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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  1. I first watched this movie with my father as a teen. I am now 72. I have seen it several times through the years and it always evokes such emotion. It is a wonderful story and Miiko Taka is wonderful in it. I didn’t know she made a total of 13 films. I will seek out and watch the others.

  2. I watched this movie as a child at my grandparents home a nd was sad to see Red Buttons and his girlfriend commit suicide because they would not be accepted due to their mixed race marriage! AND THE HATE BECAUSE OF war ! I will soon be 67 years old on 1-22-22 !

  3. I too watched the movie many times.I am a Singaporean. I really love your acting opposite the late Marlon Brando. I would like to have your personal autograph and wonder how may I go about obtaining it !

  4. Clarence Hollins 66 years of age. Seattle Washington.

    Today may 20th just watch Sayonara on tcm. I cant tell you how many times I have watched this movie. I saw it the first time when I was approximately 14. I love your performance. The love story has guided my quest for something comparable my whole life. But I know it’s just the movies. Thank you for what you have given to so many via your performance.

  5. Miiko Taka is a joy to behold as her beauty shines in the film Sayonara from within and outwardly.
    I watch the film whenever it is available.Thank you for your wonderful performance.

  6. I, too, have loved Sayonara for years. Her performance & beauty is a joy to behold.
    Please thank her.

  7. Hello. I know this is an old story, but I would really like to know if it is possible to get Miss Taka’s autograph. I just watched Sayonara again, and would really love it if someone could steer me in the right direction. Thanks.

    Doug Underwood

  8. i loved the movie i was 14 when i saw the movie i am 75 still love it wish they made moor movies like that thank you so much for the movie i wish i went to japan when i was in the navy they scent me to cuba instead thank you again tony

  9. Loved you in SAYONARA, Miss Taka, We saw the film in Taiwan in 1958 when my father was a civilian construction worker there.. I was 14 years old at the time. The film was also my mother’s most-favorite.. I have a copy of it in my movie library. Pleasantly surprised to read that you live in Las Vegas. I live in Laughlin today, so was happy to find that we are practically neighbors! May God grant you a long and happy life! Best regards, –Dan Collier

  10. Is Miko still alive and would she or her children like to meet her friend Kay Seno’s son?

  11. Small correction: “Walk, Don’t Run” (1966) was Cary Grant’s last movie before he retired. The star of “The Power” (1968) was George Hamilton.

  12. Small correction: “Walk, Don’t Run” (1966) was Cary Grant’s last movie before he retired. The star of “The Power” (1968) was George Hamilton.