Yuki Shimoda: Asian American Actor

Year Released
Film Length(s)
30 mins
Remote video URL


YUKI SHIMODA: ASIAN AMERICAN ACTOR celebrates the thirty-year acting career of the late Yuki Shimoda, reflecting his achievements and career disappointments typical of the minority actor.

Featured review

Not only a heartfelt tribute to the late actor but also a commentary on the special challenge the minority performer faces in developing and sustaining his craft despite a chronic lack of opportunities. Despite these obstacles, Shimoda managed to progress from Broadway chorus boy to distinguished character actor.
Kevin Thomas
Los Angeles Times


The thirty-year acting career of the late Yuki Shimoda reflects the achievement and career disappointments that faced the minority actor. Only offered limited roles by the Hollywood establishment during certain points of his career, Shimoda persevered on for challenging dramatic roles, such as in the television movie, FAREWELL TO MANZANAR. Shimoda’s journey from Sacramento’s “J-Town,” to his imprisonment in an American concentration camp, and his experiences on Broadway and Hollywood are insightfully explored through interviews and selected clips from his film and television work. Among those interviewed include directors Harold Prince and John Korty; actors Mako, Beulah Quo, Nobu McCarthy, Soon Tek Oh; and agent Guy Lee.

YUKI SHIMODA: ASIAN AMERICAN ACTOR was written and directed by John Esaki, for many years a mainstay at Visual Communications. As a student at UCLA’s Film Program, he co-wrote the feature-length HITO HATA: RAISE THE BANNER. Esaki directed the influential MACEO: DEMON DRUMMER FROM EAST L.A., as well as the Visual Communications docu-drama STAND UP FOR JUSTICE.

Awards and Screenings

Honorable Mention, Big Muddy Film Festival, 1987

Director Commentary

…I was doing fundraisers to try and raise money [for the film]. At times it was really discouraging, but for me, with the YUKI film, I had already committed myself to doing it. I thought his life as an Asian American actor had things that people could learn from about what it meant to be “Asian American” and an actor — a very difficult combination of elements there.

— Excerpted from an interview conducted by Arthur Dong, August, 1990

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