Emmy and Golden Globe nominated actor Masi Oka burst onto the scene starring in NBC’s drama series “Heroes”, a role for which he received his nominations. Oka can now be seen on the hit series “Hawaii 5-0” and later this fall reprising his role as Hiro Nakamura on “Heroes Reborn.” Oka currently is working with Yoshimoto to bring the famed Second City to Japan and thereby introducing American Improv to that market.

Oka’s strong background in computer science laid the groundwork for his starting Mobius Digital, a gaming company that has successfully launched several apps with more in development. Oka is now teaming with Fig, the new crowdfunding platform for gamers to fund his next project, Outer Wilds, which won the 2015 Independent Games Festival (IGF) Awards Grand Prize and Excellence in Design. Created by Alex Beachum, the title will be developed by Oka’s Mobius Digital studio. Outer Wilds’ funding goal of $125,000 will give the team the tools to upgrade the artwork, polish the game systems, and bring much more content to the experience. For more information on Outer Wilds or to contribute, click here.

I'm here to answer your questions, so let's get started!

Proof: https://twitter.com/MasiOka/status/636363259990290432

Comments: 194 • Responses: 60  • Date: 

TheRealMasiOka85 karma

I'm typing by myself, so if I respond slowly, apologies. I can't really bend time and space.

deimosusn22 karma

What is the first thing you'd do if you could bend time and space?

TheRealMasiOka64 karma

Give advice to my high school self not to ask that girl out.

ehkodiak25 karma

Hey, it's Franklin from Scrubs! How was it working on a comedy?

TheRealMasiOka34 karma

So much fun. I rather make people laugh then cry. If everyone in the world is laughing, we'd be in a much more happier face.

kamenr2j23 karma

Hi Masi, nice speaking with you. One of the reasons why I loved "Heroes" was its diversity and global scope. As an Asian American who identifies as a "nerd," seeing Hiro do his thing (and see him fall in love, only for his heart to break) was inspiring and moving.

a) Were you aware of the impact Hiro and Ando had/has on the global audience? Did you hear a lot from fans expressing relating to Hiro on these grounds?

b) Do you happen to know what the plans were for Hiro and Ando had the show kept going? I always imagined they'd wind up as, like, the Kamen Riders of "Heroes." I got excited when Ando got a motorcycle.

Thanks again for spending the day with us! Cheers.

TheRealMasiOka26 karma

a) When you're filming, we don't realize it, but when we did the world tour and met with our fans around the world, it dawns on us. We're usually in a bubble so it's nice to be able to meet the fans around the world. Lost paved the way for us no doubt, so a lot of credit goes to Lost for creative a diverse cast. Hollywood mostly cares about one color - "Green" so if they see money in diversity, they will chase it, and we were fortunate to have that opportunity.

b) Arcs were thought of on a season by season basis. Tim always liked thinking in chapters. Yes, it would be funny if we became Kamen riders. "Henshin"!

Frajer14 karma

What was it like working with Steve Carrell on Get Smart?

TheRealMasiOka15 karma

So much fun. He was very talented and generous. Had so much fun improvising with him and he was just a down to earth guy. On break we were just talking about house mortgages I recall.

TheRealMasiOka14 karma

Thank you everyone for your time! The hour went by pretty fast. I hope I was able to answer most of your questions and didn't disappoint (like I did my mom for a while, but that's another AMA).

And a final plug before I sign out. As my third party Wiki copy and paste bio above shows, we are in the middle of crowdfunding Outer Wilds.

It is a great puzzle game that we have a demo of but we need funds to finish it and get it out to market. We have a great team working on it but we really need your help. Please support it and spread the word! https://www.fig.co/campaigns/outer-wilds https://youtu.be/DL5bEI5siwE

Thank you, mahalo, and arigato!

compgod13 karma

Hiro was easily my favourite character on Heroes, that part was written for you :-)

Are you as excited to come back to the role as you were when you were first cast? And how easy was it stepping back into Hiro?

TheRealMasiOka18 karma

Yeah, pretty excited since it was unexpected. It was ironically pretty easy to step back into Hiro, though the fight sequences got a little tough. Age and adding a few pounds did not help...

TheRealMasiOka12 karma

Finally got on. Ready to go!

FreeMyMen11 karma

What is one role you'd love to play?

TheRealMasiOka28 karma

I think it would be fun to play a real villain one of these days.

TheRealMasiOka10 karma

15 more minutes and I have to log out.

liamquane9 karma

How is the Death Note movie coming along? :~)

TheRealMasiOka17 karma

Great! Fingers crossed for exciting announcements soon.

