Sab Shimono

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Sab Shimono
Saburo Shimono

(1937-07-31) July 31, 1937 (age 86)
EducationUniversity of California, Berkeley
Years active1962–present
Steve Alden Nelson
(m. 2008)

Saburo Shimono (下野 三郎, Shimono Saburō, born July 31, 1937), commonly known as Sab Shimono, is an American actor of Japanese descent. He began his career on stage on Broadway and in regional theaters, starring in musicals like Mame, Lovely Ladies, Kind Gentlemen, and Pacific Overtures. He has appeared in dozens of movies and television shows in character roles, including Midway, Gung Ho, Presumed Innocent, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III, The Shadow, Jackie Chan Adventures, Samurai Jack, and Southland Tales.

Early life and education[edit]

Shimono was born and raised in Sacramento, California,[1] to restaurant owners Edith Mary (née Otani) and Masauchi Shimono.[2]

During World War II, following the signing of Executive Order 9066, Shimono and his family were interned at the Tule Lake War Relocation Center and the Granada War Relocation Center.[3][4] Shimono later played a character who had a similar experience in a 2023 TV episode.[5]

He attended Sacramento High School and graduated from University of California, Berkeley.[1]


Shimono has appeared on Broadway and in regional theaters including San Francisco's American Conservatory Theater and Berkeley Repertory Theatre. He was cast as Ito opposite Angela Lansbury's Auntie Mame in Jerry Herman's Broadway musical hit Mame in 1966. This was followed by Lovely Ladies, Kind Gentlemen (1970), The Chickencoop Chinaman (1972), and the role of Manjiro in Stephen Sondheim & Harold Prince's Pacific Overtures (1976) – he would go on to play Lord Abe in the 2004 Broadway revival. He was in the short lived 1978 musical Barbary Coast, and was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Play for his leading performance in Philip Kan Gotanda's The Wash. In 2010, he appeared in the world premiere of No-No Boy by Ken Narasaki based on the novel by John Okada. He is closely affiliated with the East West Players and South Coast Repertory companies, most recently starring in a run of Julia Cho's Aubergine.

His film roles include Lt. Tomonaga in Midway, Saito in the 1986 comedy Gung Ho, Hiroshi Kawamura in the 1990 drama Come See the Paradise, the coroner "Painless" Kumagai in 1990's Presumed Innocent, Dr. Max Shinoda in 1993's Suture, Lord Norinaga in 1993's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III, and in Old Dogs, alongside John Travolta and Robin Williams, as Japanese billionaire Yoshiro Nishamura. He played Dr. Tam in the 1994 film The Shadow. He can also be seen in Asian American independent films Americanese (2006), The Sensei (2008) and Life Tastes Good (1999). Shimono performed the voice of Subotai in the 1982 film Conan the Barbarian, dubbing actor Gerry Lopez.[6]

On television, he starred on the 2008 ABC family miniseries Samurai Girl. Shimono provided the voices of antique-shop owner/Chi Wizard Uncle Chan on the television series Jackie Chan Adventures, the elderly version of the Emperor (Jack's father) on Samurai Jack, Airbending Master Monk Gyatso and Master Yu on the popular series Avatar: The Last Airbender, Mister Sparkle ("In Marge We Trust") and Master Sushi Chef ("One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish") on The Simpsons and Mr. Murakami on 2012's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series. He also appeared in Royal Pains, season 3 episode "But There's a Catch", as Jono the gardener. In 2007, he appeared in the episode "Don't Worry, Speed Racer" on Two and a Half Men. In 1991 he had a role in the television pilot Plymouth, which at the time was considered to be one of the most expensive such movies ever made. He also appeared in two episodes of the television show M*A*S*H.

Personal life[edit]

Shimono is gay and has been in a relationship with writer Steve Alden Nelson since 2001. The couple registered their domestic partnership in April 2005 and married in San Diego on June 23, 2008.[7]

Theater credits[edit]

