Tamlyn Tomita

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Tamlyn Tomita
Andres Useche and Tamlyn Tomita (cropped).jpg
Tomita in 2010
Tamlyn Naomi Tomita

(1966-01-27) January 27, 1966 (age 57)[1]
Years active1986–present

Tamlyn Naomi Tomita (born January 27, 1966) is a Japanese–born American actress. She made her screen debut as Kumiko in The Karate Kid Part II (1986) and reprised the character for the streaming 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.

Early life[edit]

Tamlyn Tomita, a first generation Japanese-American (issei), was born January 27, 1966,[2] on a military base in Okinawa and grew up in Los Angeles.[3][4][5] Her Japanese-American father was in an internment camp during World War II.[4][3] He met her mother while stationed in Okinawa between the Korean and Vietnam Wars.[5] Her mother was of half-Okinawan Japanese and half-Filipino descent, born in Manila and emigrated to Okinawa after World War II.[5][3] Her father became an LAPD officer upon returning to Los Angeles.[3]

Tomita graduated from Granada Hills High School[3] and attended UCLA, where she studied history and planned to become a history teacher.[3][6] While a junior at UCLA, she participated in Nisei Week, where she was crowned its 1984 queen.[3][7] She and several other Japanese-American girls were asked by Helen Funai, the 1963 pageant queen,[8] to audition for the role of Kumiko in The Karate Kid II.[3][8] She promised her parents that she would finish college, and then explore acting.[8]



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.[9] 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.[10]

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 role in the independent film 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.[11]


Tomita appeared as a character named Ming Li on the NBC daytime soap opera Santa Barbara from May to September 1988.[12] 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.[13] 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. In 1993, she starred in 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.

In 2016, Tomita played a series regular role on the Epix drama series Berlin Station. From 2017 to 2019 she was a recurring character on the ABC medical drama The Good Doctor.[14]

Tomita began a recurring role as the Vulcan/Romulan hybrid Commodore Oh on the CBS All Access web television series Star Trek: Picard in 2020.

In 2021, she reprised her 1980s role as Kumiko for two episodes in Season 3 of Cobra Kai, a television sequel to the Karate Kid films.[15][16][6]

Personal life[edit]

Tomita is married to actor Daniel Blinkoff, whom she had dated for many years.[17][18] She previously was married once before.



List of film performances by Tamlyn Tomita
Year Title Role Notes
1986 The Karate Kid Part II Kumiko Debut role
1987 Hawaiian Dream Karren Saito
1990 Vietnam, Texas Lan
Come See the Paradise Lily Yuriko Kawamura / McGann
1993 The Joy Luck Club Waverly Jong
1994 Picture Bride Kana
Notes on a Scale
1995 Four Rooms Wife Segment "The Misbehavers"
Requiem Fong Short film
1997 The Killing Jar Diane Sanford
Touch Prosecutor
1998 Hundred Percent Thaise
Soundman Butch's Wife
Living Out Loud Mrs. Nelson
1999 Life Tastes Good Julie Sado
2000 Betty Anderson Detective Miyamoto Short film
2003 Robot Stories Marcia
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
Finding Madison Beth
2009 Why Am I Doing This? Donna
Tekken Jun Kazama
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
2015 Daddy Sharlene Hong
2016 The Good Neighbor Heather Cromwell
The Unbidden Lauren Lee
Seppuku Linda Short film
2017 Real Artists Anne Palladon Short film
2019 The Living Worst Chita Montague
2020 I Will Make You Mine Julia


List of television performances or appearances by Tamlyn Tomita
Year Title Role Notes
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 Destiny Television film
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)
23 episodes
2018 Counterpart Doctor Episode: "Love the Lie"
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"
TBA Avatar: The Last Airbender Yukari Upcoming series

Video games[edit]

List of video game performances/appearances by Tamlyn Tomita
Year Title Role Notes
2002 James Bond 007: Nightfire Makiko Hayashi


  1. ^ "Tamlyn Tomita". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved August 27, 2022.
  2. ^ "Celebrity birthdays for the week of Jan. 22-28". The Associated Press. January 17, 2023. Retrieved January 27, 2023.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Block, Jenny (April 23, 2018). "'Good Doctor' Star Tamlyn Tomita Says "Stop Treating Me As A Woman: Treat Me As An Equal"". swaay.com. Retrieved January 7, 2021.
  4. ^ a b Adato, Alison (January 25, 1991). "Close-up on Tamlyn Tomita -- We talk to the actress from Come See the Paradise". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 6, 2021.
  5. ^ a b c "Tamlyn Tomita Reveals Her Parents' Love Story". YouTube. Archived from the original on December 12, 2021. Retrieved May 10, 2020.
  6. ^ a b Yamato, Jen (January 1, 2021). "To reprise her 'Karate Kid' role in 'Cobra Kai,' Tamlyn Tomita had some ground rules". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 4, 2021.
  7. ^ "Past Queens & Courts". Nisei Week. Retrieved January 7, 2021.
  8. ^ a b c "TALKING WITH TAMLYN TOMITA: THE ACTRESS DISHES ON INDEPENDENT CINEMA AND WHITEWASHING". Center for Asian American Media. October 30, 2017. Retrieved January 7, 2021.
  9. ^ "Tamlyn Tomita". EW.com. Retrieved December 27, 2014.
  10. ^ Maslin, Janet (December 26, 1995). "FILM REVIEW;Hellish Guests in Kinky Spats in 'Four Rooms'". The New York Times. Retrieved December 27, 2014.
  11. ^ "Meet Yuji Okumoto". konakitchen.com. Retrieved January 6, 2021.
  12. ^ "Ming Li". santabarbara-online.com. Retrieved October 24, 2017.
  13. ^ "General Hospital: Tamlyn Tomita Cast As Kate Howard Rival". Daytime Confidential. Retrieved December 27, 2014.
  14. ^ Petski, Denise (September 22, 2017). "'The Good Doctor': Tamlyn Tomita Upped To Series Regular On ABC Drama". Retrieved October 24, 2017.
  15. ^ Ng, Phillana (January 7, 2021). "'Cobra Kai': Tamlyn Tomita on Returning as Kumiko More Than 30 Years After 'Karate Kid' (Exclusive)". Entertainment Tonight. Retrieved January 7, 2021.
  16. ^ Meeks, Karen (December 31, 2020). "'Karate Kid II' kicked off Tamlyn Tomita's career. Now she's back, 34 years later, in 'Cobra Kai.'". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved January 4, 2021.
  17. ^ "Tomita was a playground scrapper in youth". November 27, 2017.
  18. ^ "Highland Park will play central role in new York Boulevard theater".

External links[edit]