Takei, above, said his father held up Inouye as an example of steadfast nobility. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Entertainer George Takei has met plenty of impressive people during his storied career, which spans stints from his star-making portrayal of Hikaru Sulu on “Star Trek” to guest runs on “The Simpsons.” But in the pantheon of stars, perhaps none shone so bright or so true as the late Sen. Daniel K. Inouye.
“I knew about him even before I met him,” Takei said of the iconic World War II hero and long-serving Hawaii Democrat.
During a youth spent attempting to reconcile his family’s treatment in U.S.-run Japanese-American internment camps, Takei said his father held up Inouye as an example of steadfast nobility.
According to Takei, his father related a story wherein Inouye, missing his right arm and in uniform after returning from the war, was shunned by a San Francisco barber who refused to cut “Jap hair.”
“Inouye turned and walked away,” Takei shared, revering Inouye’s personification of gaman, which loosely translates to “enduring outrage with dignity.”
Their paths would first cross during Takei’s unsuccessful 1973 bid to join the Los Angeles City Council, when a phone conversation between the two resulted in the seasoned pol bestowing his endorsement on the budding civic activist.
“He became a real idol to me,” Takei told HOH.