Year Title Role Company Notes
1964 Flower Drum Song Wang Ta Melody Fair Theatre
1965 South Pacific Henry New York City Center
1966-68 Mame Ito (original cast) The Shubert Organization
1968 Mame (West Coast) Ito (replacement) The Shubert Organization
1968-70 Mame Ito (replacement) The Shubert Organization
1970-71 Lovely Ladies, Kind Gentlemen Ancient Man, Mr. Keora, Okinawan, Mr. Oshira (understudy) Majestic Theatre
1972 The Chickencoop Chinaman Kenji The American Place Theatre
1973 Othello The Clown Amas Musical Theatre
1973-75 Santa Anita '42 Commissioner, Michael Playwrights Horizons Company
1974 Ride the Winds Yamada Majestic Theatre
1976 Pacific Overtures Manjiro, Ensemble Member The Shubert Organization
1978 Barbary Coast Captain Chung Orpheum Theatre LA Weekly Theater Award for Outstanding Performance in a Leading Role
1980 The Music Lessons Kaoru Kawaguchi The Public Theater
1983 Mame Ito Gershwin Theatre
1985-86 As the Crow Flies P.K. Los Angeles Theatre Center
The Wash Sadao Mark Taper Forum
1988-89 Yankee Dawg You Die Vincent Chang Playwrights Horizons Drama-Logue Award
1990-91 The Wash Nobu Matsumoto Manhattan Theatre Club Nominated- Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Play
1995-96 Ballad of Yachiyo Papa South Coast Repertory
1998 Red Hua Intiman Theatre
2000 Follies Ben East West Players
2001 Yankee Dawg You Die Vincent Chang
2002 Sisters Matsumoto Hideo
2003 The Nisei Widows Club Tak
2004 The Wind Cries Mary Dr. Nakada
2004-05 Pacific Overtures Lord Abe Roundabout Theatre Company
2008 The Pleasure of His Company Toi Old Globe Theatre
2008 A Majority of One Koichi Asano West Coast Jewish Theatre
2010 No-No Boy Pa Miles Memorial Playhouse
2011 Wrinkles Grandpa Harry East West Players
2014 The Orphan of Zhao Gongsun Chujiu, Ensemble Member American Conservatory Theater
2015 tokyo fish story Koji South Coast Repertory
2016 Aubergine Mr. Park Berkeley Repertory Theatre
2019 South Coast Repertory



Year Title Role Notes
1970 Loving Byron
1971 The Hospital Operating Room Staff Member Uncredited
1972 Parades Togo
1976 Midway Lt. Joichi Tomonaga
1978 Rabbit Test Chinese Leader
1981 Nice Dreams Oriental Bus Boy
1982 Conan the Barbarian Subotai Voice, uncredited
The Challenge Toshio Yoshida
1983 Where the Toys Come From Kenji the Designer
1986 Gung Ho Saito
1987 Blind Date Mr. Yakamoto
1988 The Wash Sadao
1990 Presumed Innocent Dr. "Painless" Kumagai
Come See the Paradise Hiroshi Kawamura
1993 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III Lord Norinaga
Suture Dr. Max Shinoda
1994 3 Ninjas Kick Back Koga
Murder Between Friends Dr. Lee [8]
The Shadow Dr. Roy Tam
1995 Waterworld Elder
1996 Zoo Rush 2: Destination New York Akira the forest cobra Voice
1997 Paradise Road Col. Hirota
1998 The Big Hit Jiro Nishi
1999 Life Tastes Good Harry Sado
2000 Luminarias Lu's Father
2001 Ice Planet Karteez A. Rumla
2003 Robot Stories John Segment: "Clay"
2004 Worlds Apart Teijo
2006 Americanese Wood Ding
Southland Tales Hideo Takehashi
2008 The Sensei Taki Nakano
2009 Scooby-Doo! and the Samurai Sword Takagawa Voice[9]
Old Dogs Yoshiro Nishamura
2011 The Arcadian Moto
2013 Yellow Face HYH
Sex & Marriage Mike
2016 The Watcher Wendell


Year Title Role Notes
1962 Armstrong Circle Theatre Father Chen Episode: "The Cross and the Dragon"
1964 East Side/West Side Sam Episode: "If Your Grandmother Had Wheels"
1967 Coronet Blue Student Episode: "Tomoyo"
1973 Pueblo Capt. Rhee Television film
1976 Pacific Overtures Manjiro, Ensemble Member
1977 Baa Baa Black Sheep Japanese Bomber Commander Episode: "Divine Wind"
1977-78 The Krofft Supershow Huli Main cast
1978 And the Soul Shall Dance Murata Television film


M*A*S*H Kwang


Episode: "Dear Comrade"

Episode: "Back Pay"

1979 How the West Was Won Cook Episode: "The Gunfighter"
Mandrake Ho Television film
When Hell Was in Session Cao


Quincy, M.E. Ito, Governor 3 episodes
1981 The Waltons Cpl. Kiyomo Episode: "The Last Ten Days"
Palmerstown, U.S.A. Yeung-Lee Episode: "Epidemic"
1982 Bring 'Em Back Alive Nakamoto Episode: "Seven Keys to Singapore"
Cagney & Lacey Cunningham Episode: "One of Our Own"
Hart to Hart Koji Episode: "Rich and Hartless"
Modesty Blaise Weng Television film


