Tanaka was born in Pretoria, South Africa and is of Zimbabwean descent. He is a year 13 student at Francis Douglas Memorial College in New Plymouth. He has played Claudio from Much Ado About Nothing, Mercutio from Romeo & Juliet in Shakespeare Globe Centre New Zealand University of Otago Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival (SGCNZ UOSWSF) in 2011 and 2012 respectively and was selected to attend SGCNZ National Shakespeare Schools Production for playing First Clown from Hamlet in 2013. He has been awarded the Examiner’s Cup thrice for his Trinity Exams and will be sitting his ATCL Diploma in Speech & Drama this year. Tanaka's other interests include singing and rapping. He aspires to continue acting and being involved in theatre in the future.
Tanaka is one of the 24 students selected from over 5500 secondary students to be members of the prestigious Shakespeare Globe Centre New Zealand Young Shakespeare Company 2014 (SGCNZ YSC 2014). This group of young people, chosen to represent New Zealand, will travel to the UK from 4-23 July 2014, where they will undertake intensive theatre workshops and rehearsals culminating in the public performance of an hour of a Shakespeare play on stage at Shakespeare’s Globe, London.