HomeArts & EntertainmentHow ‘Star Trek’ Impacted George Takei’s Activism

How ‘Star Trek’ Impacted George Takei’s Activism

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Activist and actor George Takei is seen at the AIDS Monument Groundbreaking

Though George Takei began his acting career more than a decade before he played Lieutenant Sulu in “Star Trek: The Original Series,” he didn’t truly become a superstar until that role. Like nearly all of his costars, “Star Trek” became the defining role of his career. Though he’s had dozens of roles since TOS, to most, Takei is still known as Hikaru Sulu.

However, Takei is also well known for his activism. Takei is a vocal advocate for human rights and civil rights, inspired by his own experiences with the atrocities within the Japanese internment camps. Takei is also an outspoken champion of LGBTQIA rights. Takei came out in 2005 and revealed that he and his partner, Brad, had been together since the 80s. Since then, he’s used his platform to criticize California’s Prop 8, advocate for same-sex marriage on the federal level, and support local LGBTQIA organizations.

In a recent interview with a local CBS affiliate, Takei revealed how “Star Trek” impacted his activism.

‘Star Trek’ Gave Takei a ‘Platform’

George Takei Shares His Best of Star TrekThe actor discusses his favourite movie and TV episode, both of which feature lots of Mr. Sulu. Star Trek 50th Anniversary TV and Movie Collection Blu-ray Boxset is out now. JJ Abrams’ Star Trek Series in 5 Minutes youtube.com/watch?v=m4K_1no6jSo For the Love of Spock: Leonard Nimoy’s Son on His Movie Valentine to His Dad -…2016-10-10T16:00:03Z

During a recent trip to Ticonderoga, NY to visit a fan-built replica of the Enterprise bridge, Takei took the time to speak with local news station WCAX. The reporter asked Takei what it was like to share his story with Trek fans, as he’d done during the Trekconderoga, the yearly event held at the Trek landmark.

Takei replied that without “Star Trek,” his truth wouldn’t have reached the world.

“I am eternally grateful to Star Trek because it’s Star Trek and its popularity that gave me the platform, gave me the amplification of my voice to talk about my childhood imprisonment,” Takei said. “I would not have had it otherwise.”

Because of his celebrity, Takei’s story shone a light on a dark period of history that is largely ignored in history classes. His celebrity also made him an influential voice in the fight for LGBTQIA rights.

Takei’s Experiences Inspired a Play & a Graphic Novel

Broadway Video: ALLEGIANCE, Starring George Takei, Lea Salonga & Telly LeungGet tickets to ALLEGIANCE: broadway.com/shows/allegiance/ Video clips from new Broadway musical ALLEGIANCE, Starring George Takei, Lea Salonga & Telly Leung.2015-11-05T21:23:28Z

In 2008, Takei met Jay Kuo and Lorenzo Thione at the theater. When Kuo asked Takei why he was visibly upset by one of the musical numbers in the show they’d seen, Takei told Kuo about his time in the Japanese internment camps. Kuo told Takei that his story should be dramatized so people could truly see what it was like to live this dark period in American history. Takei agreed and development on “Allegiance” began.

“Allegiance” isn’t exactly Takei’s story, but it’s inspired by his experiences. It follows a multigenerational Japanese family as they’re taken from their home and put into an internment camp. The events in the story are dramatized, but they are all based on facts.

The musical premiered in October of 2012 at the Globe Theater in San Diego, according to a feature on the show published by the North Country Times. Takei starred in the show himself, playing the role of the grandfather and the older version of the grandson.

Takei told the North Country Times that he made the musical because it was his “mission in life to raise awareness on the Japanese internment.”

In 2019, Takei decided to tell his own story with all the non-dramatized details. He wrote and published the graphic novel “They Called Us Enemy.” He collaborated with authors Justin Eisinger and Steven Scott to bring his story to the page.

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