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Bruce W. Kanegai is a contestant from Survivor: Panama.

Regarded as the glue holding the dysfunctional Casaya tribe together, Bruce was generally a calming force at camp. This allowed him to forge several bonds with his tribemates. Making it to the merge, Bruce was in a good position as a member of the Casaya Alliance. However, at the final seven, Bruce began feeling ill and had to be evacuated from the game. The impact of his evacuation soured the morale at camp for everyone.


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Bruce Kanegai is a third generation Japanese American who grew up in Los Angeles. During the 1960's, he received the Boy Scout rank of Eagle Scout and the rank of Black Belt from the Shotokan Karate School. Kanegai received his Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University, Northridge. He also received his teaching credentials for the State of California.

For the past 34 years, Kanegai has been teaching art at Simi Valley High School, where he has taught over 10,000 students. He had been awarded "Teacher of the Year" from The International Rotary Club, The Bravo Award from the Los Angeles Music Center, The Amgen Corporation, The Pasadena Art Center College of Design and the Otis/Parsons Art School.

Kanegai is a fifth-degree black belt in karate and has taught more than 7,000 students over about 40 years. In 1967, he was a member of the first US karate team to visit Japan. In 2000, Kanegai was promoted to the highest ranking black belt in the Shotokan Karate of America. In 2004, he was a judge at Shotokan's 40th Anniversary celebration in France. Kanegai is currently in the process of finishing a book on the 50-year history of the Shotokan Karate of America.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Kanegai was a top backpacking instructor for Moorpark Community College, the Yosemite Institute and many private organizations. Some of his backpacking highlights include hiking the entire state of Oregon and, in 1980, setting a new record of running the 220-mile John Muir Trail from Mount Whitney to Yosemite National Park.

From 1978-1992, Kanegai was a POST (Police Officer Survival Training) Instructor in California. Under the Downey-Roth System, Kanegai assisted in teaching police instructors arrest and control techniques, weapon retention and the side-handle baton.

Kanegai is a member of the California Art Educators Association and Shotokan Karate of America. His hobbies include photography, drawing, hiking, golfing and skiing. He has had several close brushes with death, including being bitten by a large rattlesnake while golfing three years ago.

Kanegai currently lives in Simi Valley, California, with his wife of 27 years, Nancy. They have two children, Alexander and Danielle, and one dog, Chako. His birth date is December 17, 1947.[1]


Being 56 at the time, Bruce was placed on the La Mina, a tribe of older men. The men were a hard-working group which quickly made fire and shelter, and Bruce's game started on a high note after his tribe won the first Reward and Immunity Challenges.

On Day 4, the castaways had to stand on a disc and flip them over. The two castaways with buffs under them, Terry and Danielle DiLorenzo would be captain of the Schoolyard Pick. In the end, Ruth Marie Milliman opted to pick Dan Barry over Bruce, leaving him the last person leftover. However, this meant that Bruce would be the only person who could not be eliminated. Bruce was sent to Exile Island and would stay there until the losing tribe of the Immunity Challenge went to Tribal Council. He would replace the person who was voted out. On exile, Bruce was unable to find the Hidden Immunity Idol. The new Casaya tribe would lose the challenge and Bruce would join them after the elimination of Melinda Hyder.

Seeing the sorry condition the tribe was in, Bruce immediately lent them his help. Bruce immediately improved the quality of life and morale. However, Casaya lost the Reward Challenge and Bruce was exiled again to demoralize Casaya. A strong storm hit Exile, preventing Bruce from looking for the idol. At the Immunity Challenge, Bruce only went once in the second round with Bobby Mason, but lost to Terry and Nick Stanbury. However, Casaya not only won the challenge but also began a winning streak. During the time, Bruce built a rock garden near the tribe flag. Courtney Marit practiced her yoga near the garden, disgusting Bruce.

The rock garden would cause Bruce bigger problems. While working on his garden, Shane, Courtney, and Aras Baskauskas were having a difficult time making fire. Aras asked Bruce whether it was appropriate to work on the garden when they need fire. Uncharacteristically, Bruce simply told Aras to get more firewood in a blunt, agitated way. This caused Aras to yell back, and the two argued. At the Reward Challenge, Bruce was a major hindrance to the tribe. However, thanks to Bobby, Casaya won the challenge and pounds of fish, rice, beans, wine, and spices. When they returned to the campsite, they found it flooded due to heavy rains.

Undeterred by the lack of fire, Bruce proposed to eat the fish like sashimi. Cirie Fields was grossed out as she had never eaten raw fish before. Bruce and Cirie sat out of the next challenge, which La Mina won. Bruce retreated to his garden to relieve stress. Aras was able to convince Shane to vote out Bruce over Bobby based on the argument that they couldn't control the former. Danielle disliked Bobby but liked Bruce and gathered the women together to vote out Bobby. Bruce voted against Courtney and Danielle's plan worked, sparing Bruce and eliminating Bobby.

