Maki Horikita (堀北 真希 Horikita Maki) (born October 6, 1988) is a Japanese actress and endorser. She debuted in 2003 as a U-15 idol and has since starred in Japanese television dramas, television and magazine advertisements, and movies.
Born Marina Hara (real name) on the sixth of October 1988 in Kiyose, Tokyo, Japan, Horikita is the eldest of three girls. Known to be boyish as a child, Horikita enjoyed playing basketball and baseball as well as mock games of Dragon Ball Z with the boys rather than doll games with the girls in middle school. Despite her boyishness, Horikita looked up to her mother. This was revealed when she appeared in an episode of KAT-TUN's now-defunct variety show, Cartoon KAT-TUN where she mentioned that she liked imitating her mother when she was younger.
In junior high school, Horikita served as the vice-president of her school's student council and the vice-captain of the basketball club. In class, she was dubbed "The Boss of 3-C" in recognition of her status as the class representative. As she became more active in the entertainment industry, she had to put her club and council activities on hold. Being unable to meet her many commitments, she finally withdrew from her school activities, concentrating solely on completing her high school education and developing her career in show business.
Apart from modeling for photobooks, Horikita started as a print and television endorser in 2003. She is best remembered for her television commercials for Fujifilm (where she appeared alongside Japanese idol Tomoya Nagase) and Lotte. In 2008, she was chosen as the endorser of Honda Cars Japan's STEP WGN. She is also a staple image endorser for Suntory and NTT DoCoMo. In 2008, Nihon Monitor recognized Horikita as one of Japan's top endorsers during its annual Most Popular Personality in TV CMs. hana kimi.
Horikita had appeared in several drama series and movies since 2003, but it was her roles in Densha Otoko and Nobuta wo Produce that opened more doors of opportunity for her. Her promising portrayal of the titular character in Nobuta wo Produce won her a Best Supporting Actress award from Japan's Television Academy Awards. It was also around this time that she won the Newcomer Award from Japan Academy Awards for her role as a student apprentice in Always: Sunset on Third Street.
In the following year, she won her second Best Supporting Actress award from the Television Academy Awards for her role in Kurosagi. Months later, she was given the lead role for Teppan Shoujo Akane and the role of a bully who is behind a class rebellion in the drama series Seito Shokun! where she co-starred with her agency senior Rina Uchiyama. She was also cast in the horror movie, One Missed Call: Final, the last installment of the One Missed Call franchise with agency colleague and best friend Meisa Kuroki and South Korean actor Jang Geun-suk.
Soon after, Horikita achieved her first Best Actress award for her role as Mizuki Ashiya in the Japanese drama adaptation of the gender-bender manga Hana-Kimi, or Hanazakari no Kimitachi e. In the same year that Hana Kimi was filmed, Horikita also starred in the Taiga drama Atsuhime with Aoi Miyazaki. Simultaneously, she played the lead character who has multiple personality disorder in the suspense movie Tokyo Shōnen and reprised her role as a student apprentice in Always: Zoku Sanchome no Yuhi, the sequel to her breakthrough movie. Horikita's exceptional work was recognized by Vogue Nippon in which she was identified as one of the eleven Women of the Year for 2007.
On October of the following year, she was once again seen on television opposite Yuzu's lead vocalist Yujin Kitagawa, leading the cast of Fuji TV's golden time slot in the drama Innocent Love. Towards the end of the year, she had been cast as Naomi, the female protagonist of Dareka ga Watashi ni Kiss wo Shite or DareKiss (based on Gabrielle Zevin's popular novel, "Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac") a Hollywood-Japan collaboration film directed by internationally acclaimed director and self-confessed Japanese culture fanatic, Hans Canosa. (2007).
As soon as the filming for DareKiss ended, Horikita had gone on to appear in two television dramas, Atashinchi no Danshi in 2009 as an adoptive mother of six young men (played by Jun Kaname and Mukai Osamu among others) and Tokujo Kabachi!! in 2010 as an administrative scrivener opposite Arashi's Sho Sakurai.
Come January 2011, Horikita starred in the movie adaptation of Byakuyakou, a widely read novel that was adapted into a television drama in 2006 starring Haruka Ayase and Takayuki Yamada. Produced by WOWOW FILMS, the movie was screened at the Berlin Film Festival in the Panorama category. In the summer of 2011, Horikita led the cast of a family drama called Umareru.
Horikita was one of the six young female hosts of the radio show, GIRLS LOCKS!, a sub-portion of the Japanese radio program, SCHOOL OF LOCKS! from the radio network tfm. She usually provides book recommendations to her listeners and calls selected letter-senders to discuss the questions they wrote in their letters. Her stint was at ten in the evening, every third or fourth week of the month. Other hosts of this radio show include Yui Aragaki, Chiaki Kuriyama, Nana Eikura and Kii Kitano. She graduated from the program on May 2009.
Horikita had also ventured the world of voice acting, debuting as an anime seiyu for one of the characters in Nobita and the Green Giant Legend 2008. Her most prominent voice acting stint was when she provided the voice for Luke, a character from the video game series, Professor Layton series.
Early 2009, she had also dubbed a character from the Belgian 3D animated movie Nat's Space Adventure 3D/Fly Me to the Moon. She provided the Japanese voice of the protagonist, a young male fly who was determined to explore outer space.