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Updated by Saren Sakurai on Jul 06, 2017
Headline for Japanese on TV in the 70s & 80s
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Japanese on TV in the 70s & 80s

A collection of clips from the 70s and 80s of Japanese and Japanese American actors and actresses, and their appearances on television and movies.

George Takei as Mr. Sulu on Star Trek (1966-1969)

The original Japanese badass on American TV, still to this day an icon in the JA community.

Jack Soo as Det. Sgt. Nick Yemana, Barney Miller (1975-1977)

Goro Suzuki had to change his name to get work but once you knew he was a brother, his character Jack Soo was a favorite.

Clyde Kusatsu as Rev. Chong, All in the Family (1978)

Character actor with appearances on MASH; Taxi; All in the Family; Hello, Larry

Pink Lady and Jeff (1980)

A clip of a running gag from Sid & Marty Kroffts' worst show ever. Not surprisingly, the network forced this to be a running gag simply because they kept wanting to see Pink Lady in bikinis. (

Marilyn Tokuda as Shana 'Pipeline' Akira, The Roller Girls (1978)

The show didn't last long, but Marilyn went on to Xanadu, Hill Street Blues, Magnum P.I. and she is currently Arts Education Director of the nation's premier Asian American theatre organization, East West Players, located in the "Little Tokyo" area of Los Angeles.

Pat Morita as Toru Takahashi, Mr. T and Tina (1976)

A spin-off of Welcome Back Kotter

Pat Morita as Ohara, Ohara (1987)

Pat Morita is Ohara

Mako Iwamatsu as Li Sung, The Incredible Hulk (1978-1979)

In San Francisco, David meets Li Sung, a Chinese philosopher who suggests that controlling the autonomic nervous system may be a way to subdue the Hulk.

Pat Morita as Mr. Miyagi, Karate Kid (1984)

This is probably the most influential Japanese character from the 80s. Sorry Gedde, but you were a distant runner up.

Tamlyn Tomita as Kumiko, Karate Kid II (1986)

Mr. Miyagi wasn't the only Japanese in the Karate Kid series.

John Belushi's Samurai, Saturday Night Live (1975-1979)

He's not Japanese, obviously, but in the middle of Indiana, in the 70's, it was close enough for me to emulate.

Brian Tochi as Tomoko Nogata, Police Academy

Wow. They just don't get off the english as a second language thing, do they?

Lenn Sakata, Baltimore Orioles (1983)

Lenn Sakata of the Baltimore Orioles breaks an impressive 0 for 66 streak against the Chicago White Sox.

Brian Tochi as Takashi in Revenge of the Nerds (1984)

Oh, the little tiny injustices that come from stereotypes in film. Who is the Flava Flav of the Japanese?

Harold Sakata as Oddjob, Goldfinger (1964)

Japanese playing a Korean, but whatever. Would have kicked Connery's ass in the real world.

Ricky Steamboat of the WWF (1989)

Steamboat is so much better than Ric Flair.

Masa Saito as Mr. Saito from the WWF (1981-1982)

Masa began his career as a professional wrestler at the 1964 Summer Olympics and he wrestled professionally from 1965 to 1999. He won two pair titles in the very early eighties with Mr. Fuji.

Harry Fujiwara as Mr. Fuji from WWF (1981-1996)

Mr. Fuji was a wrestler and then a manager, and had a very long career in the WWF. If you want a short study on the American stereotypes of Japanese, Mr. Fuji pretty much ticked off everything on the list.

You Only Live Twice (1967)

Sean Connery stars as James Bond in the 5th 007 film. The movie takes place in Japan.

Godzilla (1954)

I spend countless Saturday and Sunday afternoons watching every Godzilla movie ever made.

James Clavell's Shogun TV Miniseries Theme

Maybe we should just pretend Toshiro Mifune was even in this thing.

Gung Ho (1986)

Crazy Japanese businessmen loose in America.