- This is Mr. Miyagi from the Karate Kid trilogy from 1984 – 1989 and the Next Karate Kid from 1994.
- Mr. Miyagi is one of the most well-known karate instructors in fiction.
- He has an unorthodox karate teaching style and a love of bonsai trees.
- Mr. Miyagi taught Daniel LaRusso that karate is only for defense.
- This writeup covers the Karate Kid movies only. Not the comics, video game, or the animated T.V. series based on these films.
- Real Name: Kesuke Miyagi.
- Marital Status: Widower.
- Known Relatives: Unnamed (Father, deceased), unnamed (Wife, deceased), unnamed (son, deceased).
- Group Affiliation: None.
- Base of Operations: Los Angeles, CA.
- Height: 5’3″ Weight: 165 lbs.
- Note: I found nothing on Mr. Miyagi’s weight at the time of filming, 165 lbs is a guess.
- Eyes: Brown Hair: Black but heavily silvered.
Powers & Abilities
A martial arts master, Mr. Miyagi is a powerful hand-to-hand combatant. He is in good physical condition, and much more agile than his age would suggest. Miyagi grew up learning karate just as his peers did. It’s a defining part of his life.
Miyagi is an amazing teacher, focusing on proverbs and literal examples to make points. Many times Daniel can’t see the teaching that’s happening through repetitive movements. Yet Miyagi is focused and consistent in his teaching technique.
Miyagi is a very light sleeper.
His family secrets were brought from Okinawa. His healing technique is certainly one of them, healing wounds with a touch. Miyagi also has healing concoctions that take longer but are also more powerful.
Miyagi is an excellent handyman, good enough that he can do many side projects. In his spare time, Miyagi likes doing wood work, landscaping, or trimming bonsai trees. Miyagi can cook primarily traditional Japanese dishes.
Mr. Miyagi fights Barnes, Kreese, and Silver!
Four hundred years’ worth of Miyagi’s ancestors learned and passed on the art of Karate to the next generation.
Miyagi grew up in Tomi village, Okinawa. His father, a fisherman by trade, taught him how to grow and trim bonsai tree. He also taught Miyagi the fighting art of karate. At a young age, Miyagi fell in love with a girl, Yukie, but her parents had arranged a marriage to someone else. Miyagi’s best friend, Sato, had also been taught karate by Miyagi’s father.
Miyagi made a big speech in front of the whole village. He would break with tradition and marry Yukie anyway! Sato felt disgraced and challenged Miyagi to a fight to the death to save his honor. Miyagi never accepted the challenge, he instead left Okinawa forever. The only thing he took with him was a true bonsai tree worth thousands of dollars. He planted it on a cliff in Devil’s Cauldron, California.
Miyagi met his wife in Hawaii; she worked as a cane cutter. Miyagi was a Sergeant fighting Germans at the time. Miyagi lost both his son and wife in 1944 due to complications during childbirth. No doctor came. Miyagi earned several wartime medals including a Medal of Honor for valor.
At some point Miyagi moved to California where he took the job of handyman living on the property at the South Seas apartments . Miyagi kept to himself until he overheard the plight of a newcomer from Newark, New Jersey; one Daniel LaRusso. Miyagi’s heart went out to the outcast bullied boy and he started helping where he could.
One fateful night, Miyagi rescued Daniel from a group of bullies. All these bullies were from the Cobra Kai dojo. So, Miyagi agreed to talk to the sensei about his student’s dishonorable actions. To his surprise the students had been doing exactly what their sensei, John Kreese, had instructed them to do. Miyagi asked for two months to train Daniel before the under-18 all-valley karate tournament.
Mr. Miyagi began training Daniel through repetitive movements. He decided he would incorporate the movements into real work so things got done around his home too. Double the effect of the training and Daniel got a good workout too.
One evening, Miyagi was found drunk, dressed in his Class A military uniform and singing a song he’d heard as a child in the internment camps. Miyagi was remembering his wife and child. He allowed himself to remember and lament for one night. Daniel learned Miyagi’s past and found more respect for him.
As a birthday present, Miyagi gave Daniel one of his classic cars. But the more personal gift was a karate gi with a bonsai tree patch made by Mrs. Miyagi.
