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This Is Where Karate Kid 2 Was Filmed

Expectations were understandably metered for "The Karate Kid" when it hit theaters in the Summer of 1984, if only because the film fronted no major star power and no previously existing IP. Such as it was, even its own producers were likely as shocked as they were thrilled when the film became not just the unexpected hit of the summer, but one of the highest grossing films of the year. In turn, "The Karate Kid" also made stars of young Ralph Macchio and his elder co-star Pat Morita, the latter of which earned an Academy Award nomination for his supporting turn as the enigmatic sensei Mr. Miyagi.

Not surprisingly, the film's runaway success had producers eyeing a sequel soon after the original film's release. Said sequel arrived just a couple of years later in the guise of 1986's "The Karate Kid Part II," which actually outperformed its predecessor at the box office, transplanting the story from the San Fernando Vally to Mr. Miyagi's island home of Okinawa, Japan, and re-focusing much of the narrative to explore the martial arts master's own past.

While most critics agreed the sequel was a bit formulaic, they largely concurred it made marvelous use of its lavish locations. It may come as a surprise, however, that "The Karate Kid Part II" didn't shoot a single frame of footage in Okinawa proper, opting instead to film in what was presumably a more accessible island locale.  

Another Pacific paradise stood in for Okinawa, Japan in The Karate Kid 2

Of course, the opening moments of "The Karate Kid Part II" unfold in the immediate aftermath of the first movie, which means they were also shot in sunny Southern California (via Movie-Locations.com). Ditto for some of the film's more extravagant set pieces, including Daniel's showdown with Chozen (Yuji Okumoto) which, according to TokyoFox.net, was shot on a studio backlot in Burbank.

As for the Pacific locale that stood in for Okinawa in "The Karate Kid Part II," per the Tampa Bay Times, it was indeed Oahu, the third largest of the Hawaiian islands, reportedly for reasons of it being a more convenient location to shoot. Convenience aside, though, it does mean that none of the film is actually shot in Japan, despite that being the central location of the film.

Hollywood magic aside, it seems at least one member of "The Karate Kid Part II" cast was bummed the film didn't actually shoot in Okinawa. That actor is Tamlyn Tomita, who portrayed Kumiko in the film, and recently told Entertainment Tonight the decision of "Cobra Kai" producers to shoot in Okinawa for their season 3 scenes served as a redemption of sorts ... even if they could only afford to send two cast members. Still, as Tomita explained, "[...] in terms of representation matters, in terms of the depiction of Japanese culture, of Asian cultures, we have come far in 35 years. We haven't come far enough, but that's a part of our discussion, not only as Americans of all stripes and colors. How we want to tell our stories first in Hollywood, but also in independent stories."