Michiko Nishiwaki: The first Japanese female bodybuilding champion

See a movie charlie’s angel. Those high-risk stunts that were obviously performed by Lucy Liu were actually performed by Michiko Nishiwaki. She has been a stunt double and fighting choreographer for some of Hollywood’s biggest names. After missing out on being a cast member in Mortal Kombat, Michiko decided to add a stuntman to her resume. She performed all the high-stakes stunts in Kill Bill: Volumes. 2 (2004), and Kelly Hu in The Scorpion King (2002). She also performed stunts in Collateral (2004), Mission: Impossible III (2006) and Rush Hour 2 (2001).

Michiko Nishiwaki has had an interesting and varied career. As a teenage gymnast in Japan, she likes the muscles in her upper body, but wants more development in her legs.In the early 1980s, she was photo of bodybuilder, especially Rachel McLeish, with whom Michiko bears a striking resemblance. At first, she couldn’t imagine herself posing in a tiny bikini. “It is inappropriate for women in Japanese society to show their bodies in public,” she said.At this point, female bodybuilding isn’t really established in the US or Europe, so in Japan Being a woman in the muscle competition is definitely a revolution.

In Japanese society, wearing a small bikini is inappropriate for women. Bill Dobbins

A serious athlete, Michiko Nishiwaki found a gym and started lifting weights to balance her proportions and symmetry. In a relatively short period of time, Michiko became Japan’s first female bodybuilding and weightlifting champion and held those titles three years in a row. She and her brother opened three fitness clubs to capitalize on her competitive success. Known as a strength training specialist, she also performs executive personal training and has established connections with the Japanese elite. Michiko forever changed the stereotype of submissive and docile Japanese women by being a role model for all.

Michiko’s acting career began in Hong Kong in 1985. Her first lead role was in the film My Lucky Star, in which she played a Japanese warrior. Her performance caught the attention of Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung, and she soon appeared alongside many of the best known martial arts stars. Michiko has appeared in dozens of films of the genre, and later in A-list films such as Memoirs of a Geisha, Lethal Weapon, Call of Duty and Man on the Moon starring Jim Carrey.

As an elite athlete, she had no problem learning to play a martial arts master in movies, which also included learning weapons training. Michiko realized she could use her gymnastics training like Jackie Chan, whose background helped him develop a unique athletic style. She eventually found herself in need of stunts and actors, and was soon set to play the villain in most of her Hong Kong films.

Film director Oliver Stone caught my eye. I arranged a shoot with her in my studio for Weider magazine. Michiko is very popular all over the world and I see her pictures posted on the internet on websites dedicated to martial arts. Not only was she a pioneer in the field of muscle and physique, but she was an admirable role model who was able to use her sport to succeed and develop a film career.

Michiko Nishiwaki in Kung Fu Magazine
Michiko forever changed the stereotype of submissive and docile Japanese women. Bill Dobbins

Michiko Nishiwaki married and subsequently moved to Moorpark, California. Having Michiko live near LA gave me the opportunity to bring her into my studio to shoot for Muscle & Fitness. I consider the images I create with her to be a great addition to my photo archive, and I am delighted to share them with the magazine readers of the current era.

Nishiwaki Michiko prepares for battle
Michiko in the scene with Jackie Chan in Rush Hour 2. Bill Dobbins

Michiko Nishiwaki film credits

  • Ghost Rock (2003) – Hana
  • Man on the Moon (1999) – Female Karate Fighter
  • Lethal Weapon 4 (1998)
  • Top Fighter 2 (1996) – Herself (archival footage)
  • City on Fire (1993) – Jiazhi
  • Ging fa yu lau ang (Prostitutes and Policewomen) (1993) – Nancy Cheng
  • Fatal Attraction (1993)
  • Hakkai Red Shadow (Vengeance Quartet) (1993) – Mori
  • Huo bao da quan zi (Big Circle Blues) (1992) – Kwan Show-Yun
  • Pi li bao zuo (1992)
  • Emperor Yunyu Liu Gan (Passionate Killing in a Dream) (1992) – Li Shasha
  • Hong tin huang jia jiang (Angel Terminators) (1992) – Miss Nishiwaki
  • Yin yao hao qing (Hero Dream aka Naked Huntress) (1992) – Yi
  • Sing je wai wong (The Mighty Gambler) (1992) – Joyce Huang (mainlander)
  • Se jiang (Witchcraft vs. Curse) (1991) – Simol
  • The real me (1991)
  • Best Martial Arts Movie (1990) – Herself (archival footage)
  • Magic Police (1990) – The Witch
  • Dragon Fighter (Hard to Kill) (1990)
  • Hu Dan’s Second Gang (Widow Warriors) (1990) – Chieko
  • Outlaw Brothers (1990) – Miego
  • Live Hard (1989) – Lily
  • Miao tan shuang long (City Cops) (1989) – Michiko
  • God of Gamblers (1989) – Gao Chun’s female underworld rival
  • Time Out: The Final League (1989)
  • In the Line of Duty III (1988) – Michiko Nishiwaki
  • Ojô san tantei Tokimeki renpatsu! (Girl Detective: Heartbeat!) (1987) – Mio Matsuda
  • Jikuu Senshi Spielban (Dimensional Warrior Spielban) (1986, TV Series) – Rikkî
  • My Lucky Star (1985) – Japanese Fighter
Michiko Nishiwaki's movie cover for Madame Princess
Michiko plays lead role in Madame Princess Bill Dobbins

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