Memory Alpha
Memory Alpha

For the alternate reality counterpart, please see Hikaru Sulu (alternate reality).
For the mirror universe counterpart, please see Hikaru Sulu (mirror).
"At heart, a swashbuckler out of your 18th century."

Hikaru Sulu was a male Human who served as a Starfleet officer during the latter half of the 23rd century and into the early 24th century. Over a period of four decades, Sulu served aboard at least three different Federation starships, including the USS Enterprise, and the USS Enterprise-A, before finally becoming the commanding officer of the USS Excelsior. (TOS: "Where No Man Has Gone Before"; Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; PIC: "The Star Gazer")

Early history[]

San Francisco at night

San Francisco, Sulu's birthplace, as viewed in 1986

Sulu was born in San Francisco, California on Earth during the second quarter of the 23rd century. (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home; TOS: "That Which Survives")

According to the Star Trek Chronology, Sulu was born in the year 2237.

During the late 2250s or early 2260s, Sulu attended Starfleet Academy in which he underwent pilot training. (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home)

Starfleet career[]

Service aboard the Enterprise[]


Hikaru Sulu, 2265

Sulu in 2265

Sulu began serving aboard the USS Enterprise under the command of Captain James T. Kirk in 2265. (TOS: "The Deadly Years") He began in the sciences division serving as the department head for astrosciences.

That year, he was present on the bridge as the Enterprise prepared to cross the galactic barrier. Following the ship's encounter with the barrier, he attended the staff meeting to discuss the effects it had on Gary Mitchell as well as Mitchell's acquisition of new mental abilities. There, Sulu briefed that "if you want the mathematics of this, Mitchell's ability is increasing geometrically. That is, like having a penny, doubling it every day. In a month, you'll be a millionaire." (TOS: "Where No Man Has Gone Before")


By 2266, Lieutenant Sulu was a command division officer on the Enterprise, and was the senior helmsman. (TOS: "The Corbomite Maneuver")

That year, Sulu announced contact with an object approaching the Enterprise at light speed, and attempted several evasive maneuvers before sounding condition alert and calling the captain to the bridge. After destroying the object, he attended a department heads meeting in the briefing room where they discussed their findings. As the encounter ensued, he coordinated with the engineering decks.

Shortly after the Enterprise destroyed the object, Kirk later noted that his times were slow, and recommended they program and repeat a series of simulated attacks and evasion maneuvers until they were proficient. As the training continued, Sulu interrupted and announced that a new, larger object (about a mile in diameter) was approaching. He subsequently had to carry out several orders that Kirk issued to then-navigator Dave Bailey, as Bailey was so shocked by the alien presence he wasn't responsive to commands.

As the contentious encounter continued, Sulu counted down the minutes to a threatened destruction of the Enterprise which turned out to be a bluff threat posed by the commander of the second object. After Kirk used his own bluff, the second object turned out to actually be a disguise for the much smaller First Federation starship Fesarius, under the command of an alien named Balok. Sulu ultimately witnessed the departure of the first of several navigators to leave after having 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")

In an ultimately unused line of dialogue from the second revised final draft script of "The Corbomite Maneuver", Sulu referred to Kirk as "even rougher" than Spock, regarding their discipline of the crew.

In another unused line of dialogue from the same script, Sulu admitted that he admired Balok for keeping the Enterprise crew so well updated with the countdown.

In early 2266, Sulu, like the rest of the ship's male crew, became infatuated with Mudd's women, due to the influences they conveyed from taking the Venus drug. (TOS: "Mudd's Women")

Hikaru Sulu suffering from hypothermia

Sulu nearly freezing to death on Alfa 177

Sulu was included in a six-man landing party that conducted a survey mission on the planet Alfa 177. While there, he grew fond of a dog-like animal, but also complained of the planet's temperature, noting initially how it was "nippy". Due to the Enterprise's transporter malfunctioning (which killed the creature), however, he, Leslie, and two other technicians had to stay a long while on the planet's frigid surface.

As the surface temperature dipped to twenty degrees below zero, he reported back to the Enterprise that he couldn't "exactly call it balmy," as the thermal heaters that were transported to the surface for them to use did not function.

At forty-one below zero, Sulu inquired if Captain Kirk could maybe "find a long rope somewhere and lower us down a pot of hot coffee?" before adding, "rice wine will do, if you're short on coffee."

