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Hikaru Sulu

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Captain Sulu in 2293
Captain Sulu in 2293
Gender: Male
Species: Human
Rank: Captain
Occupation: Astroscientist
Helmsman
Commanding officer
Status: Alive (2293)
Born: 2237
Children: One daughter, Demora Sulu
Played by: George Takei
Lieutenant Sulu in 2266
Lieutenant Sulu in 2266
For the alternate reality counterpart, please see Hikaru Sulu (alternate reality).
For the mirror universe counterpart, please see Hikaru Sulu (mirror).

"Captain Sulu, Captain Kirk, Doctor McCoy. They all belonged to a different breed of Starfleet officers."

- Captain Kathryn Janeway, 2373

Hikaru Sulu was a Human Starfleet officer in the 23rd century. He served first as the staff physicist and the majority of his duty as Chief Helmsman. On a few occasions, Sulu was in temporary command when Captain James T. Kirk, First Officer Commander Spock and Chief Engineer Lieutenant Commander Montgomery Scott were on away missions or otherwise occupied aboard the USS Enterprise during its historic and original five-year mission. He also served as Helmsman aboard the USS Enterprise-A. He was later promoted to commanding officer of the USS Excelsior, and was widely regarded as a tactical genius, as well as an expert on Klingon culture and society.

Hikaru Sulu was born in the city of San Francisco, Earth, in 2237. (TOS: "That Which Survives"; Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home; Star Trek Chronology)

The five-year mission

Hikaru Sulu, 2265
Lieutenant Sulu in 2265

In 2265, Lieutenant Sulu was assigned to the starship Enterprise, serving as the head of the astrosciences department. (TOS: "Where No Man Has Gone Before")

By 2266, Sulu had transferred to the command division and was assigned to the helm station with responsibilities as shift tactical officer. (TOS: "Mudd's Women")

Sulu announced contact with an object approaching the Enterprise at light speed. When all attempts at evasive maneuvers and deflector appeared ineffective, Spock called red alert, only to retract that when the object slowed down. But when then Chief Navigator Lieutenant Dave Bailey reacted emotionally to the danger, Spock called the red alert back on again, and attempted to call Kirk to the bridge. (Chief Medical Officer Doctor Leonard McCoy kept Kirk detained for a physical.) After Spock finally got a hold of Kirk, the object was analyzed as solid and of unknown composition, 107 meters on each edge, and almost 11,000 metric tons in mass, with Scotty being unclear what was propelling it. Eighteen hours later, Sulu attended a department heads meeting in the briefing room where it was determined Bailey would plot a spiral course away from the object, but that didn't work and the object began emitting lethal radiation and Kirk ordered main phasers to be fired with the object being destroyed and the Enterprise rocked by the resulting shock wave. A short time later, Sulu announced that a new larger object (about a mile in diameter) was approaching. When the new object used a tractor beam to grab the Enterprise and the engines started to overload and Kirk ordered phaser crews to stand ready, he also ordered Bailey to decrease main viewscreen magnification. When Bailey didn't hear or failed to acknowledge Kirk's orders, Sulu had to carry out those orders. Then Bailey started getting a message in his earpiece from the object, that Kirk ordered communications officer Lieutenant Uhura to put on ship wide speakers. The sphere identified itself as the Fesarius, the flagship of the First Federation. The speaker identified as her commanding officer Balok and the Enterprise had shown hostile intentions. Kirk tried to explain their peaceful mission but then exceptionally powerful sensors invaded all of the Enterprise's systems and then Balok cut off communications. Kirk then ordered Bailey to launch a recorder marker but it was destroyed by the Fesarius and then Balok threatened to destroy the Enterprise in ten minutes. After Sulu started counting down the minutes and Spock first was able to get a view of what looked like a fearsome looking Balok and told Kirk there was no other way out, that's when Sulu and the rest of the bridge crew got to witness an unnerved Bailey let go with a tirade about the whole situation, resulting in a mental breakdown for Bailey. Fortunately for the Enterprise crew Kirk had a plan to get them out of this difficult situation, with Sulu being one of many witnesses to Kirk calling Balok's bluff with the fictional corbomite that would supposedly blow up both ships if the Enterprise was attacked. The gambit paid off after Balok, now in a smaller ship, called in distress and it turned out Balok was no where near as fearsome as he pretended to be. Sulu though would end up seeing the first of several navigators leave that sat next to him, as Bailey ended up volunteering to stay with Balok as the first representative of the United Federation of Planets to the First Federation. (TOS: "The Corbomite Maneuver")

Beauregard
Sulu's prized animate carnivorous weeper plant, Beauregard AKA Gertrude.

Perhaps the most bizarre experience that Sulu had to face earlier on in his time as Chief Helmsman happened when he wasn't even on the bridge. One day Sulu was working on his hobby of botany in the ship's arboretum when Yeoman Janice Rand came in with a tray of a vegetarian lunch for the lieutenant, followed by a bizarre acting crewman Green. Green then caused Sulu's prized animate carnivorous weeper plant, Beauregard (AKA "Gertrude"), to go into a fit with Green quickly exiting. A bit later, Sulu and Rand would discover the reason why the plant acted the way it did, when they found a dead crewman in a corridor with awful looking blotches on his face and all the salt drained out of his body. It turned out the version of Green they saw earlier was a shape shifting salt vampire, or a M-113 creature. Luckily for the Enterprise, a short time later the creature would be killed. (TOS: "The Man Trap")

Hikaru Sulu suffering from hypothermia
Sulu nearly freezing to death on Alfa 177.

As part of a six member landing party on a survey mission on planet Alfa 177, Sulu was almost frozen to death. It all started out rather innocently enough, except when landing party member geological technician Fisher slipped down a rock, gashing himself badly, he was beamed up to the Enterprise and on to the transporter pad with some strange magnetic type of ore that caused the next person to be transported up to be split in half, ... to their good (more civilized) and bad (more barbaric) side. Unfortunately that next person was none other than Captain Kirk! A bit later an Alfa 177 native, an unusual looking canine. that Sulu grew fond of was also split in half. Then when Scott and Spock tried to send the canine back through the transporter to put both halves back to together it killed the animal. As the rest of the crew that stayed aboard tried to figure out how to put the two Kirk's back together into one whole one without killing him, Sulu, Lieutenant Leslie and two other members of the original landing party had to stay behind trying their best to stay warm as the temperatures on the planet continued to plummet to well below freezing and into dangerous territory for a human to stay alive. Sulu, Leslie and two other crewmen just had to bundle themselves up, use their phasers for some warmth and huddle together to stay warm. Just before the crew was able to rejoin the two Kirk's via the transporter by some rigging of the equipment by Scott and the two Kirk's finding enough courage to try it, the temperatures on Alfa 177 nearly reached the limits of the cold, for Alfa 177, at 120 degrees below zero with the landing party suffering from the effects of hypothermia. Fortunately this attempt worked and Kirk was put back together and the rest of the landing party, including Sulu, were fortunate enough to be beamed back aboard, whole, with just some frostbite that was easily treated by McCoy. (TOS: "The Enemy Within")

