Tell about yourself and how you got into stunts.
I was born in Osaka, Japan, and lived in a very small farm town called Fukuoka where my grandmother grew and picked rice. After my sister was born my parents moved us to Los Angeles where I had my 4th birthday. Six years later I had my first taste of the entertainment industry as a child actor and soon after, my first exposure to stunts meeting Garrett Warren who was doubling for Jeffrey Meeks in a show called RAVEN shot in Hawaii.
I was casted in a co-starring role and had never witnessed a fight scene before... guns, fight choreo, someone thrown into a breakaway poker table... so exciting and man did that plant a seed.
I spent the next 2 decades of my life as an actor and professional dancer landing season contracts on shows like KIDS INCORPORATED and touring internationally with Diavolo (an architecture-based acro performance company).
All the while, slowly cultivating my martial arts background, not realizing everything would eventually take a hard turn, back to that seed, and begin a life that would steal me away from a promising dance career.
What is the best part about being a stunt performer?
The best part of that choice, to leave a dance career and begin one in stunts, is that I never had to actually give it up. Gymnastics, dance, martial arts are just a few things I've been thankfully able to take with me. Even acro-rigging and apparatus construction has played initial roles in my stunt tool-box and I'm so thankful for that.
What advice would you give other stunt people?
If I had to give any advice to other stunt performers; as your success grows, remember how difficult it was when you began your journey. It's so easy to forget when we're fixated on our own future.
Take account of who helped you along the way and especially those that could use your help along theirs. Technology, trends... there's plenty of influences that constantly change our industry, but the opportunity to treat each other with genuine appreciation, respect and privilege should never.
And make friends out of enemies.
Stunt Players Directory: https://www.stuntplayers.com/player/ken-arata/
Stunt Phone: https://www.stuntphone.com/viewprofile/2484/