Tamlyn Naomi Tomita
January 27, 1966
Tamlyn Naomi Tomita (born January 27, 1966) is a Japanese-American actress and singer. She made her screen debut as Kumiko in The Karate Kid Part II (1986) and reprised the character for the streaming web series Cobra Kai (2021). She is also well known for her role as Waverly in The Joy Luck Club (1993). Additional films include Come See the Paradise (1990), Picture Bride (1994), Four Rooms (1995), Robot Stories (2003), The Day After Tomorrow (2004) and Gaijin 2: Love Me as I Am (2005).
Tomita also has played several recurring roles on television series, including 24, Glee, Teen Wolf and How to Get Away with Murder. She starred on the Epix drama series Berlin Station (2016), and in 2017 began starring in the ABC medical drama The Good Doctor. In 2020, she had a recurring role in Star Trek: Picard.
Tomita was born on a military base in Okinawa, but grew up in Los Angeles. Her Japanese-American father was in an internment camp during World War II. He met her mother while stationed in Okinawa between the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Her mother was half-Japanese, half-Filipino (Ilocano), born in Manila and had emigrated to Okinawa after World War II. Her father became an LAPD officer upon returning to Los Angeles.
Tomita graduated from Granada Hills High School and attended UCLA, where she studied history and planned to become a history teacher. While a junior at UCLA, she participated in Nisei Week (where she was crowned its 1984 queen). It was during this time that she responded to “Helen Funai, a former 1963 queen of the pageant and also a dancer, actress, singer,” who made a request that she audition for a part in The Karate Kid II. She promised her parents that she would finish UCLA, and then explore acting.
After The Karate Kid II, Tomita had major roles in a number of independent movies. Her biggest role was in the 1990 drama film Come See the Paradise. In 1993, she co-starred opposite Ming-Na Wen in the ensemble cast drama The Joy Luck Club and the next year she had a role in the 1994 independent film Picture Bride. In 1995 Tomita appeared alongside Antonio Banderas in the Robert Rodriguez-directed segment of the vignette anthology comedy Four Rooms.
In the 21st Century, Tomita has had roles in other independent films and co-starred in several major Hollywood productions, including playing Janet Tokada in The Day After Tomorrow. In 2005, she starred in the Brazilian drama film Gaijin 2: Love Me as I Am and also had a leading roles in the independent films Robot Stories in 2003. She was also in Only the Brave about the Japanese American segregated fighting unit, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team of World War II, which included two other Karate Kid stars, Yuji Okumoto and Pat Morita.
Tomita appeared as a character named Ming Li on the NBC daytime soap opera Santa Barbara from May to September 1988. In 1994, she guest-starred in the first episode of season 3 of Highlander: The Series. In 2008, she made her return to daytime soaps with a recurring role on ABC's General Hospital. In 2012, she had another recurring role on NBC's Days of Our Lives.
From 1996 to 1997, Tomita was a regular cast member in the short-lived UPN drama series, The Burning Zone as well as the pilot movie for Babylon 5. During her career she has guest starred on shows such as Seven Days; Quantum Leap; Living Single; Murder, She Wrote; Chicago Hope; Will & Grace; Nash Bridges; The Shield; Strong Medicine; Stargate SG-1; Stargate: Atlantis; The Mentalist; Private Practice; True Blood; Zoo; Tour of Duty; Criminal Minds; and many other dramas and comedies. She had longer term recurring roles on Crossing Jordan, JAG, 24, Eureka, Heroes, Law & Order: Los Angeles, Glee, Teen Wolf, Resurrection, How to Get Away with Murder, and Chasing Life.
