Yutaka Fukufuji was born September 17, 1982 in Kushiro, Hokkaidō, Japan. Selected 238th overall in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, Fukufuji became the second NHL player born in Japan to be drafted by an NHL team.
Prior to making his North American debut in minor pro, Fukufuji played on the Kokudo hockey team in the Asia league for a number of years. In 2004-05 he played for the Bakersfield Condors of the ECHL where he led the team in wins, GAA, and shutouts. Following that season, he signed an entry-level contract with the Kings in August, 2005. He went on to spend yet another season in the ECHL prior to being sent to the Kings AHL affilate in Manchester.
In the 2006-07 NHL season, Yutaka Fukufuji made NHL history on three different occasions. On December 15, 2006 Fukufuji became the first Japanese-born player to dress for an NHL game. Just less than a mother later, on January 13, 2007 Fukufuji became the first Japanese-born player to appear in an NHL game. And three days later - January 16, 2007, Fukufuji made history once again becoming the first Japanese player to start an NHL game.