By MARI YAMAGUCHI
TOKYO — George Takei said he needed courage and anger to come out as gay and to join the equal rights movement for sexual minorities in the U.S., and he hopes his Japanese counterparts will do the same to make their society more equal.
Takei said he has noticed a movement beginning in Japan, though the country of his ancestry still has a long way to go. He said Japanese people need to fight for their own rights and they need to be angry, too.
The “Star Trek” actor also known for his gay rights activism spoke Thursday at a U.S. Embassy-sponsored talk, held at American Center in Tokyo, where about 100 people gathered.
Takei, 77, is in Japan to attend embassy-organized events marking Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month in the U.S.
Takei was also to attend a reception later Thursday by Ambassador Caroline Kennedy at her official residence. Japan’s First Lady Akie Abe was also to appear at the event to make a brief speech.
Takei said his activist roots come from his upbringing as a Japanese-American who was put in an internment camp with his family during World War II. He was silent for decades about being gay because of concern about hurting his acting career, but broke his silence in 2005 after then-California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger rejected a bill legalizing same-sex marriage.
He and his longtime partner, Brad Altman, were married in 2008. Takei said they chose to marry in a public ceremony for the sake of diversity and democracy.