As fans of the Karate Kid franchise are aware, one of Daniel LaRusso’s (Ralph Macchio) most significant relationship was with his sensei Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita). In Cobra Kai, the owner of LaRusso Auto Group continues to keep his mentor’s memory alive through Miyagi-Do Karate.
The relationship between Mr. Miyagi and Daniel has held cultural significance since The Karate Kid premiered in 1984. This may have led some fans to wonder if the actors who portrayed the iconic characters were close in real life.
Macchio Commented on His Relationship With the Late Actor in a Recent Interview
During a recent interview on the Sway podcast, hosted by Kara Swisher, Macchio talked about his relationship with the late actor, who died in 2005.
He first spoke about Mr. Miyagi’s importance in Daniel’s life and noted that he requested the mentor’s storyline to be apart of Cobra Kai before its production.
“I wouldn’t use [the word] mandate, but that was a need of mine upon first hearing the pitch for me to come on board to weave Miyagi’s character throughout,” explained the actor.
Swisher then suggested that he was “personally close” to Morita. Macchio clarified that while they shared a strong connection, the actors were not overly “close” to each other.
“I would say no, not as far as him involved in my personal life and me involved with his. I was personally close to him in the sense of as time, and as years go on, there’s significance and relevance in our screen partnership around the world became so clear to me,” explained the actor.
He went on to say that he appreciated being Morita’s scene partner.
“It was, it was truly the definition of magic when we did those scenes there was a give and take,” said the 59-year-old. “It was like the perfect tango and without effort. It was effortless that’s the word. I didn’t know about how much richness it had I just knew it was easy to do so therein lies the truth for me. There was something otherworldly or whatever you want to call it.”
Macchio Has Previously Spoken About Wanting To Include Miyagi’s Storyline in ‘Cobra Kai’
Macchio previously spoke about his desire to include Miyagi in Cobra Kai while speaking to Forbes in 2019. He told the publication:
The number one most important thing before I signed on to do the show, was that the essence of Mr. Miyagi and his teachings, the relationship they had and how it formed and shaped [Daniel’s] life was there. And if it had somehow been lost, it would be about re-finding it.
He went on to say that the series has showcased that “journey” for Daniel.
“During season one, he had this void in his life because Miyagi had passed. His daughter fell out of interest in martial arts,” explained Macchio. “So it just became dusty stuff in the storage room before episode five where he puts it all back together when he puts on the bandana and the gi after visiting Miyagi’s grave. It was such a nice part of season one that ties both stories together.”
To see more of Ralph Macchio, be sure to watch Cobra Kai Season 3, available on Netflix.