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Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa

Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa
Born (1950-09-27) September 27, 1950
Tokyo, Japan
Other names Cary Tagawa
Occupation Actor, producer, martial artist, sports physiologist, Stuntman
Years active 1986–present
Spouse(s) divorced (2014)

Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (田川 洋行 Tagawa Hiroyuki, born September 27, 1950) is a Japanese-American[1][2] actor, sports physiologist, martial artist and stuntman.

In addition to his extensive film work, he has appeared on television in Star Trek: The Next Generation ("Encounter at Farpoint"; 1987), Thunder in Paradise (1995), Nash Bridges (1996), Baywatch: Hawaiian Wedding (2003) and Heroes (2007). He also provided the voice of Sin Tzu for the video game Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu. He played the part of Earth Alliance security officer Morishi in Babylon 5 ("Convictions"). He played the evil soul-stealing sorcerer Shang Tsung in a film adaptation of the video game Mortal Kombat, and the evil mastermind Heihachi Mishima in the film adaptation of Tekken.


  • Early life 1
  • Career 2
  • Filmography and stunts 3
    • Film 3.1
    • Television 3.2
    • Video games 3.3
  • Bibliography 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Early life

Tagawa was born in Tokyo, Japan, the son of a Japanese actress and a Japanese-American father who served in the United States Army and was stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Fort Polk, Louisiana, and Fort Hood, Texas. He is able to speak both English and Japanese and is also fluent in Korean and Spanish.[3][4][5] He was raised in various cities. He and his family finally settled in Southern California, where he began acting in high school while attending Duarte High School. He attended the University of Southern California, and was an exchange student in Japan.


His breakthrough as an actor came when he was cast as the Eunuch Chang in The Last Emperor (1987). In 1989, he played an undercover agent of the Hong Kong Narcotics Board in the James Bond film Licence to Kill. In 1991, he starred alongside Dolph Lundgren and Brandon Lee in the action film Showdown in Little Tokyo, where he played the role of Yakuza boss Yoshida. He also starred alongside James Hong and Jeff Speakman in the same year in the film The Perfect Weapon, where he played Kai, an assistant to the Korean mafia families.

He appeared in the movie Mortal Kombat (1995) as the shapeshifting sorcerer Shang Tsung, and as the deadly pirate leader Kabai Singh in The Phantom (1996). Tagawa is among the actors, producers and directors interviewed in the documentary The Slanted Screen (2006), directed by Jeff Adachi, about the representation of Asian and Asian-American men in Hollywood.

Tagawa played Heihachi Mishima in Tekken, the film adaptation of the video game franchise. In 2006, he provided the voice of Brushogun in Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo. He was in the film Johnny Tsunami (1999) and its sequel Johnny Kapahala: Back on Board (2007). In between those two films, Tagawa played Attar's mentor Krull in Tim Burton's version of Planet of the Apes (2001).

Tagawa reprised his role as Shang Tsung for the second season of the YouTube series Mortal Kombat: Legacy. This new version of the character was unrelated to Tagawa's previous work as Tsung.[6]

He also played the role of Satoshi Takeda in the television series Revenge, a powerful CEO in Japan and Emily Thorne's former mentor in her quest for revenge. In season 2, Tagawa took over the role from Hiroyuki Sanada, who was unable to continue due to scheduling conflicts.[7]

Filmography and stunts


Year Title Role Notes
1986 Armed Response Toshi
1987 The Last Emperor Chang
1988 Bulletproof Thug in Flashback Uncredited
1988 Spellbinder Lt. Lee
1988 Twins Oriental Man
1989 Licence to Kill Kwang
1989 L.A. Takedown Hugh Denny Television film
1989 The Last Warrior Imperial Marine
1990 Murder in Paradise Television film
1990 The Bakery Kim Lee Television film
1990 Vestige of Honor Thai Major Television film
1991 Kickboxer 2: The Road Back Sanga
1991 Not of This World Shikido Television film
1991 The Perfect Weapon Kai
1991 Showdown in Little Tokyo Funekei Yoshida
1991 Mission of the Shark: The Saga of the U.S.S. Indianapolis Hashimoto Television film
1992 American Me El Japo
1992 Nemesis Angie-Liv
1993 Rising Sun Eddie Sakamura
1994 Natural Causes Major Somchal
1994 Day of Reckoning Prakit Television film
1994 Picture Bride Kanzuki
1995 The Dangerous Kon
1995 Thunder in Paradise 3 Mason Lee Video
1995 Mortal Kombat Shang Tsung
1995 Soldier Boyz Vinh Moc
1996 White Tiger Victor Chow
1996 The Phantom The Great Kabai Sengh
1996 Danger Zone Monsieur Chang
1997 Raven: Return of the Black Dragon Osato Television film
1997 Top of the World Captain Hefter
1997 Mortal Kombat: Annihilation Shang Tsung Uncredited flashback cameo
1998 Vampires David Deyo
1998 Provocateur Captain Jong
1998 American Dragons Matsuyama
1999 NetForce Leong Cheng
1999 Bridge of Dragons General Ruechang
1999 Johnny Tsunami Johnny Tsunami Television film
1999 Snow Falling on Cedars Zenhichi Miyamoto
1999 Fixations Alex
2000 The Art of War David Chan
2001 Pearl Harbor Cmdr. Minoru Genda
2001 Planet of the Apes Krull
2003 Baywatch: Hawaiian Wedding Mason Sato Television film
2004 Fallacy
2004 Bushido Tetsuji Video short
2005 Elektra Roshi
2005 Faith of My Fathers Cat Television film
2005 True Love & Mimosa Tea Andreas Kanaka Short
2005 The Sand Island Drive-In Anthem Uncle C Short
2005 Memoirs of a Geisha The Baron
2006 The Slanted Screen Himself Documentary film
2006 Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo Brushogan
2007 Johnny Kapahala: Back on Board Johnny Tsunami Television film
2007 Balls of Fury Mysterious Asian Man
2007 Blizhniy Boy: The Ultimate Fighter Alibek
2008 Lost Warrior: Left Behind Detective Yoshide Video
2008 Ghost Voyage The Steward Television film
2008 Bodyguard: A New Beginning Kai
2009 By the Will of Chingis Khan Bodyguard
2009 The Legend of Chang Apana Chang Apana Short
2009 Hachiko: A Dog's Story Ken
2009 Tekken Heihachi Mishima
2009 The Tomb Len Burris
2010 Absolute.ness Chief Dax Short
2010 Overturned Judge Short
2010 Robin Hood of the Bayous Narrator, Pirate 1 Documentary short
2012 Black Cobra Goro Tanaka Video
2013 47 Ronin Shogun Tsunayoshi
2014 Priest-San Father Nikolai (Takuro) Nakamura Russian film
2014 The Whole World at Our Feet
2014 Hype Nation 3D Sammy Kata
2014 Ninja Apocalypse Fumitaka
2014 Tekken 2: Kazuya's Revenge Heihachi Mishima
2014 Junction Narrator
2015 Skin Trade Senator Khat
2015 Little Boy Hashimoto
2015 The Man with the Iron Fists 2 The Mayor
2015 Duel of Legends Shing
2015 Beyond the Game
2017 Sky Sharks Michael Morel