As the temperature reached seventy-five below zero, Sulu used his phaser to heat nearby rocks. He then decided to "give room service another call," because the "coffee's taking too long." When Kirk answered the call directly, Sulu took that a "hot line direct to the Captain," gave him the indication to inquire "Are we that far gone?" Kirk assured him that he gave the rest of the crew the afternoon off and that he was simply "watching the store," before asking how landing party was doing down there. Sulu explained that they were doing "lovely, except that the frost is building up," and that they were "using hand phasers to heat the rocks," and that one of their four phasers had already quit. Sulu further pleaded to know if there was "any possibility of getting us back aboard before the skiing season opens down here?" Spock, who had just entered the conversation, told him to begin survival procedures, which Sulu understood as being from Spock's training program.

As time continued to press on, the surface temperature reached one hundred seventeen below zero, and leaving Sulu with little hope of further survival. The conditions made it no longer possible to clearly read the top indicator of the communicator as the cold was starting to penetrate it, befofe his near to final words reported that there were "two men unconscious. No time. No. Can't wait. No time."

Not long after this, the ship's transporter system was repaired, and Sulu and the three others were beamed safely back to the ship, with each suffering from severe exposure and frostbite that Doctor McCoy was later able to treat. (TOS: "The Enemy Within")


Sulu's prized animate carnivorous plant, Gertrude

A particularly bizarre experience Sulu had to face early in his time as the Enterprise's 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 botany section when Yeoman Janice Rand came in with a tray of a food for the lieutenant, followed by a bizarrely acting crewman, Green.

Sulu became puzzled by the crewman's arrival causing a frenzied reaction in a carnivorous plant, whom he called Gertrude, whose response prompted Green to quickly exit. Sulu, along with Rand, subsequently discovered the reason that the plant had acted the way it had, when they found Barnhart dead in a corridor with blotches on his face and all the salt drained out of his body; it turned out the version of Green they had seen earlier was a shape-shifting M-113 creature, which was killed a short time later. (TOS: "The Man Trap")

Sulu Fencing

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

In 2266, Sulu and the then-navigator Lieutenant Kevin Riley came under the effects of the Psi 2000 polywater intoxication after being exposed while they both tried to prevent 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.) After Spock subdued Sulu with a Vulcan nerve pinch, 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")

When Sulu actor George Takei was first asked to perform the character's maddened use of a fencing foil in "The Naked Time", Takei became extremely panicked, as he didn't know how to fence. He began taking fencing lessons three weeks before the episode was filmed. During the making of the installment, Takei became so out-of-control and boisterous that he had to be separated from the rest of the production personnel, for their own safety. (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, pp. 29-30)

In the final draft script of "The Naked Time" it was Sulu who administered Kirk with an antidote for the polywater intoxication during a turbolift journey with the captain. In the final aired version of the episode though, it is Dr. McCoy who administers Kirk with the antidote, which happens after Kirk takes the turbolift ride alone.


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 White Rabbit immediately followed by a little girl, both of whom spoke and dressed just as McCoy imagined characters from Alice in Wonderland would do. 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. 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 Keeper 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 cabaret girls from Rigel II 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. (TOS: "Shore Leave")

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 was later scolded by his parents for not treating his pets, the Humans, with respect. Unfortunately before that happened, Trelane, yet again, plucked Sulu and then the rest of the bridge crew, from the bridge, and took 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")

Sulu in command, 2267

Sulu assuming command of the Enterprise, for the first time, from the helm while in combat with the Gorn

Due to his experience as a combat officer, in 2267, Sulu assumed an authoritative role on the Enterprise bridge. Sulu was occasionally placed in temporary command of the ship. (TOS: "Arena", "Errand of Mercy", "Spock's Brain", "The Savage Curtain"; TAS: "The Jihad")

Though never mentioned on screen, Sulu's assignment placed him as the ship's third officer.

