Shin Koyamada

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Shin Koyamada
小山田 真
Koyamada in Malibu May 2015.jpg
Koyamada in May 2015
Born (1982-03-10) March 10, 1982 (age 37)
ResidenceLos Angeles, California, U.S.
OccupationActor, producer, entrepreneur
Years active2002–present
Spouse(s)Carolina Manrique (Nia Lyte)

Shin Koyamada (小山田 真, Koyamada Shin, born March 10, 1982) is a Japanese American actor, producer, philanthropist, entrepreneur and martial artist.

Koyamada became known worldwide for his film debut co-starring with Tom Cruise in The Last Samurai (2004), which was nominated for several awards, including four Academy Awards, three Golden Globe Awards, and two National Board of Review Awards, followed by starring in the Disney Channel's Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior (2006), which received the highest rated kids channel in Japan, U.K. and Europe. Since his breakthrough, he has appeared in numerous successful movies and shows, and produced a series of movies, shows, comics and video games through Shinca Entertainment.

In 2017, Koyamada became the first native-born Japanese to be elected as the Sister Cities International Board of Directors that unites over 500 member communities with over 2,000 partnerships in 145 countries. In 2008, he founded the Koyamada International Foundation (KIF) in Los Angeles, inspiring hundreds of thousands of youth globally to achieve their dreams. In Japan, Koyamada has been appointed as Kyoto International Ambassador, Okayama Prefecture International Ambassador, and Karate Special Ambassador for Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics.

Koyamada holds black belts in Japanese and Korean martial arts, and won a U.S. national championship in Chinese martial arts. Koyamada immigrated from Japan to the United States in June 2000. He is bilingual in Japanese and English.

Early life[edit]

Koyamada was born in Okayama, Japan. His family is descended from Kagenori Koyamada of the Koyamada clan, a Samurai clan.[1] Koyamada's dad cultivated in him a love for American and Hong Kong action movies, which they would watch together.[2] In high school, he was team captain in gymnastics and competed in the Okayama Prefecture tournament for three years. In addition, he enrolled in a Karate school, his first martial arts experience. He trained every weekend to hone his skills with the desire to move to Hollywood. He graduated from Ichinomiya high school in Okayama in March 2000.

Moving to the United States[edit]

In mid June 2000, Koyamada first enrolled in the ESL program at the University of California, Riverside.[3] Later that year, Koyamada moved to Hollywood alone, not knowing anyone, having no place to stay, and not knowing how to speak English. He began training in Northern Shaolin Kung Fu for 5 hours a day and 6 days a week at a Chinese martial arts school in Los Angeles. Koyamada specialized in the empty hand form Bot Bo (拔步) and a double broadsword among other 18 Chinese classical weapons in Northern Shaolin. Koyamada then competed in six U.S national martial arts competitions in several major cities, including San Diego, Las Vegas, San Francisco and won gold medals in all but one.[4] In 2001, he enrolled at Los Angeles City College as a full-time international student where he began taking intensive acting lessons in the theater academy.



2001-2002: Early work[edit]

For the Knightsbridge Theater, Koyamada choreographed and performed martial arts forms and stage combat in a production of Shakespeare's Coriolanus. He also appeared in several national commercials, including Disneyland, Apple Computer and JC Penney. Koyamada also made a brief guest appearance on Power Rangers Wild Force in 2002. His first movie work was in the short film A Ninja Pays Half My Rent, directed by Steven Tsuchida.

2003-2008: Breakthrough[edit]

Koyamada's debut feature film role was in The Last Samurai (2004), co-starring as Nobutada, a young Samurai who befriends a captured American soldier played by Tom Cruise. It was nominated for several awards, including four Academy Awards, three Golden Globe Awards, and two National Board of Review Awards.[5] While filming The Last Samurai, he added Kyūdō (Japanese Archery) and Yabusame to his repertoire.[6]

After the international success of The Last Samurai, film producers and writers pitched a new movie to Disney Channel executives, with Koyamada performing backflips and Shaolin Kung Fu double broadsword, his U.S. national championship winning form, to them on the top floor of the Disney Channel building in Burbank. The following day, Koyamada was offered the starring role in Disney Channel's Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior (2006) opposite Brenda Song, which become one of the highest rated original movies on the channel.[7] From 2006 to 2008, Koyamada was a regular in the Disney Channel Games for three seasons until it's ended. The series was filmed at the Disney World in Florida and supported various charities including Starlight Children's Foundation.

