film:
    At my second audition, David was in the room. They were very secretive about the script, so I hadn’t read anything from the original screenplay. ...I remember the room was quite small, and there were these big photo lamps on either side of me. During the sword-fighting audition, I was trying to gauge the length of my arm and the sword so as not to hit these items. But it was very close, and when you’re in the zone, you can’t be careful because you’re going all out. I broke one of the light sources and remember hearing the casting director and David gasp. But I just kept going, and I think David liked that I didn’t stop halfway through.
  • Fukuhara's dedication to the "Suicide Squad" franchise was so strong that she once suggested to the crew at dinner that they all should get matching tattoos to commemorate the shooting of the film. Margot Robbie supported her, bringing her tattoo gun to the trailer one day. Everyone gathered and tattooed the acronym SKWAD on different parts of their bodies. Karen got hers on her ankle.

  • Fukuhara was thrilled when she first boarded a private jet with the cast to fly to the location for shooting. Having grown up in a family of modest means, the actress confessed that she had never even dreamed of such an experience before.

  • Karen dreams of working with director Christopher Nolan in the future.