An early instance of when Sulu was in command of the Enterprise, while still remaining at his post at the helm, was when the ship engaged the Gorn starship while they were in orbit above the Federation observation outpost on Cestus III. (TOS: "Arena")

Kirk and Sulu infiltrate the 498th Air Base

Kirk and Sulu retrieving the evidence of Captain John Christopher's encounter with a "UFO"

Following the Enterprise's accidental transport back to 1969 from 2267, he assisted Captain Kirk in infiltrating the US Air Force US 498th Airbase Group in Omaha, Nebraska where they successfully retrieved photographic evidence of the Enterprise, after it was visually contacted by Air Force Captain John Christopher. (TOS: "Tomorrow is Yesterday")

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

It was around this time that the Enterprise acquired a new chief navigator after having several that either had left due to other assignments or health reasons. That new chief navigator was young Ensign Pavel Chekov. Chekov remained primary navigator until the end of the first half of 2269. Chekov also took over the duty of tactical officer from Sulu. The two became lifelong friends. (TOS: "Catspaw", "Space Seed", "I, Mudd"; 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 "weapons officer" function.

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 commands the Enterprise

Sulu takes command of the Enterprise during the encounter with the Klingons

The second time Sulu took temporary command was 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")

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")

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 flying parasites that had invaded the planet Deneva. Sulu recovered from this attack from the first officer and Spock were soon free of the parasite's influence. (TOS: "Operation -- Annihilate!")

On another planet, Pyris VII, a short time later, Sulu fell 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")

When the being Apollo jammed all power sources on the Enterprise, Sulu was able to rig all transmission circuits for maximum power generation. This 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?")

Pavel Chekov complaining about physicals

Sulu listening to Chekov complaining

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 Doomsday Machine", "The Changeling")

When the Jack the Ripper entity took control of the Enterprise computer, Kirk ordered McCoy to have tranquilizers 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")


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 series of M-5 drills. (TOS: "The Ultimate Computer")

In 2268, Sulu was again 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 was later 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 communicators 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 security officer to arrest Captain Tracey. (TOS: "The Omega Glory")

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")

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 crewmen have their molecules beamed into and spread throughout 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")

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. He was later 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 Kara. (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 did so as well, a short time after that. (TOS: "Is There in Truth No Beauty?")

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 was beamed aboard the Enterprise a short time later, still alive. (TOS: "The Tholian Web")

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")


By 2269, Sulu was recognized as a specialist in weapons and navigation. (TOS: "The Way to Eden")

That year, Sulu's ability to speak was affected when the Zetarians 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. Later while the landing party was on Memory Alpha, Sulu was left in charge of the bridge while taking orders from Kirk on the planetoid's surface. (TOS: "The Lights of Zetar")

During the concert given on board the Enterprise for the crew by Dr. Sevrin's followers in 2269, 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 Scott gave him a stern look. Later, when Dr. Sevrin and his followers hijacked the Enterprise from 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 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 and saved them and got out of Romulan space. (TOS: "The Way to Eden")

Later that year, Sulu piloted the ship during a star charting mission on the far reaches of and the ship was pulled into a black star, Questar M-17, due to its 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 alongside of an ancient insectoid starship, after Kirk ordered it.

This marked Sulu's fourth time in temporary command, as he took over the captain's chair when Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and Scott beamed over to investigate the long abandoned vessel. After the Enterprise initially lost contact with the landing party, he acknowledged transporter chief Kyle's good work transporting the landing party off the ship. At the same time, however, an ancient magnetic organism returned to the Enterprise in the transporter beam along with the landing party.

As organism began to take over the Enterprise, Sulu reported that it had activated and targeted ship phasers before destroying the insectoid starship. Sulu noted that manual override didn't work. (TAS: "Beyond the Farthest Star")

Sulu doubled as the ship's tactical officer during the Enterprise's defense of Mantilles against a large cloud creature that threatened the planet. (TAS: "One of Our Planets Is Missing")

Sulu again doubled as the ship's tactical officer during the Enterprise's encounter with the IKS Devisor. He also had direct control of the robot grain ship's that the Enterprise was escorting to Sherman's Planet, and was responsible for attempting to fly them into the Devisor during the last ditch effort to stop the Devisor. (TAS: "More Tribbles, More Troubles")

Sulu joined the landing party that investigated a newly-discovered planet at the periphery of the Milky Way Galaxy, where he discovered and picked up an interesting mobile plant, called a retlaw 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. 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. (TAS: "The Infinite Vulcan")

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")

Hikaru Sulu, 2269

Sulu on the Shore Leave Planet in 2269

Near the end of 2269 Sulu suffered the first of two assaults 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 Keeper's headstone was found and it revealed that the Keeper 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")

