• Kyodo

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The daughter of Ken Watanabe, best known in Hollywood for his role in the “The Last Samurai,” has quietly struck out on her own in New York.

But few know that the model, who prefers to be known simply as “Anne,” has a famous father.

Since beginning her career in Tokyo about five years ago, her face has graced the covers of several Japanese magazines and appeared on TV commercials. Now she is breaking into the competitive international fashion scene.

She walked the runway for her third New York Fashion Week in September, wearing the latest outfits from 16 different designers for the 2007 spring/summer collection.

“I don’t conceal the fact that Ken Watanabe is my father, but I don’t dare say that my father is Ken Watanabe,” the soft spoken 20-year-old said, emphasizing that she wants to make it on her own. “When someone asks about him, I answer. That’s it.”

Despite having kicked off her overseas career just last year, she has already been signed as a new face for Anna Sui — a Chinese-American designer well-known for her clothing and cosmetics line — for her fall fragrance ads.

“It’s a world campaign for Anna Sui, and I’m so glad that I was chosen as her model,” Anne said.

She modeled Anna Sui’s latest collection during this year’s Big Apple’s fashion week, which ran from Sept. 8 to 15. The highly anticipated biannual event attracts top designers, celebrities and models along with intense media coverage.

After New York, Annehas grand plans to sashay down other catwalks and model for other labels in Paris and Milan.

What separates New York from other fashion capitols is the breadth and diversity of its market.

“New York has a large market, and many kinds of people and races, so there is a wide variety of brands,” she said. “I think it’s interesting.”

Despite her growing fame and recognition as a promising new model on the global scene, she tries to live like any other young woman. She eats at Manhattan noodle shops and takes the subway.

As a model, Anne says she strives to be “flat,” meaning that she can project a different persona in each outfit she dons.

Although Japanese models continue to be underrepresented on international catwalks, Anne looks like she could become another supermodel like Ai Tominaga.

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