10 Best Japanese-American Actors

Tuesday, March 22 by T. Cousin

This article will highlight the 10 best Japanese-American actors. Japanese-Americans have been a part of western filmmaking since its beginning. Here is the list of the ten best Japanese-American actors past and present.

  1. Mako. Mako immigrated to America with his parents when he was young; as an adult actor, he received an Academy Award for his role in the 1966 movie "The Sand Pebbles," which also starred Steve McQueen. He was also a distinguished stage actor. Mako, who passed on in 2006, also appeared in the movies, "Seven Years in Tibet," and "Memoirs of a Geisha."
  2. Miyoshi Umeki. This Japanese-American won an Academy Award for best supporting actress for her role in the 1957 movie, "Sayonara." She also appeared in the Broadway musical, "Flower Drum." Umeki passed on in 2008.
  3. Harold Sakata. Harold is probably best known for playing villains. Sakata played Oddball, a rival of James Bond who used his steel-rimmed Derby hat as weapon in the 1964 film "Goldfinger."
  4. Pat Morita. Morita, a Japanese-American, is probably best known for his role as the diner owner, Arnold, on the TV series "Happy Days," and Mr. Miyagi in the movie, "The Karate Kid." In 1985, Pat was nominated for an Academy Award for his role in the 1984 movie, "The Karate Kid."
  5. George Takei. Takei is a recently openly gay Japanese-American actor; he is in his seventies. George is known for his role as Mr. Sulu on the original "Star Trek" TV series.
  6. Rinko Kikucho. Rinko is a Japanese-American female actress. In 2007, she was nominated for an Academy Award for her supporting role in the movie "Babel."
  7. Tadanobu Asano. This handsome Japanese-American played Genghis Khan in the movie "Mogul." The 35 year old actor has appeared in 46 movies to date.
  8. Masayori Oka. Masayori plays a nerd on the hit TV series "Heroes." In real life, the Japanese-American actor loves computers and Japanese comic books or manga. Oka's IQ was in the 180s when he was just six years old.
  9. Sessue Hayakawa. Sessue, who was born in Japan, immigrated to America as an adult. His career started during the silent movie era. Hayakawa is best known for his role as a Japanese officer in the movie "Bridge Over the River Kwai," for which he was nominated for an Oscar.
  10. Shirley Yamaguchi. Shirley is probably best known for her role in the 1955 movie "House of Bamboo," which also starred actor Robert Stack. Yamaguchi was born in Japan, but while in Hollywood, she married Isamu Noguchi, a Japanese-American sculptor. 


  1. March 22, 2011 3:36 am


    James Shigeki who starred in “The Flower Drum Story” on broadway and on film and numerous other films. was a Japanese-American actor born in Hawaii.

  2. March 22, 2011 3:36 am


    Sorry, I meant James Shigeta.

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