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 by firing phasers on the planet; 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 moot point when the arrow of the scanner hit him and he fell 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")

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")


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 battle cruisers 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 re-creation 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 jokes, 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 Dramia II 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")

Sarah April and de-aged Enterprise senior staff

Sulu appearing as he would have as a child (right)

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")

Following the conclusion of the Enterprise's historic five-year mission, the ship returned to Earth the same year. (VOY: "Q2")

Hikaru Sulu, 2270s

As a lieutenant commander in the 2270s

A year after returning to Earth, the Enterprise underwent a major eighteen month refit under the direction of her new captain, Will Decker. By the end of the refit, Sulu had been promoted to lieutenant commander, and with the encroachment of the V'ger entity, he again served under his old captain, then-Rear Admiral Kirk. (Star Trek: The Motion Picture)

Demora Sulu, 2293

Demora Sulu

Sulu had one daughter, Demora, who was born during the 2270s, 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)

In an article entitled "George Takei" which appeared in Star Trek: Communicator issue 100, Takei talked about Demora Sulu, discussing his take on his character having a daughter. He stated, "It's intriguing. I'd like to know how I had her. Who her mother is. That's the thing about doing a long-lasting serialized film or TV series. You really are in the hands of the writers and the other molders and shapers of the series. You make your input and you hope for the best. In my case my input didn't take too much during the time I was there and I'm so delighted to discover that I was so ultimately productive after the fact.

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 was accurate, Sulu was still married as of Generations.

The novel The Captain's Daughter, on the other hand, indicated 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 supported this story since it also mentioned Demora's mother having died of Sakuro's disease, though other aspects of the novel are contradicted by "Flashback".

Serving at Starfleet Training Command[]

Saavik Kobayashi Maru

Sulu performing during Saavik's Kobayashi Maru scenario

In March 2285, Commander Sulu was a participant in Saavik's Kobayashi Maru scenario at Starfleet Training Command.

Some time after the scenario, he piloted travel pod 05 with Kirk, McCoy, and Uhura over to the Enterprise, for Kirk's inspection, expressing delight in visiting his old ship once again. Kirk was glad to have Sulu along, stating, "Well, I for one am glad to have you at the helm for three weeks. I don't think these kids can steer."

Sulu piloted the Enterprise out of dry dock and was given the go ahead by Captain Spock to "indulge yourself" on the ship's course heading. Shortly into the training cruise that followed, the Enterprise received a distress call from Regula I, Starfleet Command ordered an investigation by the Enterprise.

With Rear Admiral Kirk assuming command from Spock, the cruise was cut short and Sulu plotted a course for Regula I. The Enterprise became involved with Project Genesis and Khan Noonien Singh's attempt to steal the Genesis Device, with Sulu responsible for weapons control. Eventually, Kirk was able to stop Khan, but not before the latter had wrought extensive damage upon the Enterprise, requiring Captain Spock to sacrifice his life to save the ship. Sulu attended the funeral of Spock. (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan)

According to the script for "The Wrath of Khan", Sulu was assigned as the commander of the USS Excelsior by Rear Admiral Kirk. The effective date of this order was sometime in April 2285, which was after the training cruise. In the novelizations of both Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, because of the Genesis incident, Fleet Admiral Morrow had this order rewritten, and command of the Excelsior was given to Captain Lawrence H. Styles instead.

The novelization of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, 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.

Stealing the Enterprise[]

However, Admiral Kirk and his senior staff stole the Enterprise from Spacedock One 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)

Traveling back to 1986[]

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.

The script for 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. Hikaru told the boy that he must be mistaken, and then asked the child for his name, which was revealed to be Akira Sulu, Hikaru's great-great-grandfather. A child actor was hired for the role in the film, 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.

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)

Service aboard the Enterprise-A[]

Sulu phaser

Sulu in action on Nimbus III in 2287

One year later, while the Enterprise-A was still in Spacedock One, she and her crew were assigned to resolve a conflict on Nimbus III; the planet of galactic peace.

He piloted the Galileo 5 down to the planet, where they eventually found Sybok, Spock's half-brother. After being captured by Sybok and his Galactic Army of Light, Sulu piloted the shuttle back to the Enterprise-A, where he tested his pilot skills by flying it into the shuttlebay manually. After it was revealed that it was Sulu's first attempt at such a feat, Kirk reassured the passengers, "He's good. ...Really."

