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Kitagawa was born on August 22, 1986 in Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan, and has a younger brother. She grew up in Kobe, and lost many friends in the Great Hanshin earthquake in 1995. As a child, she wanted to be a doctor, but by the time she reached high school she was uncertain as to whether she could do that. At around this time, she was scouted by a talent agency, and she decided to enter the entertainment world. Her parents were initially opposed, but they gave their permission, on two conditions: that she give up if she was making no progress within a year, and that she put her studies first and graduate from university.
Fortunately, she made progress quickly. She was chosen as Miss Seventeen 2003, which led to her working as a model with the Japanese Seventeen until she graduated from the magazine in September 2006. In the latter part of the run, she had her own regular feature, "Keiko's Beauty Honey".
Also in 2003, she was given the role of Rei Hino in the live action television series of Sailor Moon, which began her acting career. She has since appeared in a number of films, including the leading role in Dear Friends. Since May 2007, she has been writing a column entitled Keytan Hakusho for the Japanese weekly television listings magazine Weekly The Television. ("Kii-tan" was her nickname at elementary school. "Hakusho" just means "blank paper".) She is also continuing her studies, majoring in commercial science at Meiji University in Tokyo.
She moved to Tokyo when she started working as an actress and model, and has lived there since. She traveled to California for the filming of http://bestuff.com/The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, and returned there to study English for a couple of months early in 2006. At this time, she started a blog, which she continued until June 2007; the blog was deleted in July 2007.
She describes herself as a stay-at-home person, and likes watching DVDs, listening to music, and reading books. She also likes swimming, particularly backstroke. She has a pet (male) cat, called Jill.
At present, she is managed by Stardust Promotion.
She has appeared in the films Mizu ni Sumu Hana (2006), Mamiya Kyōdai (2006), http://bestuff.com/The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006), Cherry Pie (2006), and Dear Friends (2007), Sono Toki ha Kare ni Yoroshiku (2007), and Southbound (2007). She will appear in the film Heat Island (2007).