Ryan Higa

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Ryan Higa
Higa at VidCon in June 2012
Personal information
Born (1990-06-06) June 6, 1990 (age 33)[1]
YouTube information
Created by
  • Ryan Higa
  • Sean Fujiyoshi
  • Tim Enos
  • Tarynn Nago
Years active2006–present (Inactive since Apr 2020)
Subscribers20.9 million (nigahiga)
4.61 million (HigaTV)
Total views4.39 billion (nigahiga)
913 million (HigaTV)
Associated acts
100,000 subscribers2007 (nigahiga)
2011 (HigaTV)
1,000,000 subscribers2009 (nigahiga)
2013 (HigaTV)
10,000,000 subscribers2013 (nigahiga)
Twitch information
Years active2020–present
Followers802 thousand

Last updated: March 23, 2024

Ryan Higa (born June 6, 1990), also known as nigahiga (/ˈnɡəhɡə/ NEE-ɡə-HEE-ɡə), is an American internet personality. Best known for his comedy videos on YouTube, Higa began making YouTube videos in 2006 and was one of the most popular creators on the platform in its early years. His main YouTube channel, nigahiga, was the most subscribed channel on YouTube for 677 consecutive days from 2009 to 2011, an achievement that has only been surpassed by PewDiePie and T-Series.[2][3] Higa was the first person to reach the milestones of 2 million[4] and 3 million[5] subscribers on YouTube. Higa launched a podcast in 2018 called Off the Pill, which has featured YouTubers and celebrities such as KevJumba, Andrew Yang, and Jeremy Lin.[6] In 2020, Higa started streaming on Twitch, where he reacts to his past videos and broadcasts video game content, most notably in Valorant.[7]

Higa has won a Shorty Award, has been named Forbes Top 30 Under 30,[8] and has been nominated for three more Shorty Awards, six Streamy Awards, and five Teen Choice Awards.

Outside of his content on YouTube and Twitch, he has also published a memoir Ryan Higa's How to Write Good and appeared in feature films Tell Me How I Die (2016) and Finding 'Ohana (2021).

Early life

Ryan Higa was born in Hilo, Hawaii, on June 6, 1990.[1] He is of Okinawan descent,[9] and has an older brother named Kyle.[10] In his youth, Higa competed in judo and holds a black belt rank.[11][12] He wrestled at Waiakea High School, from which he graduated in 2008.[13][14]

Higa studied nuclear medicine at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, but later dropped out to create online videos.[15]

YouTube career

Higa and Sean Fujiyoshi began posting YouTube videos of themselves lip syncing to songs in mid-2006 while attending Waiakea High School.[16] They quickly expanded beyond songs, with a variety of other comedic pieces. Occasional guest appearances were made by Tim Enos, Ryan Villaruel, Kyle Chun, and Tarynn Nago.[17]

On Christmas Eve of 2008, Higa and Fujiyoshi's two most popular videos, How To Be Gangster and How To Be Emo, were removed due to copyright violations.[18] On January 21, 2009, the nigahiga account was temporarily suspended and was required to remove more copyrighted videos. Because of this, nigahiga's lip syncing videos were all removed (with the exception of You're Beautiful, which was audio swapped),[19] along with most of his other videos that included copyrighted music. Since then, Higa started composing the music himself. How to be Gangster and How to be Emo were put back on nigahiga's channel in late August 2009, only to be removed a few days later, along with How to be Ninja and How to be Nerd. In Spring 2010, How to be Ninja, How to be Gangster and How to be Emo were made public once more.[20]

Ninja Melk, a 26-minute short film about ninjas, was released in August 2009. The plot revolves around a ninja master named Master Ching Ching sending his student Lapchung (played by Bryson Murata) to find a replacement, finding Higa and Fujiyoshi to catch the evil Bokchoy (Tim Enos) and his henchwoman, Gina (Tarynn Nago).[21]

An independent 35-minute film he created with Wong Fu Productions called Agents of Secret Stuff was uploaded on the nigahiga channel on November 24, 2010. It features some other popular YouTube users as well as actors such as Aki Aleong. The film follows a teenage A.S.S. (Agent of Secret Stuff) (Higa) who goes undercover as a high school student to protect Taylor (Arden Cho) from the S.I.N.S. (Society Involving Not-So-Good Stuff). It included guest appearances from Ian and Anthony of Smosh, D-Trix, KassemG and Hiimrawn.