|1986||The Karate Kid Part II||Kumiko||Debut role|
|1987||Hawaiian Dream||Karren Saito|
|Come See the Paradise||Lily Yuriko Kawamura / McGann|
|1993||The Joy Luck Club||Waverly Jong|
|Notes on a Scale|
|1995||Four Rooms||Wife||Segment "The Misbehavers"|
|1997||The Killing Jar||Diane Sanford|
|Living Out Loud||Mrs. Nelson|
|1999||Life Tastes Good||Julie Sado|
|2000||Betty Anderson||Detective Miyamoto||Short film|
|Day of Independence||Choir Member||Short film|
|2004||The Perfect Party||Mom|
|The Day After Tomorrow||Janet Tokada|
|2005||Gaijin 2: Love Me as I Am||Maria Yamashita Salinas|
|True Love & Minosa Tea||Rebecca Nakasone||Short film|
|2006||Only the Brave||Mary Takata|
|Peace||Sandy Sakai||Short film|
|2007||Pandemic||Melissa Lo||Short film|
|2008||The Eye||Mrs. Cheung|
|2009||Why Am I Doing This?||Donna|
|2010||The Mikado Project||Viola|
|Starlight Inn||Grace Kim||Short film|
|2011||The Charles Kim Show||Herself||Short film|
|2012||White Room: 02B3||Five||Short film|
|2014||Awesome Asian Bad Guys||Tamlyn / Pamlyn (2013)|
|Teacher of the Year||Vivian Lew|
|Operation Marriage||Lee||Short film|
|2016||The Good Neighbor||Heather Cromwell|
|The Unbidden||Lauren Lee|
|2017||Real Artists||Anne Palladon||Short film|
|2019||The Living Worst||Chita Montague|
|2020||I Will Make You Mine||Julia|
|1987||Tour of Duty||VC Peasant Woman||Episode: "Sitting Ducks"|
|1987–1988||Santa Barbara||Lily Murakami, Ming Li||31 episodes|
|1988||Hiroshima Maiden||Miyeko Matsuda||Television film|
|1988||To Heal a Nation||Maya Ying Lin||Television film|
|1989||The Karate Kid||Additional Characters (voices)||Episode: "My Brother's Keeper"|
|1990||Hiroshima: Out of the Ashes||Sally||Television film|
|1992||Quantum Leap||Tamlyn Matsuda||Episode: "Temptation Eyes - February 1, 1985"|
|1992||Raven||Kim Tanaka||Episode: "Return of the Black Dragon"|
|1993||Babylon 5: The Gathering||Lt. Cmdr. Laurel Takashima||Television film|
|1994||Time Trax||Toshi||Episode: "Return of the Yakuza"|
|1994||Vanishing Son II||Lanchi||Television film|
|1994||One West Waikiki||Taylor Chun||Episode: "'Til Death Do Us Part"|
|1994||Highlander: The Series||Midori Kent/Maia Koto||Episode: "The Samurai"|
|1994||Living Single||Mary||Episode: "Bristle While You Work"|
|1994||Vanishing Son IV||Lanchi||Television film|
|1994||Murder, She Wrote||Det. Sharon Matsumoto||Episode: "Death in Hawaii"|
|1995||Vanishing Son||Lan Chi||Episode: "Single Flame"|
|1995||Sisters||Kiri Adams||Episodes: "For Everything a Season: Part 1", "Renaissance Woman"|
|1996||Chicago Hope||Tina - Sutton's Ex #3||Episode: "Ex Marks the Spot"|
|1996–1997||The Burning Zone||Dr. Kimberly Shiroma||Series regular, 11 episodes|
|1997||The Sentinel||Suzane Tomaki||Episode: "Smart Alec"|
|1997||Raven: Return of the Black Dragons||Kim Tanaka||Television film|
|1998||Chicago Hope||Jennifer Watanabe||Episode: "McNeil and Pray"|
|1999||Seven Days||Michelle||Episode: "Walter"|
|1999||Will & Grace||Naomi||Episode: "I Never Promised You an Olive Garden"|
|1999||The Last Man on Planet Earth||Agent Kara Hastings||Television film|
|2000||Runaway Virus||Monique Chao||Television film|
|2000||Nash Bridges||Amy Chin||Episodes: "Man Hunt", "Blow Out"|
|2000||The Michael Richards Show||Ming||Episode: "USA Toy"|
|2001||FreakyLinks||Emma Reed||Episode: "Subject: The Final Word"|
|2001||Walking Shadow||Rikki Wu||Television film|
|2001||Providence||Mary Cassidy||Episode: "Civil Unrest"|
|2001||Crossing Jordan||Dr. Grace Yakura||Episodes: "The Dawn of a New Day", "You Can't Go Home Again", "Digger, Part 1"|
|2002||The Shield||Wanda Higoshi||Episode: "Pilot"|
|2002||For the People||Dr. Chaney||Episode: "Come Blow Your Whistle"|
|2002–2003||JAG||Lt. Cmdr. Tracy Manetti||Recurring role, 7 episodes|
|2002–2003||24||Jenny Dodge||Recurring role, 5 episodes|
|2003||The Agency||Elizabeth—Female Kidnapper||Episodes: "Our Man in Korea", "Our Man in Washington"|
|2003||Threat Matrix||Special Agent Nicole Hill||Episode: "Under the Gun"|
|2004||Strong Medicine||Dr. Nash||Episode: "Goodbye/Rest in Peace"|
|2004–2005||North Shore||Xiao||Episodes: "Illusions", "The End"|
|2005||Jane Doe: Now You See It, Now You Don't||Helen Morrison||Television film|
|2006||Commander in Chief||Randy||Episode: "No Nukes Is Good Nukes"|
|2006||Stargate SG-1||Shen Xiaoyi||Episodes: "The Scourge", "Crusade"|
