Legendary 'McHale's Navy' Actor Yoshio Yoda Passes Away

Chukwudi Onyewuchi
Yoshio Yoda in 'McHale's Navy'
Screenshot from McHale's Navy YouTube | YouTube

Fans of the ABC television series McHale's Navy will never forget American-Japanese Actor Yoshio Yoda. Many years after the legend warmed viewers' hearts with his amazing acting skills, reports reveal that Yoshio has passed away at 88. Find out the details of the story below.

Details Of Yoshio's Death

An online obituary recently made public the news of Yoshio's demise. According to the report, the actor, born on March 31, 1934, in Tokyo, Japan, passed away on January 13, 2023, in California.

Yoshio Wanted To Study Law

While Yoshio achieved incredible fame and fortune as a movie star, establishing a career in the acting industry wasn't always his dream. Yoshio hoped to become a lawyer and studied law at Keio University in Japan.

Yoshio Dropped Out Of School

However, an acquaintance encouraged him to pursue a career in acting. Without hesitation, Yoshio heeded the advice, dropped out of the university, and traveled to the United States — a decision that changed his life forever.

Yoshio Joined Southern California's Film School

University of Southern California
Unsplash | Fran

In the United States, the actor enrolled in the film school at the University of Southern California in 1958. A few years later, Yoshio graduated with a degree in Cinema Arts.

The Beginning Of Yoshio's Success

Giphy | Digg

In 1961, Yoshio's life improved when he was recommended after producers for the MGM film The Horizontal Lieutenant contacted the school, looking for a young actor who could speak Japanese and English. 

Yoshio Joins The 'McHale's Navy' Series 

The legendary actor landed the role, and his performance led directly to his involvement in the McHale's Navy series, which aired for four years from 1962 to 1966. He also starred in the series' two feature film adaptations. 

What Role Did Yoshio Play?

In the series, Yoshio portrayed Seaman third Class Fujiwara Takeo Kobiashi, affectionately known as Fuji by his newfound American friends.

More About Yoshio's Character

The actor's character was a deserter from the Imperial Japanese Navy who is more or less adopted by the rules-busting PT-73 crew led by Lieutenant Quinton McHale (played by movie star Ernest Borgnine).

About The Series

The crew was stationed at the Pacific island base of Taratupa and kept Fuji hidden from the sour-faced-by-the-book Captain Wally Binghamton portrayed by American character actor Joe Flynn.

Yoshio Starred In All Episodes

Yoshio appeared as Fuji in all 138 episodes until it was canceled in 1966. Following McHale's Navy's cancellation, the actor appeared in a 1969 episode of Love, American Style.

Yoshio's Acting Career After The Series

Yoshio also appeared in Love and the Letter and was an associate producer on the Golden Globe-nominated The Walking Major in 1971. Eventually, Yoshio retired from acting and began bearing his middle name, James.

Yoshio Joined Toyota 

The legend also pivoted a corporate career, working as an Assistant Vice President of Toyota Hawaii. At some point, Yoshio became an American citizen and lived in Honolulu, Hawaii, for 15 years.

Yoshio Lived In California Until His Death 

Following his retirement from the business world, he moved to Fullerton, California, where he lived until his passing. He was predeceased by his son Edward Yuji Yoda.

No Funeral Will Be Held

According to the online obituary, Yoshio requested that no funeral service be held in his honor. He will always be remembered for his impact on the movie industry. May his soul rest in peace.