The second season of AMC’s anthology horror show The Terror — titled The Terror: Infamy — focuses on a community of Japanese-Americans who are imprisoned in an internment camp following the bombing of Pearl Harbor and beset by supernatural forces.
“[After] the bombing of Pearl Harbor, all Japanese-Americans were rounded up and incarcerated, with no charges, with no trial [or] due process, which is a central pillar of our justice system,” says George Takei, who plays a retired fisherman and one of the community’s leaders on the show. “There is the old Japanese literary form called Kaidan, ghost tales, that is fused onto this experience of Japanese-Americans. The people that were imprisoned were highly stressed, and some marriages broke up, some people went crazy, and they overlaid the story of yureis — spirits — and obake — ghosts that possess people.”
As a child, the Star Trek icon — who is also a consultant on the show — was himself placed in a camp with the rest of his family.
“U.S. soldiers with bayonets on their rifles knocked on our door, and when my father answered it, we were literally pushed out of our home at gunpoint,” says Takei. “My mother was born in Sacramento, my father was a San Franciscan, and my brother and sister and I were born in Los Angeles. Yet, we had these faces. Simply because we looked like the people that bombed Pearl Harbor, we were put into these barbed wire prison camps for the duration of the war.”
Takei believes the show has strong echoes in the modern-day America.
“Absolutely it does,” says the actor. “When Donald Trump made that statement, ‘We’re going to have a ban on Muslims coming into this country,’ I mean that’s the same thing that happened with us.”
The Terror: Infamy premieres Aug. 12 on AMC.