Some time shortly after the Spring of 2267, the Enterprise got a new Chief Navigator after having several that either had left due to other assignments or health reasons. That new Chief Navigator that was assigned to the ship was the young Ensign Pavel Chekov. Chekov also took over the duty of tactical officer from Sulu. The two became life-long friends. (TOS: "Catspaw"; Star Trek V: The Final Frontier)

Both the helm and navigational stations were able to access weapons and shield functions, and so accordingly both helmsmen and navigators in all three seasons of the Original Series, including Chekov and Sulu, shared this "tactical" officer function.
Kirk and Sulu infiltrate the 498th Air Base
Kirk and Sulu retrieving the evidence of Captain John Christopher's encounter with an "UFO".

As for Sulu in 2267, the Enterprise got dragged into a black star with a high gravitational attraction. To avoid a disaster, Scotty used a slingshot effect. Unfortunately it sent the ship back three centuries to Earth, over Omaha, Nebraska's 498th Air Base on July 13, 1969, just eight days before the first Apollo moon landings, Apollo 11. The ship was detected by the US Air Force which sent an F-104 fighter plane to take down the supposed "UFO". This Bluejay 4 fighter plane was manned by a Captain John Christopher whose plane started breaking up when the Enterprise's tractor beam attempted to bring it into to the shuttlecraft bay. For two days there was much worry about how and what to do with Captain Christopher and the knowledge he was gaining about future events. Spock discovered that Captain Christopher had to return to Earth or risk changing Federation history. But then the problem became what he had witnessed. Kirk and Sulu beamed down to the Air Force Base to retrieve the photographic evidence of the Enterprise. Unfortunately in the process they picked up another unwitting passenger, a Security Police Staff sergeant. Fortunately on the next day an answer to all three problems came in an answer from a hypothesis from Scotty and Spock. Scotty would use the slingshot effect, again, using Sol to both return to when they beamed up both Captain Christopher and the Staff sergeant and make it where they never knew what happened and return the Enterprise to 2267, which was successfully accomplished. (TOS: "Tomorrow is Yesterday")

Sulu-commands-Enterprise
Sulu takes command of the Enterprise during the encounter with the Klingons.

Sulu would first take temporary command when Kirk and Spock were on the planet Organia and the Enterprise nearly went to battle with the Klingons. But the real non-corporeal Organians weren't going to allow a battle and immobilized both sides' forces causing on the Enterprise that all consoles and people became too hot to touch -- including the Captain's chair that Sulu was sitting in. (TOS: "Errand of Mercy")

When the being Apollo jammed all power sources on the Enterprise, Sulu was albe to rig all transmission circuits for maximum power generation. This would eventually lead the ship to be allowed to destroy, with phasers, Apollo's strange radiated power source, his temple, which broke the ship free of his hold on them. (TOS: "Who Mourns for Adonais?")

When the Jack the Ripper entity took control of the Enterprise computer, Kirk ordered McCoy to have tranquilizer's administered, to the entire crew, via hypospray to keep them calm. The tranquilizers definitely worked on Sulu because his main inquiry about the entity afterwards was, "Whoever he is, he sure talks gloomy?" And when Kirk told the bridge crew to not be afraid, Sulu responded with, "With an armful of this stuff ... I wouldn't be afraid of a supernova!" (TOS: "Wolf in the Fold")

In 2268, Sulu would again be in temporary command of the Enterprise when they discovered the thought to be abandoned USS Exeter in orbit around the planet Omega IV. Instead it turned our that all of the Exeter's crew, except Captain Ronald Tracey were dead from a virus that turned them into their base minerals that they contracted on the planet. The away team of Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Lieutenant Galloway beamed down to the planet to investigate further and Captain Tracey informed them they couldn't go back to the Enterprise because their ship's crew would be infected. This information from Tracey would later turn out to be discovered by McCoy to be untrue. Then the mission became to stop Tracey from interfering with the society on the planet which was in a clear violation of the Prime Directive of the Federation. Tracey also made it very difficult to the landing party to stay in contact with the Enterprise when he had their communicator's confiscated and then hidden from them. Fortunately, a short time later, Spock was able to get a native of the planet to help him get a message to Sulu, via one of the communicators, to beam down with Lieutenant Leslie and another redshirt security officer to arrest Captain Tracey. (TOS: "The Omega Glory")

When the Enterprise was temporarily placed under the control of the M-5 computer as part of an experiment by Dr. Richard Daystrom, Sulu was one of twenty officers selected by the computer for the war games exercise. (TOS: "The Ultimate Computer")

When the essence of the alien Henoch was in possession of Spock's body he terrorized Uhura, inflicting tremendous pain on her. Sulu started to turn around to protest and Henoch turned to him and said, "Must I make an example of you too, helm?" Sulu them backed down, but fortunately for the crew they didn't have to deal with Henoch much more after that. (TOS: "Return to Tomorrow")

Sulu was part of the bridge discussion, with Kirk, Chekov and Uhura, regarding where to look for Spock's brain, in the Sigma Draconis system, when it was stolen by the Eymorg Kara. (TOS: "Spock's Brain")

Kirk's memorial service
Sulu (first row, second from left) attends Kirk's memorial service.

When Kirk was trapped in the interphase of Tholian space aboard the USS Defiant and was thought possibly dead, Sulu attended Kirk's memorial service. Fortunately Kirk would a short time later be beamed aboard the Enterprise still alive. (TOS: "The Tholian Web")

In 2269, Sulu was, again, in temporary command when Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Scotty beamed over to an ancient abandoned insectoid ship orbiting the black star, Questar M-17. (TAS: "Beyond the Farthest Star")

During the concert given on board the Enterprise for the crew by Dr. Sevrin's followers, it was piped on to the bridge for the bridge crew to listen to. Sulu ended up tapping his fingers on the helm console and moving his head with the beat, until Scotty gave him a stern look. (TOS: "The Way to Eden")

Half way into the year 2269, Chekov left as Chief Navigator for further officer training. Chekov's replacement, for the final year and a half of the Enterprise's five year mission, as Chief Navigator was Lieutenant Arex. Sulu and Arex became good friends. (TAS: "The Magicks of Megas-Tu")

Although Lieutenant Arex was seen in The Animated Series episodes previous to the airing and stardate in TAS: "The Magicks of Megas-Tu", including at navigation, he didn't have any significant role or any speaking parts prior to that episode. So it is entirely possible that Arex and Chekov were on the Enterprise in 2269 at the same time and shared duties as Chief Navigator prior to the stardate on that episode.

