DOB: June 17, 1933
Where: Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii
Occupation: Actor, vocalist
Years Active: 1959-present
-American TV and film actor
-He is referred to as Nisei, or 2nd generation American of Japanese ancestry
-Studied drama at New York University
-Enlisted to serve in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Korean War, fought in Korea for 2 1/2 years and rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant
-He did not speak Japanese until Japanese studio Toho Studios in Tokyo invited him to be a music star under his real name in Japan
-He soon became known as the "Frank Sinatra of Japan", because he performed in all media types: radio, TV, stage, supper clubs, movies, recordings
-His first role in a film was in 1959, The Crimson Kimono. He played a detective named Joe Kojaku. The film was groundbreaking for the time being because it featured an Asian detective being played by someone who was actually Asian, speaking perfect English, rather than a non-Asian being made to pass as Asian, who speaks in so called 'chop suey English'
-In 1961, Shigeta was cast as Wang Ta, in the Broadway play The Flower Drum Song
-In 1961 as well, he got the role of World War II Japanese diplomat Hidenari Terasaki alongside Carroll Baker as Gwen Terasaki in Bridge to the Sun. This movie told the story of a racially mixed marriage set in the war between the US and Japan. It was considered a rarity for the time being.
-He has also starred in other films as well. In 1988, he played Joseph Yoshinobi Takagi, a corporate executive in the film Die Hard.
|Bridge to the Sun|
-In 1998, he lent his voice to General Li, the father of Captain Li Shang in the Disney movie Mulan
-In 2006, Shigeta was among the actors, producers and directors interviewed for the documentary Slanted Screen, directed by Jeff Adachi. This documentary showed how Asian and Asian American men are viewed in Hollywood.