Shin Koyamada (Japanese: 小山田 真 Koyamada Shin; born on March 10, 1982 in Japan) is a Japanese and American film actor, producer, Philanthropist, and respected martial artist. Shin has been in Los Angeles, United States since the year 2000. He speaks fluent Japanese and English. He became best known to global audiences after his co-starring roles in WB's epic The Last Samurai and Disney Channel Original Movie series Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior. He is noted for his very remarkable skill in various martial arts styles.
Family and name
Shin Koyamada is a direct descendant
of the samurai
who was a member of an elite Samurai clan
in the Satsuma domain
薩摩藩) which was one of the most powerful feudal domains in Tokugawa
Japan, and played a major role in the Meiji Restoration
and in the government of the Meiji Period
His first name 真 as Shin means Truth in Japanese
Early life and education
Koyamada's love of American
and Hong Kong
action movies began as a small boy at his father's side. Despite the disapproval of family and friends, he was determined to see this dream realized. At an early age, he directed all of his energy to physical training in gymnastics
as a team captain, track
. His decision to pursue his dream in Hollywood
was already made by 15.
Early Work (2000-2002)
In September 2000, Koyamada came to Hollywood
alone, not knowing anyone, having no place to stay, and not knowing how to speak in English
. He studied English
with a tutor for six months, enrolled at Los Angeles City College
, in the Theater Academy
, and secured a student visa
Building an acting career with little money, no agent, manager or other Hollywood connections is an extremely difficult accomplishment. To gain experience and a portfolio, Shin worked long hours for very little or no pay in everything he could find. By 2001 at the Knightsbridge Theatre, he choreographed and performed martial arts forms and stage combat for a unique production of Shakespeare's Coriolanus. He made a brief guest appearance on Power Rangers Wild Force in 2002. His first movie work was a short film called A Ninja Pays Half My Rent.
Breakout Performance (2003-2004)
Submitting himself for various projects via an Internet casting site, and landed his debut feature film role in The Last Samurai
. Co-starring opposite Tom Cruise
in the Warner Brothers
epic as Nobutada, friend to Cruise's character, Algren, a fierce archer
, double swordsman
, and a Samurai
. While filming The Last Samurai
, United States, and New Zealand
for almost 8 months, he added Kyūdō
(Japanese Archery) and Yabusame
to his repertoire.Koyamada also homed in on his acting skills with the help Director/Producer Edward Zwick
and Actor/Producer Tom Cruise, making the most of a powerful debut. The movie was well received upon release, with a worldwide box office of $456 million. In addition it was nominated for several awards, including the Academy Awards
, the Golden Globes
and the National Board of Review
Teen Audience (2005-2007)
In 2006, Shin starred in the action/adventure/drama Disney Channel Original Movie Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior with Brenda Song as Shen, an Undercover Buddhist Monk, who has an important mission with Wendy in the United States. Shin spoke not only in English from the beginning to the end of the movie, but also a bit of Mandarin. The entire movie was shot in Auckland, New Zealand. Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior is currently the eighth highest viewed Disney Channel Original Movie with over 5.7 million viewers on the night of its premiere and also received the highest rating in the history of Disney Channel Japan.
Shin was in the first ever Disney Channel Games on the Red Team along with Zac Efron, Kay Panabaker, Anneliese van der Pol, Moises Arias, and Dylan Sprouse. In the following year, he was also in ''Disney Channel Games2007 and on the Yellow Team along with Kyle Massey (Captain), Emily Osment, Jason Dolley, and Sabrina Bryan.
Shin played a lead role in the 20th Century Fox feature film Constellation as Yoshito, director by Jordan Walker-Pearlman with Gabrielle Union, and Billy Dee Williams. In 2007, Shin starred in the action/drama movie Good Soil.
Current Projects (2008-Present)
Shin was in Disney Channel Games
2008 and on the Blue Team
along with Kiely Williams
, Cole Sprouse
,and Demi Lovato
. He has received The Disney Channel Sportsmanship Award
at Disney Channel Games 2008
Shin is set to produce and star in the action and comedy feature film 'Ticker', produced by Paul Heller (Enter The Dragon) and Nia Lyte, and written by Stephen Langford (Love Wrecked). He will play Sam Goldman.
Variety Japan is currently distributing his weekly column at their official site to help bridge the entertainment industry between Japan and USA.
Shin and Brenda Song will star in a sequel to Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior.
He is represented by Jim Kellem and Associates (JKA)
's epic film The Last Samurai
, the movie received an enthusiastic reception among the moviegoing public in Japan, with box office receipts higher in that country than in the USA. The box office of the movie upon release in Japan was $119,268,595 and $111,127,263 in the US.
