How an ‘almost-chance meeting’ in London brought George Takei to K-State

George Takei makes his entrance to the McCain Auditorium stage on Sept. 27 to deliver his lecture, "Where No Story Has Gone Before: An Evening with George Takei." The Star Trek actor's book, "They Called Us Enemy," is this year's K-State First Book. (Avery Johnson | Collegiate Media Group)

George Takei spoke in McCain Auditorium about his book “They Call Us Enemy” on Sept.
27. The lecture included his childhood in Japanese-American internment camps in World War II, his public service and his activism. He ended his talk with a question to the audience: “Have we learned the lesson of history?”

Andrew Smith, professor at K-State and part of the K-State First Book committee, said the
committee was able to bring Takei to campus thanks to an encounter the two had in the spring.

“I was in London during an investigation for my study abroad that is going next year, and found out that George Takei was starring in the musical version of the book that
we were going to read,” Smith said.

Smith left a note at the Charing Cross Theatre — where the musical was performing — and
got a text from Takei’s husband and manager Brad Takei the next day. The Takeis and Smith had conversations in London after one of the shows and leading up to the event.

“They were very grateful [that] … this kind of almost-chance meeting that we had in March ended up with him in McCain last night,” Smith said. “He knows my family and my
kids now, and so it’s been a very interesting and very cool relationship that kind of formed.”

Smith said Hale Library and K-State First in Holton Hall both have copies of the book for students who have not gotten one.

I'm Carter Schaffer, the editor-in-chief of the Collegian. Previously I wrote for the news desk and did some photo/video work. I am a senior in mass communications with an emphasis in journalism, and I hope to work in news or video production one day. I've also interned at The Well News in Washington, D.C., through TFAS. I grew up in Andover, Kansas, home of the Andover Trojans, and I've been a Wildcat all my life.