Tao Tsuchiya fun facts

The live-action series of Alice In Borderland has earned heaps of praise for its storytelling and cinematography since it first made a splash on Netflix in 2020. At the centre of it is Tao Tsuchiya, the actress who brought the all-rounded Yuzuha Usagi to life with her impeccable acting and athletic skills.

But just who is the actress behind the fan-favourite character? From her must-visit spot in Kyoto to the origin of her name, here are 8 facts to know about Tao Tsuchiya. 

1. Her name came to her mum in a dream

Tao Tsuchiya fun facts - Tao Tsuchiya and her mum
Image adapted from: @taotsuchiya_official 

If you look up Tao Tsuchiya’s name in Japanese on Google, “Is that her real name?” shows up as one of the most-searched questions.

Her first name, 太鳳 (Tao), is a pretty unusual name for a girl in Japan as the kanji “太” is considered masculine and more commonly associated with boy names. 

Before she was born, Tao’s mum was fretting over what to name her soon-to-be-born daughter. Inspiration came in the form of a dream, as Tsuchiya’s mom dreamt of an infant sitting amidst the clouds and writing on a piece of paper with the following: “born 3rd February”, “girl”, and the name “Tao”. 

As foretold, Tsuchiya’s mum popped on the exact date, and she decided to name the baby girl with the kanji named bestowed through her dream.   

2. She beat 2,020 candidates to secure a drama lead role

Tao Tsuchiya fun facts - Tao Tsuchiya's appearance in the morning drama series Mare
Image credit: Crank In

Auditions are nerve-wrecking, and even more so when you have to compete with more than 2,000 other budding actresses. Just like her character in Alice In Borderland, who cleared rounds of games to emerge as one of the last few survivors, Tsuchiya once managed to beat a whopping 2,020 candidates in an audition. 

She landed the role of the lead in Mare, a morning drama series about a young girl who dreams of becoming the best pâtisser in the world. Coincidentally, her Alice In Borderland co-star, Yamazaki Kento, starred in the series as her love interest. 

3. Her handwriting is so beautiful that it’s dubbed “Tsuchiya Font”

Tao Tsuchiya fun facts - Tao Tsuchiya's handwritten book review of Yurei
Her handwritten book review of Tsujimura Mizuki’s “Yūrei”.
Image credit: @taotsuchiya_official 

It’s said that one’s handwriting says a lot about the person’s personality. If that’s really the case, Tsuchiya’s perfect handwriting is a testament to her superb personality. 

The actress recently penned down her thoughts after reading Tsujimura Mizuki’s Yūrei, and fans were left in awe of her remarkable penmanship. As though it was typed out and printed, her beautiful and neat script had fans quipping that she used the “Tsuchiya font” for her handwritten book review.   

4. She has been practising nihon būyo since the age of 3

Tao Tsuchiya fun facts - Tao Tsuchiya in a kimono and holding her university graduation certificate
Image credit: @taotsuchiya

As it turns out, the multi-talented actress is not only a pro at pulling off badass action scenes, but she’s also a trained dancer with elegant moves. Wanting to follow her older sister’s footsteps, Tsuchiya first started learning nihon buyō, a traditional form of Japanese dance, when she was 3. She even went on to major in dance in the Japan Women’s College Of Physical Education. 

In an interview with Vogue, Tsuchiya shared that her background in traditional Japanese dance helps keep her grounded and calms her down when she’s feeling jittery.  

5. Her long Instagram captions mirror a habit from her blogging days

Tao Tsuchiya fun facts - Tao Tsuchiya working at her desk
Image credit: @taotsuchiya_official 

Followers of Tsuchiya on Instagram would concur – the beloved actress doesn’t seem to believe in pandering to the short attention spans of people on social media. 

In this day and age, when social media sites are pushing for users to condense their thoughts into a few lines, Tsuchiya’s captions on Instagram are refreshingly well-thought-out and reflective. 

This penchant for long captions can be traced back to her blogging days. Till 2016, the actress maintained a blog that she frequently updated with lengthy posts. Even after Tsuchiya made a switch to Instagram, her long captions still remain a treat for fans looking for a window into her mind. 

6. She drops by Kurumazaki Shrine whenever she’s in Kyoto

Tao Tsuchiya fun facts - Tao Tsuchiya at Kurumazaki Shrine
Image adapted from: Vogue

Kyoto is home to an abundance of shrines, but the one that has a spot in Tsuchiya’s heart is none other than Kurumazaki Shrine. Dedicated to the deity of the performing arts, the quiet shrine is frequented by celebrities and aspiring entertainers. 

In the same Vogue interview, Tsuchiya shared that when she first visited the shrine, she was at a crossroads in her life. Experiencing little success with her auditions, the actress understandably felt anxious and was debating whether to enrol in a university. 

Tao Tsuchiya fun facts - Tao Tsuchiya praying at Kurumazaki Shrine
Image adapted from: Vogue

Thankfully, after praying at Kurumazaki Shrine, opportunities came knocking on the 17-year-old actress’s door, culminating in the impressive acting repertoire she has today. Since then, she makes it a point to visit the shrine whenever she’s in Kyoto. 

7. Her favourite food is meat

Tao Tsuchiya fun facts - meat
Image credit: @taotsuchiya_official 

A smoky, slightly charred, and juicy piece of meat is irresistible to anyone who eats meat, and Tsuchiya is no exception. The Alice In Borderland actress is known for her love of meat, especially in the form of yakiniku.

When asked by her My Brother Loves Me Too Much co-stars to choose between steak and yakiniku, Tsuchiya proclaimed her love for the latter without hesitation. Her reason? She can enjoy a free flow of meat while eating yakiniku – that’s how you know she’s a serious meat lover.

8. She danced in the Japanese music video of Sia’s Alive

Tao Tsuchiya fun facts - Tao Tsuchiya's appearance in Sia's Alive music video
Image adapted from: @ystk_yrk

If her background in dance is not enough to convince you that the actress is a woman of many talents, you need to check out her dance performance in Sia’s Alive music video for visual proof. Donning the signature Sia wig, Tsuchiya flaunted a 4-minute powerful dance routine, which she took 3 weeks to practise and master.  

Watch her stunning dance performance here:

Sia 『アライヴ feat. 土屋太鳳 / Alive feat. Tao Tsuchiya』
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Sia 『アライヴ feat. 土屋太鳳 / Alive feat. Tao Tsuchiya』

Video credit: Sony Music Japan

Facts about Tao Tsuchiya, the female lead of Alice In Borderland  

She’s graceful, she’s fierce, and she’s a force to be reckoned with in the Japanese entertainment industry. With her versatility, one thing’s certain – Tao Tsuchiya’s brilliant performance in Alice In Borderland is just the beginning. 

For more, check out: 

Cover image adapted from: Crank In, @taotsuchiya, @ystk_yrk

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