NPR logo

Some Directions With George Takei

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/464603953/464608520" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Some Directions With George Takei

Some Directions With George Takei

Some Directions With George Takei

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/464603953/464608520" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Actor George Takei on Ask Me Another at The Bell House Mike Katzif/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Mike Katzif/NPR

Actor George Takei on Ask Me Another at The Bell House

Mike Katzif/NPR

When Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry cast George Takei as Lt. Sulu in the original TV series, he intended for Takei to represent the entire continent of Asia. "Roddenberry had this vision," Takei told Ophira Eisenberg on the Bell House stage in Brooklyn. "The Starship Enterprise [was] a metaphor for Starship Earth... [Sulu] was devised as an Asian character. [Roddenberry] wanted to find a name that was Pan Asian, that suggested all of Asia. And he found off the coast of the Philippines the Sulu Sea, and he thought, "Ahhh, the waters of a sea touch all shores."

Since his Star Trek days, Takei has gone on to enjoy an incredibly successful career, and his mission consistently parallels Roddenberry's: celebrate diversity. His latest project, the Broadway musical Allegiance, is based loosely on his family's imprisonment in internment camps during the Second World War. Takei told Eisenberg that the show isn't all doom and gloom. "Most people burst out guffawing when I tell them that [it's a musical]. It's because the other part of the internment camp experience is resilience. We balance the suffering and the pain, as well as the strength and tenacity to find joy. Life has to go on."

For his VIP game, Takei had to answer a series of questions wherein the answer was mashed up with his favorite catchphrase — Oh My.


Highlights

Upon arriving to The Bell House in Brooklyn:

In the middle of the warehouse district in Brooklyn. I had no idea you all existed right here!

On the secret to happiness:

My grandmother lived to 104-years-old, and part of her success was she woke up every morning to a brand new day. She said every morning is a new gift. Her favorite hobby was collecting birthdays.

Heard in George Takei: Oh Myyy

We no longer support commenting on NPR.org stories, but you can find us every day on Facebook, Twitter, email, and many other platforms. Learn more or contact us.