George Takei Tours Heart Mountain

Ralston - Actor George Takei says Black Lives Matter. The man who played Sulu on the Star Trek television series toured Heart Mountain Confinement Center in Northwest Wyoming, and said the kind of racism that imprisoned 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II is still present in America today.

The Heart Mountain Interpretive Center in Northwest Wyoming tells the story of more than 14,000 Japanese Americans who were taken from their West Coast homes and moved to this camp after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

More than 120,000 were imprisoned in similar camps around the country, and actor George Takei was one of them.

Takei said, “I was five years old at the time.”

Takei recently starred in a Broadway show about the Heart Mountain camp, called Allegiance. Allegiance explored the draft resistance movement that started in the Heart Mountain camp. Dr. Takashi Hoshizaki was one of them.

He explained, “Our stand was, ‘Give us our civil rights back, and get our families back to where we came from, and we will gladly serve.’”

Hoshizaki did serve in the Korean War, after he was put in prison for three years for resisting the draft.

Sam Mihara said he was a prisoner at Heart Mountain’s camp. He says many of the young men who lived here served in the war, and died. Only 10 percent resisted.

“It was a question of our immediate family being denied our civil rights and being placed into a prison condition,” Mihara said.

This was Takei’s first trip to Heart Mountain, and he saw a racial slur written on the barracks wall by one of the builders. He was not surprised and said that kind of racism still exists in America today.

He said, “Black lives matter. And law enforcement officers are the ones that are shooting because they’re afraid of black men. Same sort of attitude placed us behind these barbed wire fences here in Wyoming.”