Tamlyn Naomi Tomita is a Japanese American actress and singer. She made her screen debut as Kumiko in The Karate Kid Part II, and reprised the character for the streaming web series Cobra Kai. She is also well known for her role as Waverly in The Joy Luck Club.
Tomita was born on a military base in Okinawa, but grew up in Los Angeles. Her Japanese-American father was in an internment camp during WWII. He met her mother while stationed in Okinawa between the Korean and Vietnam wars. Her mother was half-Japanese, half-Filipino (Ilocano), was born in Manila and had emigrated to Okinawa after World War II.
Tomita graduated from Granada Hills Charter High School and attended UCLA, where she studied history and planned to become a history teacher. While a junior at UCLA, she participated in Nisei Week (where she was crowned its 1984 queen). It was during this time that she responded to “Helen Funai, a former 1963 queen of the pageant and also a dancer, actress, singer,” who made a request that she audition for a part in The Karate Kid II. She promised her parents that she would finish UCLA, and then explore acting.