The tournament came quickly. Miyagi knew nothing of tournament fighting but looked on from the sidelines as Daniel fought. Daniel showed his karate skill and began climbing through the ranks, winning.
The sensei from the Cobra Kai dojo became nervous and ordered his students to attack Daniel’s leg and eliminate him from the tournament. They did just that; incapacitating Daniel’s left leg. However, Miyagi used his healing touch technique to give Daniel one last chance at winning the tournament.
Daniel won using the Crane Kick technique!
Karate Kid II
Mr. Miyagi rescued Jonny from Kreese then humiliated Kreese in front of his students by showing mercy.
Miyagi began building a guest house connected to his own. It was for Daniel. Miyagi received a letter from Okinawa. His father was very sick and death was imminent. Miyagi would have to return to Okinawa but Daniel would go with him.
Straight from the airport, Miyagi and Daniel were taken to meet a still angry Sato. Sato demanded Miyagi settle his affairs with his father then come back to settle with him.
They soon learned Tomi village no longer existed it was removed to make room for Kadena Air Base. By nightfall Miyagi’s father was finally found. Yukie was also there and she revealed a shocking truth. She had never married Sato and she had known Miyagi’s whereabouts for all these years.
In Okinawa, many things had changed and a few had remained the same. All the fishermen were gone; Sato’s large fishing company had taken complete control. Many left to find work in the cities but Miyagi’s father created a whole new economy working the land and growing vegetables. Still, the land was owned by Sato and the villager’s paid rent.
The very next day Sato’s black Plymouth rolled into the village and again he challenged Miyagi to fight. Miyagi’s father asked to see them both. He made clear his dying wish was that the two might reconcile. Sato would have none of it. Miyagi was given three days to mourn. After that, Sato swore Miyagi would join his father in death.
Miyagi and Yukie began to fall in love again. Yukie asked that Miyagi take her to the States when he left this time.
A typhoon came to the island; everyone took shelter in an old military pillbox. Daniel and Miyagi went out to rescue those who needed help. They met Chozen; he told them Sato was dead. When they eventually found him, Sato wasn’t dead only trapped under a large beam. Miyagi karate chopped the beam and rescued his old friend.
Daniel heroically saved a young girl. When Sato told Chozen to help Daniel, Chozen was too afraid to go out in the terrifying wind. Chozen was so disgraced in front of everyone including Sato, he ran away into the night.
At the festival, Chozen returned to exact vengeance on Daniel. Chozen fought Daniel in a fight to the death. Daniel beat Chozen using the Drum Technique but would not kill him.
Karate Kid III
John Kreese had lost everything. No one came to his dojo for training since the humiliating Cobra Kai defeat at the hands of the new comer Daniel LaRusso from Miyagi dojo. He went to his old Việt Nam buddy, Terry Silver, to give him the keys to his now defunct dojo. Silver told Kreese, not to worry he would take care of Miyagi and Daniel himself.
Daniel’s mother returned to New Jersey to take care of their sick Uncle Louie. Miyagi used his money to build a house for Yukie in Okinawa. Miyagi came home to California to no job. The South Seas apartments were being torn down. Money was in short supply.
While Silver planned their demise, Daniel used his college money so Miyagi could fulfill his dream of owning a bonsai tree shop. Miyagi was very reluctant but agreed and made Daniel his partner. Miyagi taught Daniel more about bonsai trees and also taught him a family kata.
Silver hired the “Karate bad boy” Mike Barnes to defeat Daniel in the All-Valley tournament. Mr. Miyagi refused to enter Daniel in the tournament again. Daniel agreed and burned the application to solidify his acceptance. Daniel met Jessica Andrews who worked in a pottery shop across the street.
After closing the shop, Mr. Miyagi’s little trees one evening, Daniel was accosted by Mike Barnes and Snake, an associate of Silver, in his shop. They demanded he compete in the All Valley Tournament again…or else! Their harassment of Daniel would continue until he eventually signed.
You’re the best around
Daniel got up early the next morning and along with Jessica rappelled into devil’s cauldron to dig up Mr. Miyagi’s true bonsai. This tree is worth thousands and would save the shop (all their trees had been stolen). Barnes took the bonsai tree and broke it splitting its trunk.
