Born in Japan and raised in Tokyo, Ako is a former member of the world-famous Takarazuka Theatre Company in Japan. There she played featured roles in musicals, revues, contemporary and traditional dramas. Following a successful stage and television career in Japan, Ako moved to New York. She has appeared in films including SNOW FALLING ON CEDARS directed by Scott Hicks, a BBC-film called PRISONERS IN TIME with John Hurt and Randall Duk Kim, I ORIGIN, TOO TIRED TO DIE, SHADOW PLAY, DAITORYO NO CHRISTMAS TREE, NO RESERVATIONS also for Scott Hicks, and TWELVE directed by Joel Schumacher. Television work includes a recent episode of 30 ROCK with Alec Baldwin, Tina Fey, and Jennifer Aniston and ‘MERCY.’
She has worked in some of America’s leading regional theaters, including Actors Theatre of Louisville (KY), Williamstown Theatre Festival, Arena Stage (DC), Alley Theater (Houston), Papermill Playhouse (NJ), TUTS (Houston and Seattle), ESIPA (Albany), ACT (Seattle), Pittsburgh Public Theater, and the Contemporary American Theater Festival (WV) andO’Neal Playwright Conference.
She was the Oregon Shakespeare Festival acting company member, 2010-2012 season; she played as Lady Asaji (Lady Macbeth) in ‘THRONE OF BLOOD’, that was adapted/directed by Ping Chong from Akira Kurosawa’s film based on Macbeth, it was transferred to BAM as a part of the Next Wave Festival. 2011 season; as Soothsayer/Caius Ligarius in ‘Julius Caesar’ and as Madame Mercade in ‘Love’s Labor’s Lost’. 2012 season; as Acolyte/Ensemble in Mary Zimmerman’s ‘The White Snake’ and as Cook/u/s Polina in ‘Seagull’.
AKO was critically-acclaimed on tour throughout the U.S. as Katsumi in the musical SAYONARA based on James A. Michener’s book SAYONARA made famous in the Marlon Brando film.
New York Off Broadway productions include KENTUCKY, SAYONARA, SONG OF SONG OF SONGS, TAMAR OF THE RIVER, TEA WITH THE HAIKU GEISHA, TWO CITIES, TEA HOUSE OF THE AUGUST MOON, A MAJORITY OF ONE, SHOGUN MACBETH, GASHRUM KOTWAL, Velina Hasu Houston’s play TEA and KOKORO .
AKO recorded an Original Cast Album for the musical TAMAR OF THE RIVER (music by Marisa Michelson, book Joshua H. Cohen) in which she appeared in an Off Broadway production in New York in 2014.
Ako will be in 'God Said This' by Leah Nanako Winkler, directed by Morgan Gould at Primary Stages on Jan-Feb 2019.
Ako is also well known as a Kabuki choreographer and a Japanese authenticity advisor, and is a Certified teacher of Japanese Kabuki Dance. She dedicates her work to her mother Akiko and her husband Joshua Dachs, principal of Fisher Dachs Associates, a theater planning and design firm. She has appeared on stages he has designed at the Pittsburgh Public Theater and Arena Stage.