Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa
Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa.jpg
Tagawa in 2011
Native name
田川 洋行
Born (1950-09-27) September 27, 1950 (age 69)
NationalityJapanese, American, Russian
Other namesCary Tagawa
Panteleymon Tagawa
Alma materUniversity of Southern California
OccupationActor, film producer, physiologist, martial artist
Years active1985–present
Sally Phillips
(m. 1984; div. 2014)

Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (JP: 田川 洋行 Tagawa Hiroyuki, RU: Пантелеймон Тагава Panteleymon Tagawa; born September 27, 1950) is a Japanese–American actor, film producer, martial artist, and physiologist.

His roles have also included the eunuch Chang in The Last Emperor, the voice of Sin Tzu for the video game Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu, the evil soul-stealing sorcerer Shang Tsung in a film adaptation of the video game Mortal Kombat (a role he would reprise 18 years later for Mortal Kombat: Legacy and 24 years later in Mortal Kombat 11) and the evil mastermind Heihachi Mishima in the film adaptation of Tekken. He portrays Nobusuke Tagomi in The Man in the High Castle, the Amazon original series adaptation of the novel by Philip K. Dick, in season one, two and three.

Early life and education[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 and was stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Fort Polk, Louisiana and Fort Hood, Texas.

Tagawa 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. He began training in Kendo while in Junior High, and later studied Shotokan karate. He attended the University of Southern California and was an exchange student in Japan, where he continued to study karate under Masatoshi Nakayama.[citation needed]

After graduating from USC, he worked for several years as a sports physiologist and massage therapist for the University of Hawaii football team.


Tagawa began acting in the mid-1980s, appearing in uncredited action roles in Big Trouble in Little China (1986) and Bulletproof (1987). He had a more substantial role in the Fred Olen Ray B-movie Armed Response, as a supporting villain opposite Mako Iwamatsu. His breakthrough as an actor came when he was cast as Chang, a loyal eunuch to Emperor Puyi, in the Academy Award-winning film 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 sorcerer Shang Tsung; he would later reprise the role in the web series Mortal Kombat: Legacy in 2013, and in the video game Mortal Kombat 11 in 2019. He also appeared as the deadly pirate leader Kabai Sengh 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 was unrelated to Tagawa's previous work as Tsung.[1]

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

Tagawa also plays the role of Shogun Tokugawa Tsunayoshi in the film 47 Ronin[3].

In 2015, Tagawa was cast as one of the lead characters, Nobusuke Tagomi, the Trade Minister of the Pacific States of America in Amazon's The Man in the High Castle based on Philip K. Dick's novel of the same name. Also in November 2015, both he and Taimak (The Last Dragon) were honorees for the Fists of Legends Legacy Award at the Urban Action Showcase & Expo.[4]

Personal life[edit]

In 2013, Tagawa started working with Orthodox Christian actors Pyotr Mamonov and Ivan Okhlobystin.[5] On November 12, 2015, he was baptized as Panteleymon in the Russian Orthodox Joy of All Who Sorrow church in Moscow.[6] In 2016, he also acquired Russian citizenship.[7]

Tagawa's mother tongues are English and Japanese but he also speaks some Korean, Spanish, and Hawaiian.[8][9][10]



Year Title Role Notes
1986 Big Trouble in Little China Wing Kong Swordsman Uncredited
Armed Response Toshi
1987 Bulletproof Thug in Flashback Uncredited
The Last Emperor Chang
1988 Spellbinder Lt. Lee
Twins Oriental Man
1989 The Last Warrior Imperial Marine
Licence to Kill Kwang
1991 Kickboxer 2 Sanga
Showdown in Little Tokyo Funekei Yoshida
The Perfect Weapon Kai
1992 Nemesis Angie-Liv
American Me El Japo
1993 Rising Sun Eddie Sakamura
1994 Natural Causes Major Somchal
Picture Bride Kanzuki
1995 The Dangerous Kon
Mortal Kombat Shang Tsung
Heat Street Cop Uncredited
Soldier Boyz Vinh Moc
1996 White Tiger Victor Chow
The Phantom The Great Kabai Sengh
Danger Zone Monsieur Chang
1997 Top of the World Captain Hefter
Mortal Kombat: Annihilation Shang Tsung Cameo appearance
1998 Vampires David Deyo
Provocateur Captain Jong
American Dragons Matsuyama
1999 Bridge of Dragons General Ruechang
Fixations Alex
Snow Falling on Cedars Zenhichi Miyamoto
2000 The Art of War David Chan
2001 Pearl Harbor Cmdr. Minoru Genda
Planet of the Apes Krull
2005 Elektra Roshi
Memoirs of a Geisha The Baron
2006 The Slanted Screen Himself Documentary film
Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo Brushogan (voice)
2007 Balls of Fury Mysterious Asian Man
Blizhniy Boy: The Ultimate Fighter Alibek
2008 Lost Warrior: Left Behind Detective Yoshide
Bodyguard: A New Beginning Kai
2009 By the Will of Chingis Khan Bodyguard
Hachi: A Dog's Tale Ken
Tekken Heihachi Mishima
The Tomb Len Burris
2012 Black Cobra Goro Tanaka
2013 47 Ronin Shogun Tokugawa Tsunayoshi
2014 Hype Nation 3D Sammy Kata
Priest-San Father Nikolai (Takuro) Nakamura
Ninja Apocalypse Fumitaka
Tekken 2: Kazuya's Revenge Heihachi Mishima
Skin Trade Senator Khat
2015 Junction Narrator (voice)
The Man with the Iron Fists 2 The Mayor
Little Boy Hashimoto
2016 Showdown in Manila Aldric Cole
Beyond the Game Detective Yoshida
Kubo and the Two Strings Hashi (voice)
The Whole World at Our Feet Khazar
2020 Duel of Legends Sting Post-production
TBA Sky Sharks Michael Morel

