|Date of Birth||September 27, 1950|
He was born in Tokyo, Japan, the son of a Japanese actress and a Japanese-American father who served in the United States Army who was stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Fort Polk, Louisiana, and Fort Hood, Texas. He is able to speak both English and Japanese. He was raised in various cities. He and his family finally settled in Southern California where he began acting in high school while attending Duarte High School in Southern California. He attended the University of Southern California, and was an exchange student in Japan. He currently lives in Honolulu, Hawaii.
His breakthrough as an actor came when he was cast as the Eunuch Chang in The Last Emperor (1987). In 1989 he posed as an undercover agent of the Hong Kong Narcotics Board in the James Bond film Licence to Kill. In 1991 he starred alongside Dolph Lundgren and Brandon Lee in the action film Showdown in Little Tokyo, where he played the role of Yakuza boss Yoshida. He also starred alongside James Hong and Jeff Speakman in the same year in the film The Perfect Weapon, where he played Kai, an assistant to the Korean mafia families. He is mostly remembered from the movie Mortal Kombat (1995) as the shapeshifting sorcerer Shang Tsung, and as the deadly pirate leader Kabai Singh in The Phantom (1996). Tagawa is among the actors, producers and directors interviewed in the documentary The Slanted Screen (2006), directed by Jeff Adachi, about the representation of Asian and Asian-American men in Hollywood. Most recently, Tagawa was selected for the role of Heihachi Mishima in Tekken, the film adaptation of the popular video game franchise. He was also featured as the voice of Brushogun in Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo and he was in Johnny Tsunami (1999) and the sequel Johnny Kapahala back on board (2007) where he played a fun and loving grandfather. In addition to his extensive film work, he has appeared on television in Star Trek: The Next Generation - "Encounter at Farpoint" (1987), Thunder in Paradise (1995), Nash Bridges (1996), Baywatch: Hawaiian Wedding (2003), and Heroes (2007). He also provided the voice of Sin Tzu for the video game Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu. He played the part of Earth Alliance security officer Morishi in Babylon 5 - "Convictions". He played a soul-stealing sorcerer Shang Tsung in a film adaptation of the video game Mortal Kombat, and more recently the evil mastermind Heihachi Mishima in the Tekken movie.