The scene in question takes place in Okinawa, with Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) returning to Japan in the wake of the events of season 2. There, he catches back up with Kumiko (Tamlyn Tomita), Daniel’s love interest from Karate Kid Part II and niece of Mister Miyagi’s old flame. The two read Miyagi’s last letter together.
“I am sorry to tell you that I am back in the hospital,” the letter says. “Please do not worry. There is nothing to do besides watch TV and think — think about family, think about us, think about where I have been, think about where I am going.” The letter continues, describing Miyagi’s joy at having known Daniel and the familial feeling that he experienced watching his student become a father, and an impressive amount of crying gets passed between the performers on screen. Between the revelation that a beloved pop culture icon spent his final days alone in the hospital and the real-life emotion they probably felt talking about their colleague, it makes a lot of sense.
Ralph Macchio hasn’t been shy about his desire to make Miyagi’s presence felt in the series, and this sequence definitely does the trick. With the end of Cobra Kai‘s third season pointing towards a bright future for Miyagi-do Karate, it seems likely that the feeling will keep going strong for as long as the series continues.