George Takei facts for kids
Quick facts for kids
Takei at the 2019 GalaxyCon Minneapolis
April 20, 1937
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Education||University of California, Los Angeles (BA, MA)|
George Takei (/təˈkeɪ/; Japanese: ジョージ・タケイ; born Hosato Takei (武井 穂郷), April 20, 1937) is an American actor, author and activist known for his role as Hikaru Sulu, helmsman of the fictional starship USS Enterprise in the television series Star Trek and subsequent films.
Takei was born to Japanese American parents, with whom he lived in U.S.-run internment camps during World War II. He began pursuing acting in college, which led in 1965 to the role of Sulu, to which he returned periodically into the 1990s. Upon coming out as gay in 2005, he became a prominent proponent of LGBT rights and active in state and local politics. He has been a vocal advocate of the rights of immigrants, in part through his work on the 2012 Broadway show Allegiance, about the internment experience.
Takei has won several awards and accolades for his work on human rights and Japan–United States relations, including his work with the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, California.
Takei was born Hosato Takei on April 20, 1937, in Los Angeles, California, to Japanese American parents Fumiko Emily Nakamura (born in Sacramento, California) and Takekuma Norman Takei (born in Yamanashi Prefecture), who worked in real estate. His father named him George after King George VI of the United Kingdom, whose coronation took place in 1937, shortly after Takei's birth. In 1942, following the signing of Executive Order 9066, the Takei family was forced to live in the converted horse stables of Santa Anita Park before being sent to the Rohwer War Relocation Center for internment in Rohwer, Arkansas. The internment camp was in swamplands and surrounded by barbed wire fences. The family was later transferred to the Tule Lake War Relocation Center in California for internment.
Takei had several relatives living in Japan during World War II. Among them, he had an aunt and infant cousin who lived in Hiroshima and who were both killed during the atomic bombing that destroyed the city. In Takei's own words, "My aunt and baby cousin [were] found burnt in a ditch in Hiroshima." At the end of World War II, after leaving Tule internment camp, Takei's family were left without any bank accounts, home or family business; this left them unable to find any housing, so they lived on Skid Row, Los Angeles for five years. He attended Mount Vernon Junior High School and served as Boys Senior Board President at Los Angeles High School. He was a member of Boy Scout Troop 379 of the Koyasan Buddhist Temple.
Upon graduation from high school, Takei enrolled in the University of California, Berkeley, where he studied architecture. Later, he transferred to the University of California, Los Angeles, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in theater in 1960 and a Master of Arts in theater in 1964. He also attended the Shakespeare Institute at Stratford-upon-Avon in England and Sophia University in Tokyo. In Hollywood, he studied acting at the Desilu Workshop.
Takei began his career in Hollywood in the late 1950s, providing voiceover for characters in the English dubbing of the Japanese monster films Rodan (1956, US: 1957) and Godzilla Raids Again (1955, US: Gigantis the Fire Monster, 1959). He appeared in the anthology television series Playhouse 90, the Perry Mason episode "The Case of the Blushing Pearls" (both 1959), and a handful of times in Hawaiian Eye during the 1960–61 season, including an eponymous episode as Thomas Jefferson Chu. He originated the role of George in the musical Fly Blackbird!, but when the show traveled from Los Angeles to Off-Broadway the West Coast actors were forced to audition and the role went to William Sugihara instead. Eventually Sugihara had to give up the role and Takei closed out the show's final months.
Takei subsequently appeared alongside such actors as Frank Sinatra in Never So Few (uncredited, 1959), Richard Burton in Ice Palace, Jeffrey Hunter in Hell to Eternity (1960), Alec Guinness in A Majority of One (1961), James Caan in Red Line 7000 (1965), and Cary Grant in Walk, Don't Run (1966).
He starred as a landscaper of Japanese descent in "The Encounter", a 1964 episode of the Twilight Zone. CBS considered the episode's theme of US-Japanese hatred "too disturbing" to include when the series was syndicated. "The Encounter" was not seen after its initial airing until it was released on video in 1992 as part of the Treasures of the Twilight Zone collection.
Takei guest-starred in an episode of Mission: Impossible during that show's first season in 1966. He also appeared in two Jerry Lewis comedies, The Big Mouth (uncredited, 1967) and Which Way to the Front? (1970). Takei narrated the documentary The Japanese Sword as the Soul of the Samurai (1969).
