Masayori "Masi" Oka (岡 政偉 Oka Masayori, born December 27, 1974) is an American actor, occasional rapper, producer and digital effects artist of Japanese descent who became widely known for his role on NBC's Heroes as Hiro Nakamura and in CBS's Hawaii Five-0 as Doctor Max Bergman.
Oka at the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con International
December 27, 1974
|Alma mater||Brown University|
|Occupation||Actor, producer, digital effects artist|
Oka was born in Tokyo, Japan, to Setsuko Oka. His parents divorced when he was one month old; he was raised in a single parent family and has never met his father. He was six years old when his mother and he moved to Los Angeles from Japan. At age eight, he appeared on the CBS-TV game show Child's Play. In 1987, a twelve-year-old Oka was featured on the cover of Time titled "Those Asian-American Whiz Kids". Though he was not featured in the article itself, he was acquainted with the photographer who conducted the shoot.
He attended elementary school at The Mirman School and graduated high school from Harvard-Westlake School in 1992. After he graduated, he worked on the 1992 Summer Olympics as an English, Spanish, and Japanese translator. He graduated from Brown University in 1997 with a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science and mathematics. While at Brown, he also served as the musical director of The Bear Necessities, an all-male a cappella group. Oka described the group as a "brothership."
Oka landed his first job after graduation at Industrial Light & Magic, George Lucas's motion picture visual special effects company, with the hope of one day earning an Oscar for technical work on a motion picture. Oka was also featured in the San Francisco Chronicle with ILM co-worker Anthony Shafer in a pre-dot-com article where he echoed his desire to meld acting and technology. He worked on the Star Wars prequel trilogy.
Oka first tried acting in 2000. He earned a Screen Actors Guild card by appearing in industry films, then moved to Los Angeles. ILM stipulated in his contract that he could work at its Los Angeles branch, but would have to return to their Marin County location if he did not get cast for a recurring role that season. Oka did get cast for a pilot. Although the show was not picked up, it did satisfy the contract's requirements and he was allowed to stay in Los Angeles. He decided to continue pursuing acting. He landed several guest spots and then a recurring role as Franklyn on the NBC/ABC comedy Scrubs. He was also featured in a North American commercial for Sega's 2002 PlayStation 2 video game, Shinobi, with the catch phrase 'Shinobi's back!' in front of Sega's 1987 Shinobi arcade cabinet. Oka guest starred in the Yes, Dear episode "Dances with Couch", which aired on April 8, 2002. He appeared briefly in 2002's Austin Powers in Goldmember, where he delivered the line "It looks like Godzilla, but due to international copyright laws, it's not".
In 2006, Oka was cast for the role of Hiro Nakamura in Heroes. Oka himself translated his dialogue from the show's scripts from English to Japanese; English subtitles accompanied his Japanese dialogue on the show. Additionally, Oka's real voice is closer to that of "Future Hiro" than the higher-pitched voice he uses as "Present Hiro" as heard during his appearances on Heroes. His portrayal of the role earned him nominations for the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor on a TV Series and the Primetime Emmy Award for best supporting actor in a drama series, the only actor on Heroes to be nominated for both awards. In addition to his work on the show, he continued to work at ILM up to three days a week as a Research and Development Technical Director, writing programs that create special effects. He played the role of Bruce in the big screen version of Get Smart.
He was named the "Coolest Geek" at the Spike TV Guys' Choice Awards on June 13, 2007. In 2007, he presented an award with Heroes co-star Hayden Panettiere on the 20th annual Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards.
Oka plays the coroner Dr. Max Bergman in CBS' Hawaii Five-0, a remake of original series which aired from 1968 to 1980. He joined the show's main cast in the second series. His character was written as an ethnic Japanese who was adopted at birth by Jewish parents, hence his last name. Oka also made an appearance in the film Friends with Benefits.
Oka is fluent in Japanese, English and Spanish. His hobbies include kendo where he carries the rank of shodan, playing video games, watching and writing romantic comedies, playing the piano, beatboxing, and singing. He avidly collects manga; his current favorites include Eyeshield 21, One Piece and PLUTO, and he professes to be a big fan of Naoki Urasawa's other works.
He was at one time a leader of the raiding guild Dawn of Valor (Spinebreaker US realm) in World of Warcraft, a popular MMORPG video game. His player character was named Kamiosa, an anagram of his real name.
