Minorities in cartoons: George Takei

Kevin Keller #6
“Kevin Keller” #6 (January 2013). Art by Dan Parent.

This week’s minorities in cartoons entry is George Takei, the Japanese-American actor most famous for his role as Lt. Hikaru Sulu on “Star Trek.”

Background

Besides his role in the various “Star Trek” movies and TV series, Takei is known for his work in promoting gay and lesbian rights; Takei fully came out as gay in 2005, though his sexuality had been an “open secret” for years.

Takei also is known for his work on promoting Japanese-American culture and history, including the history of the US’ Japanese-American internment camps of World War II, in which Takei himself and his family were placed.

Takei’s served as a spokesperson for LGBT rights group Human Rights Campaign, and is also a member of the board of trustees for Los Angeles’ Japanese American National Museum.

Takei’s also been fairly active in voice acting in recent years, in addition to his role on radio’s “The Howard Stern Show.” Among the cartoon appearances of Takei include:

  • The Simpsons: Takei’s voiced several minor characters in the series, including sushi restaurant waiter Akira in a second-season episode. Hank Azaria’s largely voiced Akira since, however.
  • Mulan: Voiced one of Mulan’s ancestors.
  • Kim Possible: Takei voiced “Master Sensei,” a recurring character who mentors Ron Stoppable to preparing him for his “ultimate destiny,” which involves Ron making use of his dormant “mystical monkey power.”
  • Futurama: Takei appeared in this series as himself, having survived until the 31st century, in an episode parodying various tropes from the original “Star Trek.”
  • Star Trek: The Animated Series: The 1970s Filmation-animated “Star Trek” series featured Takei returning to voice Lt. Sulu.
  • Kevin Keller: Takei appears as himself in Archie’s “Kevin Keller” #6 (January 2013), where he visits Riverdale High School upon hearing of a report Kevin wrote about Takei’s work on LGBT rights.

(Updated 11/18/16)

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