Treehouse-Of-Horror7 karma

If you could have had a different super power, what would it have been?

TheRealMasiOka19 karma

The one that steals everyone else's power.

rbtmnst7 karma

Are we going to see some awesome kendo moves in Heroes Reborn?

TheRealMasiOka9 karma

Hiro will be wielding dual tanto swords (short swords), so they are more martial arts/ninja style moves than kendo moves.

waitn2drive7 karma

Hi there Masi!

I'm here as a huge fan of Heroes, and specifically your character, Hiro Nakamura. You killed that role!

So, my question has to do with Hiro.

Which "Hiro" was your favorite, and which was your favorite to act? Between 10 year old Hiro, assassin Hiro from the future, the Hiro that first discovered his powers, etc etc, you played him with so many different personalities! Which holds a dear place in your heart?

Side question, how excited are you for Heroes: Reborn this fall?! I KNOW I AM!

EDIT: Yes, I sat here and waited with my question pre-typed because I was so excited for this! :)

TheRealMasiOka19 karma

I think my favorite Hiro might have been the first super innocent Hiro. Season 1 Episode 5 was still my favorite going from Future Hiro to Innocent Hiro. I got a chance to improvise and add more humor as the innocent one :)

appleple26 karma

Hi Masioka san!! I'm so exciting. I'm Japanese. I truly respect the way you live, and I really like it. What's your most favorite culture both American and Japanese? What’s the most fun thing when you come to Japan?

これからもアメリカでの活躍を楽しみにしておりますo! daisuki!

TheRealMasiOka11 karma

When I go to Japan, I love the food there and the transportation system. I actually like to ride the subways incognito.

ありがとうございます!  今後とも変わらない応援よろしくお願いいたします。

Snazzyjack6 karma

I have seen you in few other things other than Heroes. What is the oddest role you got recognized for once Heroes became popular?

TheRealMasiOka22 karma

Sabrina the Teenage Witch. I had one line like "Yes, literally." and someone came up to me and said I recognized you...

GFY_EH6 karma

Would you rather fight 100 duck sized Adam Monroes or 1 Adam Monroe sized duck?

TheRealMasiOka29 karma

1 Adam Monroe sized duck. Adam Monroe is immortal so I wouldn't be able to kill even one duck sized Adam Monroe.

mwthecool5 karma

Hey Masi, big fan! I've actually just started watching Heroes recently so this is a pretty cool opportunity. 1. What's it like filming a show where you have to fake powers, in relation to the shows you do where you don't have to? 2. I just started taking an advanced computer science class for the first time and I was wondering if you had any tips for me? Thanks for your answer and I am super excited to see you in Heroes Reborn!

TheRealMasiOka15 karma

  1. Watching someone pretending to have fake powers can be very silly. On set, everyone is reacting to something that doesn't exist and if some random person looks at it, it looks like we're on drugs or something. I squint my eyes and what I hear is the director say, "Ok! Everyone hold your breath."

  2. Have fun! It can be lonely coding at times, but the good thing is that there will always be an answer and some sort of goal, rather than art stuff which is subjective. And start early. Procrastination is never good (though I did it all the time). If you start early, you have a good design and approach. It will snowball from there, so having a good foundation is really important. Otherwise you start writing a lot of bandage code trying to fix for the design flaws.

avimaansyam4 karma

What made you want to get into making games?

TheRealMasiOka9 karma

Avimaan, get back to work please. Aren't you doing the product hunt AMA?

Avimaan, is our brilliant producer, who can be seen hamming it up in: https://youtu.be/DL5bEI5siwE

Amozmozes4 karma

Have you ever considered doing standup? I'd check that out!

TheRealMasiOka18 karma

I did and it is scary. I love awkward pauses and silences, but with standup you can't have that. When I did it, first three jokes killed, and the fourth joke fell flat, and I just start rushing through the set. That's why I prefer improv.

But now that I have some mediocre fame, I think if I did do standup, at least I would have a friendly audience rather than an audience thinking "I paid money and I'm drunk, now make me laugh short pudgy Asian man."

HalfAPairOfWings4 karma

What would be one thing you'd change about your character Hiro? Whether it be how you portrayed him or his lines/writing or even his power.

TheRealMasiOka14 karma

I think I would have put a little more restriction on his power earlier on. It was too powerful and the writers kept on having to find reasons to nerf his power.

aresef3 karma


When you were shooting the pilot, did you have any sense of how big Heroes was going to become? How special a character Hiro would become? When was the first time you realized, holy shit, this is a big deal?

Were you surprised to get the call for Reborn? Is Hiro emotionally in the same place we saw him in a couple episodes that took a look at that future timeline? If you can't answer, I understand.

