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More Than Miyagi: The Pat Morita Documentary Details

Getty Pat Morita strikes a pose at the Democratic National Convention in 2000.

As fans of Cobra Kai and the Karate Kid franchise are aware, comedian Noriyuki “PatMorita portrayed Daniel LaRusso’s mentor, Mr. Miyagi. While it is his most iconic role, a new documentary will be helping the late actor to not be just defined by playing the sensei. 

A New Documentary About Morita Will Soon Be Released

GettyNoriyuki “Pat” Morita and Hilary Swank share a scene in the movie “The Next Karate Kid.”

The upcoming film, titled More Than Miyagi: The Pat Morita Story, examines the entirety of Morita’s career, as reported by The Daily Mail. In the movie’s trailer that was uploaded on January 12, the actor’s Karate Kid castmates Ralph Macchio and William Zabka can be seen speaking about Morita’s life. 

Other famous faces featured in the film, which was directed by Kevin Derek, include Henry Winkler, Tommy Chong, Don Most, and Larry Miller. 

The trailer also showcased Marito being introduced before a few of his stand-up performances. Scenes that he was in on numerous television shows, such as Sanford and Son, were also featured. 

It also appears that More Than Miyagi: The Pat Morita Story will not be shying away from the actor’s childhood trauma, substance abuse, and mental health issues. 

As previously reported by Heavy, Morita passed away when he was 73 in 2005. People magazine reported that his death was due to “complications from alcoholism.” 

The Film’s Director Talked About the Project in 2018

GettyPat Morita looks at the crowd at the Democratic National Convention in 2000.

In 2018, Kevin Derek, who previously released the films Empty Hand: The Real Karate Kids and The Real Miyagi, spoke to Kung-Fu Kingdom about being a director, his personal background with martial arts, and his appreciation for The Karate Kid franchise. During the interview, he spoke about More Than Miyagi: The Pat Morita Story, which, at the time, he was in the process of making. 

When asked why he chose the late actor as the subject for a documentary, he stated, 

 I met Pat Morita when I was 15 years-old. This was before The Karate Kid came out. My encounter with him was so memorable that it stayed with me. His portrayal as ‘Mr. Miyagi’ resonated with millions of people. He became everyone’s sensei. All of a sudden karate was hip igniting a karate frenzy worldwide. You had lines of people outside karate dojos wanting to join. I think it’s time that people knew who he really was, the struggles he faced and how he became this beloved man we all know as Mr. Miyagi.

Derek also mentioned interesting aspects of Morita’s life that will be shown in the documentary. 

“His entire life was compelling. Can you imagine being in a full body cast from age 2-11 years-old due to contracting a rare form of tuberculosis? Having been told that you will never walk again?” said the director. “And, when he’s finally being treated and able to walk, the war breaks out and he’s escorted by an FBI agent to the internment camps. His family had to get rid of everything they had worked hard for and restart their life from scratch. Many, many other obstacles in his life that I can’t mention, for him to come out of these ordeals in one piece without losing his sanity, to then become an iconic figure speaks volumes.”

More Than Miyagi: The Pat Morita Story will premiere on February 5 and can be purchased on iTunes. 

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A new documentary about Pat Morita's life will be released next month. Here's what we know.