Lane Ryo Hirabayashi

Lane Ryo Hirabayashi taught Asian American and Ethnic Studies for more than 35 years before he retired in 2017.  He continues to have an active research agenda, and most recently was a co-editor of the volume, NCRR: The Grassroots Struggle for Japanese American Redress and Reparations [UCLA Asian American Studies Center Press, 2018].  Lane also continues to edit the George and Saakye Aratani ‘Nikkei in the Americas’ book series for the University Press of Colorado, which will release three new publications between fall 2018 and winter 2019.

Updated August 2018

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Behind Barbed Wire – Part 2

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THE OUTBREAK OF WAR

I bid farewell
to the faces of my sleeping children
As I am taken prisoner
Into the cold night rain

— M. Ozaki1

In 1941 there were 158,000 people of Japanese ancestry living in Hawaii, 37 percent of the population. Ninety-four thousand lived in California, but they constituted only 1 percent of the population.2 There were 25,000 in the states of Washington and Oregon, with a total of 285,115 in the 1940 U.S. Census.3 On December 8, 1941, the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor, 736 ...

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Behind Barbed Wire – Part 1

Editor’s Note:

The words and phrases used to describe Japanese American history vary considerably amongst scholars, government officials, and even those directly affected by Executive Order 9066: “relocations, “evacuation,” “incarceration,” “internment,” “concentration camp.” There is no general agreement about what is most accurate or fair. In 1994, a debate sparked around the issue of terminology when the Japanese American National Museum opened the exhibition, America’s Concentration Camps: Remembering the Japanese American Experience. When the exhibition traveled to Ellis Island, the American Jewish Committee, objected to the use of the term “concentration camps.” Some Holocaust survivors and their families ...

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Getting to Know Gordon

Last January, my uncle passed away. At 93 Gordon Kiyoshi Hirabayashi was an acclaimed civil rights hero for his World War II resistance to cur few and the camps, and for his life-long commitment as a Quaker to peace and global understanding. Unbeknownst to Gordon, over the past five years I have come to know him under rather unusual circumstances that I’d like to share with you here. 

Since the ‘60s, Gordon and his family lived in Edmonton, Canada where he was a professor in the Sociology Department at the University of Alberta. Every summer until I was 18 ...

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Japanese American Resettlement: Through the Lens

In this short essay I’d like to describe a new manuscript in progress, tentatively titled Japanese American Resettlement Through the Lens. My co-author on this piece is my former student and now colleague, Kenichiro Shimada, from the University of Maryland.

Our starting point is that fact that various on-line web sites have revolutionized access to and the circulation of war-time photographs of Japanese Americans. In particular, the complementary collections that are available on the “Japanese American Relocation Digital Archive” or JARDA (http://jarda.cdlib.org/ ) and the University of California’s “Digital Library” project (http://www.oac.cdlib.org ...

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Nikkei in the Americas: New Questions, New Perspectives

Perhaps the most important lesson I learned from participating in the National Museum's "International Nikkei Research Project (INRP)1 " is how varied the Nikkei experience is throughout the Americas. Even a quick perusal of the two books that came out of the INRP fully confirms this basic fact (see Kikumura-Yano 2002; and Hirabayashi, Kikumura-Yano, and Hirabayashi 2002). This lesson however is no more than an invitation to develop new questions and new perspectives on the topic. The challenge now is to identify new patterns of similarity and difference in this geo-political setting and, harder yet, to explain how these ...

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