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The True Story Behind The Karate Kid’s Mr. Miyagi | The Reel Story

The True Story Behind The Karate Kid’s Mr. Miyagi | The Reel Story


He is wise, he is mysterious and he’ll win a fight against you and your whole skeleton crew. Even if he still can’t catch that fly. He’s Kensuke Miyagi. AKA Mr. Miyagi: karate Master Extraordinaire, bonsai enthusiast and beloved sensei of every 80s movie-goer. Played by The late Noriyuki “Pat” Morita in the karate kid franchise, Mr. Miyagi Is the ex-soldier turned part-time pensive combat expert and Full time apartment building maintenance man, who agrees to take high school newbie Daniel LaRusso under his wing and show him the fighting ropes. Though his lessons are unorthodox – and at times a bit oblique – Daniel learns everything he needs to know from his teacher including the importance of personal balance and spiritual growth. Born to a poor fisherman in Okinawa, Japan Miyagi, along with his best friend Sato, grew up learning karate from Miyagi’s father – a master in his own right. Unfortunately as the two friends aged, they became entangled in a fiery love triangle with the same woman, ripping their relationship apart. Rather than fight his oldest friend, Miyagi chose to immigrate to America landing in California and beginning his new life as a student in Santa Barbara. Miyagi’s stint at UCSB was cut violently short at the beginning of the 1940s forced against his will into the Manzanar Japanese Internment Camp after the Pearl Harbor attacks a terrible sentence that nearly 120,000 other Japanese-Americans would endure, including the actor Morita himself who, as a boy, was sent to the Gila River Internment Camp in Arizona.There, in the Camp, Mr. Miyagi would meet his first wife a woman we know little about, save for their marriage and the loss of their son a loss that haunted him for decades. Instead of biding his time, Miyagi opted to join the US Army. placed in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team – an infamous infantry regiment composed of highly-decorated Japanese-born American soldiers. An honorable soldier and a loyal friend, Miyagi taught his commanding officer the art of karate, and was later awarded with the Medal of Honor. The character of Kensuke Miyagi is named after Chōjun Miyagi a fellow Okinawa native and the founder of the Goju-Ryu style of karate – the same style depicted in the Karate Kid movies. Like Mr. Miyagi, Chōjun underwent arduous combat training, studied the arts, and served in the military in WWI and has since become known for his emphasis on inner peace and harmony of the mind, body, and spirit while practicing karate. Sound familiar? Mr. Miyagi’s other great influence, and Pat Morita’s personal friend, is martial arts legend Fumio Demura master of karate and kobudo and sensei to the stars, having taught several famous fighters how to properly aim their punches. including Chuck Norris, Dolph Lundgren, and Bruce Lee, just to name a few. As a fitting tribute to Morita and Demura’s lifelong friendship Demura also played Morita’s martial art stunt double in three of the four Karate Kid films. Pat Morita’s portrayal of the dry-witted, enigmatic Miyagi earned him a well-deserved Oscar nomination in 1984. When we finally meet Miyagi he is a peaceful old man, dressed in his iconic black and white hachimaki, attempting to catch that fly and with such a troubled history, it’s no wonder he sought out a quiet life and tried to put his past behind him. Luckily for us, and for Daniel, he once again finds opportunity to pass on his knowledge and teach a new student. Mr. Miyagi’s sage wisdom lives on through his fans. Especially when painting a Fence or waxing a car. Mr. Miyagi taught us that it is just as important to be kind as it is to be powerful, and to always take care of your mind, heart, and spirit. As long as you have the patience to learn and see wisdom in simple things, you can consider yourself a student of Mr. Miyagi. And maybe (if you’re lucky) catch a fly with chopsticks.

98 thoughts on “The True Story Behind The Karate Kid’s Mr. Miyagi | The Reel Story”

  1. Dude, you said "infamous army unit". In NO way were they infamous. They are the most decorated unit in US army history. Words matter.

  2. Pat morita was perfectly cast for mr miyagi very sad he's since died but his memory lives on with wax on wax off

  3. Besides a little back story of the real Miyagi, Pat Morita was a standup comedian who played in the show Happy Days long before the karate kid.

  4. i learnt karate for 1 year as a kid, because if this film, but my sensai told me the film was based on goju kai?

  5. Wikipedia also says that Mr. Miyagi went to UC Santa Barbara, but it's never mentioned in the movies – did I miss something?! Also, he says explicitly that he met his wife in a "cane field", not at Manzanar. Also, his name is Kesuke (Wikipedia spells it Keisuke) but not Ken-suke as this video says. Cobra Kai gave him the name Nariyoshi on his gravestone after Pat Nariyoshi Morita.

