Who is the most famous Japanese person in the world?
Perhaps the answer is Oshin, the heroine of the popular NHK morning series, which was broadcast for a year from April 1983. With the cooperation of the Japan Foundation, NHK International produced the international edition of "Oshin" for worldwide distribution and eventually "Oshin" came to be aired in 59 countries and regions.
Reports say that in China alone, as many as 200 million people watched "Oshin", while in Iran, female Japanese tourists have often been addressed as "Oshin". The Indonesian broadcaster was flooded with protests from viewers because the series was being broadcast while supper was being prepared. There is no doubt about it ; Oshin stands alone in terms of her worldwide fame.
FLM interest: Ayako Kobayashi http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1229947/
I watched this on TV many years ago (ok decades ) and was deeply moved by it. Would love to see it again.