The night after tribal, Shane berated Danielle for keeping Bruce, because his age made the game harder on him. At the Immunity Challenge, Bruce and Cirie worked on the puzzle. Despite La Mina having a head start, Bruce was able to fit the first piece in and won Casaya Immunity and Reward. The tribe went to a local village and gave the kids toys. The tribe feasted, and Bruce performed his martial arts for the locals.

On the morning of Day 16, Terry, Nick, and Austin Carty were seen rowing to Casaya beach. In response, the tribe ate as much rice as possible. Shane rallied the Casayas against the La Minas. Bruce and Shane welcomed the former La Minas to their home. Bruce ran up and hugged Sally Schumann. Casaya exiled Sally to prevent her from attending Tribal Council and being voted out. In order to keep Bruce from flipping, the Casayas would act like Bruce was in-charge. Terry immediately tried to get Bruce to flip to La Mina. However, that strategy was abandoned after Nick accidentally hit Bruce with a machete. Bruce was tasked with making the flag of the merged tribe. He named the tribe Gitanos, the Spanish word for "gypsies". At the first post-merge Tribal Council, Casaya held together and voted out Nick.

For the Reward Challenge, Bruce was teamed with Aras and Sally. His team won the challenge, but was disappointed to find that the "breakfast in bed" reward was a single bed in the middle of nowhere, that had been soaked due to heavy rains earlier. After the next Immunity Challenge, La Mina attempted to get Bruce and Danielle to flip over to their alliance. Terry pointed that Shane said they were not in the final four if La Mina got pagonged. Terry even offered them the Immunity Idol that he found. At Tribal Council, Bruce and Danielle remained committed to Casaya and voted out Austin.

For the Reward Challenge, the winning team would watch videos from home and eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Once again, Bruce found himself on the winning team and also received his luxury item, a sketch book. At the Immunity Challenge, the castaways were given the choice of competing for immunity or eating burgers, fries, and drinking Coca-Cola. Like most of Casaya, Bruce chose to eat. Terry was able to defeat Aras and Sally to win immunity for the third time. Because of her loss, Sally was voted out in a 6-2 vote.

At this point, Bruce was feeling stomach pains. Bruce revealed he had not used the bathroom since the trip to the Panamanian village. After the Reward Challenge, Bruce decided to lay down because he was unable "to pass a deuce" and he could not eat anything. Complaining about the pain, Bruce called for medical assistance. The medical team decided they had to take Bruce out of the game, evacuating him on Night 25. He later recovered and was able to continue on as a juror.

At the Final Tribal Council, Bruce asked the finalists what they would do with the responsibility of being the Sole Survivor. He gave his vote to runner-up Danielle because of their bond.

Episode Tribe
Challenge Challenge Type Sit-Out? Result
1 La Mina Skull Crush Reward Yes 1st
4x4 Immunity No 2nd
Exiled, Day 4
2 None1 A Reptile Dysfunction Reward Exiled
Anchor Management Immunity Exiled
Joined Casaya, Night 6
3 Casaya Cross Fire Reward No Lost
Battle Dig Immunity No Won
4 Puzzle Paranoia Reward No Won
Sea Level, Tree Level Immunity No Won
5 For Cod's Sake Reward No Won
Buried at Sea Immunity Yes Lost
6 In-Cog-Neato Reward/Immunity No Won
Tribes Merged, Day 16
8 Gitanos Vampire Bats Immunity Lost
9 Rock the Boat Reward Won
Ups and Downs Immunity Lost
10 Get Hooked Reward Won
Marine Memory Immunity Yes2 Lost
11 Voo Doo Reward Lost
Evacuated, Day 25
^1 Left unpicked at the tribe switch, Bruce was exiled without a tribe until after the next Immunity Challenge, when he joined the losing tribe.
^2 Bruce elected to sit out of the challenge to eat hamburgers.

Episode Bruce's
Voted Against
1 La Mina Tribe Immune
2 On Exile Island1
3 Casaya Tribe Immune
4 Casaya Tribe Immune
5 Courtney Aras, Bobby
6 Casaya Tribe Immune
8 Nick -
9 Austin -
10 Sally -
11 No Tribal Council
Evacuated, Day 25
Voted for
Sole Survivor

^1 In "Breakdown", Bruce was not selected to join either tribe at the tribe switch and was sent to Exile Island, granting him immunity from Tribal Council.


  • On January 9, 2010, Bruce attended Survivor's 10-year anniversary party.



Survivor: Panama Castaways
S12 aras t
S12 austin t
S12 bobby t
La Mina
S12 bruce t
S12 cirie t
S12 courtney t
La Mina
S12 dan t
S12 danielle t
S12 melinda t
S12 misty t
S12 nick t
 Ruth Marie
S12 ruthmarie t
S12 sally t
La Mina
S12 shane t
La Mina
S12 terry t
S12 tina t