  6. I remember as a teen getting the papers for my morning paper route with 3 movie tickets attached for an early screening of some movie called "The Karate Kid". I laughed and decided it was a good way to kill a summer afternoon out of the heat. And free. My brother and my friend went with me. We joked about how dumb it was going to be the whole walk to the theater. But of course, the whole walk back we couldn't stop doing the crane kick… Love the movie, and now my kids love it too!

  7. "…and he'll take on you and your whole skeleton crew." That's funny enough to keep me watching this video, even though you're using (((that))) stencil.

  8. At the beginning the Director John Avildsen he didn't want Pat Morita as Mr.Miyagi
    He was thinking at Toshiro Mifune but later he admitted he was wrong about Pat Morita who did an amazing job

  9. Nesuke pat Morita was likely alright though, his character, mister myagi, was a compulsive gambler, liar, groomer, stalker, ( edited for better viewing ) war criminal that had his million dollar pad surrounded by millions of dollars worth of oil production utilities ( obviously used for illegal drug interactions money and other illegal activities money laundering activities ) along with 4 classic cars – sadly, myagi was the biggest suck that ever did suck. It's sad to see these trashy karate kid movies on television in prime time viewing slots guised as general viewing and kids programming

  10. What if REALITY WARP and Johnny Lawrence trained by Mr Miyagi and he facing Mike Barnes💪
    Damnn i love to see that😆😆😆

  11. I shed a tear when I saw the news of his passing. I was 10 when I saw the movie for the first time in 1984. I still use the words of wisdom from this movie every day. Domo arigato Sensei Miyagi.

  12. There's "Dumbass Martial Arts" page on Facebook, it's about amazing martial art techniques which can help you during a combat, self defenss and attacc

  13. Mr. Miyagi is the person who FOUNDED karate, goju ryu.
    Goju ryu means hard-soft, and it is the Very first type of karate which means empty hand. I Practice goju-ryu myself

  14. Mr. Miyagi also sees Daniel as a son. He was the son he never had, as his son and wife died at childbirth.

  15. I always been a fan of the mr.miyagi character. He was the reason i was with team daniel. The miyagi-do lineage is important, thats why julie pierce and chozen should comeback to help team daniel. Team johnny has got kreese back properly he will have terry silver,mike barnes in his corner too.

    Chozen learnt from sato, sato was the student of mr.miyagi's father. Somehow the balance of daniel,julie and chozen teaching together to keep the memory and linegage of the miyagi-do karate going. Just some ideas. More flashbacks of mr.miyagi in cobra kai season 2 or 3 would be amazing to see. R.i.p pat

  16. What's funny about all this is Mr. Miyagi is like my life. I am Japanese but fled to America to escape family woes. I then found myself the love of my life here but passed away due to cancer. I now live a lonely quiet life here.

  17. No lie. my brother actually caught a fly with a pair of chopsticks once. hand to god 100% honest! we practically shit ourselves laughing and being like "NO FUCKIN WAY!"

  18. El Rey, you get a B+ for effort, but a D on research. First you tell us Pai Mei was a eunuch, WHILE showing a clip proving he's not. NOW, you say Demura TAUGHT Bruce Lee?? (Hands book back): "Sorry. I'm not buying it…"

  19. Can only hope, Daniel, Johnny could find inner peace & put asides their differences…try to build peace from within each eacher. Knowin they have same enemy, enemy & balance they can learn from each other. Then maybe can compete in the next all vally tournament.

  20. I can't speak for everybody, but I want to watch a Miyagi prequel series set in Japan. Capture how his father taught him and Sato karate. Tell the story about his romantic relationship with Yukie that destroyed his best friend who was arranged to marry her. Later seasons could focus on World War 2, his relationship with Mrs. Miyagi, and how he earned the medal of honor. The end. The title of the series could simply be called… Miyagi 👍

  21. What stupid video. Thought theyll have video of his life with beginning of happy days etc etc. Showing us what we already know of karate kid

  22. Miyagi could beat Bruce Lee, never seen Bruce split a 8×8 with his bare hand leaving whatever was underneath in tact

  23. Certainly among my favorite movies of the 80's. Miyagi was a tough love,but encouraging character in these movies indeed. A backstory movie about him would be great that tells about what he did growing up,learning karate,what his family and community were like. And have it lead up to the time he ends up in the same city,and same apartment complex, as Daniel character. These movies inspire one to never give up in the face of life's challenges and hard times. It will knock us down often,but we have to keep finding a way to move forward,hold onto to all the things that are important for sure.

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