In 2270, upon entering an anti-matter universe, the Enterprise crew experienced the effects of accelerated reverse aging. Sulu, as with the rest of the crew, was first reduced to pre-adolescence and had no idea what the helm was, how to run the helm or what the controls were in front of him. Eventually Sulu was reduced to infancy. Fortunately after returning the ship to their universe, the crew was able to return to their normal age by using the transporters. (TAS: "The Counter-Clock Incident")

Assaults, injuries and ailments

Like most of his Enterprise crewmates, Sulu was exposed to certain dangers on several missions during the ship's original five-year mission. Fortunately none of these dangers resulted in Sulu's death or long term injuries.

Sulu Fencing
Sulu as D'Artagnan when he was infected with the polywater intoxication.

In 2266, Sulu and the then Chief Navigator Lieutenant Kevin Riley came under the effects of the Psi 2000 polywater intoxication after being exposed while they both tried to prevent science division Lieutenant junior grade Joe Tormolen from stabbing himself with a table knife in the recreation room. A bit later, Sulu left his helm post to go practice fencing. Unfortunately the intoxication just built into him to the point where he started fancying himself as the reincarnation of D'Artagnan, imperiling crew members in the corridors with a fencing foil. This got so out of hand that he went back to the bridge that he assumed and needed to confront Kirk as Richelieu. Sulu even took Uhura under his "protection" as a "fair maiden". (Uhura told him, "Sorry, neither" and was able to break free of Sulu's grasp.) Then Spock subdued Sulu with a Vulcan nerve pinch and Sulu was taken by two crewmen to sickbay. The majority of the rest of the crew became infected with the polywater intoxication until McCoy found an antidote to the intoxication, which worked on Sulu and he returned to duty. (TOS: "The Naked Time")

In 2267, Sulu, then Kirk, suddenly vanished from the bridge as the Enterprise was investigating a rogue planet composed of iron-silica. It turned out they had been abducted off the bridge by a being named Trelane, who considered himself the squire of the planet Gothos, but was in reality nothing but a willful child who would later be scolded by his parents for not treating his pets, the humans, with respect. Unfortunately before that happened, Trelane would, yet again, pluck Sulu and then the rest of the bridge crew, from the bridge, and take them to Gothos. Fortunately a short time later, Kirk was able to dispatch of Trelane and his parents took him away from the humans. (TOS: "The Squire of Gothos")

On another planet, Pyris VII, a short time later, Sulu would fall under the mind control of an alien named Sylvia and Sulu nearly killed Kirk and Spock until Kirk was able to destroy Sylvia's power source. (TOS: "Catspaw")

Sulu was part of a landing party that investigated an uncharted planet, in the Omicron Delta region, that seemed perfect for shore leave, with McCoy telling Sulu the planet looked like a place out of Alice in Wonderland. But then McCoy saw -- first a giant speaking white rabbit and immediately followed by a little girl -- both of whom spoke and dressed just as McCoy imagined that the white rabbit and Alice in Alice in Wonderland would do so. A short time later Sulu thought of an old-fashioned .38 police special revolver and ended up finding one just lying on the ground and he also took practice shots with it startling temporarily other landing party members. Soon all of the landing party started having encounters with things and people that they thought of in their imaginations, including two people from Kirk's past. Sulu was attacked by a samurai warrior and also briefly chased by a Bengal tiger and strafed by a Second World War Japanese Zero aircraft. McCoy then was killed by a Black Knight on a horse that was imagined by Yeoman Tonia Barrows. Then McCoy's body and the Black Knight, shot at by Kirk, disappeared. A short time later, a roughed-up Kirk ordered the landing party to stop thinking and talking. Fortunately a few minutes after that, an older man appeared and explained that the planet was designed as an amusement park and he was the caretaker of the planet. The planet was not meant to be hostile and the results of one's fantasies are not permanent. Then McCoy appeared alive, and healed, with two Rigel Cabaret girls on both of his arms (making Yeoman Barrows jealous, so he handed one off to Sulu and the other to Spock, with McCoy going to spend time on vacation with Barrows.) With the crises past, Kirk then ordered shore leave for the whole entire crew of the Enterprise on the planet, with Spock deciding to take his leave of the planet and man the ship and Spock leaving his Rigel Cabaret girl with Lieutenant Esteban Rodriguez. (TOS: "Shore Leave")

Explosion in sulus face
Sulu's command console explodes in his face in 2267.

Sulu was nearly injured when a technical malfunction caused the helm console to overload and explode in his face. Sulu was shocked unconscious by the explosion. McCoy diagnosed a heart flutter and gave him a dose of cordrazine via hypospray, after which Sulu recovered. (TOS: "The City on the Edge of Forever")

For a short time Sulu fell under the mind control of the computer Landru on planet Beta III, until KIrk and Spock were able to destroy the computer which allowed Scotty to inform them that Sulu had returned to his normal reliable self. (TOS: "The Return of the Archons")

Sulu was attacked and thrown out of his helm seat by Spock when Spock raged out of control due to the effects of one of the neural parasites that had invaded the planet Deneva. Sulu recovered from this attack from the first officer and Spock would soon be free of the parasite's influence. (TOS: "Operation -- Annihilate!")

Sulu and the rest of the Enterprise crew were overcome by the effects of the pod plants' spores on the planet Omicron Ceti III. Along with rest of the crew, Sulu desired to leave Starfleet to live on the planet, but was cured of the spores, as the rest of the crew was, and he resumed his duties. (TOS: "This Side of Paradise")

Sulu was one of many of the bridge crew who were thrown violently about when the Enterprise encountered and engaged the probe Nomad, and later in the year 2267, the planet killer. (TOS: "The Changeling", "The Doomsday Machine")

Tommy Starnes in command
Sulu and the rest of the bridge crew under the mind control of the Starnes children.

In 2268, after the Starnes Exploration Party children were brought aboard the Enterprise from the planet Triacus, no one on board knew that the children were under the influence of the alien Gorgan, who had given the children the ability of mind control. This mind control had already caused the deaths of the children's parents and was the way in which Gorgan hoped to achieve galactic dominance by way of other children. The children used their mind control on Sulu, Chekov and Uhura to make them believe that the Enterprise was still orbiting Triacus, when in actuality Sulu and Chekov had set course for Marcus XII, the intended next target for Gorgan. This also caused Kirk, unaware of the change of course and departure from the orbit of Triacus, to have two redshirts have their molecules beamed into and spread through out space and to their deaths. Kirk called Sulu from the transporter room to inquire about the change of course, but Sulu insisted the ship was still in orbit around Triacus despite clear evidence to the contrary seen by Kirk and Spock. After Kirk arrived on the bridge and tried to shake Sulu from the mind control, Gorgan appeared there and urged the children to up the level of the mind control. That's when Tommy Starnes planted in Sulu's mind the image of if the Enterprise diverted course away from Marcus XII, the ship would be destroyed by any number of swords that were formed in rings around the ship. Sulu was freed from the mind control once the children were freed from the influence of Gorgan. (TOS: "And the Children Shall Lead")

Kalandan outpost's central chamber
Sulu, Kirk and McCoy in the Kalandan outpost's central chamber with a likeness of Losira.

