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

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Enduring Communities

Japanese Americans in the Interior West: A Regional Perspective on the Enduring Nikkei Historical Experience in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, and Utah (and Beyond): Part 3

>> Part 2

The two-pronged cause prompting the mass exodus of Issei railroad and mining gang laborers from Wyoming and Montana was their desire to pursue agricultural employment as well as the comparative paucity of opportunities to do so within these neighboring states.  Wyoming suffered the most dismal agricultural scenario; subject to extremely cold temperatures and generally considered to be semi-arid, it was “climatologically inhospitable to farming.”1   According to Masakazu Iwata, while the great majority of Issei immigrants were toiling in the railroad and mining industries in the southwestern part of the state,2 in northern Wyoming a much smaller ...

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Enduring Communities

Japanese Americans in the Interior West: A Regional Perspective on the Enduring Nikkei Historical Experience in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, and Utah (and Beyond): Part 2

>> Part 1

The Nishizu family’s story of “relocation” and “resettlement” is only one among thousands of parallel versions involving other Japanese American mainlanders—truly a “people in motion”—during the World War II era. It is of particular value, however, because it spotlights and invites strategic exploration of a largely neglected aspect of Japanese American history, society, and culture: the prewar, wartime, and postwar circumstances of Nikkei communities within what historians Eric Walz and Andrew Russell have styled the Interior West of Japanese America.1 This essay will examine this topic in some depth, placing special emphasis upon the ...

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Enduring Communities

Japanese Americans in the Interior West: A Regional Perspective on the Enduring Nikkei Historical Experience in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, and Utah (and Beyond): Part 1

On February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, which allowed U.S. military commanders to designate military areas as “exclusion zones” from which “any or all persons may be excluded.”  This action came two and a half months after Japan’s December 7, 1941, attack upon Pearl Harbor—the U.S. naval station in the Territory of Hawaii then home to the main part of the American fleet—which precipitated the United States’s entry into World War II.

Although it did not specifically mention Japanese Americans, E.O. 9066 led to the decision by Lieutenant ...

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