In 1965, producer Gene Roddenberry cast Takei as astrosciences physicist Sulu in the second pilot for the original Star Trek television series. When the series was accepted by NBC, Takei continued in the role of Sulu, who was now the ship's helmsman.
It was intended that Sulu's role be expanded in the second season, but Takei's role in The Green Berets (1968) as Captain Nim, a South Vietnamese Army officer alongside John Wayne's character, took him away from Star Trek filming and he only appeared in half the episodes of that season. Walter Koenig as Pavel Chekov substituted for him in the other episodes. When Takei returned, the two men had to share a dressing room and a single episode script. Takei admitted in an interview that he initially felt threatened by Koenig's presence, but later grew to be friends with him as the image of the officers sharing the ship's helm panel side-by-side became iconic.
Takei has since appeared in numerous television and film productions, reprising his role as Sulu in Star Trek: The Animated Series from 1973 to 1974, and in the first six Star Trek films, the last of which promoted his character to captain of his own starship. Meanwhile, he became a regular on the science fiction convention circuit throughout the world. He has also acted and provided voice acting for several science fiction computer games, including Freelancer and numerous Star Trek games. In 1996, in honor of the 30th anniversary of Star Trek, he played Captain Sulu in an episode of Star Trek: Voyager.
Takei has spoken about personal difficulties with William Shatner. However, in an interview in the 2004 DVD set for the second season of Star Trek, Takei said of Shatner: "He's just a wonderful actor who created a singular character. No one could have done Kirk the way Bill did. His energy and his determination, that's Bill. And that's also Captain Kirk." He appeared alongside Shatner on the 2006 Comedy Central Roast of William Shatner in which the two mocked each other in good humor and embraced, Takei noting that he was "honored" to be there "despite our past tensions".
Takei is also one of six actors (the others being Jonathan Frakes, Kate Mulgrew, Michael Dorn, Avery Brooks and Majel Barrett) to lend his voice to the 1997 video game Star Trek: Captain's Chair, reprising his role of Captain Hikaru Sulu when the player visits the bridge of the original Enterprise. In the summer of 2007, Takei played Sulu in the fan-made Internet based series Star Trek New Voyages: Phase II episode "World Enough and Time".
After Star Trek
In 1979, Takei co-wrote the science-fiction novel Mirror Friend, Mirror Foe with Robert Asprin.
Takei's autobiography, To the Stars, was published in 1994. At one point, he had hoped to do a movie or telefilm based on chapters dealing with the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, of which he had personal experience.
In January 2007, Takei began appearing on Heroes, as Kaito Nakamura, a successful Japanese businessman and father to one of the main characters, time/space-travelling Hiro Nakamura, who also happens to be an obsessive fan of Star Trek. In the first episode in which Takei appears, "Distractions", the license plate of the limo he arrives in is NCC-1701, another reference to the Star Trek series. He appeared in all four seasons of the show.
Takei appeared on the first episode of Secret Talents of the Stars, singing country music, but was not selected to proceed to the next stage. However the point became moot as the series was abruptly cancelled after the opening episode.
In 2008 he appeared on the 8th season of the reality TV series I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! on the British ITV television network. He lived in the Australian bush for 21 days and nights, doing tasks along with fellow campers in order to gain better meals and survive eviction from the show. His politeness and calmness made him popular with the other campers. Out of 12 participants the British public voted him into 3rd place behind 2nd placed Martina Navratilova and winner Joe Swash.
In 2009, Takei appeared in an episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars as the Neimoidian general, Lok Durd, the first time a leading actor from Star Trek worked in a Star Wars production. In April that year, he voiced a fictitious version of himself in the NASA animated short "Robot Astronomy Talk Show: Gravity and the Great Attractor", part of the web-series IRrelevant Astronomy produced by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. Takei (and his husband Brad Altman) appeared in a documentary short titled George & Brad in Bed (2009) that profiled their relationship and was a guest on NPR's Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me!.
In 2010, Takei recorded a series of public service announcements for the Social Security Administration to help promote applying online for benefits.
In 2011, he appeared with husband Brad Altman in All Star Mr & Mrs, a show on ITV in Britain presented by Phillip Schofield and Fern Britton.
Takei was one of the celebrities in the 12th season of The Apprentice. He was fired in the third episode, which aired on March 4, 2012.
Takei was featured with Martin Sheen and Jamie Lee Curtis in a performance of Dustin Lance Black's play 8—a staged reenactment of the federal trial Perry v. Brown that overturned California's Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage—as William Tam. The production was held at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre and broadcast on YouTube to raise money for the American Foundation for Equal Rights.
