Martial Artist and Hollywood Actor Cary Tagawa

Cary Tagawa

Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (born September 27, 1950) is a Japanese American actor. 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 a soul-stealing sorcerer Shang Tsung in a film adaptation of the video game Mortal Kombat.

He was born in Tokyo, Japan, the son of an actress from Tokyo and a Japanese-American father who served in the United States Army (stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Fort Polk, Louisiana and Fort Hood, Texas ). He was raised in various cities. He began acting in high school while attending Duarte High School in Southern California. 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 posed as an undercover agent of the Hong Kong Narcotics Board in the James Bond film License 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. Many remember him from the movieMortal Kombat (1995) as the shape-shifting 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. Most recently, Tagawa was selected for the role of Heihachi Mishima in Tekken , the film adaptation of the popular video game franchise. He was also featured as the voice of Brushogun in Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo.

Japanese born actor Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa’s interest in films began at the age of eight when Ayako, his then-famous Japanese theatre mother, took him to see Shirley McClain’s academy award winning performance in Some Came Running. Although I didn’t fully understand the drama I could sense and see the emotional content in the actors’ performances. “Being a hypersensitive kid, I thought that my sensitivity might someday be utilized as an actor.” The journey from that inspiration manifested into an impressive curriculum vitae of filmwork.

Tagawa’s raw powerful sensuality and physical skill on screen is complimented by his deep emotional sensitivity as an actor translates into a laser focused Zen-like acting style that few to date can emulate. Tagawa began his acting career as an extra in Big Trouble in Little China. With his true to life charismatic smile, Tagawa recalls, “It was the only extra job I ever did not because of talent but because of luck and looks. They needed tough looking Asian bad guys.” Thus began the notable career of Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa.

“What most people don’t know is that I was a healer long before I began acting. It is my first love.”
– Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa

Tagawa’s feature films spanning twenty-three years have grossed over 1.5 billion in worldwide box office and another seventy performances on television shows and series. The feature films have netted 13 Academy Awards from The Last Emperor to Pearl Harbor to Memoirs of a Geisha. His latest films include Hachiko and Tekken. InHachiko which won the Audience Choice Award for Best Feature Film at The Sedona International Film Festival, Tagawa plays Richard Gere’s best friend.

“What most people don’t know is that I was a healer long before I began acting. It is my first love.” As the founder of a 31 year old Post-New Age breathing modality, Chuu Shin, Tagawa combines his experience in Martial Arts and Sports. “I was always a very physical child. I always played sports which naturally led to the study of Martial Arts but Chuu Shin was founded upon leaving my traditional study.” Chuu Shin represents the best of Tagawa’s Sports and Martial Arts history. It combines the Western external physical training with Eastern internal energy systems.  | FILMOGRAPHY | CHUU SHIN DO

WORKING WITH ATHLETES  Cary has always had a passion for football. He got his start working with athletes when in 1979, Los Angeles Rams running back Wendell Tyler asked Cary to train him using martial arts techniques. He was asked again in 1993 by pro football players Marcus Allen and Sean Jones to help them increase their athleticism. In each case, the athletes were able to achieve higher performance with less energy expenditure. Their increased flexibility led to greater quickness, speed and reaction time. Cary realized then that his training techniques could enhance the performance of professional athletes on a much grander scale.

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