Koyamada and his wife Nia Lyte founded Shinca Entertainment, an American producer of movies, television, comics and games in October 2005. Shinca has developed and produced a television and live streaming talk show named The Nia Lyte Show (2006). Koyamada starred in and executive produced the Japanese documentary film Wine Road of the Samurai (2006), nationally distributed by Tokyo Broadcasting System in Japan.[8] Koyamada next appeared in the 20th Century Fox drama Constellation (2007), directed by Jordan Walker-Pearlman.[9] Koyamada also starred in and produced the action adventure film Good Soil (2007), written and directed by Craig Shimahara.[10]


Koyamada has partnered with Travis Moore, an illustrator DC Comics' Freedom Fighters, Justice Society of America, Wonder Woman, Titan, The Green Team, Sword of Sorcery, and Nia Lyte to form comics company called Laizen Comics to develop and publish comics in early 2009.[11][12][13][14] Koyamada, Moore and Lyte created The Dreamhoppers (2010), an action adventure about the supernatural powers given to certain people known as Dreamhoppers. The comics was published and distributed by Laizen Comics to independent comic book stores throughout the United States .[15]

Koyamada then starred in the Japanese stage production Ai No Shizuku (2010) at the opening ceremony of The 25th National Cultural Festival Okayama 2010 in Japan. The play was attended by Japanese Crown Prince Naruhito and nationally televised through NHK.[16]

Koyamada produced a multi-part television series and web series comprising Spirit Fashion Show (2013), Spirit Art Show (2013), Spirit Music Show (2013), Spirit Love Show (2013) and Spirit Earth Show (2014), with producers Claudia Hallowell and Nia Lyte and distributed by Spirit Show Network.[17]

In 2013, Koyamada starred in and produced the American film titled Heart of the Dragon (2013), directed by Jeff McDonald and written by James West II from Moesha and The Proud Family.[18]

In 2015, Koyamada has also starred in the American television series based on the Japanese supernatural folklore characters titled The Yokai King.

Since 2015, Koyamada has been producing new comic book series titled The Vortex Adventures and a new mobile game based on the same comic book, both of which are set to be released in the United States in 2018. Koyamada is set to star and produce an action comedy feature film titled Ticker and an action adventure feature film titled Zero, written by Stephen Langford.[19] Koyamada is set to executive produce a television series The Dreamer, based on a true story about a young Colombian girl who's kidnapped in Colombia that informs and charges the direction of her life. Koyamada is developing and producing a new animation and video game based on the comics titled The Dreamhoppers.[20]

Other ventures[edit]

In 2005, Koyamada and his wife established Shinca Group, an American corporation with its businesses of production company, international consulting and other ventures.

Production company[edit]

In 2005, Koyamada and his wife Nia established Shinca Entertainment to initially develop and produce her television talk show The Nia Lyte Show, targeting Hispanic audience in the United States and Latin America in Burbank, California. In 2006, Shinca explored its film production as Shinca Pictures to produce action movies, which Koyamada dreamed of making ones since his childhood and later produced an action drama film Good Soil (2007). Due to his love of anime and manga in Japan, Shinca established Laizen Comics, a joint venture with an American comic book illustrator from DC Comics, and produced, published and distributed first American comic book The Dreamhoppers (2009) to comic book stores in the United States. In 2013 and 2014, Shinca Pictures has produced a television reality series Spirit Fashion Show, Spirit Art Show, Spirit Music Show, Spirit Love Show and Spirit Earth Show, which were distributed by Spirit Show Network in the U.S. Shinca Pictures produced a second action thriller film Heart of the Dragon (2014). Since 2016, Genji Comics is producing a new comic book series titled The Vortex Adventures. Meiji Studios is producing a new mobile game based on The Vortex Adventures. [21]

International consulting[edit]

In 2012, Koyamada established Shinca Enterprise, an American consulting firm to contract with a Japanese Fortune Global 500 company in Japan to help them connect with American companies in various areas. In 2017, the company's clients include from an American startup company to a Japanese Fortune Global 500 in a wide range of businesses such as agriculture, technology, retail, energy, mining, sports, foods and entertainment industries in the United States, Asia and Latin America.[22]


Youth, disaster and environment[edit]

In 2008, Koyamada and his wife established Koyamada International Foundation (KIF), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization to empower youth and women to achieve their dreams, provide international disaster aid and promote environmental awareness.[23][24]

In 2010 and 2011, Koyamada organized the United States Martial Arts Festival (USMAF), an international martial arts charity event to promote the arts and help educate the next generation to develop self-discipline, self-determination, self-affirmation, self-assertion, self-discovery and self-confidence through martial arts, held in Redondo Beach, CA. At USMAF, over 1,000 supporters and fans packed the auditorium to cheer up martial arts performances by different world renowned martial arts masters and youth performers representing different styles such as Karate, Shaolin Kung Fu, Krav Maga, Capoera, MMA, Tae Kwon Do, Shorinji Kempo, American Kenpo, Boxing, Marine Corps Martial Arts Program and others that are originated from the United States, Israel, Japan, South Korea, China, Egypt, Brazil, Thailand and Taiwan. All of the proceeds funded itself and martial arts scholarship program that provides youth and children the necessary funds so they can pursue training in the martial arts as a means to cultivate self-discipline, improve their health, and learn respect, honor and courtesy.