|2001||Dharma & Greg||Nien-Jin||Television series|
|2001||Citizen Baines||Staffer Dan||Television series|
|2001||Gilmore Girls||Philosophy Student||Television series|
|2002||Yes, Dear||Talking Rock||Television series|
|2002||Sabrina, the Teenage Witch||Male Council Member||Television series|
|2002||Austin Powers in Goldmember||Japanese Pedestrian|
|2002||She Spies||Guy||Television series|
|2002–2003||The Jamie Kennedy Experiment||Various||Television series|
|2003||On the Spot||Japanese Tourist||Television series|
|2003||Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde||Congressional Intern||Uncredited|
|2003||Luis||Deng Wu||Television series|
|2004||Along Came Polly||Wonsuk|
|2004||Still Standing||Ronald||Television series|
|2004||All of Us||Edwin||Television series|
|2005||Less Than Perfect||Hideki||Television series|
|2005||Reno 911!||Translator||Television series|
|2005||The Proud Family Movie||Japanese Kid/Announcer||Television film|
|2005||House of the Dead 2||Stanley Tong||Television film|
|2005||God Wears My Underwear||Brother Eo||Voice only|
|2006||One Sung Hero||KJ||Short film|
|2006||Reba||IRS Agent Phung||Television series|
|2006||Without a Trace||Wei Fan||Television series|
|2006||The Loop||Wang||Television series|
|2006||The Sarah Silverman Program||Clerk||Television series|
|2006–2010||Heroes||Hiro Nakamura||Television series|
Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor on Television
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor - Series, Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor - Series, Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor on Television
|2007||Balls of Fury||Jeff, Feng's men's room attendant|
|2007||Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip||Himself||Television series|
|2007||Reno 911!||Foreign Tourist||Television series|
|2007||Robot Chicken||Japanese Mr. Rogers / Chachi||Television series|
|2007||Jane Doe: Ties That Bind||Agent Osaka||Television film|
|2008||Get Smart's Bruce and Lloyd: Out of Control||Bruce||Direct to video|
|2008||The Promotion||Loan Officer|
|2009||Fired Up||Eagle Mascot|
|2010||Searching for Sonny||Sonny Bosco|
|2010–2017||Hawaii Five-0||Doctor Max Bergman||Television series;|
Recurring (Season 1);
Main (Seasons 2–7);
|2011||Friends with Benefits||Darin Arturo Morena|
|2015||Heroes Reborn||Hiro Nakamura||Television series|
|2017||Death Note||Detective Sasaki||Also producer|
|2019||Spies in Disguise||Agent K||Voice role; in production|
|TBA||Attack on Titan|
|1998||Mighty Joe Young||CG technical assistant: Industrial Light & Magic (ILM)|
|1999||Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace||Visual effects production and technical support: ILM|
|2000||Mission to Mars||Technical support: ILM|
|The Perfect Storm||Digital artist: ILM|
|2002||Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones||Digital effects artist: ILM|
|2003||Hulk||Technical director: ILM|
|Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines||CG artist: ILM|
|2005||Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith||Digital artist: ILM|
|War of the Worlds||Digital artist: ILM|
|2006||Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest||Digital artist: ILM|
|2008||Discovery Atlas||Episode "Japan Revealed"|
|2013||World War Z||Kondo Tatsumi|
- """Heroes'" Masi Oka is super-geeky"". Retrieved 4 May 2018.
- "Masi Oka 1974-". Biography Today. Omnigraphics, Inc. 17 (1): 99. 2007. ISSN 1058-2347.
- Tavis Smiley (2007-04-27). "Masi Oka". PBS. Retrieved 2007-05-09.
- Biography Today, p.100
- "Asian-American Whiz Kids". Time. 1987-08-31. Retrieved 2008-12-17.
- ""Heroes" Star: Former "Whiz Kid"". TMZ.com. 2006-11-27. Retrieved 2007-03-12.
- Biography Today, p.101
- Rapkin, Mickey (2008). Pitch Perfect: The Quest for Collegiate A Cappella Glory, p.11. Penguin Group, London. ISBN 1-59240-376-X, 9781592403769
- Shen, Maxine (2006-10-15). "Heroes". New York Post. Archived from the original on 2007-02-24. Retrieved 2007-03-12.
- Raine, George (1998-06-07). "Now Hiring". sfgate.com.
- Gaudiosi, John (2006-10-25). "Masi Oka: Coder, Actor, Hero". Wired. Retrieved 2007-03-12.
- Keveney, Bill (2006-11-09). "'Heroes' star Masi Oka living the dream". USA Today. Retrieved 2007-03-12.
- Kuhn, Sarah (2007-02-09). "Airborne at Last!". Back Stage. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved 2007-03-12.
- Casey, Jordan; "Spike TV Holds First Annual Guys Choice Awards Show"; allheadlinenews.com; June 11, 2007. Archived February 13, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
- "Heroes' Masi Oka to Play Hawaii Five-0 Coroner". TVGuide.com. Retrieved August 12, 2010.
- "Masi Oka returns as Hiro in 'Heroes Reborn'". cnet. March 30, 2015.
- Greg David (2007-01-18). "There goes my Hiro". TV Guide. Archived from the original on 2007-02-16. Retrieved 2007-05-10.
- Heroes Season 1 dvd, stunt special feature
- SFX Collection - Special Edition #31: Total Anime, page 15 (UK-based sci-fi magazine)
- "Masi Oka (star of Heroes) on cover of Time in 1987". 2006-11-21. Archived from the original on 2009-02-07. Retrieved 2008-11-11.
- "Dark Horse Comics: Exclusive Interview with Felicia Day!". 2010-04-21. Retrieved 2010-04-22.
- "WOW - Dawn of Valor - Kamiosa - WarcraftRealms.com". 2006-02-18. Retrieved 2013-11-24.
- "Team - Mobius Digital". Retrieved 2019-05-30.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Masi Oka.|
- Masi Oka on IMDb
- Daily Telegraph Article
- NY Times Article
- Brown University "From Special Effects to Acting, CS Alum Masi Oka is One of the 'Heroes'"
- Brown Daily Herald by Alissa Cerny 9/18/06 "Brown alum snags big role in NBC series 'Heroes'"
- Time magazine cover - August 31, 1987 (Masi Oka is to the farthest left)
- Video of Masi Oka discussing his role on the hit TV series, Heroes, plus making special effects for the movie, Star Wars.
- Nichi Bei Times Interview
- San Francisco Chronicle Article