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Star Trek's Hikaru Sulu is Half-Filipino

Here's a fun fact: Hikaru Sulu of Star Trek's USS Enterprise is half-Filipino. Well of course almost everybody already know this 50-yr old fact. I'm just posting this because Star Trek Beyond opens in Philippine cinemas today and you know, web traffic. :P

"The problem [Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry] had was to find a name for this Asian character from the 23rd century because every Asian surname is nationally specific," Takei said.

[post_ad]"Hikaru" was a Japanese name that could mean "light" or several other words, and was quite commonly used for both males and females. 'Sulu' was taken from Sulu Sea of the Philippines. In the Japanese version of Star Trek, his family name was changed to 'Kato', a common surname. Also notable was that his name cannot be truly Japanese, as the Japanese language, while syllabic, does not contain the "L" phoneme in any form. It was not out of the question that Sulu was born of a Japanese-Filipino couple, taking on a Japanese-given name with a Filipino surname, nor was the fact that most American names are mixed-and-matched, and will likely continue to be diversified for the next four hundred years.

Rodenberry, according to Takei, was inspired by a map of Asia he had pinned on the wall.

"And he found, off the coast of the Philippines, the Sulu Sea. And he thought, 'Ah, the waters of the sea touch all shores, embracing all of Asia. And that's how my character came to have the name Sulu," said Takei.

via Memory Alpha

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