Most of the time, they’re not headlining movies nor TV shows. They’re not regulars on TMZ, Entertainment Tonight nor other Hollywood hype machines. And they’re not reality show attention whores who are famous for simply being famous…or trying to be famous. What they are is all too frequently the unheralded; the people whose solidly consistent work affects and often delights us. They’re the ones who don’t always get the credit when the credit is due. We aim to change that.

Cary-Hiroyuki TagawaName: Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa

Vital Stats:
– Date of Birth: September 27, 1950
– From: Tokyo, Japan
– 5′ 11″ (1.80 m)


Official Fan Site

Notable Roles: Shang Tsung, Kabai Sengh, Asian Buyer, Oriental Man, Sanga, Kwang, Kai, Eddie Sakamura, Zylyn, Lt. AJ Shimamura, Zenhichi Miyamoto, Cmdr. Minoru Genda, The Baron, Funekei Yoshida, Brushogun, Mysterious Asian Man, Hiro Noshimuri, Satoshi Takeda, Sin Tzu

Career Hiccup(s): Thunder in Paradise 3

Notable Quotes:

  • “Save your pity for the weak!”
  • “We’re Hong Kong Narcotics, you BASTARD!”
  • “The art of war is deceit. First, you must strike when your opponent least expects; in a place where he feels strong, but is in fact weak; with an army he believes he has already vanquished.”

Why We’re Saluting: For being one of the go-to character actors whenever a powerful or memorable Asian presence is required in a project.  Be it in film, television or gaming, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa has been that guy for better than 25 years and over 100 credits on IMDB.  Instantly recognizable by either face or voice, Tagawa has portrayed everything from an evil mystical warrior from another dimension to a Yakuza oyabun to several police and authority figures.  But he’s been plenty of, and seems to enjoy portraying, Asian bad guys quite often.  And why not?  He’s pretty damn good at it.

With a gaze that can see right past you, Tagawa has frequently lent far more weight to otherwise forgettable roles in all kinds of productions.  He gave a refined elegance to the evil Shang Tsung in the original Mortal Kombat, a smirking, crafty arrogance to Eddie Sakamura in Rising Sun and more recently has been guiding Emily VanCamp’s Emily Thorne in her quest for payback in the ABC series Revenge.  Tagawa has also been a reliable presence onscreen because of his martial arts abilities.  Of his martial background, Tagawa once said, “I was born in Tokyo and began training in Kendo when I was in Junior High School.  Then when I was five we moved to Fort Bragg, NC; and that’s when I got my first real lesson in how to use the martial arts.”  While his physical abilities have been more than noteworthy, it’s nevertheless that onscreen charisma and visage that looks it could your ass by itself that has been Tagawa’s bread and butter, and our viewing pleasure.

So Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, for being a mainstay of dignified Asian badassness onscreen for a quarter century plus, CHUD salutes you.

Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa Factoids

  • Was born in Japan, but grew up on a series of army bases in America.
  • His father served with a counter-intelligence unit as part of the U.S. military forces occupying post-World War II Japan.
  • Is a part-time masseur for the University of Hawaii football team.
  • Has been developing his own style of martial arts: Chuu-Shin, it defines a process of centering inside the heart and mind, and provides the seeker with the structure to unite the physical and spiritual aspects of being.