Sony Corp., the world's second-biggest consumer electronics maker, and Honda Motor Co., which generates more than half its sales in North America, climbed, boosted by the yen's weakest level in more than three months.
U.S. stocks rose yesterday, with the Standard & Poor's 500 Index advancing 0.3 percent after a report showed store purchases rose 1 percent last month as consumers began to spend part of their $117 billion in tax-rebate checks.
The Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose 149.50, or 1.1 percent, to 14,038.10 as of 9:31 a.m. in Tokyo. The broader Topix index gained 9.87, or 0.7 percent, to 1,373.01.
Shipping companies dropped after the Baltic Dry Index, a measure of freight rates, posted a record decline as port congestion eased and amid speculation China will buy less iron ore.
The report on retail sales boosted confidence U.S. consumers will continue to spend despite slower economic growth. Economists had forecast purchases to rise 0.5 percent.