Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa

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Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa
Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa.jpg
Born (1950-09-27) September 27, 1950 (age 63)
Tokyo, Japan
Other names Cary Tagawa
Occupation Actor, producer, martial artist, sports physiologist
Years active 1986–present

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

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[edit]

Tagawa was born in Tokyo, Japan, the son of a Japanese actress and a Japanese-American father who served in the United States Army who was stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Fort Polk, Louisiana, and Fort Hood, Texas. He is able to speak both English and Japanese.[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 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 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 will be unrelated to Tagawa's previous work as Tsung.[6]

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



  • 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. ISBN 978-0-7864-2994-3. 


  1. ^ McCarthy, Todd (20 November 2005). "Memoirs of a Geisha". Variety. Retrieved 2009-09-18. 
  2. ^ "'Slanted Screen' Rues The Absence Of Asians". The Washington Times. 25 May 2007. Retrieved 2009-09-18. 
  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.

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