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‘Karate Kid’: The Terrible Story Behind Mr. Miyagi (Will Bring Many Tears to Your Eyes)

‘Karate Kid’: The Terrible Story Behind Mr. Miyagi (Will Bring Many Tears to Your Eyes)

Mr. Miyagi, played by Pat Morita in the epic “The Karate Kid,” is one of the most beloved and memorable characters in cinema. However, behind the calm and wise facade of Miyagi, there are tragic secrets of the life of the actor who played him. Noriyuki ‘Pat’ Morita, who lived an existence marked by pain and adversity, just like his character in the saga.

Pat was born on June 28, 1932 in Isleton, California and faced many challenges from a young age. At the age of two, he was diagnosed with spinal tuberculosis, an illness that left him bedridden in a hospital for nearly nine years.

Although the doctors were not optimistic about his recovery, life smiled on him when the experimental operation finally allowed him to walk again. This would be only the first obstacle, of many, that Morita would overcome in his life.

The hard life of Pat Morita

During World War II, his family was imprisoned in a Japanese-American concentration camp as part of the United States government’s policy following the attack on Pearl Harbor.

This experience marked the interpreter, who experienced the injustice of being treated as an enemy in his own country because of his origin. At the end of the war, together with his parents, he was forced to rebuild his life from scratch because due to his imprisonment they lost almost all their materials.

Pat Morita found refuge and escape in humor. While helping out at the family’s Chinese restaurant in Sacramento, California, he took it upon himself to entertain customers with a stand-up routine.

This talent for making people laugh led him to pursue a career in acting, despite the difficulties and prejudices faced by actors of Asian descent in Hollywood.

His big break came in the 1970s when he landed small roles in TV series such as ‘M*A*S*H’ and ‘Happy Days’.

His moment of greatest fame came with the character of Mr. Miyagi in “The Karate Kid” in 1984. Ironically, Morita knew nothing about karate, but his talent as an actor allowed him to convincingly play a teacher of martial arts.

Choosing Morita for the role was not easy. Initially, the producers sought more well-known and dramatic Japanese actors, such as Toshiro Mifune. However, Mifune’s lack of fluency in English and lack of interest in the project left the way open for Morita. After several auditions (5 to be exact), Morita finally convinced the producers that he could play the wise and charismatic Miyagi.

Despite the success he achieved with the iconic 80s film, his life continued to be a challenge. Over the years he battled alcoholism, a battle that affected both his personal and professional life. Although he continued with small roles in film and television, he was never able to repeat the success of his legendary role.

Just like in real life, Mr. Miyagi also had a difficult life. In the first part, in a touching scene with Ralph Macchio (Danel Larusso), part of the story of the subtle and sometimes mysterious character is revealed.

The sad story of Mr. Miyagi

Mr. Miyagi, a Japanese immigrant from Okinawa, tells his beloved student that he learned the art of karate from his father. In his youth he worked for his best friend’s father, Sato, who also learned this discipline from the patriarch of the Miyagi family.

Miyagi fell in love with Yukie, a young woman who was engaged to her best friend due to a family arrangement. However, this event shamed Sato, who challenged him to a fight to the death.
To avoid conflict, Miyagi left Okinawa and immigrated to the United States.

During World War II, Miyagi was imprisoned in the Manzanar concentration camp for Japanese in the United States. Later, he enlisted in the Army and received the Medal of Honor as a member of the 442nd Infantry Regiment, one of the most decorated in this country’s Armed Forces.

During his service, tragically, his wife and son died from complications in childbirth, a loss that haunted him for decades.

Despite the obstacles and tragedies he faced, Morita’s story, both on and off screen, is a lesson that true strength lies in the human spirit and its ability to overcome any obstacle.

Source: univision

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