|2006, 2008||Stargate Atlantis||Shen Xiaoyi||Episodes: "No Man's Land", "Remnants"|
|2006–2007, 2009||Eureka||Kim Anderson||Recurring role, 5 episodes|
|2007||Women's Murder Club||Sachiko Johannes||Episode: "Maybe Baby"|
|2007–2008, 2010||Heroes||Ishi Nakamura||Episodes: "Chapter Nine: Cautionary Tales", "Chapter Twelve: Our Father", "Chapter Fifteen: Pass/Fail"|
|2008–2009||General Hospital||Giselle||6 episodes|
|2008||Saving Grace||Tori Chen||Episode: "Have a Seat, Earl"|
|2008||Twenty Good Years||Episode: "Come Fly with Me"|
|2008||Two Sisters||Shakti||Television film|
|2009||Monk||Eileen Hill||Episode: "Mr. Monk Fights City Hall"|
|2009||The Mentalist||Lauri Medina||Episode: "Bloodshot"|
|2009||Criminal Minds||Dr. Linda Kimura||Episode: "Amplification"|
|2009||CSI: Miami||Dr. Sarah Fordham||Episode: "Seeing Red"|
|2009||Private Practice||Katie's Lawyer||Episode: "Strange Bedfellows"|
|2010||Memphis Beat||Noreen Drake||Episode: "I Want to Be Free"|
|2010–2011||Law & Order: LA||Miwako Nishizawa||Recurring role, 10 episodes|
|2011||The Chicago Code||Prosecutor||Episode: "Bathhouse & Hinky Dink"|
|2011||The Protector||Katrina||Episode: "Bangs"|
|2011||Glee||Julia Chang||Episode: "Asian F"|
|2012||Days of Our Lives||Dr. Ellen Yu||6 episodes|
|2012||Make It or Break It||Dr. Lim||Episode: "Listen to the Universe"|
|2012||Touch||Kazuko Osugi||Episode: "Gyre, Part 1"|
|2012||Hollywood Heights||Sarah Medeiros||Episodes: "Jetsetter", "Fresno"|
|2013||Bones||Dr. Alice Crawford||Episode: "The Doll in the Derby"|
|2013||True Blood||Ms. Suzuki||Episodes: "Who Are You, Really?", "Dead Meat"|
|2014–2017||Teen Wolf||Noshiko Yukimura||Recurring role, 16 episodes|
|2014||Resurrection||Dr. Toni Willis||Recurring role, 5 episodes|
|2014–2015||How to Get Away with Murder||Judge Carol Marrow||Episodes: "He Deserved to Die", "Hello Rasholnikov"|
|2014||NCIS: Los Angeles||Homeland Security Agent Shana Rollins||Episode: "Leipei"|
|2015||Chasing Life||Dr. Mae Lin||Recurring role, 5 episodes|
|2015||Zoo||Minako Oz||Episode: "The Silence of the Cicadas"|
|2016||Berlin Station||Sandra Abe||Series regular, 10 episodes|
|2017–2019||The Good Doctor||Allegra Aoki||Series regular (season 1–2)|
Special guest (season 3)
|2018||The Man in the High Castle||Tamiko Watanabe||Recurring role, 6 episodes|
|2020||Star Trek: Picard||Commodore Oh||Episodes: "Maps and Legends", "The End is the Beginning,", "Nepenthe"|
|2020||DuckTales||Inspector Tezuka||Episode: "Astro B.O.Y.D."|
|2021||Cobra Kai||Kumiko||Season 3, 2 episodes: "The Right Path", "Miyagi-Do"|
|2002||James Bond 007: Nightfire||Makiko Hayashi|
- Block, Jenny (2018-04-23). "'Good Doctor' Star Tamlyn Tomita Says "Stop Treating Me As A Woman: Treat Me As An Equal"". swaay.com. Retrieved 2021-01-07.
- Adato, Alison (1991-01-25). "Close-up on Tamlyn Tomita -- We talk to the actress from Come See the Paradise". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2021-01-06.
- "Tamlyn Tomita Reveals Her Parents' Love Story". Retrieved 2020-05-10.
- Yamato, Jen (2021-01-01). "To reprise her 'Karate Kid' role in 'Cobra Kai,' Tamlyn Tomita had some ground rules". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2021-01-04.
- "Past Queens & Courts". Nisei Week. Retrieved 2021-01-07.
- "TALKING WITH TAMLYN TOMITA: THE ACTRESS DISHES ON INDEPENDENT CINEMA AND WHITEWASHING". Center for Asian American Media. 2017-10-30. Retrieved 2021-01-07.
- "Tamlyn Tomita". EW.com. Retrieved 27 December 2014.
- "FILM REVIEW;Hellish Guests in Kinky Spats in 'Four Rooms'". 26 December 1995. Retrieved 27 December 2014.
- "Meet Yuji Okumoto". konakitchen.com. Retrieved 2021-01-06.
- "Ming Li". santabarbara-online.com. Retrieved 24 October 2017.
- "General Hospital: Tamlyn Tomita Cast As Kate Howard Rival". Daytime Confidential. Retrieved 27 December 2014.
- Petski, Denise (22 September 2017). "'The Good Doctor': Tamlyn Tomita Upped To Series Regular On ABC Drama". Retrieved 24 October 2017.
- Ng, Phillana (2021-01-07). "'Cobra Kai': Tamlyn Tomita on Returning as Kumiko More Than 30 Years After 'Karate Kid' (Exclusive)". Entertainment Tonight. Retrieved 2021-01-07.
- Meeks, Karen (2020-12-31). "'Karate Kid II' kicked off Tamlyn Tomita's career. Now she's back, 34 years later, in 'Cobra Kai.'". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2021-01-04.