Ishida has carved out a quite well-respected career as a character actor and has roles in various projects over the course of his thirty plus career in both films and television.
His most recent role was in 2005, when he a bit part in the television movie Reading Room. He has had guest parts in such TV shows as Nurses (1992), Baywatch (1992), Knots Landing (1989), The A-Team (1986), Trapper John, M.D. (1984), and The Rockford Files (1977). He first got his start in television in appearances on the hit CBS-TV show Hawaii Five-O, appearing in three episodes in different parts from 1973-1975. Jim also appeared in a bit part as a Bali Majestic Hotel guest in the Ken Kwapis directed film, Dunston Checks In, in 1996. He also had a substantial role in the hit film Armageddon (1998).
Born the son of James Takeshi Ashida and the late Sachiko "Sue" Ishida, Ishida and his family were onetime detainees at a Japanese internment camp in Rohwer, Arkansas for about a year and a half during World War II, and then released shortly after the conflict ended in 1945. Ishida's mother, Sue, worked for many years in the nearby Lodi, California (where Ishida and his siblings were also raised) Unified School District as a teacher, librarian, and culminating and as Coordinator of the Instructional Materials Center there in 1982.