When Higa moved to Las Vegas to attend college, most of the nigahiga videos were solo efforts, usually featuring collaborations with other YouTube users. Since 2012, Higa has put together a production company, Ryan Higa Production Company (RHPC), which included Sean Fujiyoshi, that works together to make content for the nigahiga channel.[22] In 2015, Higa's production company was based in a studio in Henderson, Nevada.[14]

In 2016, Higa and other YouTubers and friends created the parody K-pop group Boys Generally Asian. In mid-2018, Fujiyoshi left the group as he was moving out of the area, specifically to Sacramento, California to live with his current girlfriend and to pursue his degree in engineering.[23]


Ryan Higa Meet-and-Greet in Hong Kong YouTube Festival

The nigahiga YouTube channel was created on July 20, 2006, by Higa, Fujiyoshi, Enos, and Nago (known collectively as "The Yabo Crew"). By December 21, 2010, it had reached 3 million subscribers, the first channel to do so.[24] Higa had claimed in the past[25] that his channel name was derived from a combination of "Niga" (にが), which he had claimed means "rant" in Japanese, and his Okinawan last name, "Higa".[26] However, he later revealed that his channel name was actually derived from a desire to encourage people to pronounce his surname correctly. He expressed regret that this may have backfired somewhat, but has refused to change the channel name over the years to avoid the implication that it was ever meant to encourage usage of the term nigga.[27]

In 2011, he created a second channel, under the name HigaTV, where he posts video blogs and behind the scenes videos.[28]

In 2012, Higa helped form the YOMYOMF Network, which hosts the online video-making talent competition, Internet Icon, of which he served alongside Christine Lakin and Timothy DeLaGhetto as main judges.[29]

Boys Generally Asian

In 2016, Ryan Higa created a K-pop band with David Choi, Philip Wang, Jun Sung Ahn and Justin Chon. It was called BgA, standing for Boys Generally Asian, deliberately inspired by the all-female band Girls Generation. Their first song was called "Dong Saya Dae", which currently has over 16 million views on YouTube.[30] The song was conceived as a general parody of all K-pop songs and featured joke lyrics, but unexpectedly peaked at no. 2 on the official iTunes K-pop charts.[31] In 2017, BgA released their second song "Who's It Gonna Be",[32] a more serious song than the first, though with the same basis of being a parody. This song went one better than the first, reaching no. 1 on the K-pop charts.[33]

Film and television

In 2008, Los Angeles based producer Richard Van Vleet offered to help them create their first feature-length film. The resulting film, Ryan and Sean's Not So Excellent Adventure, was directed by Richard Van Vleet and released on November 14, 2008.[34] It was shown in sold out theaters in Hawaii and California.[35] The DVD was released on July 14, 2009, in the United States.[36] The film is about a down-on-his-luck movie producer, played by Michael Buckley, who is seeking out famous celebrities in order to make a hit movie in 30 days or risk being fired. He chooses Higa and Fujiyoshi after discovering the popularity of their YouTube videos. He invites them to Hollywood to make a movie. They accept the offer, and run into some amusing situations on the way.[37]

Higa has also guest-starred on an episode of Supah Ninjas, playing DJ Elephant Head, a master plotter who uses his hypnotizing electronic music to make people fall asleep to commit robberies.

He appeared in the 2016 horror film Tell Me How I Die[38] and in the 2021 Netflix film Finding 'Ohana.[39]

Business ventures

Victorious Inc. released the "TeeHee" app in April 2015. It was a community hub for fans of Ryan Higa and was monetized through "pre-roll ads, branded content, e-commerce, and in-app purchases." The service was shut down in April 2017.[40][41]

Higa published his memoir, Ryan Higa's How to Write Good, in 2017.[42]

Higa co-founded Ninja Melk, LLC in 2016 with Kathleen Hahn and Kyle Schroeder. Their titular energy drink launched in May 2019.[43] The drink took three years to develop and is named after Higa's short film of the same name.[44] Higa uploaded a stop motion short film onto the nigahiga YouTube channel on October 19, 2019, to promote the drink.[45]

Personal life

Higa endorsed Andrew Yang for the 2020 Democratic nomination for president.[46] He identifies as an agnostic.[47] He is diagnosed with ADHD.[48] Higa is a fan of the San Francisco 49ers[49] and the Los Angeles Clippers.[50]

Awards and nominations

Year Ceremony Category Result Ref.
2012 4th Shorty Awards Best in Humor Won [51]
2013 3rd Streamy Awards Personality of the Year Nominated [52]
Best First-Person Series Nominated [52]
2014 4th Streamy Awards Entertainer of the Year Nominated [53]
Comedy Nominated [53]
Young Hollywood Awards Viral Superstar Nominated [54]
6th Shorty Awards Best Video Blogger Nominated [55]
2015 5th Streamy Awards Comedy Nominated [56]
Teen Choice Awards Choice Male Web Star Nominated [57]
2016 6th Streamy Awards Comedy Nominated [58]
Teen Choice Awards Choice Web Star: Comedy Nominated [59]
8th Shorty Awards YouTube Comedian Nominated [60]
2017 Teen Choice Awards Choice Male Web Star Nominated [61]
9th Shorty Awards YouTuber of the Year Nominated [62]
2018 Teen Choice Awards Choice Male Web Star Nominated [63]
2019 Teen Choice Awards Choice Male Web Star Nominated [64]