Sybok subsequently commandeered the Enterprise-A, and Sulu piloted the ship as they traveled to the center of the galaxy, where he hoped to find "Sha Ka Ree". Sybok was able to coerce Sulu to his cause and 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. As the crews of Klaa's Bird-of-Prey and the Enterprise-A co-mingled aboard the Enterprise, Sulu and Chekov following Klingon officer Vixis into the observation lounge, while Chekov confessed to Sulu how he admired her "wonderful muscles." (Star Trek V: The Final Frontier)

Commanding the USS Excelsior[]

"Mister Sulu, I see they have finally given you the captaincy you deserve."
"Thank you, Kang."
"Do not let it end prematurely."
– Kang and Sulu, 2293 ("Flashback")
Sulu in Tuvok's memory

Sulu on the Excelsior during the battle with three Klingon battle cruisers in the Azure Nebula

In 2287, Captain Sulu assumed command of the USS Excelsior. (PIC: "The Star Gazer" commemorative placard) 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. (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; VOY: "Flashback")

In 2290, he led the Excelsior on a three-year mission cataloging gaseous planetary anomalies in the Beta Quadrant.

According to the Star Trek: Picard Logs, in or just after this year, Sulu put in a recommendation for the USS Titan to be designated as Starfleet's flagship, a recommendation that was accepted. [1]

On the return trip home, in 2293, the Excelsior 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. Rather than order him to keep his peace and return to his station, or allow Commander Janice Rand to relive the young Vulcan of duty, Sulu acknowledged what he was doing was illogical and explained why he was rescuing his old friends.

To conceal the Excelsior's approach to Qo'noS, Sulu ordered the Excelsior on a five hour journey through the Azure Nebula to obscure their approach, 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 as they exited it. Shortly after, the Excelsior was attacked by three Klingon battle cruisers, and Sulu was forced to turn back. During this battle, Dimitri 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 end of The Undiscovered Country when Valtane was seen alive with the rest of Excelsior's crew when Sulu congratulated Kirk, an event which occurred after the death depicted in "Flashback" would have taken place, however, as he was seen standing beside Sulu and sitting at his post at the same time, it can be surmised 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 at Khitomer against General Chang's prototype Bird-of-Prey, and by arriving at the Conference in time to arrest Fleet Admiral Cartwright. (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)

Sulu remained in command of the Excelsior until 2320, when the ship was decommissioned, having carried out hundreds of exploratory and first contact missions. (PIC: "The Star Gazer" commemorative plaque [2](X) )


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 noted it looked nothing like an image of Sulu from Tuvok's memory that she also saw. Tuvok explained that holographic image resolution was less accurate than the technology that was later developed in the 24th century.

This information was not included in the first draft script of "Flashback". It was conceived by the time the final draft of the installment's teleplay was written.

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

Captain Janeway later opined that Captain Sulu belonged "to a different breed of Starfleet officer," who served during a rougher time, and that "It's not surprising they had to bend the rules a little. They were a little slower to invoke the Prime Directive, and a little quicker to pull their phasers. Of course, the whole bunch of them would be booted out of Starfleet today. But I have to admit, I would have loved to ride shotgun at least once with a group of officers like that." (VOY: "Flashback")

Hikaru Sulu, hallucination

A hallucination of Sulu

In 2381, Brad Boimler passed out from dehydration, and while briefly classified as clinically dead, he hallucinated that he was in Idaho at Kirk's ranch. Believing he was about to meet Kirk, based on the name on the mailbox, but discovered it was actually Sulu, which he found to be "even better". According to Sulu, he took the ranch "off Kirk's hands," because "He had to go and time travel, or who knows what. The man could never relax." He offered to let Boimler feed the horse, Atlas, while he explained to randomness of death, following the death of William Boimler. This Sulu explained that, "I've lost many friends. Some heroically, some tragically. The randomness of death is merely a reflection of the unexpected joys we find in life." When Boimler was found he could live that explaination, Sulu told him that he was "Happy to help a fellow Starfleet officer looking for answers." Not wishing to waste the opportunity, Boimler began bombarding Sulu with questions, such as wanting to know "what it was like working with Spock and Uhura? Was it weird using the crystal buttons on the Enterprise. Ooh, did you practice daily with the sword? I'm, uh, kind of a sword guy myself, so..." but before he finished, Sulu warned him that "the horsey is going to bite you now", and Boimler abruptly awoke in sickbay. (LD: "Crisis Point 2: Paradoxus")