Remington Steele Kenji Ito, Sam Kuromatsu 2 episodes
1983 Knight Rider Hito Osaka Episode: "Give Me Liberty... or Give Me Death"
Tales of the Gold Monkey Gen. Anago Episode: "Mourning Becomes Matuka"
1984 Call to Glory Diem Episode: "Go/No Go"
Santa Barbara Caretaker Episode #1.58
1985 Airwolf Ko Episode: "The American Dream"
Street Hawk Mr. Chen Episode: "Chinatown Memories"
Hotel Inspector James Matsuoka Episode: "Identities"
1986 Our House Veterinarian Episode: "Choices"
A Year in the Life Kwan Miniseries; 1 episode
1986-87 Gung Ho Saito 9 episodes
1988 Max Headroom Ped Xing Episode: "Neurostim"
1989 Knots Landing Pharmacist 2 episodes
1990 Newhart Suntara Episode: "The Last Newhart"
Hiroshima: Out of the Ashes Shizuo Television film
Dear John Charlie Moura Episode: "Hot Lips Lacey"
1991 Plymouth Hiro Television film
American Playhouse Takahashi Hosoume Episode: "Hot Summer Winds"


The Simpsons Master Chef, Mr. Sparkle Voice, 2 episodes
1992 Raven Mr. Koyosaka Episode: "The Death of Sheila"
1993 Silent Cries Natsume Television film
1994 All-American Girl Sammy Episode: "Yung at Heart"
The X-Files Gung Bituen Episode: "Excelsis Dei"
1996 The Steve Harvey Show Bobby Wong Episode: "Loose Lips Sink Friendships"
Seinfeld Executive No. 1 Episode: "The Checks"
ER Dr. Richard Okida Episode: "No Brain, No Gain"
1999 Jack & Jill Mr. Tanaka Episode: "The Awful Truth"
2000-05 Jackie Chan Adventures Uncle Chan Voice, main role
2001-17 Samurai Jack The Emperor Voice, 5 episodes[9]
2006 Justice League Unlimited Monk Voice, episode: "Dead Reckoning"[9]
Popcorn Zen Kan Ogawa Episode #2.1
2005-07 Avatar: The Last Airbender Monk Gyatso, Master Yu Voice, 6 episodes[9]
2007 Two and a Half Men Hiroshi Episode: "Don't Worry, Speed Racer"
Clark and Michael Man at Driving Range 2 episodes
Legion of Super Heroes K3NT Voice, episode: "The Man from the Edge of Tomorrow"[9]
Ben 10: Race Against Time Old Man Television film
2008 Samurai Girl Noriyuki Miniseries; 2 episodes
2010 The Boondocks Mr. Long Dou Voice, episode: "The Red Ball"
Mad Men Ichiro Kamura Episode: "The Chrysanthemum and the Sword"
2011-12 Hawaii Five-0 Keako Kelly 3 episodes
2015 Longmire Francis Igawa Episode: "War Eagle"
2012-15 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Mr. Murakami Voice, 4 episodes
2016 Flaked Wild Bill Episode: "Palms"
Legends of Tomorrow Ichiro Yamashiro Episode: "Shogun"
2017 The Blacklist Daniel Nakamoto Episode: "Dembe Zuma (No. 10)"
Ave 43 Dr. Dye Web series; 4 episodes
2017-18 Stretch Armstrong and the Flex Fighters Grandpa Park Voice, recurring role (seasons 1 and 2)[9]
2019 The Terror Kazu Episode: "Into the Afterlife"
2023 Magnum P.I. George Nakamura Episode: "Appetite for Danger"


  1. ^ a b Ballard, Gary (February 14, 2011). "Sab Shimono Adds Wrinkles to a Prolific Resume". LA Stage Times. Archived from the original on September 25, 2014. Retrieved July 20, 2013. Born and reared in Sacramento, Shimono first tasted public acclaim through a political forum, when he won the election for student body president of Sacramento High School.
  2. ^ Sab Shimono Biography (1943-) at
  3. ^ Wada, Karen (June 2005). "Camp Revival: Two new productions explore the still-controversial topic of Japanese American internment". Los Angeles Magazine. p. 52.
  4. ^ "Japanese American Internee Data File: Saburo Shimono". National Archives and Records Administration. Retrieved August 18, 2019.
  5. ^ Gao, Max (April 23, 2023). "Magnum P.I.'s Boss on Those Cliffhangers, a Better Call Saul Vet Casting, and What's Coming in Season 6". TV Guide. Retrieved October 20, 2023.
  6. ^ Sammon, Paul (September 2007). Conan the Phenomenon: The Legacy of Robert E. Howard's Fantasy Icon. Oregon, United States: Dark Horse Books. ISBN 978-1-59307-653-5.
  7. ^ "Sab & Steve". API Equality-LA. March 31, 2011. Archived from the original on November 5, 2012. Retrieved July 15, 2012.
  8. ^ Roberta Bernstein, "Murder Between Friends", in Variety and Daily Variety Television Reviews, 1993-1994, January 11, 1994, p. 12
  9. ^ a b c d e f "Sab Shimono (visual voices guide)". Behind The Voice Actors. Retrieved September 3, 2023. A green check mark indicates that a role has been confirmed using a screenshot (or collage of screenshots) of a title's list of voice actors and their respective characters found in its opening and/or closing credits and/or other reliable sources of information.

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