Arthur A. Hansen

Art Hansen is Professor Emeritus of History and Asian American Studies at California State University, Fullerton, where he retired in 2008 as the director of the Center for Oral and Public History.  Between 2001 and 2005, he served as Senior Historian at the Japanese American National Museum.

Updated October 2009

culture en

Documenting an evolving movement

In recognition of my modest role in the conception and organization of this stellar volume, I received a complimentary copy from Lane Hirabayashi, the lead editor for the robust NCRR editorial team (the others being Richard Katsuda, Kathy Masaoka, Kay Ochi, Suzy Katsuda, and Janice Iwanaga Yen). Along with the book, Hirabayashi attached a short note: “This project exemplifies what Asian American Studies is about for me. From, through, and reflecting grassroots knowledge.” Having had the good fortune to read a substantial portion of his prodigious scholarly output during his 35-year academic career at San Francisco State University, the University ...

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education en

Complicat(i)ng the 'mosaic' of history

This impressive volume, published at the semi-centennial of Asian American studies, serves admirably as an authoritative marker of Asian American history’s coming of age. Edited by two stalwarts in the field, David K. Yoo and Eiichiro Azuma, it consists of a masterful overview introduction by them, plus 27 in-depth historiographical essays penned by leading scholars that are representative of this vibrant multifarious branch of U.S. history. All but one of these scholars are Asian Americans of various ethnicities, with the exception being notable Nichi Bei Weekly columnist Greg Robinson.

In addition to Robinson’s insightful essay on “Asian ...

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war en

A Nikkei Incarceration Odyssey

The Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i (JCCH) has been responsible — in part — for publishing three remarkable books: Life behind Barbed Wire: The World War II Internment Memoirs of a Hawaii Issei (2008); Family Torn Apart: The Internment Story of the Otokichi Muin Ozaki Family (2012); and An Internment Odyssey: Haisho Tenten (2017).

Taken together, these bountiful volumes have simultaneously achieved the following three ends: substantially enlarged the Japanese immigrant perspective on the World War II Japanese American detention experience; strategically incorporated the Hawai‘i Nikkei involvement in the heretofore mainland-dominated narrative of that experience; and considerably enriched the limited ...

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community en

Portals to the Living Past: World War II/Resettlement Era in Japanese American Denver - Part 2

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Portal 8: Minoru Yasui Plaza – 333 W. Colfax Avenue, Denver CO

Originally constructed as a hotel, this strikingly visible high-rise downtown office building for the City and County of Denver was renamed March 1, 1999, as the Minoru Yasui Plaza after the celebrated Colorado attorney and civil rights leader. Subsequently, it was decided that a bust of Minoru Yasui (1916-1986) would be placed at a prominent location in the lobby, and plans were established to utilize full-wall graphics to present Yasui’s contributions to Denver. Yasui came to Denver in 1944, and as early as 1946 served ...

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community en

Portals to the Living Past: World War II/Resettlement Era in Japanese American Denver - Part 1

Historical Context:

At the time of Japan’s bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, of the roughly 127,000 mainland Japanese American population, two-thirds of them US citizens, the overwhelming majority lived in the three West Coast states of California, Oregon, and Washington, with approximately 94,000 of them California residents.

Colorado’s prewar population of some four thousand Japanese Americans, or Nikkei, was the largest such population among non-Pacific Coast states, though only seven hundred lived in Denver. There, a several-block transitional area along Larimer Street formed a “Japantown” of sorts. This situation in Denver changed quite ...

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