In 2012, Takei starred in the musical Allegiance, which Takei described as his legacy project. The show is based on Takei's own experiences and research into the Japanese American internment of World War II and premiered at the Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park in San Diego, California. Allegiance debuted on Broadway on November 8, 2015, to mixed reviews. The Guardian said it was "unexceptional though often affecting"; Deadline called it "a triumph of a rare sort, shedding light in a dark corner of our history with uncommon generosity of spirit". The New York Times praised the "well-intentioned and polished" play for tackling a difficult subject while trying at the same time to entertain its audience, but said Allegiance "struggles to balance both ambitions, and doesn't always find an equilibrium". The Associated Press said Allegiance tries to tackle internment camps, discrimination and war, "but does so unsuccessfully in a bombastic and generic Broadway musical". Variety wrote, "In their sincere efforts to 'humanize' their complex historical material, the creatives have oversimplified and reduced it to generic themes." The Hollywood Reporter said "the powerful sentiments involved are too often flattened by the pedestrian lyrics and unmemorable melodies of Jay Kuo's score". USA Today called Allegiance "as corny as Kansas in August and as obvious as Lady Gaga on a red carpet. But darned if it won't get a grip on your heartstrings."
In 2013, Takei was a guest judge in the TBS reality show King of the Nerds, in which he is one of three judges of the Cosplay Competition.
Beginning September 17, 2013, Takei hosted Takei's Take, a web series reviewing consumer technology in a manner for viewers over 50 years in age. The series is produced by AARP.
Takei made an appearance in issue no. 6 of Kevin Keller where the titular character cites Takei as one of his heroes. Upon reading about Kevin with his partner, Takei decides to travel to Riverdale and surprise Kevin. Takei also wrote the foreword for the second volume of the Kevin Keller comics.
Takei appeared in the viral video for Bonnie McKee's song "American Girl" lip syncing the lyrics to her song.
Starting in 2013, Takei became spokesperson for Rooms To Go, an American furniture retailer. He was seen in a series of television commercials where he used his famous "Oh Myyy!" tag line.
In January 2014, Jennifer Kroot's documentary film about Takei, To Be Takei, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. He also participated in Do I Sound Gay?, a documentary film by David Thorpe about stereotypes of gay men's speech patterns.
In 2015, he produced a YouTube mini-series It Takeis Two featuring himself and Altman, described as a "parody-scripted reality series" that also includes Internet culture. The series ran for nine episodes.
In early 2017 Takei was featured in television commercials promoting the restaurant Pizza Hut.
In 2019, Takei published They Called Us Enemy, a 208-page graphic autobiography with a particular focus of his family's time in internment, co-written with Justin Eisinger and Steven Scott and illustrated by Harmony Becker. The novel received an American Book Award in 2020. He narrated the documentary Who's on Top? in 2020. In June 2021, dean of the United States Air Force Academy Brig. Gen. Linell Letendre announced that They Called Us Enemy, which details both Takei's struggle with internment and understanding of American democracy, would be part of the Academy's new reading initiative for cadets. On February 23, 2022, George Takei was the NCLS Kickoff speaker at USAFA, elaborating on his book and how his past influences his future.
Personal life and activism
In October 2005, Takei revealed in an issue of Frontiers magazine that he is gay and had been in a committed relationship with his partner, Brad Altman, for 18 years; the move was prompted by then California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's veto of same-sex marriage legislation. He said, "It's not really coming out, which suggests opening a door and stepping through. It's more like a long, long walk through what began as a narrow corridor that starts to widen." ..... In an on-air telephone interview with Howard Stern in December 2005, Takei explained, "[We (gay people)] are masculine, we are feminine, we are caring, we are abusive. We are just like straight people, in terms of our outward appearance and our behavior. The only difference is that we are oriented to people of our own gender." Takei also described Altman as "a saint" for helping to take care of Takei's terminally ill mother.
Takei currently serves as a spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign "Coming Out Project". In 2006 he embarked on a nationwide "Equality Trek" speaking tour sharing his life as a gay Japanese American, his 18-year relationship with Altman, Frontrunners, and Star Trek, encouraging others to share their own personal stories. ..... This was aired on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Takei also appeared on the Google float at San Francisco Pride 2007.
