Mako is one of the very few Japanese actors who have been nominated for an Oscar. Born as Makoto Iwamatsu in Kobe, Japan, in 1933, he moved to the United States to join his parents, who had emigrated there earlier, when he was 15. After his service in the U.S. military, he embarked upon a career in film and theater. Film credits include "The Sand Pebbles", "Conan The Barbarian", "Seven Years in Tibet", "Pearl Harbor", "Memoirs of a Geisha", and the 1999 Japanese film "Owls' Castle". He co-founded the first Asian-American theater company, East West Players.