When Daniel returned to the shop he learned Mr. Miyagi had sold a truck to get money for the shop. When Daniel told Miyagi about signing the tournament application and the bonsai tree; Miyagi was disappointed and worked at healing the tree. However, Miyagi still refused to train Daniel for tournament fighting.
Terry Silver offered to train Daniel for the tournament. Silver’s teaching style pushed Daniel to get angry and strike harder. Daniel’s temper caused him to lash out when confronted, breaking a guy’s nose at a night club. Daniel realized Silver’s teachings were not for him. He went to the Cobra Kai dojo to tell Mr. Silver in person.
When he told Silver, Silver revealed his plan to rebuild the Cobra Kai franchise by having Mike Barnes beat Daniel at the tournament. Kreese showed that he was indeed alive. Barnes began beating Daniel mercilessly but Miyagi arrived to defeat the three of them one by one. After hearing their plan, he told Daniel now he would train him.
Miyagi’s bonsai tree made a full recovery. Together Miyagi and Daniel rappelled into Devil’s cauldron and replanted the tree.
The Tournament came and Barnes defeated each opponent easily until he would meet Daniel in the finals. Terry Silver told Barnes to punish Daniel by getting a point then losing a point by doing an illegal attack (i.e., groin punch or illegal contact to the face). In this manner, the score would remain zero to zero and it would go to sudden death.
The plan worked perfectly but in sudden death Daniel employed Mr. Miyagi’s kata and took the point, winning the All Valley Tournament for the second year in a row!
The Next Karate Kid
In Boston, Miyagi attended a World War II service honoring the 442nd regiment . A citation was given by the President. Miyagi was invited to Mrs. Pierce’s home after the ceremony. Her husband had also been honored in the service. Mrs. Pierce’s husband held a special place in Miyagi’s heart. He had saved Miyagi’s life in the war. Miyagi tried to teach him Karate to show his appreciation.
At Mrs. Pierce’s home Miyagi met a troubled and angry teenager, Julie. Miyagi invited Mrs. Pierce to go to his home in California while he stayed to take care of things in Boston including her granddaughter. Julie was less than thrilled.
At school, a group of football player/hall monitors called the Alpha-Elite ran the school using their position and size to terrorize the other students. ”Colonel” Dugan was the power behind the Alpha-Elite running them as if they were a military unit. Julie became the target of their leader, Ned.
Julie had a secret. She was caring for a hawk that was shot in the wing. McGowan, a boy from her school, learned her secret by following her up a ladder to the roof. Julie began spending time with McGowan, he promised not to reveal her secret about the hawk.
As chance would have it, a car nearly hit Julie and she reacted by going into a perfect tiger-position as if a bull was charging. Julie’s father taught her karate every night after school. Julie’s father learned Karate from Miyagi.
Fly like an eagle to the sea
Miyagi began teaching Julie karate in exchange she would complete her homework. She took a baby-sitting job to make shopping money. Julie ran into trouble with the Alpha-Elite and ended up going to jail. Julie got expelled from school for two weeks.
Miyagi took the opportunity to move Julie to a monastery where they could train Karate in peace. However, after Julie disrespected the monk’s rules calling them stupid. The monks ignored her. Julie made amends by proving she respected all life within the monastery as they did. Her birthday came and the monks gave her one wish and one gift. She wished the monks would visit her in Boston. The gift was a demonstration of Zen archery. Miyagi demonstrated catching an arrow in flight.
When Julie returned to school she and McGowan, a.k.a. Eric, began a relationship. McGowan had fed and cared for the hawk while Julie was away. Miyagi touched the bird’s broken wing healing it; then the hawk flew away. Miyagi taught Julie the waltz.
The monks made good on their promise and came to visit. While Julie went to prom with Eric, Miyagi took the monks bowling. Julie and Eric had a short confrontation with the Alpha-Elite who couldn’t let it go. Ned challenged McGowan to come to the docks and fight. McGowan went intent on finishing it.