In 2384, Hologram Janeway noted that both Captains Kirk and Sulu were "Starfleet legends". To the Enderprizians, Sulu had at least one namesake on Planet 0042692, Sool'U. (PRO: "All the World's a Stage")

By 2401, Sulu was honored by having a ship named after him, the USS Hikaru Sulu. (PIC: "The Star Gazer")

Personal interests[]

Skills and hobbies[]

He was an excellent pilot and was familiar with many types of vessels, both historic and contemporary. (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock; Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home; Star Trek V: The Final Frontier)

Sulu 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. This later became one of things he was known for as part of his legacy. (TOS: "The Naked Time", "Shore Leave"; LD: "Crisis Point 2: Paradoxus")

While under the influence of the polywater intoxication, Sulu left the bridge to go to the ship's gym, figuring that a light workout would take the edge off. (TOS: "The Naked Time")

Hikaru Sulu performs body throw on Agmar

Sulu performing an impressive body throw on Agmar

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

In the official novelization for the film Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, there is a line relating to Sulu's martial arts skills. The line reads: "As Sulu turned away to help the others with McCoy, he muttered 'I wonder what O-sensei would have said about phasers?'".

Traditional practitioners of the martial art of Aikido honor the memory of the art's founder Morehei Ueshiba with the moniker 'O-sensei'.

The technique used to throw the Starfleet security officer earlier in the film, when rescuing Dr. McCoy from his cell is, I believe, a typical Aikido technique. There is no mention in dialogue of the martial art actually used.

(See Chapter 12, Page 261 of the UK paperback by Vonda N. McIntyre ISBN: 0-586-06442-7)

Sulu on the farm

Sulu experiencing rural life

Sulu was an avid botanist and spent much of his off duty 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 also shared his personal interests with his shipmates, including Kevin Riley, who once complained that "Last week it was botany he was trying to get me interested in. I was supposed to be collecting leaves, plant specimens." Sulu, however, told him that his attitude was "all wrong". (TOS: "The Naked Time") Sulu's interest in botany was part of his role during the visit of the initial scouting party to the Shore Leave Planet. (TOS: "Shore Leave") He later admitted his unfamiliarity with rural life, during a landing party mission to Omicron Ceti III, where he was also reviewing the planet's plant life, explaining that, "When it comes to farms, I wouldn't know what looked right or wrong if it were two feet from me." (TOS: "This Side of Paradise") Knowledge of his interest in botany as a hobby became known to Tongo Rad, who was himself said to "reach botany", and that it was also one of his favorite of studies. This was all part of their ploy to take over the Enterprise. (TOS: "The Way to Eden")

Later in life, Captain Sulu enjoyed a cup of hot tea in the mornings. (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; VOY: "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 Scott's attraction to the bookish Lieutenant Mira Romaine, although Sulu wondered aloud if Scott 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 and 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-entity 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 (with Kirk in her body), Scott, 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")

Hikaru Sulu and Pavel Chekov, 2287

Sulu and Chekov get lost while hiking together in 2287

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")

Nyota Uhura[]

Early in the five-year mission, there were hints of Sulu's future relationship with Uhura. When she temporarily took over the navigation station during combat with a Romulan vessel in 2266. He paused a moment to assess her as she sat down. (TOS: "Balance of Terror")

While Sulu was under the effects of the Psi 2000 polywater intoxication, 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 and Scott were the first two bridge crew 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")

Eventually becoming close 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)

Love interests[]

In 2268, Sulu was briefly interested in one of Doctor Sevrin's followers, who encouraged him to join their movement. When Kirk asked him to explain what he was doing, a flustered Sulu couldn't provide an answer. (TOS: "The Way to Eden")

Sulu and female

A female companion

The following year, during the Enterprise's encounter with a being who called himself Lucien, it was found that members of the crew could perform magic as part of their being in the alternate universe that Lucien lived. 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")

A few years later, Sulu again fell under the infatuation one would have being in the presence of the Deltan Ilia. He was ultimately rebuffed when told that she was celibate. Ilia also looked back at him when his back was turned, but nothing came of it. (Star Trek: The Motion Picture).

