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Bruce 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, and the impact of his evacuation soured the morale at camp.


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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]


Bruce Kanegai, being 56 at the time, was placed on the La Mina, which consisted of Older MenTerry Deitz was selected to do the challenge and he came in first, earning the tribe flint. The men were a hard-working group, quickly making fire and shelter. Shane Powers (who was 34 at the time) felt the odd one out as he didn't feel old in comparison to his workhorse tribe mates. The men did well in the challenge, placing second after the younger women.

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, which is Spanish for Gypsies. At the Immunity Challenge, Bruce was the third person to drop out. Terry won the challenge over Nick. At Tribal Council, Casaya held together and voted out Nick.

For the Reward Challenge, Bruce was teamed with Aras and Sally. They won due to Aras' strategy. The winners were initially disappointed that the "breakfast in bed" reward was a single bed in the middle of nowhere, that was soaked due to heavy rains earlier. At the Immunity Challenge, Bruce went out in the first round. Terry won immunity over Sally. 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 chose Casaya and voted out Austin.

For the Reward Challenge, the winning team would watch videos from home and eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Bruce was teamed with Courtney, Sally, and Terry. They won because the other team accidentally knocked down their own flags. In an added bonus, the winning team got their luxury items. Bruce's item was his 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 reveals he hadn't used the bathroom since the trip to the Panamanian village. At the Reward Challenge, Bruce was the second person eliminated. Cirie would win the challenge and bring Aras and Danielle with her. Bruce decided to lay down because he was unable "to pass a deuce" and he couldn't eat anything. He complained about the pain. Later, Bruce called for the medical team due to the pain. They deemed they had to take Bruce out of the game. Bruce was evacuated 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.

Voting History

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 by a 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
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La Mina
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La Mina
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 Ruth Marie
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La Mina
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La Mina
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