Aya Ueto (上戸 彩, Ueto Aya, born September 14, 1985) is a Japanese actress, singer and television personality. In 1997, Ueto participated in the seventh Japan Bishōjo Contest, where she won the special jury prize. Soon thereafter, Ueto joined the talent agency Oscar Promotion and began taking singing, dancing and acting lessons. In 1999, she formed the girl group Z-1 with three fellow Japan Bishōjo Contest participants. The group disbanded in 2002 and later that year, Ueto signed with Pony Canyon and released "Pureness", her debut single as a lead artist. She has since released five studio albums which have spawned ten Oricon top-ten singles.
At the age of thirteen, Ueto made her acting debut in the 1999 thriller Satsujinsha: Killer of Paraiso. In 2001, Ueto appeared in the sixth season of the TBS drama 3-nen B-gumi Kinpachi-sensei. Her portrayal of a high school student with gender dysphoria garnered critical acclaim and led to several leading roles and advertising endorsements, establishing Ueto as one of Japan's most recognizable faces. Since 2004, Ueto has held the annual title of CM Queen five times. Ueto has won two Television Drama Academy Awards – one for Best Actress for her performance in the sports drama series Ace o Nerae! (2004) and one for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the human drama Nagareboshi (2010). She subsequently starred in the remake of Attention Please (2006), the banking drama Hanzawa Naoki (2013) and Hirugao: Love Affairs in the Afternoon (2014).Ueto ventured onto the big screen as the lead in Ryuhei Kitamura's 2003 blockbuster Azumi, which earned her a nomination for a Japan Academy Award for Best Actress. She went on to star in its sequel, Azumi 2: Death or Love (2005), and Thermae Romae (2012), the adaptation of Mari Yamazaki's manga series of the same name. In 2017, Ueto starred in the feature film adaptation of the drama series Hirugao.