The TOS novel Allegiance in Exile portrays a long-term relationship between Sulu and the Enterprise's archaeology and anthropology officer, Mai Duyen Trinh (β). The freak accident which ultimately leads to her death also strains Sulu's relationship with Kirk, leading to his brief transfer to the Courageous (β).

Key dates[]

Memorable quotes[]

"Try to cross brains with Spock, he'll cut you to pieces every time."

- Hikaru Sulu, to Bailey (TOS: "The Corbomite Maneuver")

"May the great bird of the galaxy bless your planet."

- Sulu, to Rand, as she brings him a food tray (TOS: "The Man Trap")

"Why do people have to call inanimate objects 'she'?"

- Sulu, to Rand (TOS: "The Man Trap")

"I'll protect you, fair maiden."

- Sulu, to Uhura, after he enters the bridge with a sword (TOS: "The Naked Time")

"No animals, no people... no worries. Just what the doctor ordered."

- Sulu, to McCoy, while on the Shore Leave Planet (TOS: "Shore Leave")

"He wanted her back, he got her."

- Sulu, on James Kirk regaining command of the Enterprise (Star Trek: The Motion Picture)

"So much for the little training cruise."

- Sulu (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan)

"Don't call me Tiny."

- Sulu (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock)

"I'm trying to remember how this thing worked. Got used to a Huey."

- Sulu (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home)

"Are you kidding?"

- Sulu, to Rand, on whether they would report the Praxis explosion (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)

"Nice to see you in action one more time, Captain Kirk. Take care."

- Sulu, saying farewell to his former commanding officer (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)

"You'll find that more happens on the bridge of a starship than just carrying out orders and observing regulations. There is a sense of loyalty to the men and women you serve with. A sense of family. Those two men on trial... I served with them for a long time. I owe them my life a dozen times over. And right now, they're in trouble and I'm going to help them; let the regulations be damned."

- Sulu, to Tuvok (VOY: "Flashback")



Background information[]

Vic Toyota, Catspaw

Toyota as stunt-Sulu

Sulu was played by George Takei.

Takei's stunt double in the episode "Catspaw" was Vic Toyota.


Takei recalled his first meeting with Gene Roddenberry in an interview: "I went there to audition with the hope that I might be a series regular", Takei explained, recalling his audition for the first-ever Star Trek series. "There's an interesting way that I met Gene Roddenberry. I was taking a shower, so when I wrote the information down, I was dripping wet".

"And the ballpoint pen that I use to write down the information got a little smeared. And when I went to [...] meet the producer, it looked like what I had written down was 'Rosenberry'. I was to meet a man named Gene Roddenberry, but it looked like 'Rosenberry'. And so, when I walked in, I told him that I'm George Takei here to meet Mr. Rosenberry."

"And you're nervous enough as you are, but then when you're corrected and realize that you'd mispronounced a producer's name, that really throws you off. But then, when I walked in to meet Gene Roddenberry, he called me George 'Takai', which is a mispronunciation of the 'ei' in my surname."

"I told him of a difficulty I had with his name, but I said, 'I don't object to being called George 'Takai', because that is a Japanese word which translates into English as 'expensive'. And if you want to call me 'George Expensive', I'd be more than happy to have my agent accommodate you.' And from that point on, Gene always said, 'Takei is okay!' " [3]

Name origins[]

According to George Takei, Roddenberry named him after the Sulu Sea, which he thought of as touching all the shores of Asia. [4] It has been conjectured by Michael and Denise Okuda that "Sulu" was an anglicized version of the Japanese word tsuru, the word for the red-crested crane, a national treasure of Japan and a symbol of leadership, courage, and long life. (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home text commentary) However, in the book Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, production executive Herb Solow stated that Gene Roddenberry named Sulu after him, as a joking tribute to his surname, which can be (incorrectly) pronounced "Sulu".

Sulu's surname cannot be truly Japanese, as the Japanese language, while syllabic, does not contain the "L" phoneme in any form. In the Japanese version of Star Trek, his family name was consequently changed to "Kato", a common surname. (citation needededit)

After almost thirty years of being called "Mister", Sulu finally earned a given name, Hikaru, in the film Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, 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." [5] "Hikaru" was also given in the script of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home as the name of a young boy whom Sulu later realized was his great-great grandfather.


