Yoshio Yoda, an actor who played Fuji Kobiaji on the classic ABC show “McHale’s Navy,” died earlier this month at age 88, media reports said Monday.

“James Yoshio Yoda passed away on January 13, 2023, in Fullerton, California. He was born in Tokyo, Japan on March 31, 1934. He was predeceased by his son Edward Yuji Yoda,” read an online obituary. The exact cause of death has not been revealed. It is also not known if he was suffering from any illness.

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“While he was studying law at Keio University in Japan, he was encouraged by an acquaintance to pursue an acting career. He discontinued his studies and went to the United States and enrolled at the film school at the University of Southern California in 1958 from where he graduated with a degree in Cinema Arts.”

Who was Yoshio Yoda?

Born in Tokyo, Yoshio Yoda was the son of Honshu middle-class manufacturers. He initially studied law at the Keio University. However, he quickly changed his career goals and started his luck in cinema after a chance meeting with motion picture executive Edward Ugast, general manager in Asia for 20th Century Fox and Vice-President of Four Star Films. Ugast persuaded Yoda to study cinema technique in America with the prospect of becoming a producer. In 1958, Yoda arrived in California and enrolled at USC.

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On McHale’s Navy, Yoda portrayed a Japanese prisoner of war-turned-seaman and appeared on all 138 episodes of the series, which starred Ernest Borgnine. After McHale’s Navy (1962) went off the air, he did a segment of Love, American Style (1969). He has also worked for Toyota Motors and eventually became a Vice President. He finally retired to Fullerton, California.