2006-09-16

The Japanese connection.



George Takei was born in Los Angeles, California in 1937. In 1942, the Takei family was sent to Rohwer, an internment camp in Arkansas, then were later transferred to Tule Lake War Relocation Center in California. Despite this experience, the family developed a renewed dedication to remain involved in the American democratic process. He and his family returned to Los Angeles at the end of World War II.

Before there was Star Trek for George Takei ("Hikaru Sulu"), there was the King of Monsters, the one and only Godzilla. He began his career as a voice-over actor, providing English dubbing for Japanese monster movies in the 1950s.

In November 2004, Takei was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun from Emperor Akihito for his contributions to U.S.-Japanese relations. He is on the Board of Directors for the Japanese-American National museum in Arkansas. Each of the actors provided interviews and these are shown between episodes. Mr. Takei spoke of his visit to this museum and his trek through the cemetery there. There were many grave markers of Japanese-American babies who were as yet unnamed. And there was a large monument dedicated to Japanese servicemen who fought for the US in WWII.

As hinted in my last post, in October 2005, Takei revealed in an issue of Frontiers magazine that he is gay, and has been in a committed relationship with his partner, Brad Altman, for the last eighteen years.

Due to Takei's very distinctive voice and enunciation, his voice had been frequently used in soundbites on the Howard Stern radio show (primarily in excerpts from his audio book, which would be cut together and used for humorous effect). As such, he had become something of a cult figure on the show. Since January 9, 2006 Takei has been the official announcer for the Howard Stern Show on Sirius Radio.

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