In a deleted scene from TOS: "The Corbomite Maneuver", Sulu revealed that he often enjoyed watching, during his boyhood, Fu Manchu movies about the Sino-Western trouble, in which the villains were Orientals. He never understood what the films were about but admittedly "loved" the antagonists in them. Wanting to be like those Orientals, the boy Sulu spent hours sitting in front of a mirror practicing their "drooping eyelids" and "mysterious expressions." ("Inside the Roddenberry Vault, Part I", Star Trek: The Original Series - The Roddenberry Vault special features) In the second revised final draft script, Sulu, regarding his not having become like them in his adulthood, then remarked, "I can't figure out why I'm like this. I don't have a drop of Western blood."

Regarding Sulu's heritage, George Takei himself said, "Sulu is a genuine 23rd-century Human being as opposed to some of the other characters who tend to be ethnocentric. Like, for example, very Scottish to the point of having a brogue, or very Russian to the point of everything being 'invented in Russia.' Sulu is a person who considers the heritage of Human culture, Human history, his heritage and so his reference is a very broad one." Takei felt the "pan-cultural heritage that Sulu feels" was made evident in such scenes as the one where the character, with his inhibitions loosened by polywater intoxication in TOS: "The Naked Time", imagines himself as French swashbuckler D'Artagnan. "He's obviously a very capable, bright member of the Starfleet Officer Corps," Takei continued. "He has great ambitions. His career pattern is essentially one that was molded on the example set by Kirk. He wants to follow in Kirk's footsteps. Sulu also has a lot of private life that we really have not had a chance to examine." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 11/12, pp. 34-35)


Sulu was scripted to appear in "The Conscience of the King" (featured in the final revised draft of that episode's teleplay), but his part in the installment was evidently given to Lieutenant Leslie instead.

Sulu was likewise scripted, only initially, to appear in "Court Martial" (at least referred to if not also making an appearance in the episode's first draft script, and appearing in the final draft and revised final draft of the teleplay). In the first draft of "Court Martial", he was mistakenly referred to as "Sumo". However, Gene Roddenberry addressed this issue (among others) in a six-page memo of script notes he sent Gene L. Coon (on 15 August 1966). Most of Sulu's involvement in "Court Martial" was ultimately substituted by Lieutenant Hansen. In the climax of the story, Sulu was also scripted to say the lines, "Variance fading," and, "All secure, sir," though those lines are spoken by Uhura in the final edit of the episode.

Sulu was additionally scripted to appear in "The Menagerie, Part I" and "The Menagerie, Part II", although he was again substituted by Hansen instead.

Shooting Flashback

Takei and Director David Livingston, taking cues for the depiction of Sulu in VOY: "Flashback" from the episode's script

After Sulu's 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 the Excelsior. However, it never drew enough support for Paramount to start production on it. [6] [7] Nonetheless, Takei was featured as Captain Sulu once again for the 30th anniversary of The Original Series in the Voyager episode "Flashback".


The novel Spock, Messiah! states that Sulu was born on Alpha Mensa V.

The comic "Who's Who in Star Trek 2" states that Sulu was born in Los Angeles and gives his full name as "Hikaru Kato Sulu". His parents were named Hosato Sulu (a poet) and Momiko Sulu (a xenobiologist).

The "Kato" middle name also appears in Portuguese translations of Pocket Books TOS novels published by Editora Aleph.

According to The Best of Trek, Sulu's middle name was given as Walter. The FASA role-playing game seems to agree, giving Sulu's name as "Hikaru W. Sulu". Before "Hikaru" was canonically established as Sulu's first name, "Walter" was a popular choice in fandom as an alternate.

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 publication USS Enterprise Officer's Manual, by Geoffrey Mandel and Doug Drexler and published by Interstellar Associates in 1980.

According to Star Trek II: Biographies, Sulu was born July 3rd, 2141, in Wailuku, Maui, Hawaii to parents Liholiho Sulu and Kalea Graef Hatoyama. He has two siblings named Kamehameha Fujiwara Sulu and Liliuokalani Dani Sulu.

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 Sulu 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 and served three terms.

Sulu featured 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 was 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 video game Star Trek: Starship Creator, Sulu married a woman named Yoshika.

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

In Star Trek Cats, Sulu is depicted as a Japanese Bobtail cat.

External links[]