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Mackenyu Maeda was born on November 16, 1996 in Los Angeles, California to his parents, Sonny Chiba, who is a famous actor and martial artist and Tamami Chiba, where he is the oldest of their two children but altogether the middle child of Sonny’s children. His siblings, Juri Manase and Gordon Maeda, are also actors.

Mackenyu had multiple interests and hobbies growing up, while his time was mostly devoted to schooling and graduation, he starred in a few television series and films. He started to learn horseback riding and Yabusame, a form of archery, by the age of seven. By age eight, Mackenyu has trained in Kyokushin Karate to become a trained martial artist. He appeared in the television series Astro Kyūdan (Team Astro) in 2005 and in 2007, was featured in the film Oyaji.

Macken started learning the Piano at only ten years old as he was expressing an interest in music around that time, entering into middle school, he continued to train in Karate and won third place at the US Kyokushin Karate Nationals. Attending Beverly Hills High School in it’s Advanced Placement Program, aside from studying relentlessly, he did Gymnastics, Water Polo, and Wrestling, in which he became the school representative for. He also played the saxophone, flute and participated in the brass band for Beverly Hills High.

“What are you asking? I’m Japanese.”

— Mackenyu Arata

During his high school years, Mackenyu started to take an interest into another passion: Acting. It was only once he finished high school, that he would pursue an acting career professionally in Japan. He stated that the late actor, Haruma Miura, was the inspiration for him wanting to pursue a career in acting and it was a dream to star alongside him.

His first re-entry into the acting world would come at the age of eighteen, when he starred in So-On: The Five Oyaji and Yo nimo Kimyou na Monogatari in 2014. In 2015, he had an even busier year as he starred in The Kindergarten Detective as Hitoshi Kamose, Tadaima as George, Yume wo Ataeru as Masaaki, The Hatsumori Bemars, Take a Chance as Masa, and his most popular title from that year: Kamen Rider Drive: Surprise Future as Eiji Tomari.

Before his biggest project that would sky rocket his career to what it would become, Macken’s work in Tadaima (2015) won an award at the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival for The Best Narrative Short.

“This guy can sleep anywhere, That’s what I notice when filming together. (…) Even on a hard wood floor, he can sleep soundly!”

— Takanori Iwata on Mackenyu’s sleeping habits.

Upon entering his most known role that would project Mackenyu into superstardom, when he starred as Arata Wataya in Chihayafuru (Parts I & II), he also starred in Bitter Sweet as Babazono Atsushi, Aogeba Toutoshi as Ren Kitora, Night’s Tightrope as Makise, Tokumei Shikikan Goma Ayaka, Ashita mo Kitto Kimi ni Koi wo Suru and Sakurasaku, all being released in 2016.

With the fame that his role as Arata Wataya brought to his career, in the years after, he would go onto star in many other projects over the next few years including: Let’s Go Jets as Kosuke Yamashita, Peach Girl as Toji, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable as Okuyasu Nijimura, We Did It as Tatsuto Ichihashi, Keiji Yugami, and Impossibility Defense in 2017.

In 2018, he continued the Chihayafuru legacy by starring in the mini-series, Chihayafuru: Connect and the third part to the original movies. Along with those, Todome no Seppun and Todome no Parallel as Takauji Namiki, Pacific Rim: Uprising as Cadet Ryoichi, Over Drive as Naozumi Hiyama, and Code Blue: The Movie as Akio Kishida.

Mackenyu had more of a break in between 2019 and 2020, starring only in a few projects as around this time COVID-19 was coming into play and he was showing interest in breaking out more into the international territories such as the United States. During these two years, he starred as an array of characters in Two Homelands, 12 Suicidal Teens, Tokyo Ghoul: S, Doki no Sakura, Kaiji: Final Game, Our 30 Minute Sessions, Remote de Korosareru, and Tonkatsu DJ Agetaro.

In 2021, He was able to fulfill a dream that he’s had since his acting career began, in which he wanted to star alongside the actor who inspired him. Before Haruma’s untimely passing, they were able to film a movie together that was released posthumously (on Haruma’s part) when they both starred in the live-action adaptation of Brave: Gunjō Senki.

“No matter what generation you’re from, it’s not scary.”

— Mackenyu Arata

For the rest of 2021, Mackenyu also starred in Na mo Naki Sekai no End Roll and Re: Na mo Naki Sekai no End Roll ~Half a Year Later~ as Makoto, Rurouni Kenshin: The Final, and Ichikei no Karasu, before transitioning to Fullmetal Alchemist: The Revenge of Scar, and Fullmetal Alchemist: Final Transmutation in 2022.

Apart from his 2023 hit movie, Knights of the Zodiac, he has starred in yet another hit blockbuster for the major streaming service, Netflix, when Macken took on the role of Roronoa Zoro in the live-action adaptation of One Piece. He will also star in the Disney+ / Hulu original series, Dragons of Wonderhatch to finish off his blockbuster filled year and House of the Owl to hit in the future.

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