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The Most Famous

ASTRONAUTS from Japan

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This page contains a list of the greatest Japanese Astronauts. The pantheon dataset contains 524 Astronauts, 12 of which were born in Japan. This makes Japan the birth place of the 5th most number of Astronauts behind Ukraine and China.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Japanese Astronauts of all time. This list of famous Japanese Astronauts is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Japanese Astronauts.

Photo of Toyohiro Akiyama

1. Toyohiro Akiyama (1942 - )

With an HPI of 51.07, Toyohiro Akiyama is the most famous Japanese Astronaut.  His biography has been translated into 26 different languages on wikipedia.

Toyohiro Akiyama (秋山 豊寛, Akiyama Toyohiro, born 22 July 1942) is a retired Japanese TV journalist and professor at Kyoto University of Art and Design. In December 1990, he spent seven days aboard the Mir space station. He became the first person of Japanese nationality to fly in space, and his space mission was the second spaceflight to be commercially sponsored and funded. Akiyama was also the first civilian to use commercial space flight, and the first journalist to report from outer space.

Photo of Chiaki Mukai

2. Chiaki Mukai (1952 - )

With an HPI of 47.01, Chiaki Mukai is the 2nd most famous Japanese Astronaut.  Her biography has been translated into 30 different languages.

Chiaki Mukai (向井 千秋, Mukai Chiaki, born May 6, 1952) is a Japanese physician and JAXA astronaut. She was the first Japanese woman in space, the first Japanese citizen to have two spaceflights, and the first Asian woman in space. Both were Space Shuttle missions; her first was STS-65 aboard Space Shuttle Columbia in July 1994, which was a Spacelab mission. Her second spaceflight was STS-95 aboard Space Shuttle Discovery in 1998. In total she has spent 23 days in space. Mukai was selected to be an astronaut by Japanese national space agency NASDA (now called JAXA) in 1985. Prior to this, she was an assistant professor in the Department of Cardiovascular Surgery at Keio University, the oldest university in Japan. In 2015, she became Vice President of the Tokyo University of Science. In addition, she became JAXA Technical Counselor.

Photo of Akihiko Hoshide

3. Akihiko Hoshide (1968 - )

With an HPI of 45.21, Akihiko Hoshide is the 3rd most famous Japanese Astronaut.  His biography has been translated into 29 different languages.

Akihiko Hoshide (星出 彰彦, Hoshide Akihiko, born December 28, 1968) is a Japanese engineer, JAXA astronaut, and former Commander of the International Space Station. On August 30, 2012, Hoshide became the third Japanese astronaut to walk in space.

Photo of Mamoru Mohri

4. Mamoru Mohri (1948 - )

With an HPI of 44.59, Mamoru Mohri is the 4th most famous Japanese Astronaut.  His biography has been translated into 21 different languages.

Mamoru "Mark" Mohri (毛利 衛, Mōri Mamoru, born 29 January 1948), AM is a Japanese scientist, a former NASDA astronaut, and a veteran of two NASA Space Shuttle missions. He is the first Japanese astronaut who was part of an official Japanese space program. The first Japanese person in space, Toyohiro Akiyama, was a journalist who was trained in the Soviet Union.

Photo of Soichi Noguchi

5. Soichi Noguchi (1965 - )

With an HPI of 42.95, Soichi Noguchi is the 5th most famous Japanese Astronaut.  His biography has been translated into 33 different languages.

Soichi Noguchi (野口 聡一, Noguchi Sōichi, born 15 April 1965) is a Japanese aeronautical engineer and former JAXA astronaut. His first spaceflight was as a Mission Specialist aboard STS-114 on 26 July 2005 for NASA's first "return to flight" Space Shuttle mission after the Columbia disaster. He was also in space as part of the Soyuz TMA-17 crew and Expedition 22 to the International Space Station (ISS), returning to Earth on 2 June 2010. He is the sixth Japanese astronaut to fly in space, the fifth to fly on the Space Shuttle, and the first to fly on Crew Dragon.His third flight was on board the Dragon 2 capsule for the SpaceX Crew-1 mission which launched successfully on 15 November 2020 and landed on 2 May 2021. This makes him the third astronaut to fly on three different launch systems.He became a part-time lecturer at the graduate school of the University of Tokyo since 2011, a project professor since 2021. As of 2022, he is a project professor at the Department of Aerospace Engineering, Nihon University.He retired from astronaut duty and quit JAXA on 1 June 2022. He assumed the honorary director of CupNoodles Museum since 7 June 2022, the chief executive fellow of the Institute for International Socio-Economic Studies and the advisor of IHI Corporation since 1 July 2022. He is the representative of MiraiSpace Co., Ltd. (合同会社未来圏).

