They Called Us Enemy: George Takei to hold Vancouver book signing for Japanese American internment graphic novel

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      Human-rights activist George Takei has been on a mission to educate people about the Japanese American internment and has done so through a variety of means from stage to screen, including the Broadway musical Allegiance.

      His latest effort is in the form of a 208-page softcover graphic novel, entitled They Called Us Enemy, that was released on July 16.

      As a four-year-old boy, Takei was one of 120,000 Japanese Americans who were interned by the U.S. government in concentration camps during the Second World War.

      With the help of writers Justin Eisinger and Steven Scott with artist Harmony Becker, Takei relates his experience of being removed from Los Angeles and growing up in a U.S. “relocation center” behind barbed wire, including seeing how his parents responded.

      Takei’s husband and manager Brad Takei told the Georgia Straight that George Takei will be coming to Vancouver for a book signing session at 7 p.m. on September 3 at Indigo Books (1033 Robson Street).

      Takei, who rose to fame on the original Star Trek TV series, was in Vancouver for several months earlier this year for the filming of the TV series The Terror: Infamy, which premiered on August 12.

      In this season of the horror-drama history anthology series, the storyline follows a Japanese American family as they relocate to an internment camp, pursued by a supernatural entity.

      Takei, who also served as a consultant for the show, plays a community elder who is interned.

      George Takei, wearing a Vancouver Asahi baseball cap at the Vancouver Japanese Language School and Japanese Hall

      During the filming in March, Takei toured Vancouver’s former Japantown in the Downtown Eastside to learn more about Japanese Canadian history, including the impact of the Canadian internment on the local community.

      In April, he attended the unveiling of a Canada Post stamp honouring the historic Japanese Canadian baseball team, the Vancouver Asahi.

      George Takei with original Vancouver Asahi team member Koichi Kaye Kaminishi (second from right) at the unveiling of a Vancouver Asahi stamp in Burnaby on April 24.
      Craig Takeuchi