Frank Tokunaga

Frank B. Tokunaga was a Japanese actor, director, and screenwriter who worked in Japan and Hollywood.[1]

Frank Tokunaga
Frank B. Tokunaga

OccupationActor, director, screenwriter
Spouse(s)Komako Sunada



Frank began his career in show business in 1912 while managing a troupe of Japanese acrobats for Barnum & Bailey, and later worked as an actor in Broadway productions.[2]

Frank then began working at Thomas H. Ince's motion picture studio in Santa Monica, before taking on roles for Louis B. Mayer and then joining Universal's stock company.[3] He did all sorts of work during the silent era, often serving as an interpreter and a location man.[4]

For a time, he returned to Japan, where he was a pioneering writer and director at Nikkatsu Studios.[2] Later on in his career, he'd return to the United States sporadically to work as a character actor in Hollywood films.

Personal life

Frank was married to Komako Sunada, an actress who was known as the Japanese answer to Mary Pickford in the press. (She was born in Japan but raised in Los Angeles.)[5][6] The pair collaborated on a pair of screenplays: 1925's Tôyô no Karumen and 1926's Zoku Tôyô no Karumen.

Selected filmography

As director:

  • Keiba to nyobo (1932)
  • Oira no sekai (1932)
  • Asu no taiyô (1931)
  • Hanamuko hyakumanryô (1931)
  • Shonen senshu (1931)
  • Kane wa tenka no mawari mochi (1931) (also screenwriter)
  • Hikari wa higashiyori (1930)
  • Koi no sutoppu mamanranu (1930) (also screenwriter)
  • Shisei no kagayaki (1930)
  • Taiyo no kokoro (1930)
  • Chichi (1929)
  • Shuressha (1929)
  • Akai hi aoi hi (1929) (also screenwriter)
  • Kokoro naki miyako (1927)
  • Chiriyuku joka (1926)
  • Danshi Tokkan (1926)
  • Ganto no nazo (1926)
  • Rôchû no uguisu (1926)
  • Seigi banzai (1926)
  • Zoku Tôyô no Karumen (1926)
  • Ai ni kagayaku josei (1925)
  • Wakodo no chi wa odoru (1925)
  • Shôhin eiga-shû: Jinsei to katsudô (1925)
  • Tôyô no Karumen (1925) (also screenwriter)
  • Ai no himitsu (1924)

As actor:


  1. Anderson, Joseph I.; Anderson, Joseph L.; Richie, Donald (1982). The Japanese Film: Art and Industry. Princeton University Press. ISBN 9780691007922.
  2. "Film Director Plays Farmer in Picture". The Gazette. 11 December 1956. Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  3. "Tokunaga at Home in Hollywood". The Arizona Republic. 19 August 1956. Retrieved 10 November 2019.
  4. Motography. 1916.
  5. "Schoolgirl Wins Crown and Japan Director". The New York Daily News. 13 May 1927. Retrieved 10 November 2019.
  6. "Japanese Movie Star Arrives". The Marion Star. 31 May 1927. Retrieved 9 November 2019.
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