Sulu was part of a four man landing party that went to investigate an unusual planet whose size was approximately that of Luna, yet mass and atmosphere were similar to Earth and geologically was only a few thousand years older. But even before the landing party made it to the planet, they got to witness as they were in the process of beaming down a mysterious woman touch the shoulder of the transporter operator and killing him. But the mystery and danger didn't stop there. Shortly after the landing party beamed down to the planet, the planet was struck by an unusual and strong earthquake for a planet so young geologically. Then senior Geologist D'Amato said his tricorder registered an almost immeasurable powerful energy burst. Kirk couldn't raise the Enterprise with his communicator and Sulu discovered the Enterprise wasn't even in orbit anymore, effectively stranding them. Sulu and McCoy both tried to theorize what might have happened to the ship, with Sulu suggesting it blew up and McCoy suggesting it hit the planet. But Kirk rejected both theories due to the lack of residual radiation. The landing party became concerned because there was no sign of water, and only a virus-like plant parasite on the planet, and all the vegetation was poisonous to humans. The landing party split up to look for evidence of any other lifeform. Sulu's tricorder registered a sudden magnetic reading that quickly dissipated, as though a door was opening and closing. McCoy's medical tricorder registered a lifeform that was there one minute, then gone just a few minutes later. Then Kirk tried to contact D'Amato but he got no answer so he informed McCoy and Sulu about D'Amato not answering and they went to go find him. When the three of them ran to where D'Amato was they found him on the ground dead. McCoy ran his medical tricorder over D'Amato's body and reported that all of D'Amato's cells had been disrupted from the inside. When Kirk attempted to use his phaser to dig a grave for the man, the surface of the planet withstood the force. Further tricorder readings revealed that the planet was an artificial body. A short time later, as night time approached, Kirk and McCoy tried to sleep, while Sulu stood first guard. Then the mysterious woman from the transporter room appeared and shut-off D'Amato's tricorder which was set for automatic distress. She then told Sulu that she was for him, by name, and she needed to touch him. Sulu realized who she was and shot his phaser at her and that seemed to keep her back, but then Sulu's phaser started failing on him and he tripped on some rocks and she was able to touch Sulu's shoulder which made him scream out in pain. Kirk and McCoy came running and the woman insisted she still needed to touch Sulu, but Kirk wouldn't let her. The woman then touched Kirk, but nothing happened. Kirk asked her how she could destroy people, but the woman insisted she didn't want to destroy anyone, she then disappeared like a door closing. McCoy discovered that Sulu's shoulder had suffered from the same cellular disruption as had been evident in D'Amato's body. The three men realized that the woman's destructive power was directed at one person at a time. When the woman reappeared the next morning she was there to touch and kill Kirk. Sulu and McCoy, acting as shields, were able to stop her from killing Kirk with him making several inquiries about her. She called herself Losira, the commander of this station, that killing was wrong but she must do so to defend the station although the people who once lived on the station were no more. Kirk sensed her confusion and loneliness but she suddenly disappeared as if a door was closing, yet again. The men then followed tricorder readings and found an underground door to the planet's central chamber. Once they got to the central chamber's computer room, three versions of Losira appeared with each threatening to touch and kill either Sulu, Kirk or McCoy. Fortunately they held them off until Spock and Lieutenant Lemli beamed into the room, from a still surviving Enterprise, and Lemli used his phaser to destroy the computer which made the three images of Losira disappear saving Sulu, Kirk and McCoy. They then got to see a recorded image of Losira welcoming her fellow Kalandans to the colony and explained that it had been destroyed by a disease that they accidentally produced when they created the outpost and as the last survivor Losira did not believe she would survive until after help arrived and had set the station's defense mechanism on automatic, using images of herself to defend against other lifeforms. McCoy then surmised that the disease must have wiped out the whole entire Kalandan species, and the image of Losira was waiting for a people who had become extinct thousands of years ago. (TOS: "That Which Survives")

Sulu was rendered unconscious by the Eymorg Kara when she boarded the Enterprise and used her control bracelet in order to steal Spock's brain. (TOS: "Spock's Brain")

When Spock mind-melded with Medusan Ambassador Kollos to guide the Enterprise back to normal space from being stranded in an uncharted void of the galaxy, by the then dead Larry Marvick, Spock-Kollos took over the helm console from Sulu and was assisted in the task by Chekov at navigation. Unfortunately Spock-Kollos forgot to put back on the visor, which caused Spock to go temporarily insane while still on the bridge. In this temporary insanity, he pushed very hard backwards, Sulu and Chekov, who were trying to help him with Sulu ending up being pushed into the Captain's chair on his rear end. Fortunately Sulu recovered quickly and Spock would do so, as well, a short time after that. (TOS: "Is There in Truth No Beauty?")

Early in 2269, Kirk ordered reverse course when the Enterprise was star charting and the ship was pulled into a black star, Questar M-17, due to it's gravitational pull. Sulu told him that the helm wasn't answering due to hyper-gravity, and they were ... two minutes right ascension off course and ... drifting farther, Captain. But that just made things worse, so Kirk ordered forward scanners on the star on the main viewscreen. Sulu then told Kirk that they were still falling towards the star, so Kirk ordered full reverse thrust. But that just made things even worse and the ship continued to fall towards the black star. So Kirk ordered Sulu to flank speed ahead to make orbit around the black star which did work. Sulu put them along side of an ancient insectoid ship, after Kirk ordered it. Then an away team of Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Scotty beamed over to the ship to investigate it's abandonment many centuries earlier. Sulu ordered Lieutenant Kyle to beam the team back as a malevolent entity being was attacking the control room of the other ship. But the magnetic organism transported aboard the Enterprise with the away team. Suddenly all sorts of mishaps and problems occurred on the ship due to this magnetic organism and the ship, including Sulu, were essentially being held hostage by it. After Scott was saved in engineering from a mishap that nearly cost him his life, Sulu reported that the magnetic organism had activated and targeted ship phasers which destroyed the insectoid ship, with Sulu also telling Kirk that manual override didn't work. Kirk tricked the magnetic organism to leave the ship and go into orbit around Questar M-17. Scotty then used a slingshot effect to break the Enterprise free from Questar M-17's orbit. As the ship was leaving the stellar cluster that Questar M-17 was in, Uhura picked up one last signal from the magnetic organism announcing that it was, "lonely, very lonely ..." (TAS: "Beyond the Farthest Star")

