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James Shigeta (born June 17 1933) is an Americanmarker film and television actor. He is also a standards singer, musical theatre and nightclub performer, and recording artist. He is a Sansei or third-generation American of Japanese ancestry.


Early life

Born in Hawaiimarker of Japanesemarker ancestry, Shigeta studied drama at New York Universitymarker. While studying, he entered and won first prize on Ted Mack's television talent show, Original Amateur Hour. Before he could fully embark on a business career, Shigeta enlisted to serve in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Korean War. He moved to Japan and starred in four Japanese musical films. While there, he also recorded a best selling record.


Shigeta first came on screen in the U.S., in 1959 as Detective Joe Koajku in Crimson Kimono. He was cast in two more feature films before being awarded a Golden Globe Award for the most promising male newcomer. Yet, it was not until he was cast in the 1961 theatrical version of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Flower Drum Song that he received notability in Hollywoodmarker. He starred opposite actress Nancy Kwan as Wang Ta, a prospective fiancée. After the success of Flower Drum Song, Shigeta guest starred in television shows such as Perry Mason, Medical Center, and Little House on the Prairie. He also continued starring in films. In 1988, he played the ill-fated corporate executive Joseph Yoshinobo Takagi in the action adventure film Die Hard. He has lent his voice to Disney's 1998 animated film Mulan and a 2005 episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Also in 2005, Shigeta received a "Visionary Award" from the Asian American theatre organization, East West Players, at their annual anniversary gala in Los Angeles.

In 2006, Shigeta was among the actors, producers and directors interviewed in the documentary The Slanted Screen, directed by Jeff Adachi, about the representation of Asian and Asian American men in Hollywood.


Year Title Role Notes
2002 A Ribbon of Dreams Jimmy Chan
2000 Brother Sugimoto
1998 Mulan General Li Voice Role
1997 Drive Mr. Lau
1996 Space Marines Ambassador Nakamura
1995 Midnight Man Mao Mak
1994 Cage II Tin Lum Yin
1990 China Cry: A True Story Dr. Sung
1989 Cage Tin Lum Yin
1988 Die Hard Joseph Yoshinobu Takagi
1976 Midway Vice Adm. Chuichi Nagumo
1975 The Yakuza Goro
1973 Lost Horizon To Len
1968 Nobody's Perfect Diver Toshi O'Hara
Manila, Open City
1967 The Mystery of the Chinese Junk George Ti Ming
1966 Paradise, Hawaiian Style Danny Kohana
Tre pistole contro Cesare Lester Kato
1961 Flower Drum Song Wang Ta
Bridge to the Sun Hidenari Terasaki
Cry for Happy Suzuki
1960 Walk Like a Dragon Cheng Lu
1959 The Crimson Kimono Det. Joe Kojaku


Year Title Role Notes
2005 Avatar: The Last Airbender Old Wanderer Episode: The Spirit World-Winter Solstice
2004 Threat Matrix Kang Sok-Joo Episode: PPX
1999 Beverly Hills, 90210 Ben Sosna Episode: Slipping Away
Episode: The Loo-Ouch
Episode: Nine Yolks Whipped Lightly

1997 The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest Inspector Mantjur
Mr. Yamashiro/Japanese Prime Minister
Episode: Diamonds and Jade
Episode: Night of the Zinja
1996 Cybill Mr. Matsuzaki Episode: Cybill and Maryann Go to Japan
1993, 1994 Renegade Mr. Ota
Hideo Maruyama
Episode: Samurai
Episode: Black Wind
1994 Babylon 5 Taro Isogi Episode: A Spider in the Web
Hart to Hart: Old Friends Never Die Det. Whoo
seaQuest DSV Montegnard Confederation President Chi Episode: Better Than Martians
Episode: The Last Lap at Luxury
1987, 1992 Murder, She Wrote John Sukahara
Luc Lee
Episode: The Corpse Flew First Class
Episode: Sugar & Spice, Malice & Vice
1989 Jake and the Fatman Episode: The Way You Look Tonight
Mission: Impossible Ki Episode: The Lions
1984-1988 Simon & Simon Daniel Yoshiro
Musashi Sato

