In the 1986 martial arts film, “The Karate Kid Part II,” Tamlyn Tomita played Daniel LaRusso’s (Ralph Macchio) girlfriend Kumiko, who he meets during his trip to Okinawa, Japan. While the characters clearly had strong feelings for each other, their relationship came to an abrupt end after Kumiko was unable to visit him in the United States. In the third season of “Cobra Kai,” Daniel takes a business trip to Japan and happens to run into his ex-girlfriend. Despite not being in contact for more than three decades, the characters still have intense chemistry. While the former couple is flirtatious at times, they do not act upon any lingering feelings they may have for each other.
Tamlyn Tomita Was Excited To Be Reunited With Her Co-Star
During a February interview with film critic Steve Varley, Tamlyn Tomita discussed returning to the “Karate Kid” franchise. She disclosed that Ralph Macchio had initially approached her about joining the “Cobra Kai” cast to continue Kumiko’s storyline.
“I think Ralph texted or called or emailed. He communicated to me in a very casual fashion. He goes ‘hey would you –’ and I go, ‘are you kidding sure. I just need to look at the script’ and he said [the show’s creators Jon Hurwitz, Josh Heald, and Hayden Schlossberg] would love to send it to you,’” said Tomita.
In the interview, she also revealed how she reacted when she was reunited with her “Karate Kid Part II” co-star during the production of “Cobra Kai” season 3. She explained that she was excited to see Macchio again.
“I think I squeezed him a bit to death. Because I was just so like ‘ahhh,’” recalled the actress.
She then discussed that she is quite different than her character Kumiko, who is typically reserved in her emotions.
“I am much more demonstrative. I’m just a Valley Girl from L.A. so it was like, ‘oh my god Ralph!’” said the 55-year-old.
Tomita noted, however, that she had to “put the joyousness aside” of working alongside Macchio, as their characters have a bittersweet love story.
“That’s what sweet and that was what was fun for Tamyln and Ralph because it was like, ‘oh these two, you know, in another life. Oh well.’ That’s the joy and you know, that’s life. You know, you still have that tenderness, that affection, that love and joy for another but you know, it just wasn’t meant to be,” asserted the actress.
Tomita Shared Similar Information About Her Experience With Macchio in a Separate Interview
While speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Tomita shared similar information about having Macchio as a scene partner on “Cobra Kai.” She described the experience as “like slipping on a favorite pair of socks, or a beloved pair of shoes that still fit.” She told the publication:
It was just a joyous, wonderful experience. So even though we were reprising these characters 35 years later, I still felt like I was that 21-year-old girl thinking, ‘Oh my God, this is Ralph Macchio!’
To see more of Tomita and Macchio, check out the third season of “Cobra Kai,” available to stream on Netflix.