|Real Name:||Miyako Fujitani Shihan|
|Birthday:||February 03, 1952|
|Net Worth:||$1 million|
|Occupation:||Japanese Martial Artist, Actress, Writer, Former Wife of Steven Seagal|
When you think of Steven Seagal, you think of a famous actor with impeccable martial arts skills. Well, turns out, his former wife knows a thing or two about MMA as well. Miyako Fujitani is an actress, martial artist trainer, and former wife of American actor Steven Seagal.
She founded the Academy of Aikido Dojo in 1976 alongside her former husband, but now she runs it by herself. Miyako came to the limelight after getting married to Seagal, but where is she now? What does she do for a living?
Let’s take a look.
Who is her famous ex-husband?
Born Steven Frederic Seagal in April 1952, Steven is an American actor, screenwriter, and martial artist. He has a 7th-dan black belt in Aikido. Steven began his professional career as a martial arts instructor in Japan. Fun fact: it was there that he met his former celebrity spouse, Miyako Fujitani. Eventually, Steven wound up running his father-in-law’s dojo.
After gaining fame as a martial artist, Steven moved to Los Angeles, where he still continued training. And then, in 1988, he made his acting debut in the movie Above the Law.
Born in Lansing, Michigan, he is the son of a medical technician and a mathematics teacher. Steven is of Irish descent on his mother’s side, and Jewish on his father’s side. His paternal grandparents were Russian Jewish immigrants. In one interview, he said his paternal ancestors were from the city of Vladivostok. When he was only five years old, he moved with his parents to Fullerton, California.
At some point between 1971 and 1973, he moved to Japan. And then in 1974, he returned to California, where he met his future wife Miyako Fujitani.
She was a second-degree black belt and the daughter of an Osaka Aikido master who had come to Los Angeles. After a while, Miyako returned to Osaka, Japan, and Steven followed her. He taught at the school of her family.
Seagal and Miyako divorced, and he returned to Taos, New Mexico, with his student Craig Dunn. They opened a dojo there, but Steven pursued other ventures as well. In the 1990s, Seagal began acting, with his first big break coming when he played Navy Seal counter-terrorist expert Casey Ryback in Under Siege in 1992.
In the second half of the 1990s, he starred in many movies, mostly playing a character that is known for his martial arts skill. To this day, many fans remember his Above the Law movie, which is titled Nico in Europe because of the main character. Some of his other movies include Hard to Kill, Marked for Death, and Out for Justice.
Besides acting, he also had a semi-successful music career. He played the guitar and released two studio albums, Songs from the Crystal Cave and Mojo Priest.
As for his political and social views, Seagal is an environmentalist and animal rights activist. He is a supporter of the 14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso, and Vladimir Putin. At one point, he referred to Putin as “one of the great living world leaders”. In 2016, Steven was granted Serbian and Russian citizenship.
Now let’s talk again about Steven’s former wife, Miyako Fujitani. She is a well-performed actress, writer, and martial artist. She came to the public’s attention after getting married to Steven Seagal.
Miyako and her former husband founded the Academy of Aikido Dojo in 1976. But after Steven started his acting career, the two split. The two maintain their relationship to this day, despite their marriage ending in the late 1980s.
Born in February 1952 in Osaka, Miyako is 71 years of age as of May 2023. But she is still active and mobile thanks to her practice of Aikido.
Miyako is a martial arts performer but has also acted in a few films. Yet, her career in the movies was not as successful as Steven’s. She is better suited for practicing and teaching Aikido.
To this day, she runs her academy in Osaka and is 7th Dan in Aikido. As the daughter of an Aikido master, she was interested in ancient art from a very young age.
She once said, “When I was younger, I lived in Kobe City. Every day, really, every day, I was a victim of one of those dirty old men on the trains, you know, the ones who like to touch women. I took classes of many sorts in those days, including classical ballet, and it would be dark when I returned home. But even in the daytime, there were those dirty old men. So I learned Aikido”.
