Interview: actor/activist George Takei

Lt Sulu copy

George Takei got his big break as an actor when in 1965 he was cast as Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu in the American television show Star Trek. Although Star Trek ran for only three seasons, it continued on in syndication for years, and spawned an additional five television series, 12 films and dozens of video games.

Takei continues to work as an actor, but people under 40 are more likely to know him for his political activism than for his acting.

Aged five, Takei and his family were interned with tens of thousands of other Japanese-Americans during World War Two, and the injustice of the experience helped make him a political activist. Takei has been prominent in commemorating and preserving the history of the internment, but he found a cause even closer to his heart in 2005, when then-Governor  Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a California proposition to legalize gay marriage.

Like many Americans, Takei had kept his homosexuality hidden for fear of damaging his career, but angered by Schwarzenegger’s veto, he took up the banner of equal rights for the LGBT community. This year, he came to Japan in June, which in the United States is LGBT Pride Month, to share his experiences of “coming out” as a gay man, and to urge Japanese people to fight for their own rights as well.






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