When the Enterprise went through the Delta Triangle space-time warp, Sulu, along with the rest of the crew suffered from temporary vertigo. (TAS: "The Time Trap")

Sulu's ability to speak would be effected when the "lights of Zetar" beings attacked the Enterprise as the ship was trying to reach Memory Alpha, with Sulu saying afterwards, "I couldn't utter a sound!" Apparently as helmsman, Sulu's speaking was considered by the Zetarians to be the most important part of Sulu's brain to render useless in him during the attack. (TOS: "The Lights of Zetar")

When Dr. Sevrin and his followers hijacked the "Enterprise" by holding up in locked out, from the rest of the ship, in Auxiliary Control and applied ultrasonics, Sulu was knocked out with the rest of the crew. Sulu slumped on the helm console when he passed out from the ultrasonics. He'd come to to find out that Dr. Sevrin and his followers had stolen the shuttlecraft Galileo II and were headed into Romulan space to get to the planet Eden and during the process of hijacking had also stranded the Enterprise in the same Romulan space. Fortunately before the Romulans could discover that the Enterprise was there they found Dr. Sevrin's followers (Sevrin himself died on the planet supposedly known as Eden) and saved them and got out of Romulan space. (TOS: "The Way to Eden")

After it was discovered by Lucien's fellow Megans that the crew of the Enterprise was practicing magic in the alternate universe that the Megans resided in and their planet Megas-Tu was in, the crew of the ship, including Sulu, were transported off the ship and on the planet and were promptly put into 17th century style pillories as punishment. The crew, including Sulu, were in the Megans interpretation of 1691 Salem and were put on a similar Salem witch trial and were nearly put to death courtesy of Megan Asmodeus' prosecuting legal tactics. Fortunately Spock, as a Vulcan defense counselor, pleaded successfully for the crew's release in that humanity had grown away from the hatred, fear and bigotry of 1691. (TAS: "The Magicks of Megas-Tu")

While part of a landing party that investigated a newly discovered planet at the periphery of the Milky Way Galaxy and the landing party discovered an apparently abandoned city that give off confused life and power readings, Sulu picked up an interesting mobile plant. This mobile plant poisoned Sulu, with McCoy having trouble saving him. Fortunately the intelligent plant like beings who were native to this planet, they called Phylos, gave Sulu an antidote, to the poison, which saved him. But the apparent leader of the Phylosians, Agmar claimed that the poison was brought to Phylos by a human. A short-time later, the landing party was attacked by flying plant creatures, with Sulu trying to shoot them with his phaser and failing to do so. Spock was caputured by one of the flying plant creatures and taken away to a nearby building. The Phylosians claimed that Spock would be their new leader. After the rest of the landing party fought off some Phylosians, they found a building with some Phylosian starships and the fifth generation gigantic clone of Earth's Eugenics Wars participant geneticist Stavos Keniclius. Keniclius 5 tried to steal Spock's essence, and was set to kill him, so the equally gigantic clone, Spock 2 would have all of the essence of Spock and would join Keniclius 5 and the Phylosians in becoming masters and peace keepers of the galaxy. Fortunately Kirk persuaded via Vulcan logic Spock 2 to save Spock via a Vulcan mind touch. Spock then persuaded Spock 2 and Keniclius 5 to stay on Phylos to revitalize the dying Phylosian civilization. (TAS: "The Infinite Vulcan")

Microscope laser
McCoy with Kirk's assistance treating Sulu's broken right leg with a microscope laser when all of them were miniaturized.

After the Enterprise was struck by a flash of light, that Spock described as spiroid epsilon waves emanating from a planet in the Cepheus star system, the crew, including Sulu, started shrinking and was miniaturized to fingernail length at 1/16th of an inch. As the bridge crew continued to shrink and couldn't reach the various stations' controls, Kirk ordered them to improvise as best they could. Sulu and Arex had ladder stilts built for them to reach the controls. Sulu also got impatient and a bit angry and decided to solve their crises with the only thing left that he could think of to do and that was to fire phasers on the planet and he bent down to move the helm scanner to target the planet for maximum firing, but Kirk and Spock tried to stop him from doing so. Whether Sulu heard them or not became a mute point when the arrow of the scanner hit him and he fell really hard on to the bridge floor breaking his right leg. Kirk and Arex helped take him to sickbay. In sickbay McCoy was having a difficult time trying to set his leg, when Nurse Christine Chapel, who was fretting about them not being able to use the bone-knitting laser which was too large for them to use at that height, came up with an ingenious solution of using the microscope laser that was usually used to heal the inner ear to set and heal Sulu's right leg. Chapel's idea did work and Sulu did heal. Later Sulu was part of the crew that helped to rescue the Terra 10 colonist's mutated descendants from the unstable planet so they could be relocated to a more stable planet in the galaxy. Sulu was returned to normal height, along with the rest of the crew, by use of the transporter saving their original molecular structure in the pattern buffers. (TAS: "The Terratin Incident")

Hikaru Sulu 2269
Sulu on the Shore Leave Planet in 2269.

Near the end of 2269 Sulu suffered the first of two assault by computers. And the first assault could be considered a series of them. Sulu was part of the first landing party that beamed down to the Shore Leave Planet when Kirk ordered shore leave for his crew. Everything seemed to be fine on the planet, with McCoy again seeing the white rabbit and Alice following him and Uhura finding time to sing near a lake, but then McCoy was looking at a stately ancient looking antebellum southern mansion and dreaming of mint juleps when he was taken out of his reverie by the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland and some card soldiers chasing after him with the Queen yelling, Off with his head! McCoy got away and Kirk had the landing party beamed back aboard demanding an explanation. Then everyone noticed that Uhura had not beamed back. As it turned out, the master computer had kidnapped Uhura and was holding her hostage but at first no one could figure out why. Shortly after, Sulu, Kirk, Spock and McCoy beamed back down and discovered part of the reason as to why the master computer was acting up when the Caretaker's headstone was found and it revealed that the Caretaker had recently died. But still that didn't quite explain why the computer was acting the way it was and against it's protocols to be a relaxing amusement park for the visitors on shore leave and it even started attacking the Enterprise itself. In trying to find away into the master computer's control room, the four men were chased into a cave by two pterodactyls and trapped in the cave for quite a few minutes by a giant Cheshire type cat. Then Spock formed an idea to make it appear through an injection as if he was near death, which did work and let Spock be taken into the underground master computer room and Kirk following but unfortunately McCoy and Sulu weren't as lucky. Then Sulu and McCoy were chased by a two-headed dragon. Fortunately for Sulu and McCoy this didn't last long as Uhura reasoned with the master computer that it was serving a useful need and also wasn't a servicing slaves (humans) of the so-called sky machines. With the crises gone, Sulu and McCoy settled down to a nice picnic with Alice, the white rabbit and the two-headed dragon. (TAS: "Once Upon a Planet")

Rec Room - The Blizzard
Sulu, Uhura and McCoy in a vicious blizzard.

