NEW: 10th July 2000

This is where you can learn about the talented actors who breathed life into the characters of The Karate Kid Part II. In this section of the site we list the actors who were only in the sequel. For the original cast [Including Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita] go here.


The Cast of The Karate Kid Part II


Fact File: Yuji Okumoto Born Los Angeles

A lean and well conditioned six-footer, actor Yuji Okumoto has the good looks, style and talent to have been a major leading man on screen, but in The Karate Kid Part II, his physical stature served him equally well as Chozen, the Okinawan bully who is the nephew of Sato. His hateful characterisation of chosen is particularly excellent as he squares off against Daniel, played by Ralph Macchio.

"That's one of the great things about acting, you get to experience things you might never do in real life. In this case, I get to see the world as a totally obnoxious punk!"
-Yuji Okumoto

In spite of his Japanese first name, Okumoto was born and bred in Los Angeles. "My parents just chose to put my Japanese name before my English name, Don."

And the swaggering menace he has about him as Chozen probably owes less to his karate training (he was a brown belt at the time) than to his experience in show business.

He was educated at Hollywood High School (where he played both baseball and basketball) and Cal State Fullerton, where he first took up acting. Okumoto had been involved with several theater companies, including the celebrated East West Players, where he appeared in "Pacific Overtures" and "The Teahouse of the August Moon.''

He'd also found time for numerous television appearances, including an episode of "T.J. Hooker," and roles in two motion pictures, "Real Genius" and "Hanauma Bay", in which he plays a spirited surfer.

He f
ound the roie in "The Karate Kid Part II" a challenging one. "It is actually a complex character", he explains, "and though on the surface he appears very headstrong, deep down he's very insecure and scared."

"The final fight with Daniel is a combination of frustration and honor. That's why he takes it so seriously and probably why he can't win."
-Yuji Okumoto

Clearly Okumoto was able to draw on both his martial arts training and his acting experience when, as the leader ot a gang of Okinawan toughs, he kicks, shoves and punches Macchio.

Despite the fact that he is known as a very nice guy, Chozen was a role that he clearly relished, and the type of portrayal that could easily have propelled him to overnight stardom.

Sadly though, despite his utterly convincing portrayal as Chozen, Okumoto was to have many more second string roles throughout the 80's and 90's and was passed over for any high profile leading roles. Notable appearances include a hotel manager in the Micheal Douglas thriller "The Game" and as a Japanese technician at the pod launch in the sci-fi smash hit "Contact".


Fact File: Danny Kamekona Born Hawaii

One-half Hawaiian, one-quarter Chinese and one-quarter Japanese, actor Danny Kamekona was a perfect representative of modern-day Hawaii's cosmopolitan mix of races.

He explained, with an incredible irony, that he can rightfully assume the name of the villain, Sato, he portrays in "The Karate Kid II"

"My paternal grandfather was Tokujiro Sato" explained Kamekona, a longtime Honolulu resident who began acting with a small role on the popular TV series, "Hawaii Five-0", "and he
was one of the Gannenmono, the first group of Japanese immigrants to arrive in Hawaii in 1868. Like the others, he made a life for himself in the Islands, marrying a Hawaiian woman named Kamekona".

The rest of the story is that, for an Island society unfamiliar with Japanese names, his grandfather shortened Tokujiro to Toko for convenience, and then Kamekona's nisei father, Daniel, in turn, became known to his peers as Dan Toku Thus, in a typically Hawaiian way, the family's legal name passed from usage.

"Then when World War II broke out, and my dad was working for the U.S. Corps of Engineers. The boss talked about the rumors of internment camps taking him away, so he took his mother's maiden name of Kamekona and right there the name of Sato died. My father's brothers changed their names too--they also didn't want to go to the camps."

"Pat [Morita] and I first met about 11 years ago during the filming of 'Midway.' There were four of us local guys--pineapples-, that were flown over to work on the motion picture, but Pat made us feel right at home. He really took care of us. Later we worked together on "Farewell to Manzanar" and we've kept up the friendship."
-Danny Kamekona


Though it's a true story, Kamekona was, with his handsome and easy-going style, the kind of actor who could make you believe almost anything. -That's probably why, in an earlier career as a life insurance salesman, he was able to sell $3 million worth of policies his first year!.

