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MAGGIE’S MEOW: Miiko Taka of the Film ‘Sayonara’


In the month of June 2016 I had the pleasure of meeting a member of the West Los Angeles United Methodist Church, Gregory Shikata, who is also the film coordinator for the monthly Japanese films shown at the church. It was through The Rafu Shimpo that he got in touch with me and invited me to be his guest for the movie “Our Little Sister.”

It was indeed a surprise and somewhat exciting to learn that Mr. Shikata is the son of the famous Japanese American actress who played the role of Hana-ogi in the 1957 film “Sayonara,” with Marlon Brando. All I could think was WOW! Ain’t that something!?

Another pleasure was through the kindness of Mr. Shikata and Miiko Taka, I now have two beautiful photos taken from that film, which I will treasure.

Miiko Taka starred with Marlon Brando in “Sayonara.”

Miiko Taka starred with Marlon Brando in “Sayonara.”

Miiko Taka was born in Seattle, Washington, 91 years ago and settled in Los Angeles. She was interned with her family at the Gila River Relocation Center in Arizona in the early 1940s. She is married and now resides in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Regarding the film “Sayonara,” it is about the military, romance, racism and relationships. Brando plays the part of an U.S. Air Force major who falls in love with a beautiful Japanese actress (Miiko Taka). He cannot make up his mind to continue this relationship (romance) since his chief airman (Red Buttons) married a Japanese woman (Miyoshi Umeki), thus jeopardizing his military career.

Miiko Taka has starred in 13 movies since her first film in 1957, “Sayonara.” She co-stared with Miyoshi Umeki the second time in the 1961 film “Cry for Happy.” Among her other movies, she has starred in the following:

1963, “A Global Affair” with Bob Hope

1965, “The Art of Love” with James Garner

1966, “Walk Don’t Run” with Cary Grant

1968, “The Power” with Cary Grant

1973, “Lost Horizon” with Peter Finch

1975, “Paper Tiger” with Toshiro Mifune

1978, “The Big Fix” with Richard Dreyfuss

1982, “The Challenge” with Toshiro Mifune

A personal note to Miika Taka: I know this article will bring back FOND memories of the movie “Sayonara.” I know, too, the role you played in each film gave you much pleasure and joy, which I am sure are stored in your heart and mind.


Maggie Ishino is a*Rafu typist and can be reached at Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.

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