The last assault that happened to Sulu during the Enterprise's original five-year mission also was the second one by a computer and this time it was the Enterprise computer itself that assaulted him and two other members of the crew. In the first few weeks of 2270, Captain Kirk hid the ship, from Romulan starships that were attacking, in a space energy cloud not realizing this would turn the ship's computer into a practical joker. Many practical jokes were played on various members of the crew. To get away from the practical joker, Sulu, McCoy and Uhura decided to get themselves away in the holographic recreation room. The computer played a series of practical jokes on the three of them, trapping them in a deep hole in a forest, trapping them in a raging blizzard and then in a garden maze. An Enterprise security team kept on looking for them but couldn't. But fortunately a second team was more successful and saved the three crew members before any more harm could come to them. Another trip through the cloud rid the computer of the practical jokea, but the Romulan starships that followed them through were then left with the practical joker effect with Kirk stating that at some point in time he might be willing to share with them how to shake the effect. (TAS: "The Practical Joker")

The final illness that Sulu suffered from happened in the form of the Dramian auroral plague where Sulu collapsed on his helm console after turning a wicked shade of blue as did the rest of the crew. Fortunately, Dr. McCoy found a cure to rescue Sulu and the rest of the infected crew. (TAS: "Albatross")

Later career

Continued service aboard Enterprise

Upon the Enterprise's return to Earth in 2270, the vessel entered dry dock to undergo an extended refit and Sulu was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Commander. In 2273, Enterprise Captain Willard Decker was relieved from command by then-Rear Admiral Kirk. (Star Trek: The Motion Picture)

Hikaru Sulu, 2270s
Lieutenant commander in 2273

Sometime before 2285, Sulu was promoted to commander and accepted an assignment teaching at Starfleet Academy. During this time he "served" aboard the Enterprise, now a training vessel, under the command of Captain Spock. Later that year, in response to the threat from 20th century genetic tyrant Khan Noonien Singh, Sulu served as conn officer aboard the Enterprise. Following the incident, the Enterprise was officially retired. (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan)

In the novelizations for both Star Trek II and Star Trek III, Sulu was to become the commanding officer of the USS Excelsior when he returned from the Enterprise's training mission; however, because of the Genesis incident, Admiral Morrow had his orders rewritten, and command of the Excelsior was given to Captain Styles instead.

However, Admiral Kirk and his senior staff stole the Enterprise from Earth Spacedock to save their friend Spock, who had given his life to save the Enterprise following the encounter with Khan. His katra, implanted in Dr. McCoy, was successfully merged with his body on Vulcan. Their mission was successful, but the Enterprise was sacrificed orbiting the Genesis Planet. (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock)

In 2286, Sulu piloted the Klingon Bird-of-Prey, HMS Bounty, as the Enterprise crew returned to Earth to face certain court martial. Upon their arrival, they found Earth under attack by an unknown alien probe, which was later determined to be attempting to communicate with the long-extinct humpback whale. The Enterprise crew traveled back in time, to Earth's 1986, in an attempt to locate a humpback whale and to thus save Earth from destruction.

Huey loading cloaked BoP
Piloting a Huey 204 in 1986

While in the past, Sulu, Scott and McCoy were assigned to convert the cargo bay of the Bounty into a whale tank. To accomplish this, the three visited Plexicorp, a plexiglass manufacturing plant.

There, in the Plexicorp yards, Sulu discovered a Huey 204, an aircraft which he had a nostalgic admiration for. He described it to its pilot, as like something he flew in his Academy days.

Sulu was able to borrow the Huey to carry the enormous panes of plexiglass, that Scott and McCoy procured, and hauled them across San Francisco, to Golden Gate Park. Upon his return to the helm of the Bounty, Sulu had difficulty remembering how to fly the Bird-of-Prey after being used to flying the Huey.

Following the dismissal from their court martial, and while en route to their new assignment, Sulu was counting on being assigned to the USS Excelsior. He was pleased, however, to be assigned to the newly-commissioned USS Enterprise-A. (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home)

Sulu phaser
Sulu in action on Nimbus III in 2287

One year later, while the Enterprise was still in spacedock, she and her crew were assigned to resolve a conflict on Nimbus III; the planet of galactic peace. There they found Sybok, Spock's half-brother. He commandeered the Enterprise and traveled to the center of the galaxy, where he hoped to find "Sha Ka Ree". Sybok was able to coerce Sulu to his cause an served as his liaison, leading search parties of Sybok's followers to find Kirk, Spock, and McCoy who had escaped from the ship's brig and following Sybok's orders as he had Kirk's. With Kirk back in command of the Enterprise, Sulu again followed the captain's leadership. (Star Trek V: The Final Frontier)

Excelsior

Sulu in Tuvok's memory
Sulu on the Excelsior during the battle with Kang in the Azure Nebula

In 2290, Sulu was promoted to the rank of captain, and offered command of the USS Excelsior. Lieutenant Commander Janice Rand was assigned as the ship's communications officer at Sulu's request. While he displayed a more authoritarian manner once taking command of the Excelsior, contrasting his more easygoing, laid back demeanor shown previously, he was still very loyal to both his new and his old crew. (VOY: "Flashback")

In 2293, the Excelsior, nearing completion of a three-year mission cataloging gaseous anomalies in the Beta Quadrant, encountered a subspace shock wave resulting from the destruction of the Klingon moon Praxis. The Klingon Empire was thereby forced to negotiate peace with the Federation. Following the assassination of Klingon Chancellor Gorkon, Captain Kirk and Dr. McCoy were accused of the crime, and sentenced to lifelong prison sentences at Rura Penthe. (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)

In violation of Starfleet orders, Sulu decided to mount a rescue of Kirk and McCoy. Ensign Tuvok confronted Sulu about the breach of orders, but to no avail.