Then he was spotted by a local casting agent. That was 16 years before Karate Kid II, and he's worked steadily as an actor ever since --becoming one of the busiest actors in Hawaii "When I first went out for 'Hawaii Five-O,' I had zero experience," he says with a laugh, "and I joked with the director that my only acting experience was being married for 10 years!"

In spite of his lack of training, Kamekona soon found himself working no less than nine or 10 shows for every year that "Hawaii Five-O" was on the air. At one point, he was even offered a regular continuing part on the popular series, but turned it down --in part, to keep a hand in his successful insurance business, but also to enjoy the challenge of taking on so many different acting roles. "I've been lucky, " Kamekona admitted, "because at first I had the kind of Hawaiian face that people associated with Hawaii, and I could handle a line. Then they got to see thatI could do other things too."

After graduation from Kamehameha School, young Kamekona became one of the first Hawaiian boys to attend Brigham Young University, on a football scholarship. For a while, he went on a Mormon mission from BYU to Japan, his first real acquaintance with his ancestral culture. Later he enrolled at the University of Hawaii and got into business.

"The Karate Kid Part II" was not the first time he has worked opposite Noriyuki "Pat" Morita, the Academy Award- nominated actor who portrays Miyagi, the sage karate master and Kamekona and Morita both spoke with great affection for their friendship.

Kamekona had previously had notable roles on shows like "Barnaby Jones", "The Rockford Files" and "Magnum, P.l.", and later went on to appear in many other TV and movie roles. He sadly died on the 2nd May 1996.


Fact File: Tamlyn Tomita Born Okinawa

At first glance, it is easy to see how Tamlyn Tomita, a virtual acting novice, still managed to garner the plum role of Ralph Macchio's young Okinawan girlfriend, Kumiko.

Watching her sensitive and romantic portrayal on screen, it's hard to believe that Tomita, the 1984 Nisei Week Queen from Los Angeles and reigning Miss Nikkei International, had no acting ambitions prior to being cast in the movie. She's exotically beautiful and tremendously talented.

"It's been quite a whirlwind; it happened so fast," the young actress admitted at the time of the movies' release. "But I've learned a lot and it's really opened up a whole wide new world for me."

Tomita, who was actually born in Okinawa (her mother is Okinawan-Filipino; her father a Japanese-American), moved to Los Angeles when she was very young. While a student at U.C.L.A. studying history and mass communications, Tomita received an unexpected invitation to audition for a major motion picture from Helen Funai, a former beauty queen herself with connections to the film industry

"I owe a lot to working with professionals like Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita, my co-stars. They taught me that a lot of acting has to do with listening, reacting to the other character. It means putting yourself into the emotions of the person you're portraying, not .just delivering lines. All the same, I haven't set any goals for more movies after this first one because I've got my education and I've got alternatives."
-Tamlyn Tomita


"Helen called to say that the casting director for a new film called 'The Karate Kid Part ll' had gotten in touch, knowing that she knows a lot of Asian girls in town. She called just one day after I returned from winning the International Japanese beauty contest in Brazil. They met me, I took some screen tests, then flew to New York to meet the director, John Avildsen After some acting lessons for a few weeks, I was on the set working.

"I knew it would be competitive, but just like the beauty pageants I took it one step at a time."

Though Tomita had never acted before, she and Macchio make an excellent team. Her performance is a natural, artless one and her flawless beauty is enhanced by an innocence that comes across on screen. Although there's a side of her character, Kumiko, who's sweet and nice, there's another that Tomita hopes will break the Hollywood stereotypes of Asian women.

"When you see the big fight scene," she comments about the fierce battle Macchio engages in for the finale, "you'll see that she gets in there and does something. She's only 17, but she's tough and independent --a fighter. That's not the stereotype at all"


Please Note: More cast bio's and info will be added all the time. Please keep checking back with us
 
Movie & All Images 1986 Columbia Pictures. Please see the legal section for details.

Link eXchange Banner



2000 Fast Rewind WebSites. All Right Reserved.