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Yoshio James Yoda was born March 31, 1934 in Tokyo, Japan. He attended high school and studied law in Japan prior to studying at the University of Southern California in the late 1950s, earning a degree in cinema arts.
Yoda began his career in acting as Sgt. Roy Tada in the movie The Horizontal Lieutenant (1962). He is best known for his portrayal of Fuji Kobiaji in the television series McHale's Navy and in the 1964 movie McHale's Navy and in an identical role as Takeo Fujiwara in McHale's Navy Joins the Air Force. In McHale's Navy Season 2, Episode 13, "A Letter for Fuji," his character is given the full name 'Fujiwara Takeo Kobiaji.' After finishing McHale's Navy in 1966, Yoda appears to have had just one further role, in the 1969 segment of Love American Style entitled Love and the Letter. He was associate producer for "The Walking Major", which was nominated for a Golden Globe Award in 1971.
In the cast reunion extra feature on the McHale's Navy first season DVD set, Edson Stroll (Virgil in the series) stated that Yoda began primarily using his middle name of James and worked as a Toyota vice-president. He also reported that Yoda had secured his American citizenship. Yoda had lived in Honolulu, Hawaii for fifteen years, serving as vice president of marketing for Toyota in Hawaii, where he had become a United States citizen and was active in the Lions Club. Since 2012, Yoda has been living in Fullerton, California.
- "Friends and Neighbors" (PDF). Morningside Newsletter Vol 22, March 2013. Retrieved 11 December 2014.