In 2014, Takei raised $100,000 for an adult Eagle Scout to start a web series, titled Camp Abercorn, documenting his experiences in the Boy Scouts of America after he was forced to leave, due to their anti-gay adult policy. Takei stated, "As a former Boy Scout myself, it pains me deeply that the BSA still boots out gay Scouts when they turn 18. This web series will help educate and inform, as well as entertain. That gets a big thumbs up from me. Let's make this happen."
In 2015, after the announcement of the U.S. Supreme Court same-sex marriage decision, Obergefell v. Hodges, Takei was critical of Clarence Thomas's dissent and called Thomas "a clown in blackface". After defending his comments for over a week, Takei apologized for his wording.
Takei was criticized for his response on Twitter to the shooting of Steve Scalise in June 2017. Calling Scalise "bigoted" and "homophobic", Takei criticized his previous opposition to same-sex marriage and commented that Crystal Griner, the officer who saved Scalise, was a lesbian. Takei's response was widely criticized, with Jake Tapper calling it "unfathomable".
On May 16, 2008, Takei announced that he and Altman would be getting married. They were the first same-sex couple to apply for a marriage license in West Hollywood. On June 17, shortly after Takei and Altman obtained their marriage license, they spread the news by holding a press conference outside the West Hollywood city auditorium. They were married on September 14, 2008, at the Democracy Forum of the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, of which Takei is one of the founders and serves as a member of its board of trustees. Walter Koenig was his best man, and Nichelle Nichols, eschewing the title "matron of honor", was "best woman". Reverend William Briones of the Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple of Los Angeles presided.
Takei and Altman appeared in a celebrity edition of The Newlywed Game TV show, which the GSN cable network aired October 13, 2009. They were the first same-sex couple to be featured on the show. Takei and Altman won the game, winning $10,000 for their charity, the Japanese American National Museum.
In February 2010, Takei and Altman became the second same-sex couple to appear on the British game show All Star Mr & Mrs, losing to rugby star Phil Vickery and wife Kate.
Takei was an alternate delegate from California to the 1972 Democratic National Convention. The following year he ran for a seat on the Los Angeles City Council, finishing second of five candidates in the special election and losing by 1,647 votes; the winner, David Cunningham Jr., received 42% of the votes cast and Takei received 33%. During the campaign, Takei's bid for the city council caused one local station to stop running the repeats of the original Star Trek series until after the election and KNBC-TV to substitute the premiere episode of the Star Trek animated series scheduled by the network with another in which his character did not appear, in attempts to avoid violating the FCC's equal-time rule. The other candidates in the race complained that Takei's distinctive and powerful voice alone, even without his image on television every week, created an unfair advantage.
Los Angeles mayor Tom Bradley later appointed Takei to the board of directors of the Southern California Rapid Transit District, making him part of the team that initiated and planned the Los Angeles subway system. Takei was called away from the set of Star Trek: The Motion Picture in 1978 to cast the tie-breaking vote for the creation of the Los Angeles subway system. He served on the board from 1973 to 1984.
In 1980, Takei began a campaign for California State Assemblyman (District 46) from the greater Los Angeles area. However, he chose to withdraw after his opponent challenged the airing of episodes of Star Trek on local television under the Federal Communications Commission's Fairness Doctrine "equal time" regulations, saying also that "this is the wrong time to interrupt my career as an actor and author." .....
In November 2010, Takei released a PSA blasting Clint McCance, who was at the time the vice president of the school board for the Midland School District in southern Independence County, Arkansas. In the video, Takei repeatedly called McCance "a douchebag". Takei's video was made as a response to McCance making blatantly homophobic remarks, stating that he "enjoys the fact that [gay people] give each other AIDS and die". ..... McCance later resigned his seat on the Midland school board. Takei was praised for his response to McCance and garnered much media attention with the PSA.
In May 2011, in response to a Tennessee State Legislature bill that prohibited school teachers or students from using any language that alludes to the existence of homosexuality, Takei released another PSA in which he offered up his name, suggesting that people could just substitute that for 'gay'. For example, they could support Takei Marriage or watch Takei Pride Parades; or even use slurs such as That's so Takei.
Takei marked the 70th anniversary of the internment of Americans of Japanese descent, including himself as a child, by asking his readers to contact the US Congress to block S. 1253, the National Defense Authorization Act, that "would authorize a similar sweeping authority, granted to the President, to order the detention – without charge or trial – of any person even suspected of being associated with a 'terrorist organization'".
