James Shigeta

The American actor, singer, and musician born in Japan, James Shigeta, is famous for his work in The Crimson Kimono (1959).

Quick Info 
Birth NameJames Shigeta
BornJune 17, 1929
DeathJuly 28, 2014 (aged 85)
Height5 feet 9 inches
Weight339 lbs
Eyelight brown
HairSale and pepper
Net Worth$900,000
James Shigeta
Image Source: tcm.com

Where was James Shigeta born?

James Shigeta, born on June 17, 1929 – July 28, 2014 (aged 85) in Los Angeles, California, as the third generation of -American. He was the sixth child of Issei and Nisei. He did his graduation from President Theodore Roosevelt High School in 1947, and soon after that, he started studying drama at New York University.

Instead of embarking on a business career, James made himself mentally and physically ready to serve for the United States Marine Corps. James offered his two and half years during the Korean War, making his rank rise to Staff Sergeant. When he put his feet in the acting field, at that time, he often used to play the character of romantic male lead roles.

This type of role was very nonexistent for an actor of Asian descent during the time he entered the industry. This all made James a trailblazer in Asian American representation in media. Talking about his personal life, he never married anyone or nor dated anyone. He died single.

What was Shigeta’s distinctive feature?

It is said that James used to stand 5 feet 9 inches tall, weighing 339 lbs. He used to have light brown eye color and sale and pepper hair. James used shoes of size 9.5 (US), 8.5 (UK), 43.5 (EU), 27.5 (CM). He was born under the sun sign Gemini.

How did James begin his career?

He took acting lessons from dialogue coach Leon Charles. He made his screen debut in 1959 in the role of Detective Joe Kojaku in the movie titled The Crimson Kimono. This movie was a detective story that featured an interracial romantic triangle between Kojaku, his partner Sgt. Charlie Bancroft and Christine Downes. The following role of Sgt. Charlie Bancroft played by Glenn Corbett and Christine Downes played by Victoria Shaw.

The character of James tended to be groundbreaking for the 1950s, where an Asian American detective character was played by an Asian American actor who actually has regular American speech patterns rather than non-Asian made up to pass as Asian speaking broke the English language. The next movies, Paramount Pictures and James Clavell, approached James in the movie Walk Like a Dragon, released in 1960. James portrayed the character of Cheng Lu, who was a  young Chinese man in the old American West. During the shooting for this film,

James was still engaged in the next movie named Holiday in Japan, which’s why a source of transport was arranged for him ( i.e., ambulance) so that he got set in time. He has also been part of the romantic comedy movie Cry for Happy in 1961 and Glenn Ford, Donald O’Connor, and Miyoshi Umeki. He cast the role of Wang Ta in 1961. It was a time in 1976 when James got the chance to portray the character of famous Japanese admiral Chūichi Nagumo in Midway. After a gap, he appeared in the ill-fated corporate executive Joseph Yoshinobu Takagi in Die Hard.

James Shigeta
Image Source: doblu.com


Not only has a beautiful face, but James Shigeta is blessed with a beautiful voice also. James had participated and won first prize in Ted Mack’s talent show titled The Original Amateur Hour. Later, James got a chance to team up with Charles K.L. Davis. They both got through a mission to develop a supper club musical career in the United States. James has also sung on the Dinah Shore Show. Shigeta became a star of the Shirley MacLaine-Steve Parker production of Holiday in Japan by the year 1959.

Has James Shigeta won any awards?

He received the 1960 Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Male Newcomer and George Hamilton, Troy Donahue, and Barry Coe. Later, in 2005, he received a “Visionary Award” from an Asian-American theatre organization, East West Players. Again his honor receiving work repeated in 2006 when James was listed among those actors and directors who have interviewed in the documentary The Slanted Screen.

James was listed in the Golden Asian-American Daily magazine as one of the “Most Inspiring Asian-Americans Of All Time.” This is because he has done so many excellent works, which gave him both fame and money.  Before putting his feet into Hollywood Industry, he survived as a pop singer and performer abroad, especially in Japan and Australia.

How did James Shigeta die?

During his sleep on July 28, 2014, he took his last breath at age 85 in Beverly Hills. James’ body was in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. 

James Shigeta
Image Source: picsofcelebrities.com

What is the net worth of James Shigeta?

James is not with us, but when he was alive, he had a huge fandom. As a result, he was able to earn a good amount of money. Moreover, he also gained immense popularity and fame. He had an estimated net worth of $900,000.

Is James socially active?

He died very early, and he wasn’t from this generation also. So that’s why he didn’t have Social media and virtual life.

By aashish

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