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Miiko Taka

Miiko Taka
Miiko Taka in 1958
Born (1925-07-24) July 24, 1925
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
Other names Betty Ishimoto
Years active 1957–1982
Spouse(s) Dale Ishimoto (1944–1958)
Lennie Blondheim (1963–Present)

Miiko Taka (高美以子 Taka Miiko) (born Miiko Shikata[1] July 24, 1925), is a Japanese American actress best known for co-starring with Marlon Brando as Hana-ogi in the 1957 movie Sayonara.


  • Early years 1
  • 'Sayonara' 2
  • Post-'Sayonara' career 3
  • Personal life 4
  • Motion pictures 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Early years

Taka was born in 1925 in Seattle, but raised in Los Angeles, California[2] as a Nisei;[3] her parents had immigrated from Japan. In 1942, she was interned with her family at the Gila River War Relocation Center in Arizona.[4]


After director Joshua Logan's first choice for the role of Hana-ogi, Audrey Hepburn, turned him down, he looked to cast an unknown actress.[3] Taka, who at the time was working as a clerk at a travel agency in Los Angeles, was discovered by a talent scout at a local Nisei festival.[2] Although she had no previous acting experience,[3] Variety gave her a positive review in their review of the film.[5] Warner Bros. gave her a term contract as a result of her performance in Sayonara.[6]

Post-'Sayonara' career

After Sayonara, she worked in films with James Garner, Bob Hope, Cary Grant, and Toshirō Mifune (whom she also worked alongside of in the 1980 television miniseries, Shõgun). She also served as an interpreter for Mifune as well as Akira Kurosawa when they visited Hollywood [7][8]

Personal life

Taka married Dale Ishimoto in Baltimore in 1944,[9] and they had one son, Greg Shikata, who works in the film industry, and one daughter. They divorced in 1958.[10]

She married Los Angeles TV news director Lennie Blondheim in 1963.[11]

Motion pictures

Miiko Taka in 1958
(Marlon Brando, Glenn Ford)
Year Film Role Other notes
1957 Sayonara Hana-ogi Screen debut, co-star with Marlon Brando
1958 Panda and the Magic Serpent Fish Spirit voice: English version
1960 Hell to Eternity Ester Stars Jeffrey Hunter
1961 Cry for Happy Chiyoko Reunites with Sayonara co-star Miyoshi Umeki
1961 Operation Bottleneck Ari Shares top billing with Ron Foster and Norman Alden
1963 A Global Affair Fumiko Stars Bob Hope
1965 The Art of Love Chou Chou Reunites with Sayonara co-star James Garner
1966 Walk Don't Run Aiko Kurawa Final film of Cary Grant's career
1968 The Power Mrs. Van Zandt
1973 Lost Horizon Nurse
1975 Paper Tiger Madame Kagoyama first movie working with Toshirō Mifune
1978 The Big Fix Saleswoman Stars Richard Dreyfuss
1982 The Challenge Yoshida's wife Last film to date

[12] [13] [14]

See also


  1. ^ Makino, Jimmy. "A Japanese-American Nisei in the 20th Century". Retrieved 2012-06-20. 
  2. ^ a b Scott, John L. (May 5, 1957). "Fortune Bolt puts Miiko in Top Film Spot". Los Angeles Times. p. E3. 
  3. ^ a b c  
  4. ^ "National Archives: Miiko Shikata". Retrieved 2012-06-20. 
  5. ^ "Sayonara".  
  6. ^ Scheuer, Philip K. (November 17, 1958). "Faulkner Story Lifted Off Shelf, Cycle Looms; Miiko Taka to Stay On". Los Angeles Times. p. B7. 
  7. ^ Beyette, Beverly (August 12, 1983). "Toshiro Mifune Takes Up the Samurai Role Again". Los Angeles Times. p. G1. 
  8. ^ Thomas, Kevin (November 28, 2002). "WORLD CINEMA; An edgy, epic collaboration; Director Akira Kurosawa and Toshiro Mifune made 16 films together; 13 will be screening at the Nuart". Los Angeles Times. p. E16. 
  9. ^ "Actress Miiko Taka of Movies Wins Divorce". Los Angeles Times. November 18, 1958. p. B1. 
  10. ^ "Miiko Taka Gets Divorce". New York Times. November 17, 1958. 
  11. ^ Paddleford, Clementine (November 17, 1963). "Barbecue at the Table". Los Angeles Times. 
  12. ^ "Miiko Taka Filmography". Retrieved 2007-08-10. 
  13. ^ "Miiko Taka". Retrieved 2007-08-10. 
  14. ^ "Biography for Miiko Taka". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 2009-02-20. 

External links

  • Miiko Taka at the Internet Movie Database
  • Video of Miiko Taka as a presenter at an awards show on YouTube
  • Trailer of Sayonara introduced by Miika Taka
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