On December 8, 2015, following Donald Trump's call to ban all Muslims from traveling to the United States, Takei appeared on MSNBC to denounce him: "It's ironic that he made that comment on December 7, Pearl Harbor Day – the very event that put us in those internment camps", Takei said. "[A congressional commission] found that it was three things that brought that about. One was racial hysteria, second was war hysteria and third was failure of political leadership. Donald Trump is the perfect example of that failure. ... What Donald Trump is talking about is something that's going to make his logo 'America disgraced again'." During the transition following Trump's election, Carl Higbie cited the internment of Japanese Americans as a historical precedent for a register of Muslims. Takei described Higbie's comments as "dangerous" and went on to say on The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell that "[r]egistration of any group of people, and certainly registration of Muslims, is a prelude to internment."
On March 31, 2017, Takei announced his intent to challenge Devin Nunes, Republican incumbent House Representative for the 22nd District of California. A few hours later, he acknowledged that it had all been an April Fools' joke and instead announced his support for Jon Ossoff, who was running in Georgia's 6th congressional district special election, 2017. While Ossoff did not win the House seat, he did become Georgia's Senator in 2021.
Takei formerly served as chair of the Council of Governors of East West Players, one of the pioneering Asian Pacific American theaters in the United States, until 2018. That same year, he played the parts of Sam Kimura and Ojii-San in East West Players' and the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center's joint production of Allegiance. Throughout the press tour of the production, he spoke openly about parallels he saw between the WWII-setting of the musical and the current political climate of the United States.
Takei and his husband Brad Altman own a New York City-based digital publication called Second Nexus which publishes "news with commentary from a progressive perspective".
Takei is a Buddhist. His father practiced Zen Buddhism and his mother practiced Shin Buddhism. He kept a small shrine when the family was incarcerated at an internment camp during World War II. After the war, Takei attended Sunday school at Senshin Buddhist Temple in Los Angeles, California. Takei and husband Brad Altman were married in 2008 at a Buddhist ritual performed by the Reverend William Briones.
Takei is an avid Anglophile. On his personal website he said: "Those who know me know that I am an inconvertible Anglophile – or more broadly, a Britanophile, which includes my affection for Scotland and Wales as well. I love things British. My car is British. My wardrobe, to a good extent, is British. I even love the food in London – I think British food has shaken its prevailing perception as indigestible and become quite wonderful. I try to get to Britain for holidays as often as I can. I love things British."
Takei has also gained attention for his Facebook page where his daily posts of humorous pictures (many of which are related to science fiction, LGBT culture and political satire) have attracted over 9 million followers, some of whom are unfamiliar with Takei or Star Trek. He has been lauded as "the funniest guy on Facebook". In September 2013, Takei used his Facebook page to defend Nina Davuluri, who was targeted by a backlash of racist and xenophobic comments after being named Miss America 2014. He later appeared in a joint ABC interview with Davuluri, in which she revealed that she is a Trekkie. Takei told her, "In Star Trek we have this creed: 'Infinite diversity in infinite combinations'. That's what Starfleet was all about so you're a part of that." Davuluri ended the interview by stating, "I have to say 'Live Long and Prosper'" at which point Takei offered her the Vulcan salute, which she returned. However, Takei also attracted criticism from some people with disabilities in 2014 for his posting of a meme on Facebook and Twitter which shows a wheelchair-using woman standing up to reach something from the top shelf in a store and is captioned "there has been a miracle in the alcohol isle" [sic]. Disabled people responded that people need not be paralyzed to need wheelchairs; Takei then removed the post and apologized on Facebook for his comments.
Although Takei was born and raised in California, he spoke both English and Japanese growing up and remains fluent in both languages.
Awards and recognition
In 1986, Takei was inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame with a star at 6681 Hollywood Boulevard for his work in television.
In 2004, the government of Japan conferred upon Takei the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette, which represents the fourth highest of six classes associated with the award. This decoration was presented in acknowledgment of his contributions to US–Japanese relations.
Asteroid 7307 Takei is named in his honor. The citation from the NASA website reads:
7307 Takei. Discovered 1994 Apr. 13 by Y. Shimizu and T. Urata at Nachi-Katsuura.
George Takei (b. 1937) is an actor best known for his role as Mr. Sulu in the original Star Trek television series. He also has a lengthy record of public service through his involvement with organizations such as the Japanese American Citizens League and the Human Rights Campaign. The name was suggested by T. H. Burbine.
Upon learning of the decision to name the asteroid after him, he said, "I am now a heavenly body. I found out about it yesterday. ... I was blown away. It came out of the clear, blue sky—just like an asteroid."