Because Aikido is traditionally a man’s sport, Miyako wanted to learn it for self-defense. But she was discouraged to do it. The dojo had an attitude of “it’s for men only”, causing her to abandon her training between periods. But training with her father helped her learn more about self-defense and life lessons like patience and discipline.
Marriage to Steven Seagal
Miyako and Steven met at the Los Angeles airport in July 1974, during a famous Aikido seminar. At the time, Steven was Japan’s first actor, and his achievement was largely covered by the local and national media.
When she first saw him, he looked like a young man who was too skinny and too tall. Speaking about that first meeting, the Aikido artist says he looked like “a Japanese ghost”. But as time passed, she was more and more attracted to him.
The two started seeing each other and eventually got married in December 1974. They moved back to Japan, and they continued their relationship.
On the surface, things were going great between them. They have one daughter together, Ayako Fujitani. But during this period, Steven met actress and model Kelly LeBrock and started an affair with her. This led to Miyako granting him a divorce.
While dating Kelly, Steven tried to get married to actress Adrienne La Russia in 1984, but that marriage was annulled because his divorce had not been finalized yet. Steven and LeBrock got married in 1987, and have three children together. They are the of their daughter Annaliza Seagal, their son Dominic Seagal, and their second daughter Arissa LeBrock. Kelly filed for divorce in 1994.
In total, Steven has seven children from four relationships, two grandchildren from his eldest son, and one granddaughter from his daughter Ayako. He is also the guardian of Yabshi Pan Rinzinwangmo, the only child of the 10th Panchen Lama of Tibet.
Their Daughter Following In Her Father’s Footsteps
Steven and Miyako have one daughter together, Ayako Fujitani. She is a Japanese writer and actress. Born in Osaka, Japan, in 1979, she resided in Los Angeles as a teenager.
The young Ayako made her screen debut in Gamera: Guardian of the Universe. She worked with Shusuke Kaneko in an episode of Ultraman Max.
But her acting career didn’t go as she planned. Therefore, Ayako focused more on writing. She began writing for the Japanese magazine Roadshow and published several novellas.
Founding A Dojo Together
The Aikido Shoubu Dojo is one of the few authentic and internationally recognized branch schools of the famous Aikido Tenshin Dojo in Osaka, Japan. The dojo was founded by Miyako Fujitani Shihan and action star Steven Seagal.
The two ran the dojo together while they were married. Following their divorce, Aikido instructor Miyako continued the family legacy. During her 50 years of teaching the art, she has had countless interviews and seminars over the world.
Nowadays, people recognize her for her unbelievable Aikido technique. She has made Aikido effective, yet simple enough that anyone can do it. Her economy of movement is a rare find in the world of martial arts.
Speaking about women studying Aikido, she says, “When I started martial arts, the common feeling was that they were for men only. That discouraged me. I found it best not to think about the issue. Men and women are completely different, right? Men have more muscle and are very strong. But the more muscle you use, the slower you learn good technique-or the faster you forget it”.
As for her former husband, she says he was well-received as an instructor in Japan. She said, “It was a big deal. He was the first foreigner to be the head of a dojo in Japan. It was big news. The TV and the newspaper people came, and not just the little stations or papers. After that coverage, we got more students than we knew what to do with”.
Is She On Social Media?
Miyako is a famous person in Japan. But outside of Japan, she prefers to stay humble and stay away from the media spotlight. Therefore, she is nowhere to be found on social media.
Her daughter with Steven, however, is active on social media. Her former husband is also active on Instagram, where he has more than 512k followers.
You might be wondering if it is worth having an Aikido dojo in Japan. Well, it is the home of martial arts. As of May 2023, Miyako has a net worth of $1 million. Now, that is nothing compared to her husband. But he was one of the biggest action movie stars back in the day. Steven has a net worth of more than $16 million.