Photo of Koichi Wakata

6. Koichi Wakata (1963 - )

With an HPI of 42.55, Koichi Wakata is the 6th most famous Japanese Astronaut.  His biography has been translated into 26 different languages.

Koichi Wakata (若田 光一, Wakata Kōichi, born 1 August 1963) is a Japanese engineer and a JAXA astronaut. Wakata is a veteran of four NASA Space Shuttle missions, a Russian Soyuz mission, and a long-duration stay on the International Space Station. During a nearly two-decade career in spaceflight, he has logged more than eleven months in space. During Expedition 39, he became the first Japanese commander of the International Space Station. Wakata flew on the Soyuz TMA-11M/Expedition 38/Expedition 39 long duration spaceflight from 7 November 2013 to 13 May 2014. During this spaceflight he was accompanied by Kirobo, the first humanoid robot astronaut.

Photo of Takao Doi

7. Takao Doi (1954 - )

With an HPI of 42.54, Takao Doi is the 7th most famous Japanese Astronaut.  His biography has been translated into 22 different languages.

Takao Doi (土井 隆雄, Doi Takao, born September 18, 1954) is a Japanese astronaut, engineer and veteran of two NASA Space Shuttle missions. Doi holds a doctorate from the University of Tokyo in aerospace engineering, and has studied and published in the fields of propulsion systems and microgravity technology. He researched at the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science and was selected by NASDA as an astronaut candidate in 1985 for the Japanese manned space program while also conducting research in the United States at NASA's Lewis Research Center and the University of Colorado at Boulder. Doi flew as a mission specialist aboard STS-87 in 1997, during which he became the first Japanese astronaut to conduct a spacewalk. He received a Ph.D. in 1983 from the University of Tokyo, and also a PhD in Astronomy from Rice University in 2004. Takao Doi visited the International Space Station in March 2008 as a member of the STS-123 crew. STS-123 delivered the first module of the Japanese laboratory, Kibō, and the Canadian Dextre robot to the space station. During this mission, he became the first person to throw a boomerang in space that had been specifically designed for use in microgravity during spaceflight.In September 2009, Doi retired from astronaut duty and started working as the chief of Space Applications Section of United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs.In April 2016, he became a professor at the Unit of Synergetic Studies for Space of Kyoto University and then at the Graduate School of Advanced Integrated Studies in Human Survivability (GSAIS) in April 2020.As an avid amateur astronomer, he discovered supernovae SN 2002gw and SN 2007aa.

Photo of Naoko Yamazaki

8. Naoko Yamazaki (1970 - )

With an HPI of 39.59, Naoko Yamazaki is the 8th most famous Japanese Astronaut.  Her biography has been translated into 33 different languages.

Naoko Yamazaki (山崎 直子, Yamazaki Naoko, born December 27, 1970) is a Japanese engineer and former astronaut at JAXA. She was the second Japanese woman to fly in space. The first was Chiaki Mukai.

Photo of Satoshi Furukawa

9. Satoshi Furukawa (1964 - )

With an HPI of 37.40, Satoshi Furukawa is the 9th most famous Japanese Astronaut.  His biography has been translated into 23 different languages.

Satoshi Furukawa (古川 聡, Furukawa Satoshi, born April 4, 1964) is a Japanese surgeon and JAXA astronaut. Furukawa was assigned to the International Space Station as a flight engineer on long-duration missions Expedition 28/29, lifting off 7 June 2011 and returning 22 November 2011.

Photo of Kimiya Yui

10. Kimiya Yui (1970 - )

With an HPI of 33.38, Kimiya Yui is the 10th most famous Japanese Astronaut.  His biography has been translated into 19 different languages.

Kimiya Yui (油井 亀美也, Yui Kimiya, born January 30, 1970 in Kawakami, Nagano, Japan) is a Japanese astronaut from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). He was selected for the agency in 2009.

Pantheon has 12 people classified as astronauts born between 1942 and 1976. Of these 12, 12 (100.00%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living astronauts include Toyohiro Akiyama, Chiaki Mukai, and Akihiko Hoshide.

Living Astronauts

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