Born June 17, 1929, in Honolulu to second-generation Japanese immigrants, actor and singer James Shigeta made a name for himself as one of Hollywood’s first prominent Asian-American leading men.
Actor and singer James Shigeta died July 28, 2014. Born June 17, 1929, in Honolulu to second-generation Japanese immigrants, Shigeta made a name for himself as one of Hollywood’s first prominent Asian-American leading men. After studying drama at New York University and serving in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Korean War, Shigeta found fame in America through such films as Midway, Flower Drum Song, the first Die Hard and Paradise, Hawaiian Style. Shigeta’s distinctive voice also brought him great success in Japan, despite his inability to speak the language when he first arrived, earning the actor-crooner the nickname “the Sinatra of Japan.” His career spanned more than 50 years, including dozens of films and TV appearances. We have collected some of his finest here, as well as his online Guest Book where you can share your thoughts on his life and work.