Short films[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2005 True Love & Mimosa Tea Andreas Kanaka
The Sand Island Drive-In Anthem Uncle C
2009 The Legend of Chang Apana Chang Apana
2010 Absolute.ness Chief Dax
Overturned Judge
2015 Genghis Khan Conquers the Moon Genghis Khan
2016 Overwatch: Dragons Narrator/Sojiro Shimada (voice)


Year Title Role Notes
1987 MacGyver Asian Buyer Episode: "Dalton, Jack of Spies"
The Colbys Mr. Sung Episode: "Devil's Advocate"
Star Trek: The Next Generation Mandarin Bailiff Episode: "Encounter at Farpoint"
1987-89 Miami Vice Kenji Fujitsu, Tegoro Episode: "The Rising Sun of Death" & "Asian Cut"
1988 Hotel Inspector Chin Episode: "Double Take"
1989 L.A. Takedown Hugh Denny Television film
Superboy Detective Jed Slade Episode: "Terror from the Blue"
Knots Landing Mr. Toyo Episode: "Giganticus II: The Revenge"
Moonlighting Artist Episode: "Perfetc"
A Peaceable Kingdom Coach Episode: "Chimp"
Alien Nation Yamato Episode: "The First Cigar"
Mission: Impossible Vang Kai Episode: "Countdown"
1990 Jake and the Fatman Raymond Char Episode: "Chinatown, My Chinatown"
Hardball Episode: "Wedding Bell Blues"
The Bakery Kim Lee Television film
Vestige of Honor Thai Major
1991 Baywatch Mason Sato Episode: "War of Nerves"
Not of This World Shikido Television film
Mission of the Shark: The Saga of the U.S.S. Indianapolis Shoji Hashimoto
1992 Raven Osato Episodes: "Return of the Black Dragon" and "Reunion"
1993 Renegade Hirotaka Episode: "Samurai"
1993-94 Space Rangers Zylyn 6 episodes
1994 Day of Reckoning Prakit Television film
1995 Babylon 5 Morishi Episode: "Convictions"
Thunder in Paradise 3 Mason Lee Television film
1996 Cybill Kenji Episode: "Cybill and Maryann Go to Japan"
Sabrina, the Teenage Witch Tai Wei Tse Episode: "Sweet & Sour Victory"
1996-97 Nash Bridges Lt. A.J. Shimamura 12 episodes
1997 Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child King Young-Jin Episode: "The Little Mermaid"
Raven: Return of the Black Dragon Osato Television film
Stargate SG-1 Turghan Episode: "Emancipation"
1998 Poltergeist: The Legacy Sam Tanaka Episode: "The Internment"
Vengeance Unlimited Aung Myint Episode: "Ambition"
1999 Seven Days Peter Episode: "Walter"
Johnny Tsunami Johnny Tsunami Television film
NetForce Leong Cheng
2000 Walker, Texas Ranger Master Ko Episode: "Black Dragons"
2003 Baywatch: Hawaiian Wedding Mason Sato Television film
2004 Hawaii Captain Terry Harada Main cast; Season 1
2005 Faith of My Fathers Cat Television film
2007 Heroes The Swordsmith Episodes: "Chapter Six 'The Line'" and "Chapter Seven 'Out of Time'"
Johnny Kapahala: Back on Board Johnny Tsunami Television film
2008 Ghost Voyage The Steward
2009 Beyond the Break Xander Episodes: "One 'Elle' of a Party" and "Cast Away"
2010 Hawaii Five-0 Hiro Noshimori Episodes: "Ke Kinohi" and "Pahele"
2012-13 Revenge Satoshi Takeda Recurring role; Season 2
2014 Teen Wolf Katashi/Silverfinger Episode: "Silverfinger"
The Librarians Mr. Drake Episode: "And the Apple of Discord"
2015-18 The Man in the High Castle Nobusuke Tagomi Main cast; Seasons 1-3
2016 Grimm Takeshi Himura Episode: "Inugami"
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Sumo Kuma (voice) Episodes: "Yojimbo" and "Kagayake! Kintaro"
2017 Star Wars Rebels Alrich Wren (voice) 2 episodes
2018-present Lost in Space Hiroki Watanabe Recurring role; Season 1


Year Title Role Notes
2013 Mortal Kombat: Legacy Shang Tsung 2 episodes

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1997 Soldier Boyz Vinh Moc
2003 Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu Sin Tzu
2019 Mortal Kombat 11 Shang Tsung DLC


  • 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. ^ "Web Series 'Mortal Kombat: Legacy 2′ Hitting February 17th". Latino Review. Archived from the original on 2012-12-06. Retrieved 2012-12-03.
  2. ^ Keck, William (August 15, 2012). "Keck's Exclusives: Revenge Recasts a Role" (TV Guide); retrieved August 16, 2012.
  3. ^ "47 Ronin: trama, recensione, cast e trailer del film con Keanu Reeves". Controcampus. 2019-06-14. Retrieved 2019-08-19.
  4. ^ "2015 Urban Action Showcase International Action Film Festival & Honoree Awards". YouTube. Retrieved 2015-12-14.
  5. ^ "This is just the beginning of my Russian career"[permanent dead link],; accessed March 30, 2016.
  6. ^ Mortal Kombat’s Shang Tsung Goes Orthodox in Russia,, November 12, 2015.
  7. ^ Seeking new citizenship: 10 foreign celebrities that now call Russia home
  8. ^ Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa profile,; accessed March 30, 2016.
  9. ^ Profile,, May 25, 2011; accessed March 30, 2016.
  10. ^ Profile,, September 11, 2003; accessed March 30, 2016.

External links[edit]