Eric fought five on one and was beaten down. Julie challenged and defeated Ned in single combat using her focused training. Colonel Dugan couldn’t let it go, he ordered the other boys to fight her but they one by one refused him. Miyagi challenged Colonel Dugan to fight him. After he was trounced by the much smaller Miyagi, Colonel Dugan lost the respect of all of his Alpha-Elite.
Here’s a collection of Miyagisms.
Mr. Miyagi is an Okinawan man, plain and small in stature with greying hair and an unassuming attitude. Miyagi speaks broken English though he is easy to understand.
Miyagi has grey thinning hair, a mustache, and small beard.
Mr. Miyagi was trained exclusively in Karate, the Okinawan preferred martial art. Miyagi excelled at the art and it became his practice and philosophy. Karate should be used for defense not for attack.
Though serious, Miyagi is a very generous person and enjoys helping others. Miyagi, on occasion will joke to make a point, which is even funnier since it is so out of character for his serious demeanor.
Every three or four years Miyagi allowed himself the luxury of lamenting his son and lost wife. Miyagi had been a 442nd vet and had received the Congressional Medal of Honor for valor in battle. This deeply troubled his psyche. Why had he survived the horrors of war while his wife and child died?
Miyagi will often stare at photographs and remember the people in them for long moments. He is also sentimental about places.
Miyagi just can’t seem to be able to say “no” to Daniel. Even when he does, a few more “pleases” and Miyagi will give in. The only exception is if relenting would break his philosophical ideas. Such as training Daniel so he can defend a Karate trophy. Miyagi sees this as being useless and taking away from Karate.
Miyagi’s religious beliefs are never stated but he does take Julie to a Buddhist temple. He could be a Zen Buddhist. As an ethnic Okinawan, he probably was an adherent of the Ryukyuan religion, which is influenced by Shinto, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, and even Christianity. These are only guesses however.
Daniel: “Can you come fix it ?”
Daniel: “Can I tell my mom when ?”
Miyagi: “When what ?”
Daniel: “When you going to fix the faucet ?”
Daniel: “After what ?”
Miyagi: “After, after.”
(Miyagi places a wet cloth on Daniel’s wound)
Daniel: “Ah, man it stinks what is it ?”
Mr. Miyagi: “Smell bad, heal good.”
“In Okinawa all know two things. Fish and karate.”
“Fighting always last answer to problem.”
“Karate for defense only.”
“No such thing as bad student, only bad teacher. Teacher say, student do.”
Daniel: “Hey, what kind of belt do you have ?”
Miyagi: “Canvas. JC Penney, $3.98. You like ?”
Daniel: [laughs] “No, I meant…”
Miyagi: “In Okinawa, belt mean no need rope to hold up pants.”
[Laughs; then, serious]
[Taps his head]
Miyagi: “Karate here.”
[Taps his heart]
Miyagi: “Karate here.”
[Points to his belt]
Miyagi: “Karate never here. Understand ?”
Miyagi: “Now, ready ?”
Daniel: “Yeah, I guess so.”
Miyagi: [Sighs] “Daniel-san, must talk.”
[They both kneel]
Miyagi: “Walk on road, hm ? Walk left side, safe. Walk right side, safe. Walk middle, sooner or later…”
[Makes squish gesture]
Miyagi: “Get squish just like grape. Here, karate, same thing. Either you karate do ‘yes’ or karate do ‘no’. You karate do ‘guess so’…”” [makes squish gesture] “Just like grape. Understand ?”
Daniel: “Yeah, I understand.”
Miyagi: “Now, ready ?”
Daniel: “Yeah, I’m ready.”
“Daniel-san, very good job. Come morning, start early.”
Daniel: “Hey, you ever get into fights when you were a kid ?”
Miyagi: “Huh, plenty.”
Daniel: “Yeah, but it wasn’t like the problem I have, right ?”
Miyagi: “Why ? Fighting fighting. Same same.”
Daniel: “Yeah, but you knew karate.”
Miyagi: “Someone always know more.”
Daniel: “You mean there were times when you were scared to fight ?”
Miyagi: “Always scare. Miyagi hate fighting.”
Daniel: “Yeah, but you like karate.”
Miy agi: “So ?”
