Celebrate the A100, the most impactful Asian Pacific Leaders.

Anna Sawai, Mari Yamamoto & Ren Watabe

Stars, Monarch: Legacy of Monsters

Anna Sawai is a New Zealand-born Japanese actress, singer, and dancer. She landed her first acting role at age 11 as the title character in the 2004 Nippon TV production of Annie shortly after moving to Japan. Sawai later made her film debut as Kiriko in James McTeigue’s 2009 neo-noir martial arts film Ninja Assassin.

Sawai rose to fame in Japan as one of the lead vocalists of the girl group Faky from 2013 to 2018. She made a return to acting with supporting roles in the Japanese mystery series Colors (2018) and the British crime thriller series Giri/Haji (2019). Her international breakthrough came with the roles of Elle in F9 (2021), the ninth film in the Fast & Furious franchise, and Naomi in the Apple TV+ drama series Pachinko (2022–present). She gained further recognition for playing Cate Randa in the monster series Monarch: Legacy of Monsters (2023–2024) and received critical acclaim for her portrayal of Mariko in the FX miniseries Shōgun (2024).

Mari Yamamoto is a Japanese actor and writer. She can currently be seen opposite Wyatt Russell in Monarch: Legacy of Monsters (Apple TV+). Her past acting credits include Pachinko (Apple TV+), Kate (Netflix), Not To Be Unpleasant But We Need To Have A Serious Talk, Surfer’s Paradise and Jimami Tofu. She will soon begin shooting a starring role opposite Brendan Fraser in the Searchlight feature Rental Family.

As a writer Mari has been a correspondent for The Daily Beast, and consulted on scripts for Tokyo Vice (HBO Max) while developing her own series at Disney+ Japan. She grew up in Tokyo and London, and now lives in New York.

Ren Watabe was born and raised in Tokyo. He attended an international school and after graduation, he began his career in modeling. After quitting modeling, he began to work as a part-time cook. While working in the kitchen, he received an audition for the Apple+ series Monarch: Legacy of Monsters and eventually went on to book one of the series leads. The series marks both his television and U.S. debut.