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Cary Tagawa Online since 1997

Biographical Information:

  • Born: September 27, 1950
  • Astrological Sign: Libra
  • Chinese Zodiac: Tiger
  • Birthplace: Tokyo, Japan
  • Height: 5' 11" Weight: about 150 pounds ?
  • Siblings: One brother, Greg
  • Education: University of Southern California,
          Major: Asian studies
  • Family: Children: Calen and Brynne
  • Present Residence: Hawaii
  • "Charismatic, muscular, handsome and often exuding a dangerous sexuality, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa specializes in playing the evilest of vile villains, most of whom despite their exceptional martial arts skills are killed in spectacular manners."
    -- from

       Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, a U.S. Army brat, was born in Tokyo and lived in various cities while growing up. His father was in the army, stationed at Ft. Bragg, N.C., Ft. Polk, La. and Ft. Hood, Texas. His mother was an actress from Tokyo. The family finally settled in Southern California, where Tagawa began acting in high school. He was an exchange student in Japan while studying at the University of Southern California.

    Tagawa moved back to Japan after college, but was disappointed when he felt like an outsider, not having lived there in so long and gone though the same experiences. He returned to America, and at the age of 36, Tagawa began his acting career. He got his first big break as an actor when he was cast in Bernardo Bertolucci's feature film "The Last Emperor." He went on to roles in "Rising Sun," "Mortal Kombat," and "The Phantom." He also starred in the series "Nash Bridges" on the CBS Television Network.

    He has recently been involved off-screen in addressing student groups (at SFSU and Stanford). He has also been coaching the martial artist portraying Shang Tsung in the Mortal Kombat Live Tour, and in his free time, developing his new form of Martial Arts, called "Chuu Shin." (For more on this, check out his interview in Inside Karate.)

    Tagawa's new focus for the movies and television is to grab up the 'good-guy' spots and try to rid himself of the evil 'bad-guy' image that he has. Let's hope he is successful and that it works! As much as you have to love the bad guy in a film, Cary is certaintly quite different in real life. The 'good-guy' characters that he has played have been very interesting, and I hope he can get to play many more.

    As for Mr. Tagawa personally, everyone I've chatted with who knows him or has met him has had wonderful things to say about him. I'm always amazed at what an energetic, uplifting person he is, and his intelligence and creativity are inspiring. And yet, even with all of this energy, Cary always seems so calm and collected!