Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid
|First appearance||The Karate Kid|
|Last appearance||The Next Karate Kid|
|Created by||John G. Avildsen|
|Portrayed by||Pat Morita|
S/Sgt. Kesuke Miyagi
|Title||Staff Sergeant (US Army)|
Kesuke Miyagi (宮城健介 Miyagi Kesuke ) also known as Mr. Miyagi, or referred to as "宮城成義" in kanji in The Karate Kid, Part II, is a fictional karate master, played by Japanese-American actor Pat Morita, who mentors the characters Daniel LaRusso and Julie Pierce in the Karate Kid films. Morita earned an Academy Award nomination for his performance in the first film.
An Okinawan Japanese immigrant to the United States, Kesuke Miyagi learned karate originally from his father, who had been a fisherman. Miyagi initially had a job working for the father of his best friend, Sato, who was also taught karate by Miyagi's father. When Miyagi fell in love with a young woman named Yukie, who was arranged to marry Sato, Sato felt dishonored by this, and challenged Miyagi to a fight to the death. To avoid the fight, Miyagi left Okinawa and emigrated to the United States.
World War II military service
After first arriving in Los Angeles, he attended the University of California Santa Barbara and was later interned in the Manzanar Japanese internment camp at the onset of World War II. During this time, Miyagi joined the U.S. Army and received the Medal of Honor (he was a member of the 442nd Infantry Regiment, one of the most highly decorated regiment in the history of the United States Armed Forces, including 21 Medal of Honor recipients). While in the Army, he taught his Army commanding officer, Lt. Pierce, the art of karate. During his service, Mrs. Miyagi and their son died in the Manzanar camp due to complications during childbirth, a loss that haunted him for decades. What Miyagi did in the interim between the war and the first Karate Kid movie is not fully known.
The Karate Kid films
At the start of the first movie, he works as a maintenance man in Daniel's apartment building.
In 1985, Miyagi learns that his father is dying, and returns to Okinawa, where he is reunited with Yukie. Sato relentlessly tries to goad Miyagi into a fight, but after Miyagi saves Sato from death during a typhoon, Sato renounces his hate and the two make peace.
In the fourth movie, he mentors the recently orphaned granddaughter of his former commanding officer and teaches her to dispel her anger through the healing powers of the Martial Arts.
Mr. Miyagi has a deep philosophical knowledge of life and has extraordinary martial arts skill. In the second film, Mr. Miyagi explains that he is descended from Shimpo Miyagi, who was very fond of both fishing and sake. One day in 1625 while fishing and very drunk, he passed out on his fishing boat off the coast of Okinawa and ended up on the coast of China. Ten years later, Shimpo returned to Okinawa with his wife, his two kids, and the secret of Miyagi family karate.
In the 2010 remake of The Karate Kid, the custodian-turned-sensei ("shifu" in Chinese martial arts training) is a Chinese man named Mr. Han (portrayed by Jackie Chan). Like Miyagi, Han is quirky, yet humble and kind, though somewhat less friendly and more conflicted. He is a maintenance man in Beijing's Beverly Hills Luxury Apartment complex, where Dre Parker lives. Unlike Miyagi, Han is a practitioner of kung fu who uses fire cupping in lieu of Miyagi's pain suppression technique, and elements of his backstory differ from Miyagi's, such as the circumstances surrounding his wife's and son's deaths.
In this version, Han's wife was an amateur singer named Zhang, and their 10-year-old son was named Gong Gong. While driving on a steep hill during a rainstorm, Han was distracted by an argument with his wife, and he crashed, killing her and Gong Gong. He becomes a recluse following their deaths, and he copes with the loss by annually repairing his car and dismantling it every June 8, the anniversary of their death. Like Miyagi to Daniel, Han acts as a father figure to Dre, and he trains him to win the kung fu "Tournament of Champions".
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- The Karate Kid Blu-Ray
- The Karate Kid, Part II
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- The Next Karate Kid
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- The Karate Kid, Part III
- The Next Karate Kid
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