Year Title Role Notes
1987, 1989 Miami Vice Kenji Fujitsu, Tegoro Episode: "The Rising Sun of Death" and "Asian Cut"
1987 MacGyver Asian Buyer Episode: "Dalton, Jack of Spies"
1987 The Colbys Mr. Sung Episode: "Devil's Advocate"
1987 Star Trek: The Next Generation Mandarin Bailiff Episode: "Encounter at Farpoint"
1988 Hotel Inspector Chin Episode: "Double Take"
1989 Superboy Detective Jed Slade Episode: "Terror from the Blue"
1989 Knots Landing Mr. Toyo Episode: "Giganticus II: The Revenge"
1989 Moonlighting Artist Episode: "Perfetc"
1989 A Peaceable Kingdom Coach Episode: "Chimp"
1989 Alien Nation Yamato Episode: "The First Cigar
1989 Mission: Impossible Vang Kai Episode: "Countdown"
1990 Jake and the Fatman Raymond Char Episode: "Chinatown, My Chinatown"
1990 Hardball Episode: "Wedding Bell Blues"
1991 Baywatch Mason Sato Episode: "War of Nerves"
1992 Raven Osato Episodes: "Return of the Black Dragon" and "Reunion"
1993 Renegade Hirotaka Episode: "Samurai"
1993–1994 Space Rangers Zylyn 6 episodes
1995 Babylon 5 Morishi Episode: "Convictions"
1996 Cybill Kenji Episode: "Cybill and Maryann Go to Japan"
1996–1997 Nash Bridges Lt. A.J. Shimamura 12 episodes
1996 Sabrina, the Teenage Witch Tai Wei Tse Episode: "Sweet & Sour Victory"
1997 Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child King Young-Jin Episode: "The Little Mermaid"
1997 Stargate SG-1 Turghan Episode: "Emancipation"
1998 Poltergeist: The Legacy Sam Tanaka Episode: "The Internment"
1998 Vengeance Unlimited Aung Myint Episode: "Ambition"
1999 Seven Days Peter Episode: "Walter"
2000 Walker, Texas Ranger Master Ko Episode: "Black Dragons"
2004 Hawaii Captain Terry Harada
2007 Heroes The Swordsmith Episodes: "Chapter Six 'The Line'" and "Chapter Seven 'Out of Time'"
2009 Beyond the Break Xander Episodes: "One 'Elle' of a Party" and "Cast Away"
2010 Hawaii Five-0 Hiro Nashimori Episodes: "Ke Kinoho" and "Pahele"
2012–2013 Revenge Satoshi Takeda 6 episodes
2013 Mortal Kombat: Legacy Shang Tsung 3 episodes
2014 Teen Wolf Katashi (Silverfighter) Episode: "Silverfinger"
2014 The Librarians Mr. Drake Episode: "And the Apple of Discord"
2015 The Man in the High Castle Nobusuke Tagomi

Video games

Year Title Role Notes
1997 Soldier Boyz Vinh Moc
2003 Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu Sin Tzu


  • Paul, Louis (2008). "Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa". Tales From the Cult Film Trenches; Interviews with 36 Actors from Horror, Science Fiction and Exploitation Cinema. Detroit: Wayne State University Press. pp. 254–261.  


  1. ^ McCarthy, Todd (20 November 2005). "Memoirs of a Geisha".  
  2. ^ Slanted Screen' Rues The Absence Of Asians"'".  
  3. ^ Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa Biography (1950-)
  4. ^ Honolulu Star-Bulletin Features
  5. ^ Honolulu Star-Bulletin Sports
  6. ^ "Web Series ‘Mortal Kombat: Legacy 2′ Hitting February 17th". Latino Review. Retrieved 2012-12-03. 
  7. ^ Keck, William (August 15, 2012). "Keck's Exclusives: Revenge Recasts a Role". TV Guide. Retrieved August 16, 2012.

External links

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