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

war en

Nisei is propelled to share firsthand accounts of camp

In 2019, Paramount released the biopic feature film on British rock singer Elton John entitled Rocketman. Sam Mihara’s slender and well-written autobiographical book, Blindsided, also showcases the life of a rocket man. It, too, could have been titled Rocketman. After all, upon completing his undergraduate and graduate engineering degrees at the University of California, Berkeley and UCLA, Mihara enjoyed a distinguished 42-year career at Boeing as a rocket scientist.

Then, 14 years after his 1997 retirement, he forged a new career, one which saw him rocketing around the entire country giving talks about mass incarceration in the U.S ...

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war en

The ins and outs of redress

The topic of the Japanese American Redress Movement has been abundantly rewarded by its parade of prominent chroniclers. Those authored or edited volumes which I have been privileged to read, and in some cases, to critically review, are: William Minoru Hohri, Repairing America: An Account of the Movement for Japanese American Redress (1988); Leslie T. Hatamiya, Righting a Wrong: Japanese Americans and the Passage of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 (1993); Yasuko I. Takezawa, Breaking the Silence: Redress and Japanese American Ethnicity (1995); Mitchell T. Maki, Harry H. L. Kitano, and S. Megan Berthold, Achieving the Impossible Dream: How ...

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migration en

Yamato Colony: A Japanese Village in Southern Florida

When asked to review Yamato Colony: The Pioneers Who Brought Japan to Florida for the Discover Nikkei site, I was delighted to oblige for two main reasons. The first was my passionate interest as a historian in Japanese American communities outside of those well-known and amply documented ones on the West Coast. This interest was catalyzed by my participation in the Japanese American National Museum (JANM)-sponsored REgenerations Oral History Project (1997-2000), which encompassed World War II and postwar Nikkei resettlement in midwestern Chicago (as well as three California cities). A few years later, my interest was fanned into flames ...

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culture en

Dysfunction and Sacrifice as Binding Ties

Andrew Lam, the author of the book under review, studied history at Yale University — where he graduated summa cum laude — and afterward became a retinal surgeon. His third book, Repentance, is a work of historical fiction that is debatably comparable to such classic works of this genre pertaining to the Japanese American historical experience as Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and James D. Houston’s Farewell to Manzanar (1973) and David Guterson’s Snow Falling on Cedars (1994).

All three of these books are what I would characterize as “cinematic novels.” Two of them have already been made into motion pictures, in ...

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identity en

Counteracting 'Invisibility' Within the JA Community

This substantial volume is co-edited by two distinguished Nikkei practitioners of Japanese American studies, one a Japan-based anthropologist, Yasuko Takezawa of Kyoto University, and the other a U.S.-situated historian, Gary Okihiro of Columbia University.

Although this work is primarily targeted at other scholars and advanced university students within their common transpacific field of inquiry, its well-grounded and illuminating introduction, 14 essays, and 7 perspectival responses to the book’s contents have much to offer a general readership. At bottom, the mission of Trans-Pacific Japanese American Studies is to expand and enrich Japanese American studies by moving this sub-discipline ...

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