Episode: Revolution# 9-1/2
Episode: Opposites Attack
Episode: Tale of the Tiger

1987 The Hitchhiker Nishi Episode: Perfect Order
1983, 1986 Magnum, P.I. Dr. Richard Enoka
Mr. Obotu
Episode: Forty Years from Sand Island
Episode: Paper War
1986 The Family Martinez Judge Yamamoto
1985 Airwolf Colonel Tranh Van Zung Episode: The American Dream
1984 Matt Houston Lin Ha Episode: Blood Money
1983 Masquerade Makko Episode: Girls for Sale
T. J. Hooker Chow Duc Khan Episode: Chinatown
1982 The Renegades Jimmy Lee
Strike Force Episode: Chinatown
Tomorrow's Child Donald Shibura
The Greatest American Hero Colonel Shawn Liang Episode: The Hand-Painted Thai
1980 Enola Gay: The Men, the Mission, the Atomic Bomb Field Marshall Abehata
1979 Samurai Takeo Chisato
Fantasy Island General Lin Sun Episode: Spending Spree/The Hunted
1978 The Rockford Files Clement Chin Episode: Heartaches of a Fool
Police Woman Bernie Kim Episode: The Human Rights of Tiki Kim
1977 The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries Kapala Episode: Wipe-Out
Little House on the Prairie Sam Wing Episode: To Live with Fear
1976 The Moneychangers Wizard Wong
Once an Eagle Lin Tso-Han
The Streets of San Francisco Prosecutor Episode: The Thrill Killers (1)
The Killer Who Wouldn't Die David Lao
S.W.A.T. Episode: The Chinese Connection
Ellery Queen Stephen Yang Episode: The Adventure of the Judas Tree
1974, 1975 Kung Fu Master Kwan Li
Col. Lin Pei
Episode: The Garments of Rage
Episode: The Forbidden Kingdom
1975 Matt Helm Tom McCauley
Khan! Episode: Triad
1974 Emergency! Mr. O'Brien Episode: Foreign Trade
The Questor Tapes Dr. Chen
1969-1972 Medical Center Resident Doctor
Resident Doctor
Dr. Osaka
Resident Doctor

Episode: The Loner
Episode: Runaway
Episode: The V.D.

Episode: Confession

1969, 1971 Ironside Pak Soong

Episode: Love My Enemy
Episode: No Motive for Murder
1970 Mission: Impossible Shiki Episode: Butterfly
1969 The Young Lawyers
U.M.C. Chief Resident
1968 Hawaii Five-O Joseph Matsukino Episode: Deathwatch
Escape to Mindanao Lt. Takahashi
It Takes a Thief Fong Sing Episode: When Good Friends Get Together
1964, 1965 Ben Casey Father Michael Hsueh
Dr. Harvey Lee
Episode: The Evidence of Things Not Seen
Episode: No More, Cried the Rooster-There Will Be Truth
1965 I Spy Tommy Episode: Three Hours on a Sunday Night
Perry Mason Ward Toyama Episode: The Case of the Wrongful Writ
The Bing Crosby Show Joe Episode: That's the Way the Suki Yakies
1963, 1964 The Outer Limits Major Jong
AIO Captain Newa
Episode: Nightmare
Episode: The Inheritors
1964 Carol for Another Christmas The Doctor
The Lieutenant Captain Myang Lee Episode: To Kill a Man
Burke's Law Sidney Ying Episode: Who Killed the Paper Dragon?
1963 Dr. Kildare Dr. Roy Shigera Episode: One Clear Bright Thursday Morning
1962 Naked City James Kam Episode: The Contract
1961 Alcoa Premiere Captain Episode: The Fortress


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