Daniel: “So, karate’s fighting. You train to fight.”
Miyagi: “That what you think ?”
Daniel: [pondering] “No.”
Miyagi: “Then why train ?”
Daniel: [thinks] “So I won’t have to fight.”
Miyagi: [laughs] “Miyagi have hope for you.”
“Win, lose, no matter. Make good fight. Earn respect.”
“Wax on, wax off.”
Daniel: “You could have killed him couldn’t you ?”
Daniel: “Why didn’t you then ?”
Miyagi: “Because Daniel-san, person with no forgiveness in heart, living even worse punishment than death.”
“Never put passion before principle. Even if win, you lose.”
“Daniel-san, if karate used defend honor, defend life karate mean something. If karate used defend plastic metal trophy, karate no mean nothing… understand.”
Colonel Dugan: “I told you to leave. You have a problem with your hearing ?”
Miyagi: “No, uh, hearing ok.”
Colonel Dugan: “Must be a problem with this old body getting rickety. You don’t move very fast ?”
Miyagi: “Move fast enough… when necessary.”
Colonel Dugan: “I told you to leave.”
Miyagi: “Miyagi raised in a small village on Okinawa. That time was a very bad tempered bull, live in pasture near village. Oh, bull very bad he chased children, woman going shopping, farmer, everybody. Then one day, big festival everybody happy.” (Miyagi turns to walk away)
Colonel Dugan: “What the hell is that supposed to mean ?”
Miyagi: “That day, bad bull become good soup.”
“Fighting not good. Somebody always get hurt.”
DC Universe History
Another martial arts master will fit in easily in the DCU. Miyagi is not on par with most “super” martial artists but he’s no slouch either and certainly has some surprises where his family’s secret techniques are concerned.
Miyagi could come to the aid of a fledgling martial arts hero and even come to train them.
Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG
A 567 points Character
|Dex: 03||Str: 02||Bod: 03||Motivation: Responsibility of Power|
|Int: 05||Wil: 06||Min: 05||Occupation: Apartment maintenance man/Bonsai tree shop owner|
|Inf: 03||Aur: 05||Spi: 05||Wealth: 005|
|Init: 011||HP: 020|
Damage Transference: 01
Bonuses and Limitations:
- Damage Transference is a Karate technique or an Okinawan secret and therefore a skilled power.
- Mr. Miyagi must rub his hands together before grabbing the wounded area roughly. Damage Transference is only useable on muscle and joint damage (-2).
- Damage Transference – User does not suffer any risk of injury (+3).
Bonuses and Limitations:
- Evasion has the Subvelocity limitation (-1).
- Evasion has the Ranged limitation (-2).
Language: Okinawan, Expansive Headquarters (Miyagi’s home and training areas), Familiarity (Okinawa, Rappelling), Leadership (with his student), Scholar (Bonsai trees, Karate), Miscellaneous: Animal Friendship: The attitude of animals is never less than Friendly (and more often Awestruck / Enamored) on the Attitude Adjustment Table. However, Miyagi must employ this advantage with a full round action and physical contact with the animal.
Daniel LaRusso (High), Julie Pierce (High), Sato (Low).
Age (old, 62), Minor Irrational Attraction to Yukie, Minor Physical Restriction (wears glasses when reading or working with tiny things like bonsai trees.) Exile-Voluntary: Okinawa.
Healing herb concoction [Body 01, Damage Transference: 02, Bonuses and Limitations: concoction must be applied to damaged area for a minimum of 2 hours (11 APs) to get the full effect.]
A scene in Karate Kid has Mr. Miyagi chopping the tops off of four beer bottles with his hand. The chop is such a clean cut and the bottles don’t even move! I considered giving him the Claws power. However, searching the web revealed this is a real thing, so Miyagi could do this without an additional power.
Source of Character: The 1984 Movie “Karate Kid”, The 1986 Movie “Karate Kid II”, The 1989 Movie “Karate Kid III”, The 1994 Movie “The Next Karate Kid” Character portrayed by Noriyuki “Pat” Morita.
Helper(s): Wikipedia, Dr Owl, Quintanads.
Writeup completed on the 30th of October, 2016.