Ryan Potter (born September 12, 1995) is an American actor, voice actor, and martial artist. Beginning his career as a professional actor at the age of fifteen, Potter is perhaps best known for his starring role as Mike Fukanaga on the Nickelodeon martial-arts themed comedy-action series Supah Ninjas, and for voicing the lead character, Hiro Hamada, in the Marvel-based, Disney animated film Big Hero 6.
Potter was born on September 12, 1995 in Portland, Oregon. His father is Japanese and his mother Jordanna, whose surname is "Potter", is white. He is Jewish on his mother's side. He was raised in Tokyo, Japan, until returning to the United States when he was seven. He was raised by his single mother. Potter grew up fluent in both Japanese and English and the age of eight, he began studying White Tiger kung fu, a discipline which he would continue to pursue throughout his teenage years. Other childhood interests reportedly included baseball, skateboarding, and playing the drums. His first language was Japanese and his second is English.
In 2010, Potter began his acting career at the age of fifteen when he received a leaflet in his kung fu class announcing Nickelodeon was looking for teenagers to star in a new martial-arts themed program entitled Supah Ninjas. After a few days of considering an acting career, Potter decided to audition, eventually landing the series' lead role of Mike Fukanaga, a typical American teen who discovers he's a descendent from a long line of ninjas. In March 2012, Nickelodeon announced it had renewed Supah Ninjas for a second season.
Following the premiere of Supah Ninjas in January 2011, Potter became one of Nickelodeon's popular young stars, featured in numerous teen magazines and making personal appearances in the network's special, Nickelodeon's Worldwide Day of Play and its reboot of the 90s game show Figure It Out as well as an appearance on its sister network's broadcast of the 2011 TeenNick HALO Awards. In March 2012, Potter began a recurring role on Fred: The Show, portraying Fred's best friend.
In 2011, Potter founded the organization "Toy Box of Hope", a charity which holds an annual holiday collection drive for children in homeless shelters and transitional living facilities in the Los Angeles area. During the second annual event in 2012, Potter spoke of the focus of the organization, stating "[W]hat we want to do is provide bedsheets, jackets and toys to [homeless shelters], so these kids are like, 'Wow, someone cares, there's hope.'" In 2012, Potter was reportedly planning to expand Toy Box of Hope to include a "Birthday Party Box" program.
In June 2012, Potter became one of the youngest celebrities to lend his voice to California's No H8 Campaign in support of same-sex marriage. When explaining his involvement, sixteen-year-old Potter stated "I know what it feels like to be bullied. And I will not tolerate the thought of anyone, for any reason, being bullied. It starts with young people, and it can end with young people. As we learn to embrace our diversity, we become stronger, more tolerant. The differences are beautiful. The differences matter. It's what makes life an adventure."