In November 2007, Takei was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the San Diego Asian Film Festival.
In June 2012, the American Humanist Association gave Takei the LGBT Humanist Award.
In May 2014, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation honored Takei with the GLAAD Vito Russo Award, which is presented to an openly LGBT media professional who has made a significant difference in promoting equality for the LGBT community.
In May 2015, the Japanese American National Museum honored Takei with the Distinguished Medal of Honor for Lifetime Achievement and Public Service at the Japanese American National Museum's 2015 Gala Dinner in Los Angeles.
On June 10, 2016, California State University, Los Angeles presented Takei with an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters for his contributions. In 2019, he was awarded the Inkpot Award.
On April 1, 2020, it was announced that Takei would be the final torchbearer for the delayed 2021 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games. On April 2, he announced it was an April Fools' joke.
On September 28, 2022, Takei was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of South Australia in recognition of his distinguished service to the community.
|1957||Rodan! The Flying Monster||Professor Kashiwagi (voiceovers only)||English voice only||U.S. version|
|1959||Godzilla Raids Again||Commander of Landing Craft (voiceovers only)||English voice only||U.S. version|
|Never So Few||Soldier in hospital (uncredited)|
|1960||Hell to Eternity||George|
|1961||A Majority of One||Butler|
|1963||PT-109||Helmsman aboard Japanese destroyer (uncredited)|
|1965||Red Line 7000||Kato|
|1966||Walk, Don't Run||Police Captain|
|1968||The Green Berets||Captain Nim|
|1970||Which Way to the Front?||Yamashita|
|1972||Josie's Castle||Ken Tanaka|
|1979||Star Trek: The Motion Picture||Lt. Commander Sulu|
|1982||Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan||Commander Sulu|
|1984||Star Trek III: The Search for Spock|
|1986||Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home|
|1989||Star Trek V: The Final Frontier|
|Return from the River Kwai||Lieutenant Tanaka|
|1990||Blood Oath/Prisoners of the Sun||Vice-Admiral Baron Takahashi|
|1991||Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country||Captain Sulu|
|1993||Live by the Fist||Uncle Coronado|
|1998||Mulan||First Ancestor (voice)||Animated|
|2008||The Great Buck Howard||Himself|
|Ninja Cheerleaders||Ninja Sensei Hiroshi|
|Futurama: Bender's Game||Himself (voice)||Animated||Cameo|
|You Don't Mess with the Zohan||Himself||Cameo|
|2009||Scooby-Doo! and the Samurai Sword||Old Man Samurai (voice)||Animated|
|2011||Larry Crowne||Dr. Ed Matsutani|
|2012||Strange Frame||Tamadamsa (voice)|
|Space Milkshake||Gary (voice)|
|2013||Free Birds||S.T.E.V.E. (voice)|
|2014||Eat with Me||Himself|
|To Be Takei|
|Axel: The Biggest Little Hero||Elder (voice)|
|The Gettysburg Address|
|2016||Kubo and the Two Strings||Hosato (voice)||Stop-motion|
|2022||Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank||Ohga (voice)||Animated|
|1959||Perry Mason||Toma Sakai||Episode: "The Case of the Blushing Pearls" s3e4|
|1960||Assignment: Underwater||Kenji||Episode: "A Matter of Honor"|
|Hawaiian Eye||Yen Fu||Episode: "Jade Song" s2e5|
|1964||The Twilight Zone||Arthur Takamori||Episode: "The Encounter"|
|My Three Sons||Jimmy Soo||Episode: "My Fair Chinese Lady"|
|1965||My Three Sons||Won Tsun||Episode: "The Hong Kong Story"|
|My Three Sons||Ham Radio Operator||Episode: "Lady in the Air"|
|Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea||Major Lee Cheng||Episode: "The Silent Saboteurs"|
|Death Valley Days||Wong Lee||Episode: "The Book"|