In 2011, Koyamada raised over $120,000 to aid the victims of the Great East Japan earthquake from a charity concert, fashion show, private donors and organizations. Part of KIF's donation initiative also included shipping 20-foot containers filled with basic necessities such as food, clothing, shoes, blankets, water and toys.[25]

In 2012, Koyamada established KIF Japan, a Japanese nonprofit organization in Tokyo to initially deliver the relief goods and items directly to the victims of the Great East Japan earthquake. During the relief efforts, Koyamada was invited by U.S. Embassy Tokyo and its consulate-general to lecture in several Japanese cities including Tokyo, Osaka, Fukuoka, Okinawa and Okayama to promote study abroad programs in the United States among Japanese youth.[26][27]

Koyamada speaking at Seinan Gakuin University in Fukuoka in Japan

To continue ongoing efforts to inspire Japanese youth to study abroad and pursue their dreams, KIF teamed up with U.S. Embassy Tokyo and its consulate-general for Koyamada and other speakers to lecture high school and undergrad university students to study abroad in the U.S. and promote Japan–United States relations in different universities and high schools throughout Japan.

In 2013 and 2014, Koyamada appointed his celebrity friends Dylan Sprouse and Cole Sprouse as KIF's International Ambassadors. KIF Japan invited them and hosted the US-Japan Discovery Tour touring 10 different cities in Japan to empower thousands of youth to pursue higher education and their dreams, and promote cultural diversity and mutual understanding among young people of Japan and the United States through a series of lectures and cross-cultural events. Koyamada and Sprouse brothers were warmly welcomed and greeted by Japanese governments, students, teachers, athletes, politicians and business leaders during the trip.

In 2015, KIF Japan first teamed up with Australian Embassy, Tokyo to invite the Australian Ambassador to Japan to talk about Australia–Japan relations at the University of Okayama, a national university in his hometown Okayama, Japan. In the same year, KIF and Embassy of Colombia, Tokyo have partnered up to host a networking event Colombian Night at the Colombian Ambassador's Residence in Tokyo. In 2015, 2016 and 2017, KIF Japan organized a series of lecture events with Kansai University, Ritsumeikan University, Kindai University, Seinan Gakuin University, Okayama University, Okinawa International University, Miyazaki Municipal University and numerous high and middle schools throughout Japan.

In 2017, KIF partnered up with Embassy of Italy, Tokyo and its consulate to jointly organize a networking cross-cultural event Italian Night at a hotel by Seto Inland Sea or Setouchi in Okayama, Japan.

Sister cities and citizen diplomacy[edit]

In Washington D.C., Koyamada became the first native-born Japanese member of Sister Cities International's Board of Directors and Country representative for Japan and Eastern Asia in 2017. Since its founding at a White House Summit on Citizen Diplomacy convened by 34th U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956, the Sister Cities International Network has grown to be the oldest and largest global network of volunteer citizen diplomats, comprising over 2,000 communities in 145 countries. Koyamada's interest in Sister Cities International began when he sought to start a sister city program for his hometown of Okayama, Japan. Last April 2017, Shin attended the 60th Sister City Anniversary Celebration between the City of San Jose, CA and his hometown City of Okayama, Japan to support their sister city programs and learn more about getting involved.

In Tokyo, Koyamada became the Karate Ambassador representing Karate for Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics in 2016, appointed by the Japan Karate Federation, an affiliated World Karate Federation that has more than ten million members in 191 countries.

In October 2012, Koyamada became as the Kyoto International Ambassador, appointed by its Mayor Daisaku Kadokawa to promote Kyoto globally.[28][29] In May 2012, Koyamada became as Japan America Society of Southern California's Special Ambassador in Los Angeles, CA .[30] In February 2010, Koyamada became as Okayama Prefecture International Ambassador by its then-Governor to promote tourism globally of his hometown Okayama Prefecture, Japan. In Washington D.C., Koyamada participated the Parade of National Cherry Blossom Festival and the 50th Sakura Matsuri in Washington DC in April 2010, to promote the Japan's 25th National Cultural Festival in Okayama Prefecture, Japan.[31][32]

In mid-2003, Koyamada was given the Gold Key to the City of New Plymouth, New Zealand by then-Mayor Peter Tennent for his charity efforts in New Zealand.