TheRealMasiOka7 karma

I actually didn't think it was going to be that big of a hit. I realized we were creating something special and unique, and that the comic con crown would love it, but wasn't sure if the mainstream would accept it since there weren't any superhero shows on the air at that time. I literally had no idea. But when I did get the pilot, I do remember pulling over to the side and crying tears of joy calling my mom since it was my first series regular after being in the business for many years with smaller parts.

I actually talked with Tim right after when the Olympic promo aired. But we, the original cast, were all surprised when we saw the promo. We were all texting each other like crazy. Don't think we've had a group chat like that in over years.

Five years have passed so Hiro has matured a little, yes.

jekblub3 karma

Hey Masi, I have two questions

1) Do you ever watch heroes back through the eyes of a normal viewer, pretending that you never played a leading character? Is it even possible? 2) How often do you push your glasses up irl? Thanks :D

TheRealMasiOka9 karma

1) I think now I can. It took a while to watch it subjectively. That first season was damn good. Except the finale could've used a little more punch :) 2) Maybe twice a day. The reason I pushed up my glasses a lot was because of the makeup on my nose. It made the glasses keep sliding down when I look downwards. Although now I push up my glasses even if I'm not wearing them...

Quortek3 karma

Love your work! Was it hard getting back in to the Hiro character mindset after so long?

TheRealMasiOka9 karma

Was rather easy. A lot of familiar faces.

GFY_EH3 karma

Did you cut and paste your background to the AMA from wikipedia? Or do you really like talking in the third person?

TheRealMasiOka23 karma

Most likely. I have to admit I didn't write my AMA background. I'm a Reddit noob, so I'm sure either my publicist or someone at Reddit did it.

I probably would have been more sarcastic. And talked in the Royal we. Fuck the third person.

I never got it when people talked in the third person... You are here dude. In front of me. Refer yourself to I, please.

Il_Gigante_Buono5 karma

I read this as though Hiro was swearing and it's weird haha

TheRealMasiOka31 karma

Masi Oka does swear at times. However he tries not to swear in public as he was repeatedly warned by his mother.

badass_wolf_shirt2 karma


TheRealMasiOka5 karma

Don't listen to much Heavy Metal, sadly. Maybe the closest might be Appetite for Destruction.

dnlsrl2 karma

Hi Masi.

In Heroes, can't recall the episode, Hiro goes back in time to when there was a battle between Samurais(?) I was really expecting for the series to create a different arc for Hiro in which he stayed in that time and improve his abilities. I've heard you're not going to be around in REBORN as you used to in the first Heroes, but are the writers going to

TheRealMasiOka4 karma

Sorry, your question got cut off.

dnlsrl3 karma

Agh. I'm sorry for that.

Wanted to ask if the writers are going to delve into the character or are you just there for recurring/secondary stuff?

TheRealMasiOka12 karma

Hiro will be integral to the story line (for the few episodes he's in) for Heroes Reborn. Unless they've completely reshot everything which makes everything I said moot, so take everything I say with a grain of salt.

liamquane2 karma

Do you think there was a point in Heroes where it kind of tapered off in quality to get it cancelled originally?

TheRealMasiOka8 karma

The writers strike did hurt us, but the reasons for the cancellation is still unknown. I still think it would've made sense to give it a final season to wrap it up. But thankfully they didn't, because now we got Heroes reborn to wrap it up.

Dick-Punch-Man2 karma

I am duck footed, is it hard to run pigeon toed?

TheRealMasiOka3 karma

Not really. I did Kendo and was very pigeon toed doing it. I can't say I broke any records, but I was able to run easily. Though for some reason being pigeon toed attracts me to a lot of pigeon stool and dog doo doo on the streets.

AdonalFoyle2 karma

Do you still practice your beatboxing?

TheRealMasiOka20 karma

If you mean if I still generate a lot of spit, yes, I'm hoping to get a role in Pitch Perfect 6.

Danteofdoom2 karma

Hi Sir

Loved you in Heroes. Hiro is by far my favorite character from that show. What was it like to learn the fight choreography with the sword?

Also, does ILM follow best practises? :p

TheRealMasiOka7 karma

Fight choreography was awesome, though those swords hurt like a mofo. When two swords collide, the feedback on it is rough.

In Reborn, I also do fight sequences but because I used dual short swords it feels more like a ninja fight than a samurai fight. It felt I was more in a Chinese martial arts movie rather than a Japanese samurai movie.

saric922 karma

What's your favorite moment from working on a set?