To conceal the Excelsior's approach to Qo'noS, Sulu ordered the Excelsior through the Azure Nebula, and it was there that the vessel encountered a Klingon battle cruiser, commanded by Captain Kang. To evade Kang, Sulu ordered that the volatile sirillium gas in the nebula be ignited. Shortly after, the Excelsior was attacked by three Klingon battle cruisers, and Sulu was forced to turn back. During this battle, Dmitri Valtane was fatally injured. Sulu never entered the incident into his official log. (VOY: "Flashback")

Some details of this incident as presented on-screen may be considered erroneous due to the memory virus infecting the area of Tuvok's brain containing these recollections. For example, the apparent death of Valtane as depicted in "Flashback" seemingly conflicts with the fact that at the end of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country Valtane is seen alive with the rest of Excelsior's crew when Sulu congratulates Kirk, an event which occurs after the death depicted in "Flashback" would have taken place. While it is possible that Valtane had a twin brother who also served on the bridge, as he was apparently seen standing beside Sulu and sitting at his post at the same time, it is also quite likely that Valtane was simply resuscitated soon after the virus left his body in a similar manner to the crew members of Voyager.

The Excelsior, however, played a key role in the Khitomer Conference shortly thereafter, by assisting the USS Enterprise-A in its battle with General Chang's prototype Bird-of-Prey, and by preventing the assassination of the President of the United Federation of Planets. (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)

Sulu's career was honored by Starfleet with his holographic portrait being placed in Starfleet Headquarters. It was viewed at one point by Kathryn Janeway, who felt it looked nothing like an image of Sulu from Tuvok's memory that she also saw. (VOY: "Flashback")

Relationships and family

Sulu and female
A female companion

While the Enterprise was exploring the galactic core in 2269, the ship and it's crew got caught in a matter-energy whirlwind and were thrown into an alternate universe. In that alternate universe, the crew met a being who called himself Lucien. Lucien claimed that he had, at one-time, been on Earth and had met humans before. Lucien also claimed that the Enterprise crew could perform magic in the alternate universe, with the crew being very surprised when they could. Sulu and the rest of the crew learned to master their powers of magic. Utilizing this magic, Sulu conjured for himself a beautiful female companion. As the two prepared to leave the bridge, Uhura wished him "Good luck", only for the female companion to suddenly change form into Lucien, who scolded the crew for misusing the magic. (TAS: "The Magicks of Megas-Tu")

Demora Sulu

Demora Sulu, 2293
Demora Sulu

Sulu had at least one daughter, Demora, who was born in 2271, and later assigned to the USS Enterprise-B in 2293. She held the same position as her father, at the ship's helm. (Star Trek Generations)

The script for Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home called for a scene shortly after Kirk told his crew to break up because they looked like a cadet review, Sulu encountered a young Japanese boy who mistook Sulu for his Uncle Akira. Sulu tells him that he must be mistaken, and then asked the boy his name, which was revealed to be Hikaru Sulu, Sulu's great-great-grandfather. The Japanese boy was hired for the movie but was too shy to play his part and the scene could not be filmed. This scene was retained in the novelization of the movie. The novelization, like the ones for the second and third films, also maintained the – apparently abandoned – minor storyline that Sulu had been promoted to captain, but was delayed from assuming his prospective command because of involvement with Kirk.
According to Sulu's character file in the Star Trek: Starship Creator computer game, Sulu had a wife named Yoshiko, who was Demora's mother. There was no indication of a date of divorce or death, so if the information is accurate, Sulu is still married as of Generations.
The novel The Captain's Daughter, on the other hand, indicates that Demora was the product of a brief encounter with a mysterious woman named Ling Sui and that Sulu was not even aware of his daughter's existence until eight years later when Ling Sui died of Sakuro's Disease. The Lost Era novel Serpents Among the Ruins apparently supports this story since it also mentions Demora's mother having died of Sakuro's disease, though other aspects of the novel are contradicted by "Flashback".

Pavel Chekov

Chekov became Sulu's closest friend among the Enterprise officers after joining the bridge crew in 2267, and they often shared jokes, observations, and opinions with each other while on duty. Both of them were at a loss to figure out what was going on when the Enterprise kept changing course back and forth between Vulcan and Altair VI, but by the time Captain Kirk finally settled on Vulcan they were a step ahead of him and already had the course change ready to lay in. (TOS: "Amok Time")

Chekov looked over at Sulu with a smile when Kirk used the corbomite bluff against the Romulans, which suggested that Sulu had filled him in on what "corbomite" was, since Chekov was not on the bridge the first time Kirk used that trick against the First Federation and Balok. (TOS: "The Deadly Years")

They both expressed surprise at Scotty's attraction to the bookish Lieutenant Mira Romaine, although Sulu wondered aloud if Scotty had even noticed her brain yet. (TOS: "The Lights of Zetar")

Sulu and Chekov also confided in each other. When Chekov was the only member of an Enterprise landing party not afflicted with rapid aging, he complained bitterly to Sulu about the large volume of tests to which he had been subjected to by Dr. McCoy and the medical department. Sulu tried to make him feel better by reminding him that at least he was going to live. (TOS: "The Deadly Years")

Prior to the appearance of the Beta XII-A entity, Sulu was apparently the only member of the senior staff who knew that Chekov had no siblings dead or alive. (TOS: "Day of the Dove")

Sulu & chekov
Sulu and Chekov mutiny against the Captain when Dr. Janice Lester was in control of Kirk's body.

When Dr. Janice Lester used a life-energy transfer to switch bodies with Captain Kirk, Sulu and Chekov formed a united front against the Captain after the Captain ordered the executions of Spock, Lester (Kirk in her body), Scotty and Dr. McCoy, both reminding the Captain that the death penalty was forbidden and later refusing the Captain's orders to place the ship in standard orbit at Benecia to strand the prisoners there. Sulu and Chekov simultaneously took their hands off their station's controls. This act of joint defiance threw Lester into a rage that almost broke the transference between her and Kirk and was the start of getting Kirk back into his own body. (TOS: "Turnabout Intruder")

During shore leave rotations while the Enterprise-A was brought up to working condition, Sulu and Chekov decided to take their leave together and go on a hiking trip. Ironically they wound up getting lost, though Sulu with characteristic good humor told Chekov that they were still making good time. When Sulu lied to Uhura about being caught in a blizzard as an excuse for not being able to find their way back to the pickup zone, Chekov rolled his eyes but gamely (though unsuccessfully) tried to support his friend's claim by blowing into the communicator. (Star Trek V: The Final Frontier)

Although it is not mentioned in the finished version, Sulu and Chekov took their hiking trip in the vicinity of Mount Rushmore. A deleted scene on the DVD shows them visiting the monument, which has had a fifth face added since its original carving.