Year Title Role Notes
2008 Ryan and Sean's Not So Excellent Adventure Ryan
2009 Ninja Melk Ryan / Master Ching Ching / Lapchung Also director and writer
2010 Agents of Secret Stuff Aden Short film
2016 Tell Me How I Die Scratch
2021 Finding 'Ohana Ryan


Year Title Role Notes
2010 Supah Ninjas DJ Elephant Head Episode: "DJ Elephant Head"

Web series

Year Title Role Notes
2010 I Heart Vampires Corbin's Friend 2 episodes
2012 The Book Club YouTube Ninja Episode: "Letters of the Dragon"
2013 YouTubers React Himself 4 episodes
2016 Single by 30 Trevor Episode: "Hold the Phone!"



Title Year Album
"I'm Hardcore"
(featuring David Choi and JR Aquino)[65]
2011 Non-album singles
(featuring David Choi)
"Millennial Love"
(featuring Kina Grannis)
(featuring David Choi)
"8 Grapes"
(featuring David Choi)


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  3. ^ VanDeGraph (October 21, 2016). "The Top Youtubers Throughout History". VanDeGraph. Retrieved February 1, 2020.
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  24. ^ Ryan Higa Hits 3 Million YouTube Subscribers
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  31. ^ nigahiga, June 3, 2016
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  33. ^ Ryan Higa and Friends Create K-Pop Group as a Joke, Gets #1 Hit on K-Pop Charts, March 27, 2017
  34. ^ "Ryan and Sean's Not So Excellent Adventure". zap2it.com. Archived from the original on March 14, 2012. Retrieved November 15, 2009.
  35. ^ Associated Press. "YouTube was very good to this pair". Daily Herald. Archived from the original on July 4, 2009. Retrieved September 19, 2010.
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  39. ^ "Finding 'Ohana Cast & Character Guide". ScreenRant. 2021-01-30. Retrieved 2021-02-01.
  40. ^ Gutelle, Sam (April 23, 2015). "Victorious Officially Debuts Its First Apps With YouTube Stars Ryan Higa, The Young Turks". Tubefilter. Retrieved February 1, 2020.
  41. ^ "Thank you Teehee App Users! | Higa TV Productions LLC". higatv.com. April 16, 2017. Retrieved January 31, 2020.
  42. ^ Higa, Ryan (May 30, 2017). Ryan Higa's How to Write Good. Hachette Children's Group. ISBN 978-1-5102-0142-2.
  43. ^ Ninja Melk [@ninjamelk] (May 5, 2019). "We are delighted to officially unveil Ninja Melk, a unique and refreshing energy drink..." (Tweet). Retrieved 2020-01-25 – via Twitter.
  44. ^ Fennimore, Jack (May 31, 2019). "Ninja Melk: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know". Heavy.com. Retrieved 2020-01-25.
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  46. ^ @TheRealRyanHiga (September 15, 2019). "I've actually donated for the first time ever. New podcast with @AndrewYangVFA is up! Check it out on offthepillpodcast! #yanggang" (Tweet). Retrieved September 16, 2019 – via Twitter.
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  49. ^ "Ryan Higa on Twitter: @TheRealRyanHiga: @49ers Still such a difference from a season ago.. we killed ourselves".
  50. ^ "Ryan Higa on Twitter: @TheRealRyanHiga: @cash_warren Clippers are keeping up with the lakers.. say what!?!".
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  53. ^ a b "4th Annual Winners & Nominees". The Streamy Awards. Retrieved 2021-04-30.
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  57. ^ Variety Staff (2015-08-17). "Teen Choice Awards 2015 Winners: Full List". Variety. Retrieved 2021-04-30.
  58. ^ "6th Annual Nominees". The Streamy Awards. Retrieved 2021-04-30.
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  63. ^ "Teen Choice Awards Winners 2018: See the Full List". Billboard. 13 August 2018. Retrieved 2021-04-30.
  64. ^ "Teen Choice Awards: Full List of Winners". The Hollywood Reporter. 2019-08-11. Retrieved 2021-04-30.
  65. ^ "I'm Hardcore". YouTube. January 25, 2011. Archived from the original on 2021-11-07. Retrieved November 8, 2019.

External links

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