TheRealMasiOka6 karma

I have to say my first time with Adrian was my favorite moment of all time. We drove up the night before and rehearsed in the dark in the mobile diner (and got busted by security as well). Stayed over and the next day, we found some magic on set.

vitalvoid2 karma

Hi Masi, Thanks for the AMA. My wife and I are both fans of your work in Heroes and Hawaii 5-0. We were lucky enough to catch some 5-0 filming on our honeymoon in Hawaii.

What hobby do you wish you had more time for?

TheRealMasiOka9 karma

Making games :)

HalfAPairOfWings2 karma

Who was your favorite character from Heroes? And what is your favorite super power (not just in the show, but any power you can think of)?

TheRealMasiOka10 karma

Characterwise, besides Hiro, I liked first season Sylar.

360FlashedNoscope2 karma

I just fig'd(?) Outer Wilds the other day, I'm excited to try it out. How involved are you in the development? Writing code? project management? moral support?

I've also been binge watching Heroes in anticipation for Reborn. How big of a role does Hiro play in this season? Will we see his sidekick Ando again?

And lastly, what games are you playing these days?

Thanks Masi!

TheRealMasiOka8 karma

Thank you for supporting Outer Wilds!

Man I wish I was writing code. We're using Maya, so was tempted to write some plugins from my old ILM days, or at least MEL scripting. I'm involved in terms of helping give feedback and support. Outer Wilds was created by Alex during his USC days, so it's his vision and want to support it.

In Reborn, Hiro is involved in the story line, but I only was in three episodes as a Guest Star due to my commitments to Hawaii 5-0. I don't know about Ando because he wasn't in the script. Hopefully if it continues, there will be a reunion.

These days, I'm playing more mobile stuff like Tsum Tsum and out other Mobius Digital titles because I'm play testing them. Though I am super excited for FFVII rerelease.

imthatguy252 karma

What's your favorite movie that you helped make?

TheRealMasiOka6 karma

Perfect Storm was my first and longest project so it's definitely my fondest. I get to say I digitally drowned George Clooney.

liamquane2 karma

What was it like working with Will Gluck?

TheRealMasiOka2 karma

I love him. He was my mentor of sorts in the beginning days. I still keep in touch with him and he still is generous with his time.

H50Fan2 karma

Who would you like from Heroes in H50?

TheRealMasiOka3 karma

Everyone who hasn't been on. In particular Adrian, Milo, and Sendhil as they are like my brothers to me.

Indigo-21841 karma

Hi Masi, I love your work on Heroes as Hiro Nakamura.

My question is, if you had to choose a superhero name and superpowers, what would they be?

Also, a side question. What have you been reading lately?

TheRealMasiOka3 karma

I love Hiro's powers, so that's what I would have.

At comic-con I said he would be Bad Ass MF Chronos.

But I might call him "The M.O.S.T." for being the master of space and time.

sinisterblood2 karma

How about Master Of Infinite Space and Time?

M.O.I.S.T ???

TheRealMasiOka11 karma

Would you ever want to be called Moist? Really? Come on. The only thing that is good when it's moist is a cake and *****.

TheRealMasiOka16 karma

Cake and towel. A moist towel feels nice.

liamquane1 karma

What was it like working with Steven Conrad?

TheRealMasiOka1 karma

Great guy. A gentle and super smart guy from what I recall.

Dick-Punch-Man1 karma

Is Heroes reborn going to wrap up the abrupt ending to the series?

TheRealMasiOka1 karma

Don't know. Haven't read the last episode yet :( They're still filming the series.

liamquane1 karma

You are my favorite Heroes actor and character, how will this new series of Heroes relate to the previous one?

TheRealMasiOka1 karma

It's a continuation according to Tim. Five years have gone by since the end of the last series.

AngieH50fan1 karma

I'm a HUGE fan of H50 and want to thank you so much for all the great BTS-photos you're sharing. How much fun is it to work with this awesome cast? Do you guys often laugh as hard as you did yesterday during the mud shoot? And, by the way - Did you see the collage I posted on your FB page reminding your fans of this AMA? ;-) Aloha from Germany!

TheRealMasiOka3 karma

It's fun and we joke around a lot. I think yesterday's mud shoot was the most fun we all had and the cast really enjoyed it. I didn't get to roll around in the mud though. But I got big hugs from Daniel and Grace and got slimed.

SugaoKC1 karma

Hi, Masi! _^ Big fan of yours (your AMA actually convinced me to make a reddit account). You probably don't keep track of your fans, but you once replied to me on Twitter, which completely made my day - especially as I don't often see many replies to others. Thanks for taking the time to talk to us!

If I could have dinner with any person in the world today, it would be you. If you could have dinner with anyone, who would you choose?