There is only one known instance of open conflict between Sulu and Chekov, and it was neither one's fault. When the interphase region near Tholian space drove Chekov temporarily insane he snapped and attacked Sulu, who happened to be the closest person to him. Several members of the bridge crew quickly restrained him and kept Sulu from being seriously injured. And when Chekov finally collapsed due to Spock trying to calm him, Sulu allowed Chekov to collapse in his helm chair and cradled Chekov's head in his hands so it wouldn't fall onto the helm console until the medical department and security teams could take him to sickbay. Sulu later told Spock that Chekov had exhibited several spasms of pain beforehand. (TOS: "The Tholian Web")

Uhura

Early in the five-year mission, there were hints that Sulu found Uhura attractive. When she temporarily took over the navigation station during combat with a Romulan vessel in 2266. He paused a moment to check her out as she sat down before returning his attention to the battle. (TOS: "Balance of Terror")

And while Sulu was under the effects of the Psi 2000 polywater intoxication, as pointed out above, he made his way to the bridge armed with a sword and grinned when he saw Uhura, declaring her a "fair maiden" (despite her protest that she was neither) and promising to "protect" her. (TOS: "The Naked Time")

In 2267, Sulu was the first bridge crew person to come to Uhura's aide when she had her memories probed and then wiped clean by the probe Nomad, leaving her in a foggy daze. Sulu also assisted a command division ensign in helping Uhura to sickbay. (TOS: "The Changeling")

Nothing apparently ever came of his romantic interest in her, but they did eventually become friends. Uhura was willing to keep his secret when he didn't want to admit to being lost while on a hiking trip in 2287. (Star Trek V: The Final Frontier)

In the mirror universe, however, Sulu's crush on Uhura was much more blatant, and very dangerous for the Uhura of this universe when she found herself trapped there. Mirror Sulu made no secret of his attraction; he openly propositioned her on the bridge when Kirk and Spock were absent, insisting that she would "change her mind" about him if she gave him a chance. Uhura later took advantage of mirror Sulu's lust when she needed to distract him for a moment, briefly pretending to return his interest and then slapping him in the face and drawing a knife once the moment had passed. (TOS: "Mirror, Mirror")

Personal interests

Hikaru Sulu performs body throw on Agmar
Sulu performing an impressive body throw on Agmar.

Sulu was an avid botanist and spent much of his off hours tending to his rare and delicate plants which he had collected from all over Federation space in the Enterprise's botanic garden. (TOS: "The Man Trap")

Sulu's passion for botany is also touched upon in TOS: "The Naked Time" and in the opening sequence of TOS: "Shore Leave".

By adulthood, he was a recognized expert on the subject of antique firearms and small arms, especially Earth projectile weapons. (TOS: "Shore Leave"; TAS: "The Slaver Weapon")

He also enjoyed swordplay, in particular fencing (although he was once asked if the purpose of fencing were actually shish kebab) with this activity reminding him of some of his favorite characters of Earth history, namely the French musketeers and the Japanese samurai. (TOS: "The Naked Time")

Sulu was also an advanced judo practitioner and capable of defending himself against opponents much larger than himself. (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock)

His judo skills impressed even his captain. In 2269 during a mission to Phylos, Sulu was attacked by a Phylosian named Agmar. Using a body throw self-defense technique, however, Sulu easily disposed of the assailant. Afterward Kirk asked Sulu to teach him that particular technique. (TAS: "The Infinite Vulcan")

He was an excellent pilot and was familiar with many types of vessels, both historic and contemporary. (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home)

Appendices

Appearances

Background information

Sulu was played by George Takei. After his appearance in Star Trek VI, there was a fan-based campaign to start a TV series based on the adventures of his crew during his stint as captain of Excelsior, but it never drew enough support for Paramount to start production. [1] [2]

Sulu's given name, Hikaru, was canonically established in Star Trek VI, though it had been used in fan circles since it was introduced in Vonda N. McIntyre's 1981 novel The Entropy Effect. McIntyre created the name, taking it from The Tale of Genji, because she needed to write a love scene featuring Sulu, and she "couldn't figure out how to write a love scene where the protagonists called each other by their surnames." [3] Hikaru was also given in the script of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home as the name of the young boy whom Sulu later realizes is his great-great grandfather.

Although it has no canonical basis, "Walter" is often given in various references as the character's middle name. Before Hikaru was canonically established as Sulu's first name, Walter was a popular choice in fandom as an alternate. The name seems to have been first suggested by Takei himself as a tribute to his friend Walter Koenig.

Sulu's first name was given as "Itaka" in the Star Trek newspaper comic strip. Its use was based on information from the fan fiction USS Enterprise Officer's Manual by Geoffrey Mandel and Doug Drexler and published by Interstellar Associates in 1980.

"Hikaru" is a Japanese name that can mean "light" or several other words, and is quite commonly used for both males and females. 'Sulu' is taken from Sulu sea and it is also the name of a province in the Philippines.

In the Japanese version of Star Trek, his family name was changed to 'Kato', a common surname. Also notable is that his name cannot be truly Japanese, as the Japanese language, while syllabic, does not contain the "L" phoneme in any form. It is 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 is the fact that most American names are mixed-and-matched, and will likely continue to be diversified for the next four hundred years.

It has been conjectured by Michael Okuda and Denise Okuda in the Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home text commentary that Sulu is an anglicized version of the Japanese word tsuru, the word for the red-crested crane, a national treasure of Japan and symbol of leadership, courage, and long life.

However, in the book Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, production executive Herb Solow states that Gene Roddenberry named Sulu after him, as a joking tribute to his surname, which can be (incorrectly) pronounced as "Sulu".

Apocrypha

According to the Eighth UK Story Arc, Sulu was raised with a deep-rooted fear of the supernatural. His mother's name was Shimizu Hana according to Excelsior: Forged in Fire and "Iron and Sacrifice" in Tales from the Captain's Table.

In Dwellers in the Crucible, Sulu was sent undercover as a Romulan into the Romulan Star Empire after the Romulans kidnap six Federation hostages. While preparing for his mission, it was revealed that Sulu had a tendency to talk in his sleep. He eventually made his way to Remus and managed to send a short coded message to the Enterprise.

Three of Sulu's later adventures (during and post-Excelsior) are chronicled in the audio-only Simon and Schuster Audioworks Captain Sulu Adventures series: Transformations, Cacophony, and Envoy.

According to William Shatner's novel The Return Sulu retired and entered politics, eventually being elected President of the United Federation of Planets.

Sulu features prominently in the novels The Kobayashi Maru depicting his academy days, Prime Directive wherein he works outside Starfleet, The Entropy Effect wherein he considers another career, and Home Is the Hunter wherein he is sent back to ancient Japan. In the DS9 novel Day of Honor: Armageddon Sky, an aged Starfleet officer identifying himself only as "George" is strongly hinted to be Hikaru Sulu.

According to the audio introduction to Star Trek: Federation - The First 150 Years, Admiral Sulu became the Commander in Chief of Starfleet Command.

In Star Trek Online, Hikaru Sulu's great-great-grandson Akira Sulu is on Earth Spacedock.

External links

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