‘Cobra Kai’ Actor Yuji Okumoto Owns This Restaurant

Chozen and Daniel in "Cobra Kai"

YouTube Chozen Toguchi (Yuji Okumoto) incapacitates Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) during a fight in season 3 of "Cobra Kai."

Californian-born actor Yuji Okumoto may be best known for his role as Chozen Toguchi in “The Karate Kid Part II,” a role he reprised in season 3 of Netflix’s spin-off series “Cobra Kai” in 2021. However, many fans may not know that Okumoto is more than just an actor; he has also run a family-owned restaurant for nearly 20 years.

Here’s what you need to know:

Okumoto Owns A Hawaiian-Themed Restaurant In Washington

Kona Kitchen Commercial in Seattle (funny)Actor Yuji Okumoto welcomes you to his Seattle based Hawaiian Restaurant. Stop by, relax, eat some ono grinds. Yuji Okumoto is best known for his role as Chozen in The Karate Kid Part II and Johnny Tsunami. imdb.com/name/nm0645785/ konakitchen.com/ facebook.com/konakitchen2013-02-28T09:39:37Z

Yuji Okumoto, a sansei (third-generation Japanese-American), was born in Los Angeles in 1959, and portrayed the “Karate Kid Part II” antagonist Chozen back in 1986, at the age of 26. Since then, according to a 2021 profile in the Seattle Times, he has not stopped thinking about the role, and was eager to accept an invitation back to the franchise when Netflix called him up in September 2019.

In the series, Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) and Chozen, once hardened enemies back in the ’80s, reunite for the first time in over 30 years when Daniel returns to Japan in episode 4 of season 3. Although Daniel is nervous about meeting the once-pugnacious karate student, Chozen seemed to let bygones be bygones and the two quickly reconciled. Indeed, it was Chozen who taught Daniel the “pressure point technique” that incapacitated the evil John Kreese (Martin Kove) in their climactic fight near the end of the season.

Now, the 62-year-old actor/business owner runs a Japanese/Hawaiian-themed restaurant called Kona Kitchen with his wife, Angie. Kona Kitchen has two locations in the State of Washington – one in Seattle and one in the Seattle suburb of Lynnwood. According to Angie, per the Seattle Times, they became engaged within about seven weeks of knowing each other. “I met him on Sept. 14 or something, and by Nov. 2 he had proposed,” she said. “It had been like a month and a half.” They have been married for 20 years and now have three daughters together.

Okumoto Thinks Chozen Will Seek ‘Revenge’

When it comes to his relationship with his character Chozen, Okumoto said in a 2021 MyNorthwest interview that “my biggest concern when I was first approached about the project was how Chozen would be portrayed. I just wanted to make sure they gave deference to his character and made his storyline interesting.”

He went on to praise “Cobra Kai” co-creators Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz, and Hayden Schlossberg, however, for how they treated the characters after such a long absence from the big screen:

Hats off to them. They actually took the notes and incorporated [them] into developing the character. And they really had a great grasp on the direction, which made my job a lot easier. So I’m really blessed that I was able to work with a really great team of writers and creators over at ‘Cobra Kai.’

In a January 2021 interview with K5, Okumoto expressed his appreciation for the fan reaction to his character, especially in relation to how it was in the ’80s. As spoofed in the commercial for his restaurant (shown above), he explained that back then, “[fans] would say, ‘hey, you’re the guy from [“The Karate Kid Part II”], you’re such an a**. I hated you’.” Now, however, with the evolution of his character, “it’s kind of a nice change to not be called a jerk,” he said.

However, when it comes to what might come next for Chozen, Okumoto’s ideas may be different from those of Heald, Hurwitz, and Schlossberg’s, and perhaps even the audience’s. “I think after all these years, after suffering that humiliating defeat in front of the whole village, I think Chozen’s sole purpose in life is to find redemption and get back his honor,” he said in the Seattle Times piece. “So I think he’s been probably plotting all these years to seek revenge. I don’t think he’s going to find his enlightenment any time soon.”

Whether or not Chozen will indeed continue on his path toward redemption, or seek revenge, is yet to be seen. It has not yet been confirmed whether Okumoto will return as Chozen, but it is certainly possible he could come back in any future season.

Season 4 of “Cobra Kai” will be released on Netflix December 31.

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