Where is Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa now? What happened to him?

March 22, 2024
4 mins read

Who is Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa?

When you hear his name, you might not know who people are talking about, but if they tell you that he played the character of Shang Tsung, one of the most powerful villains in “Mortal Kombat”, you will realize who Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa is. This actor has over 140 acting credits to his name, and besides the mentioned role, he is perhaps known best for starring in “Tekken”, “Licence to Kill”, and “Planet of the Apes”.

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Early life, family, and education

Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa was born in Tokyo, Japan, on 27 September 1950, which makes him aged 71. Being raised by a Japanese-American father who was a soldier in the US Army, he spent most of his childhood moving around the world. He holds Japanese, American, and Russian citizenship, the latter acquired after he converted to Eastern Orthodoxy in 2015.

His mother was a Japanese actress, and she was the one who recognized his talent for acting. When the family settled in Southern California, USA, Tagawa attended Duarte High School, where he began acting in school plays.

Upon matriculating from high school in 1968, he enrolled at the University of Southern California, and also studied in Japan, including Shotokan karate and kendo at the Japan Karate Association.


Roles in movies

Tagawa made his acting debut in an uncredited role in the 1986 movie “Big Trouble in Little China”, followed by his role as Toshi in “Armed Response” in the same year. However, his breakthrough role came in the 1987 biographic drama “The Last Emperor” in which he played Chang. The movie followed the story of the final Emperor of China, directed by Bernardo Bertolucci, and had 60 award wins, including nine Oscars for Best Director, Best Picture, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing, Best Music – Original Score, Best Sound, and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium.

In the following year, Tagawa was seen in “Spellbinder” and “Twins”, followed by his role as Kwang in the James Bond movie “Licence to Kill”, in 1989.


The early ‘90s saw Tagawa in “Kickboxer 2: The Road Back” (1991), “American Me” (1992), “Rising Sun” (1993), and “Picture Bride” (1994). Next, he was cast to play his most notable role, to date, in the 1995 video-game adapted movie “Mortal Kombat”, also starring Christopher Lambert and Robin Shou.

In the following years, Tagawa acted in numerous movies, and some of his significant roles were in “The Phantom” (1996), “Vampires” (1998), and “American Dragons” (1998).

In 2001, he was seen as Genda in “Pearl Harbor”, an Oscar-awarded (Best Sound Editing) war drama, starring Ben Affleck, Josh Hartnett and Kate Beckinsale. This historical drama followed the story of romance and war, friendship, and the horror of one Sunday morning in 1941.


During the 2000s, Tagawa had supporting roles in numerous movies – worth mentioning is his portrayal of Krull in “Planet of the Apes”, and his role as The Baron in the 2006 “Memoirs of a Geisha”, which won three Oscars for Best Achievement in Costume Design, Best Achievement in Art Direction, and Best Achievement in Cinematography,.

One of his notable roles is certainly as Ken in the 2009 movie “Hachi: A Dog’s Tale”, one of the top-rated family biographical dramas, which despite being one of the favorite movies based on the true story, had only one award nomination.

In the following year, Tagawa starred as Heihachi Mishima in another movie based on the popular video game, entitled “Tekken”, followed by his roles in “Black Cobra” (2012), “47 Ronin” (2013), and “Hype Nation 3D” (2014).

He reprised his role in the 2014 sequel “Tekken: Kazuya’s Revenge”, and next he was seen in “Little Boy” (2015), “Beyond the Game” (2016), and “Looking in the Mirror” (2019). Tagawa’s most recent movie roles have been in “My Love is Aisulu” and “Sky Sharks” in 2020.

Roles in series

Tagawa made his first television appearance as Cheng in two episodes of the series “The Wizard” in 1986, and in the following years, he had numerous guest roles in various series, and since the list is too long to enumerate, we will mention some of the most popular, such as “Miami Vice”, “MacGyver”, and “Star Trek: The Next Generation”.

In the ‘90s, he had a recurring role as Zylyn in “Space Rangers” (1993-1994), and he is well-known for his role as Lieutenant A. J. Shimamura in “Nash Bridges”, the popular crime series starring Don Johnson.

In the early 2000s, Tagawa was seen as Captain Terry Harada in “Hawaii” (2004), and during 2012 and 2013, he portrayed Satoshi Takeda in “Revenge”, followed by his role as Shang Tsung in the short series “Mortal Kombat: Legacy” (2013).


From 2015 until 2018, Tagawa played the character of Nobusuke Tagomi in “The Man in the High Castle”, and concurrently he was seen in “Star Wars: Rebels” (2017), followed by his role in “Lost in Space” (2018).

Love life and relationships

Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa is someone who’s managed to keep his private life away from the media’s attention. He hasn’t been the subject of any gossip or controversies concerning his love life, and it’s known that he is in a long-term marriage since 1984 with Sally Tagawa, about whom nothing is known.

Some reports were saying that the two divorced, however, Tagawa hasn’t commented about his marital status. It’s believed that Tagawa and his wife still live together in their residence in Kauai, Hawaii with their two children.


What happened to him?

Tagawa’s name came into the spotlight when his character in “The Man in the High Castle” was assassinated in the first episode of the fourth season, and fans of the series wanted to know what happened. Many of them assumed that Tagawa himself was prevented from continuing the filming due to some personal problems, however, the truth is that he had to honor the contract signed with Netflix for the series “Lost in Space”.

In 2022, the website ‘en.necropedia’ announced that Tagawa died on 28 August 2022, which was another celebrity death hoax.

We are happy to say that he’s still doing well, and that his fans will enjoy his acting in his new movie entitled “Duel of Legends”. Tagawa is currently busy filming the short movie “Shinryu vs. Ravedactyl, Code Name: Justice & Gekido”, also starring Graig F. Weich.


Net worth

If you ever wondered about the wealth that this ‘Hollywood villain’ has accumulated during his more than 35-year-long career, let us tell you that according to sources, as of September 2022, Tagawa’s net worth has been estimated at over $20 million.

Martha Clifford

As an Author at Net Worth Post, I guide a dedicated team in the art of revealing the stories behind the world's most influential personalities. Fueled by a relentless curiosity and a knack for uncovering hidden stories, I immerse myself in the intricacies of our subjects' lives, weaving together accurate data and compelling narratives. My involvement spans the entire editorial process, from the seed of research to the final flourish of publication, ensuring that every article not only educates but also captivates and motivates our audience.

At Net Worth Post, we are committed to providing thorough investigations into the net worth and life achievements of innovators across diverse sectors such as technology, culture, and social entrepreneurship. My method merges meticulous research with eloquent storytelling, designed to bridge the gap between our readers and the remarkable individuals who redefine our tomorrow. Through spotlighting their journeys to success, the hurdles they've surmounted, and their contributions to society, we aim to give our readers a deep and inspiring insight into the luminaries who are paving the way for progress and ingenuity in the modern era.

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