Personal life[edit]

Martial arts[edit]

By 16, Koyamada began to study Keishinkan Karate in Okayama, Japan, where he was awarded his first degree black belt.[33] After relocating to the United States in 2000, Koyamada began training in Northern Shaolin Kung Fu with the Harmonious Fist Chinese Athletic Association. Koyamada specialized in the empty hand form Bot Bo (拔步) and a double broadsword among other 18 Chinese classical weapons in Northern Shaolin. Koyamada competed in six U.S National Martial Arts Competitions in Northern Shaolin over five months and won first place in all but one.[34] In 2005, Koyamada earned san-dan (third degree) black belt in traditional Keishinkan Karate in Japan. In 2005, Koyamada began training in Tae Kwon Do for which he earned the second degree black belt.[35] In 2007, Koyamada began Korean Royal Court Martial Arts and was certified as a first degree black belt in 2008. Koyamada was featured on a cover of Black Belt Magazine in 2004. In 2009, he was invited to an annual Martial Arts Tour of Italy.[36] In 2010, he founded the charity event "United States Martial Arts Festival", with funds raised going to a scholarship program to help youth train in private martial arts schools.


As actor[edit]

Year Title Role Director Notes
2002 A Ninja Pays Half My Rent Black Ninja Steven Tsuchida Lead
2003 The Last Samurai Nobutada Ed Zwick Lead
2006 Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior Shen John Laing Starring
2007 Constellation Yoshito Jordan Walker-Pearlman Supporting
Good Soil Jinbei Masuda Craig Shimahara Starring
2013 Heart of the Dragon John Watanabe Jeff McDonald Starring
2018 Ticker Sam Goldman James Fargo Starring
Zero Ken Endo TBA Starring
Television shows & series
Year Title Role Type Notes
2002 Power Rangers Wild Force Agent Disney Channel
2004 Jake 2.0 Shinji Makito Viacom Guest starring
2006 Disney Channel Games 2006 Himself Disney Channel Regular
Wine Road of the Samurai Narrator, Himself TBS Starring
2007 Disney Channel Games 2007 Himself Disney Channel Regular
2008 Disney Channel Games 2008 Himself Disney Channel Regular
2010 Ai No Shizuku Seinen Makibi NHK Starring
2014 The Yokai King Ippei "The Yokai King" Asia Pictures Starring, title character

As producer[edit]

Year Title Role Type
2006 Wine Road of the Samurai Executive Producer Documentary film
2007 Good Soil Executive Producer Short Film
2009 The Dreamhoppers Creator, Executive Producer Comic book series
2012 Spirit Fashion Show Creator, Executive Producer Miniseries
2013 Spirit Earth Show Creator, Executive Producer Miniseries
Spirit Love Show Creator, Executive Producer Miniseries
Spirit Music Show Creator, Executive Producer Miniseries
Spirit Art Show Creator, Executive Producer Miniseries
Heart of the Dragon Creator, Producer Short Film
2018 The Vortex Adventures Creator, Executive Producer Comic book series
The Vortex Adventures: The Game Creator, Executive Producer Mobile game
Reborn Associate Producer Console game
Ticker Producer Feature Film
Zero Producer Feature Film


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  12. ^ Moore, Travis (January 23, 2013). "DC Comics: SWORD OF SORCERY #4". DC Comics. Retrieved January 23, 2013.
  13. ^ Moore, Travis (February 6, 2013). "DC Comics: WONDER WOMAN: ODYSSEY VOL. 2". DC Comics. Retrieved February 6, 2013.
  14. ^ Moore, Travis (October 6, 2010). "DC Comics: FREEDOM FIGHTERS #2". DC Comics. Retrieved October 6, 2010.
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  18. ^ "Heart of the Dragon at".
  19. ^ "Shin Koyamada - Entertainment News, Players, Media - Variety".
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  22. ^ "Shinca Enterprise site".
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  27. ^ ""Hollywood Night" Raises over $22 Thousand for TOMODACHI Initiative".
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  29. ^ "京都おもてなし情報館 京都国際観光大使".
  31. ^ "Shin Koyamada The National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade Washington D.C."
  32. ^ "Hollywood/Japanese Actor Shin Koyamada Ebbs the Tide of Japan's Earthquake and Tsunami Victims with Fashion Show Fundraiser".
  33. ^ "KEI SHIN KAN KARATE-DO USA". Archived from the original on 2007-04-02.
  34. ^ "SHIN KOYAMADA". Creative artists japan.
  35. ^ "3rd degree black belt: Shin Koyamada in Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior".
  36. ^ "Applausi insonorizzati ma niente amministrazioni per l'evento di cui si parla in tutta Italia". Archived from the original on 2009-05-17.

External links[edit]