|1966–1969||Star Trek||Lt. Sulu||Main cast, 52 episodes|
|1966||Mission: Impossible||Roger Lee||Episode: "The Carriers"|
|1968||It Takes a Thief||Wo||Episode: "To Catch a Roaring Lion"|
|1969||The Courtship of Eddie's Father||Mr. Sato||Episode: "Gentleman Friend"|
|1970||Marcus Welby, M.D.||Fred||Episode: "To Get Through the Night"|
|1971||Ironside||Tsutomu Watari||Episode: "No Motive for Murder"|
|1973–1974||Star Trek: The Animated Series||Lt. Sulu (voice)||Main role|
|1974||The Six Million Dollar Man||Chin Ling||Episode: "The Coward"|
|1975||Hawaii Five-0||Nathaniel Blake||Episode: "Death's Name Is Sam"|
|1976||Black Sheep Squadron||Maj. Kato||Episode: "Up for Grabs"|
|1986||MacGyver||Dr. Shen Wei||Episode: "The Wish Child"|
|The New Adventures of Jonny Quest||Additional voices|
|1987||Miami Vice||Kenneth Togaru||Episode: "By Hooker by Crook"|
|Murder She Wrote||Bert Tanaka||Episode: "The Bottom Line is Murder"|
|1991–2016||The Simpsons||Restaurant Owner, Akira, Waiter, Wink, The Game Show Host, Himself (voices)||Episodes: "One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish", "Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo", "A Hunka Hunka Burns in Love", "What Animated Women Want" & "The Burns Cage"|
|1995||Kissinger and Nixon||Lê Đức Thọ||Television film|
|1995||Kung Fu: The Legend Continues||Colonel Ong||Episode: "The Return of Sing Ling"|
|1996||3rd Rock from the Sun||Himself||Episode: "Hotel Dick"|
|Spider-Man||Wong (voice)||Episode: "Doctor Strange"|
|Star Trek: Voyager||Capt. Sulu||Episode: "Flashback"|
|1996–1997||Space Cases||Warlord Shank|
|1996–2004||Hey Arnold!||Kyo Heyerdahl (voice)||2 episodes|
|1999||Batman Beyond||Mr. Fixx (voice)||Episodes: "Rebirth: Part 1" & "Rebirth: Part 2"|
|2002–2007||Kim Possible||Master Sensei (voice)||3 episodes|
|2002–2013||Futurama||Himself/Hikaru Sulu (voice)||Episodes: "Where No Fan Has Gone Before", "Proposition Infinity", "Zapp Dingbat" & "Saturday Morning Fun Pit"|
|2002||Jackie Chan Adventures||High Mystic (voice)||Episode: "The Chosen One"|
|2004||Scrubs||Priest||Episode: "My Best Friend's Wedding"|
|2005||Avatar: The Last Airbender||Fire Nation prison warden (voice)||Episode: "Imprisoned"|
|2006||Malcolm in the Middle||Himself||Episode: "Hal Grieves"|
|Psych||Episode: "Shawn vs. the Red Phantom"|
|Will & Grace||Episode: "Buy, Buy Baby"|
|2007||Cory in the House||Ronald||Episode: "Air Force One Too Many" (missing info)|
|El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera||The Seventh Samurai (voice)||Episode: "Rising Son"|
|2008||Star Wars: The Clone Wars||General Lok Durd (voice)||Episode: "Defenders of Peace"|
|I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!||Himself/Contestant||Third Place / 20 episodes|
|2008–2009||Chowder||Foie Gras (voice)||Episodes: "Chowder and Mr. Fugu" & "Hands on a Big Mixer"|
|2009||Transformers: Animated||Yoketron (voice)||Episode: "Five Servos of Doom"|
|Party Down||Himself||Episode: "Stennheiser-Pong Wedding Reception"|
|The Super Hero Squad Show||Galactus (voice)||3 episodes|
|2010||The Big Bang Theory||Himself||Episode: "The Hot Troll Deviation"|
|The Suite Life on Deck||Rome Tipton||Episode: "Starship Tipton"|
|Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated||Mr. Wang/White Wizard (voice)||Episode: "The Dragon's Secret"|
|2011–2013||Supah Ninjas||Hologramps, Evil Grandpa||Main character|
|2012, 2014||Archer||Mr. Moto||Episodes: "Drift Problem" & "Archer Vice: A Debt of Honor"|
|2010–2012||Adventure Time||Ricardio the Heart Guy (voice)||Episodes: "Ricardio the Heart Guy" & "Lady & Peebles"|
|2012||Hawaii Five-0||Uncle Choi||Episode: "Kahu"
Plays Chin Ho Kelly's (Daniel Dae Kim) uncle
|The Celebrity Apprentice||Himself/Contestant||16th place
