Japanese supermodel Sayoko Yamaguchi, who was one of the first Asian models to grace the top catwalks of the fashion world, has died at the age of 57.

The model, who broke into the fashion industry in the 1970s, reportedly died last week from acute pneumonia, according to Japanese reports today.

Yamaguchi made her Paris debut in 1972 before working on the catwalks of New York and other fashion capitals.

In 1977 Newsweek magazine named her as one of the top six models in the world.

She later went on to star in movies and stage productions, as well as designing costumes.