Discover Nikkei

George & Brad's Wedding

The fact that Brad and I could get married is a product of our democracy. A result of the discussions, the debates, the struggles that preceded it. In California in 2008, we got marriage equality. It was a very important event.

And since we were involved with the museum, contributing to its success and its expansion and building of the Democracy Forum, we wanted to get married in the forum of democracy. We didn't have the Tateuchi support yet at that time, so it was called at that time simply the Democracy Forum. Today it's called the Tateuchi Democracy Forum. So we decided to get married there.

But we also wanted to have a celebratory part of that wedding, so we decided to have the dinner and celebration in the Aratani Hall. A great, huge hall with plenty of space to have all our friends and relatives join in the celebration. And we also wanted to have a theme of diversity because Brad and I are diverse. He's of Scottish, English, German ancestry, and I'm Japanese American ancestry. So we wanted it to be reflected in our wedding.

So we had a koto player welcoming people as they filtered into the Democracy Forum. We had a Filipino piano player, a wonderfully gifted guy, who played the music at our wedding. Our wedding march was One Singular Sensation, from the Broadway musical Chorus Line. And when the wedding ended, we had Scottish bagpiper lead our friends and relatives from the Democracy Forum across the plaza to Aratani Hall. And we had the Gay Men's Choir singing from the choir loft up above. It's never been used. We thought that would be a wonderful place to have group singing from there. And so I think we were the first ones to use that space perched way up there for that kind of purpose.

We knew friends who were professional singers, people who appeared on Broadway, and so we had a wonderfully diverse group to celebrate our wedding, and in the Democracy Forum was the perfect place for us to tie the knot.

Democracy Forum diversity Japanese American National Museum Japanese American National Museum (organization) LGBTQ+ people

Date: February 3, 2015

Location: California, US

Interviewer: John Esaki, Janice Tanaka

Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum

Interviewee Bio

George Hosato Takei was born in Los Angeles in 1937 to an Issei father, Takekuma Norman Takei, and Nisei mother, Fumiko Emily Nakamura. He was only five years old when his family was rounded up along with 120,000 other Japanese Americans and sent to concentration camps by the U.S. government following the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. 

He earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in theater at the University of California, Los Angeles and embarked on a career in theater, television, and film. In 1966 he was cast as U.S. Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu on the groundbreaking TV series Star Trek.

In addition to his acting career, Takei has been highly active in public and community service, including serving on the board of the Southern California Rapid Transit District and has been an active and generous member of the Japanese American National Museum Board of Trustees since its inception. 

Since coming out as gay in 2005, Takei has become an effective advocate for LGBT rights, speaking widely about his own experiences, holding public figures accountable for homophobic comments, and serving as a spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign. Takei has enjoyed a renewed wave of popularity in recent years thanks to the infectious humor and warmth of his Facebook page, which has over eight million followers. 

Updated May 2015


Business for gays (Japanese)

Shin Issei – owner of izakaya (Japanese-style tavern) and kappo (small Japanese diner) restaurant, Honda-Ya


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