|2012–2013||Transformers: Prime||Alpha Trion (voice)||Episodes: "Alpha/Omega" & "Rebellion"|
|2013||The New Normal||Sam||1 episode|
|2013–2014||The Neighbors||Supreme Commander/Father||Recurring role|
|2013||Ultimate Spider-Man||Elder Monk (voice)||Episode: "Journey of the Iron Fist"|
|Lost Girl||Snake Man / Amphisbaena||1 episode|
|2014||King of the Nerds||Himself||1 episode|
|Real Husbands of Hollywood||Episode: "Don't Vote for Nick"|
|Through the Keyhole||1 episode|
|2015||Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero||Sashi's Dad (voice)||Episode: "Flurgle Burgle"|
|Hot in Cleveland||Rev. Matsuda||Episode: "Duct Soup"|
|Miles from Tomorrowland||Spectryx (voice)||Episode: "The Neptune Adventure/Eye to Eye"|
|BoJack Horseman||Audiobook Narrator (voice)||Episode: "Brand New Couch"|
|2015–present||Robot Chicken||Various voices||2 episodes|
|2015||Regular Show||Daisuke (voice)||Episode: "Just Friends"|
|2016–2020||Bubble Guppies||Major Bummer/Sensei (voice)||2 episodes|
|2016||The 7D||Dr. Sweet Tooth||Episode: "Smarty Tooth"|
|2016||Almost Royal||Himself||Episode: "Future"|
|2016 - 2019||Elena of Avalor||King Toshi of Satu (voice)||2 episodes|
|2017||Fresh Off the Boat||Bernard||Episodes: "It's a Plastic Pumpkin, Louis Huang" & "The Day After Thanksgiving"|
|2019||The Terror||Yamato-san||Season 2|
|Star Trek: Short Treks||Hikaru Sulu||Archive audio used in episode: "Ephraim and Dot"|
|2020||Love Monster||Elder Panda|
|Scooby-Doo and Guess Who?||Himself (voice)||Episode: "Hollywood Knights!"|
|The Twilight Zone||Kanamit #1||Episode: "You Might Also Like"|
|Amphibia||Mr. Littlepot (voice)||Episode: "The Shut-In!"|
|2021||Star Wars: Visions||Senshuu (voice)||Short film: Akakiri: English language dub|
|Hit-Monkey||Shinji Yokohama (voice)||Main role|
|2022||Jellystone!||So-So (voice)||Episode: "Balloon Kids"|
|He-Man and the Masters of the Universe||Mer-Man (voice)||3 episodes|
|Resident Alien||Grey Alien (voice)||Season 2 Episode 13 "Harry, a Parent" Episode 14 "Cat and Mouse"|
|Star Trek: Lower Decks||Hikaru Sulu (voice)||Episode: "Crisis Point 2: Paradoxus"|
|2023||Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai||In production|
Internet, games, and commercials
|1994||Star Trek: 25th Anniversary||Hikaru Sulu||Video game||CD-ROM version|
|1995||Star Trek: Judgment Rites||CD-ROM version|
|1997||Star Trek: Starfleet Academy|
|1999||Star Trek: Starfleet Command|
|2000||Star Trek: Starfleet Command II: Empires at War|
|2004||Star Trek: Shattered Universe||Hikaru Sulu|
|2007||Star Trek New Voyages: Phase II||Web|
|2008||Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3||Emperor Yoshiro|
|2010||Marvel Super Hero Squad: The Infinity Gauntlet||Galactus|
|2012||Skylanders: Giants||Arkeyan Conquertron/Drill-X|
|2013||Rooms to Go||Spokesperson||TV commercial|
|2014||Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff||Himself||Video game|
|2017||Pizza Hut||TV commercial|
|Futurama: Worlds of Tomorrow||Video game||Playable character|
|2020||Yakuza: Like a Dragon||Masumi Arakawa|
|TBA||Blue Eye Samurai||Web||Animated series||Series regular|
|1961||Fly Blackbird!||George||Inner City Cultural Center|
|1974||The Year of the Dragon||Fred Eng||Off-Broadway|
|1988||Undertow||Edinburgh Fringe Festival|
|1990||The Wash||Sadao Nakasato||Mark Taper Forum|
|2002||Pacific Overtures||Reciter||Loft Theatre|
|2005||Equus||Martin Dysart||East West Players|
|2012||8||William Tam||Ebell of Los Angeles|
|2012–2015||Allegiance||Sam Kimura (present day) / "Ojii-San" (Grandpa) (1940s)||Old Globe Theatre and Broadway|
|2017||Pacific Overtures||Reciter||Signature Theatre Company|
|2018||Allegiance||Sam Kimura (present day) / "Ojii-San" (Grandpa) (1940s)||East West Players|