On a more professional note, if you were hiring another artist for Mobius, would you give preference to speed or skill? Also, when looking at portfolios, exactly what kinds of things are you hoping to see?

And in honor of National Dog Day, are you fond of dogs in general? Any personal most liked/disliked kinds? I presume you're too busy to even keep a fish these days, but did you ever own a pet growing up?

TheRealMasiOka2 karma

My dinner might be with Charlie Chaplin or Thomas Edison.

Re: hiring, it would be more about fitting into our team well. www.mobiusdigitalgames.com would have updates if are ever hiring.

I love dogs. Corgi, chow chows, and akitas in particular. I owned a chow growing up. I'm allergic to cats though.

MarkardFowl1 karma

What should we be looking forward to most about your role in Heroes Reborn?

TheRealMasiOka6 karma

Heroes Reborn. Nuff said.

Hothlin1 karma

Using teleporting powers only (no time travel!), who would win in a fight, Nightcrawler or Future Hiro?

TheRealMasiOka6 karma

I think Nightcrawler. He doesn't have to blink/squint/genie head bop everytime he teleports.

Il_Gigante_Buono1 karma

Do you have any advice for someone who wants to get in to the special effect industry as a programmer?

TheRealMasiOka3 karma

I don't know about the current market, but in my days, there were much need for programmers and we were very specialized. It was a niche market.

The sad part is, because an VFX house isn't a software company yet the effects typically demand new technology, we would create new technology for the show which becomes obsolete in two years or so when Maya, Arete, Arnold, or any of the big software guys just turns it into a feature.

But the cool thing is, you have a shot at winning an Oscar for programming. That was one of my first motivations.

H50Fan1 karma

You can reveal some storyline for Max in 6 season of Hawaii Five-0?

TheRealMasiOka5 karma

We just started filming. We're on episode 5, and so far I've talked about the reasons of death for each episode I've been in.

I do know I'll have another Keanu themed Halloween episode, and I will be wearing short green pants in another episode. Don't know what lies for Max beyond that.

Leath_Hedger1 karma

Hi Masi! Thanks for doing an AMA :D 1. How do you feel your life has changed the most since becoming a house-hold name/recognizable person? 2. Do you have an interest in directing and if so, what would be your ideal debut film? 3. What's your favorite Japanese food?? Thank you Hirosan!

TheRealMasiOka5 karma

  1. Been given incredible opportunities to meet and experience people that I would never been able to have. But also I lose my privacy. We're all human beings and we have horrible days, but when in public, there is a certain expectation of us. We don't want to disappoint fans, but we need people to know that we're human as well with flaws (sometime huge flaws).

  2. Yes! Eventually it would be great to direct. I would love to direct a film based on a Japanese property so I can do it justice, as a fan, when bringing it to a Hollywood market. And of course, Star Wars would be nice. I grew up with that, changed my life, and went to ILM so I can work on it.

  3. Sushi! And mom's cooking.

Tucana661 karma

Knowing you worked in the visual f/x field, have you returned to it since finishing the first run of "Heroes"?

Btw, good to see you back on TV! :)

TheRealMasiOka1 karma

Haven't delved right into it, but I often do go talk to VFX houses regarding the movie projects I'm producing.

Shamwhoo1 karma

What is your favorite meal?

TheRealMasiOka3 karma

I like Japanese food.

liamquane1 karma

Hi Mr. Oka! I'm a huge fan! Can I ask; what is the best thing a director can do for you on set? :~)

TheRealMasiOka1 karma

Have a clear vision and collaborate with us. Everyone wants to give input because they want to make something great. I always like to do a take the way the Director envisioned it, and I always ask to do a take that I envisioned it. Usually it inspires each other and we find something great in between.

mlkelty1 karma

Can you help me with a crossword puzzle? 5 letters.

"Showing one's vulnerability; a ________ in one's armor".

TheRealMasiOka3 karma


Thanks for watching Scrubs :)

NorbitGorbit1 karma

are there any uniquely japanese comedy performance forms you think could be exported to the US?

TheRealMasiOka3 karma

Possibly Manzai. It's more like vaudeville, but the straight man usually slaps the funny man lightly.

Or just getting plain slapped in the balls. In Japan we have "geinin" who are more comedians who react rather than comedic actors.

H50Fan0 karma

Mindy Shaw will appear in Season 6? Sabrina will return in Season 6?Do you know anything about this?

TheRealMasiOka1 karma

Nope. Don't know. Haven't gotten those scripts yet.

reginaldledoo-6 karma

how big is your dick ?

TheRealMasiOka16 karma