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, when Bolo Yeung broke out in Hollywood with Bloodsport, 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 movie Mortal 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 interest in films began at the age of 8 when his 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 another villain Al Leong. 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 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. In Hachiko which won the Audience Choice Award for Best Feature Film at The Sedona International Film Festival, Tagawa plays Richard Gere’s best friend.
He has recently been involved off-screen in addressing student groups (at SFSU and Stanford). He has also been coaching the martial artist portraying Shang Tsung in the Mortal Kombat Live Tour, and in his free time, developing his new form of Martial Arts, called Chuu Shin.
Tagawa’s new focus for the movies and television is to grab up the ‘good-guy’ spots and try to rid himself of the evil ‘bad-guy’ image that he has. Let’s hope he is successful and that it works! As much as you have to love the bad guy in a film, Cary is certaintly quite different in real life. The ‘good-guy’ characters that he has played have been very interesting.
He is energetic, uplifting person and his intelligence and creativity are inspiring. Has son Calen and daughter Brynne.
Cary Hiroyuki Tagawa is opened for conversation with his fans. You are welcome to ask Mr. Tagawa any questions directly on his twitter (@CHTagawa) or website caryhiroyukitagawa.com.
The Last Emperor (1987)
Spellbinder (1988 film), as Lieutenant Lee
Licence to Kill (1989)
The Last Warrior (1989)
Showdown in Little Tokyo (1991)
Kickboxer 2: The Road Back (1991)
The Perfect Weapon (1991)
American Me (1992)
Rising Sun (1993)
Space Rangers (1993)
Picture Bride (1994)
Mortal Kombat (1995)
Soldier Boyz (1995)
The Phantom (1996)
Sabrina The Teenage Witch (television series, 1996)
Top of the World (1997)
Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997, uncredited flashback cameo)
Stargate SG1 : episode emancipation (1997)
Danger Zone (1997)
Bridge of Dragons (1999)
Johnny Tsunami (1999)
Snow Falling on Cedars (1999)
The Art of War (2000)
Pearl Harbor (2001)
Planet of the Apes (2001)
Baywatch: Hawaiian Wedding (2003)
Hawaii (television series, 2004)
The Sand Island Drive Inn Anthem (2005)
Faith of My Fathers (2005)
Memoirs of a Geisha (2005)
The Slanted Screen (documentary, 2006)
Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo (2006)
Johnny Kapahala: Back on Board (2007)
Balls of Fury (2007)
Ghost Voyage (2008)
Hachiko: A Dog’s Story (2010)
Hype Nation (2010/2011)
Hawaii Five-0 (2010, one episode)
source: wikipedia, caryhiroyukitagawa