Noriyuki 'Pat' Morita - Rotten Tomatoes

Noriyuki 'Pat' Morita



Best known to audiences as Mr. Miyagi, Ralph Macchio's mentor in the "wax on, wax off" school of combat in the 1984 hit The Karate Kid, Noriyuki "Pat" Morita is the most prominent Japanese-American actor of his generation. Morita is also well known for having played Arnold, the amiable diner owner on the hit television series Happy Days, for two non-consecutive seasons (1975-1976 and 1982-1983). His status as one of the most familiar actors of Asian descent kept him working in a variety of projects throughout the 1980s and '90s.

Having spent part of his youth in a Japanese internment camp during World War II, Morita nonetheless emerged with his sense of humor intact, giving up work as a computer programmer to concentrate on stand-up comedy in the early '60s. After a number of nightclub and TV variety show appearances, Morita found his first film role in 1967's Thoroughly Modern Millie as a stereotypical ethnic henchman. His natural affability soon began shining through, winning Morita his role on Happy Days for the 1975-1976 season. As Arnold, Morita interacted with Richie, Fonzie, and company with a memorable combination of good humor and exasperation. He returned to the gig in 1982-1983 after a failed attempt to front his own series (the critically lambasted Mr. T and Tina in 1976), a number of small film roles, and guest appearances on such shows as The Love Boat and Magnum P.I.

His major pop culture breakthrough was the role of janitor and karate master Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid. An eccentric tutor who at first appears to be using his student for an endless variety of household chores, Miyagi soon reveals the method behind his training, turning the scrawny Daniel (Macchio) into a confident fighter, while also instilling an important message that violence should remain a last resort. The exceedingly popular film made Morita a household name, and audiences were left with the indelible image of a jolly and wise old soul trying desperately to catch a fly with a pair of chopsticks. Morita reprised the role for the two sequels starring Macchio in (1986 and 1989), as well as The Next Karate Kid, which starred future Oscar winner Hilary Swank, in 1994.

In the late '80s, Morita found the success that had previously eluded him in television solo efforts with the two-season detective series Ohara (1987-1989). In 1987, he also wrote and starred in the World War II romance Captive Hearts, a film about a pilot shot down over Japan who falls in love with a village woman. Morita plays the village elder who saves the young pilot from execution.

Morita spent the 1990s continuing to work regularly as a character actor in both television and movies. His film roles included Honeymoon in Vegas (1992), Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (1993,) and vocal work as the Emperor in Disney's Mulan (1998). He guest starred on such shows as The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Diagnosis Murder, and The Hughleys, and had a recurring role as Mr. Tanaka on Baywatch.

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
No Score Yet Act Your Age
  • Actor
2011
No Score Yet Royal Kill
  • Exhibition Manager
2009
No Score Yet Only the Brave
  • Seigo Takata
2006
No Score Yet 18 Fingers of Death
  • Freeman Lee
2006
No Score Yet The Number One Girl
  • Mr. Sakata
2005
No Score Yet American Fusion
  • Lao Dong
2005
22% Down and Derby
  • Ono Yakimoto
2005
61% The Last Shot
  • Himself
2004
No Score Yet Karate Dog
  • Chin Li
2004
No Score Yet Miss Castaway and the Island Girls
  • Mr. Yogi
2004
17% Spymate
  • Kiro
2004
No Score Yet High Roller: The Stu Ungar Story
  • Mr. Leo
2003
0% Mulan II
  • The Emperor
2003
No Score Yet Biggest Fan
  • Mr. Lim
2002
No Score Yet Shadow Fury
  • Dr. Oh
2002
No Score Yet WaSanGo (Volcano High)
  • Vice Principal
2001
No Score Yet King Cobra
  • Nick Hashimoto
2001
No Score Yet Captured Alive
  • Actor
2001
34% The Center of the World
  • Taxi Driver
2001
No Score Yet The Boys of Sunset Ridge
  • Charlie Watanabe
2001
No Score Yet House of Luk
  • Kwang Luk
2001
No Score Yet Hammerlock
  • Un Huong Lo
2000
0% Desert Heat
  • Jubal
1999
No Score Yet I'll Remember April
  • Abe Tanaka
1999
No Score Yet The Misery Brothers Y2K
  • Actor
1999
86% Mulan
  • The Emperor
1998
No Score Yet Bloodsport III
  • David Leung
1997
No Score Yet Beyond Barbed Wire
  • Narrator
1997
No Score Yet Reggie's Prayer
  • Principal
1996
8% Spy Hard
  • Brian the Waiter
1996
No Score Yet Bloodsport 2: The Next Kumite
  • David Leung
1996
No Score Yet Earth Minus Zero
  • Dr. Jefferson
1996
No Score Yet Timemaster
  • Isaiah
1995
7% The Next Karate Kid
  • Miyagi
1994
22% Even Cowgirls Get the Blues
  • The Chink
1994
No Score Yet Moon Over Paradise
  • Actor
1994
No Score Yet American Ninja V
  • Master Tetsu
1993
No Score Yet Space Rangers Chronicles 1
  • Actor
1993
61% Honeymoon in Vegas
  • Mahi Mahi
1992
No Score Yet Mastergate
  • Actor
1992
No Score Yet Miracle Beach
  • Gus
1992
No Score Yet Auntie Lee's Meat Pies
  • Chief Koal
1992
No Score Yet Do or Die
  • Keneshiro
1991
No Score Yet Hiroshima: Out of the Ashes
  • Yoodo Toda
1990
No Score Yet Lena's Holiday
  • Fred
1990
No Score Yet Collision Course
  • Fujitsuka Natsuo
1989
No Score Yet Captive Hearts (Fate of a Hunter)
  • Fukushima
1987
No Score Yet Babes in Toyland
  • The Toymaster
1986
16% The Karate Kid, Part III
  • Mr. Kesuke Miyagi
1986
43% The Karate Kid Part II
  • Mr. Kesuke Miyagi
1986
No Score Yet Collision Course
  • Actor
1986
No Score Yet Alice in Wonderland
  • Horse
1985
No Score Yet Amos
  • Tommy Tanaka
1985
No Score Yet The Vegas Strip Wars
  • Yip Tak
1984
90% The Karate Kid
  • Mr. Miyagi
1984
No Score Yet Savannah Smiles
  • Father O'Hara
1982
No Score Yet Jimmy the Kid
  • Maurice
1982
No Score Yet Slapstick of Another Kind
  • Ambassador Ah Fong
1982
No Score Yet Full Moon High
  • The Silversmith
1982
0% When Time Ran Out
  • Sam
1980
No Score Yet For the Love of It
  • Actor
1980
No Score Yet Human Feelings
  • Actor
1978
54% Midway
  • Rear Admiral Ryunosuke Kusaka
1976
No Score Yet Punch and Jody
  • Actor
1976
No Score Yet Where Does It Hurt?
  • Nishimoto
1972
No Score Yet Cancel My Reservation
  • Yamamoto
1972
No Score Yet Evil Roy Slade
  • Turhan
1972
No Score Yet The Shakiest Gun in the West
  • Wong
1968
100% Thoroughly Modern Millie
  • Oriental
1967
No Score Yet The Barbarian and the Geisha
  • Prime Minister
1958
No Score Yet Shiatsu With Pat Morita
  • Actor

TV

RATING TITLE CREDIT
No Score Yet The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
1990-1996
  • Mr. Yoshi

Quotes from Noriyuki 'Pat' Morita's Characters