What It Means to Be American
A National Conversation


Daniel Dae Kim Was Too Loud in Class

The Star of Lost Is a Fan of Fenway Park and Senator Daniel K. Inouye

November 6, 2015

Daniel Dae Kim is an actor best known for his roles in the TV series Lost and Hawaii Five-O. Born in Busan, South Korea, and raised in New York and Pennsylvania, Kim now spends most of his time in Hawaii. Before participating in a discussion about what Hawaii can teach the rest of America about race, he talked about his go-to karaoke song, the virtues of blueberries, and his admiration for U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye.

Q: How did you get into trouble as a kid?
Name the ways. I think I did almost everything you could do. At one point, I shoplifted from a candy store. I was too loud in the classroom. I cheated on a test, like, in third grade, and got caught. I guess I’m not good at hiding things.

Q: What are you reading right now?
A book called The First Rule of Ten. It’s a novel about a former Tibetan monk who turns into an L.A. police detective.

Q: What’s your go-to karaoke song?
Probably “Wanted Dead or Alive” by Bon Jovi.

Q: What was the most important year of your life?
2004. It was the year Lost first got on the air.

Q: What’s your least favorite household chore?
That presupposes there’s a most favorite. Let me think. Probably cleaning up after my dog out in the yard when it’s a surprise.

Q: Why are you a Red Sox fan?
The first game I ever saw in person was at Fenway Park and the rest is history.

Q: What’s your favorite pizza topping?

Q: If you were really lost on a tropical island, what album would you bring with you?
This is such a hard thing. Leisure by Blur. The Joshua Tree by U2. Led Zeppelin IV might be one of them. Coldplay’s Parachutes might be another. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Q: What vegetable or fruit best describes you?
Seriously? (Laughs.) I would say an onion because it has many layers, but an onion has no core. I could say a concord grape because there are a lot of different flavors. There’s one flavor when you bite into the skin and another when you bite into the meat of fruit. Or I could say a blueberry because it’s a color you wouldn’t necessarily expect. That’s it. A color that you would not necessarily expect, the flavor is really good, and it’s good for brain.

Q: What was the last thing that inspired you?
I watched a speech yesterday night of Daniel K. Inouye talking about race relations in Hawaii in the ’60s. He said Hawaii was leading the way in race relations and this was before it was really a hot-button topic. He was aware of that as a major issue.

Q: What does it mean to be American?
That’s a serious question. It means taking pride in one of the greatest countries in the history of the world while still being about celebrating cultures, ethnicities, sexual orientations, and religion.

*Photo by Kenna Reed.