Disney Channel Original Movie Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior received 5.7 Millions viewers at the night of its premiere in the US and also became the highest rating in the history of Disney Channel Japan at its premiere in Japan among other Disney Channel Original Movies such as High School Musical and The Cheetah Girls. Although he has spoken in English and some Mandarin in the movie, he dubbed his entire role in Japanese as well as his part in the Disney Channel Games TV series under a guidance of The Walt Disney Company Japan. Uniquely, Shin has appeared in the Disney Channel Games as the Japanese Representative for two consecutive years in 2007 and 2008, though he is a US resident.
Shin starred and received the title of executive producer in the Japanese full feature documentary show Wine Road of the Samurai (2006), nationally distributed by Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS) and other 28 affiliated TV stations in Japan. Also, he has studied the basic of French and Arabic in the documentary movie.
As part of Disney Channel Games 2008
, the team Shin was representing for has granted a donation to the Starlight Starbright Children's Foundation
, which was founded by Steven Spielberg
Shin also has been a supporter of KICKSTART, which was founded by a Hollywood Action Star Chuck Norris in 1990. He has toured and given motivational activities and positive speeches in numerous Elementary and Junior high schools in Houston, Texas as well as hospitals and schools throughout Japan.
He also supports a nonprofit organizationThe Shin Koyamada Foundation (also know as 'SKF'), which was established in the United States. Under SKF, the organization has supported numerous cultural activities and events in the US.
Shin has supported competing in Taranaki Cycle Challenging with the Former Cycling Champion in the city of New Plymouth, New Zealand and awarded a Golden Key to the City by Peter Tennent, a mayor of New Plymouth, New Zealand.
He was honored and awarded a Gold Medal for supporting a Mexican community by the Mexican Government in 2005.
Martial Arts Community
Shin has been a keen young supporter of martial arts
community along with other martial arts instructors in the United States
, and other countries. He was awarded at World Martial Arts Masters Expo, which co-hosted by a President/COO of Warner Bros
, Alan Horn
and a President of CBS Studios
, Michale Klausman
in January 14
. He was featured in a cover of Black Belt Magazine
He also supports numerous martial arts schools and organization in Chinese community, Japanese community, Korean community and other cultural communities in the United States and also a Shaolin Temple in China.
Martial arts and sports
By 16, he began to study karate
, in which he was awarded a black belt
. 18 months is considered a very fast to reach shodan
in most martial arts
, though it does vary based on circumstance. Interpretations also vary, but a black belt generally signifies a thorough understanding of the basics, and often enables the wearer to instruct in some capacity. He has also studied in Aikido
, and Kendo
in Japan. He has competed in various National Karate Championships in Japan during in 1997 to 2000. Koyamada currently holds san-dan (third degree) black belt in traditional Karate
In Chinese martial arts, Koyamada is trained in Northern Shaolin Kung Fu, Wing Chun, and Shaolin Gung Fu. He specializes in a double broadsword among other 18 Chinese classical weapons in Shaolin Kung Fu. He has also competed in six U.S National Martial arts Tournaments over five months and winning first place in all but one, and that was a second.
In Korean martial arts, Koyamada has studied in Tae Kwon Do, which he earned a black belt and Kung Jung Mu Sul in the United States.
Martial Arts Championship
- 2000 — 4th Jade Mountain Kung Fu Grand Championship: broadsword form gold medal, optional empty-hand form silver medal;
- 2000 — USA National WuShu Kung Fu Championship: broadsword form gold medal, optional empty-hand form gold medal;
- 2001 — World Karate Championship: Double broadsword form silver medal, optional empty-hand form silver medal;
- 2001 — 19th Annual Karate Championship: broadsword form gold medal, optional empty-hand form gold medal;
- 2001 — San Diego Grand National Championship: Double broadsword form gold medal, optional empty-hand form gold medal;
All his optional empty-hand form medals were won with a form called Bot Bo (抜歩, Northern Shaolin #8; Shuffle Steps).
At age 7, Koyamada begun training in road bicycle racing
and competing in the various competitions in Japan
At age 9, Koyamada begun receiving formal training in Track and Field
in the elementary school and officially joined
Okayama Junior Track and Field Association
in the same year in Okayama
. He specialized in the 100 m and 200 m sprint
From 1997 to 2000, Koyamada has served as a team captain in gymnastics
and competed in the city and prefecture tournaments of Okayama
for three consecutive years. He specialized in the Floor Exercise
, Parallel Bars
, and Rings