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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Book Review -- Imprisoned in Paradise: Japanese Internee Road Workers at the World War II Kooskia Internment Camp by Priscilla Wegars

Imprisoned in Paradise is a magnificent microstudy of the World War II Japanese internment experience. This is due to the creative vision of its author, the historian Priscilla Wegars. In addition to writing the present book—a decade-long process—Wegars curates the University of Idaho’s Asian American Comparative Collection and edits the collections’s research reports series, in which Imprisoned in Paradise is the third volume.

The paradoxical title prefigures the work’s central interpretive message that the heretofore largely overlooked Department of Justice-operated facility of Kooskia in north-central Idaho, although unquestionably a wartime confinement site for some 265 ...

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The Manzanar Pilgrimage, Redressing Japanese America, and Repairing the USA

Editor’s Note: The following is the keynote address delivered at the 39th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage at Manzanar National Historic Site, Independence, California on Saturday, April 26, 2008, by Dr. Arthur A. Hansen. 

I would like to thank the Manzanar Committee for extending to me this invitation to be the keynote speaker at the 39th annual Manzanar Pilgrimage. I am particularly indebted for this high honor to three members of the Manzanar Committee: Cory Shiozaki, historian; Darrell Kunitomi, the chair for today’s program; and Bruce Embrey, one of the Committee’s two co-chairs.

My most profound debt, however ...

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Book Review: PRISONS AND PATRIOTS: Japanese American Wartime Citizenship, Civil Disobedience, and Historical Memory

Prisons and Patriots is Cherstin Lyon’s first book. Its publication catapults Professor Lyon, a historian at California State University, San Bernardino, into the ranks of the premier scholars of World War II Japanese American protest and dissent. Accordingly, this volume will now assume a place among seminal books like Roger Daniels’s Concentration Camps U.S.A. (1971), Michi Nishiura Weglyn’s Years of Infamy (1976), Richard Drinnon’s Keeper of Concentration Camps (1987), Eric Muller’s Free to Die for Their Country (2001), Frank Chin’s Born in the USA (2002); and Shirley Castlenuovo’s Soldiers of Conscience ...

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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 6

>> Part 5

This essay has thus far examined how scholars from varying disciplines have, in recent years, supported a deeper exploration of the Interior West Nikkei experience from pioneering days through World War II. Let us now briefly explore recent scholarship pertaining to the post-World War II experience of Interior West Nikkei. A strategic starting point is a 2006 study done by Joel Tadao Miyasaki.1 The larger and direct concern of Miyasaki—who describes himself as “the son of a Japanese American father and a white mother”—is Nikkei identity in Utah and Idaho during the World War II ...

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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 5

>> Part 4

The Japanese Arizona World War II experience has been assayed by two historians, both working at Arizona universities: Charles Ynfante at Northern Arizona University and Andrew Russell at Arizona State University.  Their work on this topic has in common the fact that both consider it within the context of Arizona’s overall home-front experience during World War II.1   Russell’s article in Arizona Goes to War: The Home Front and the Front Lines during World War II , co-edited by Brad Melton and Dean Smith, is not very compatible with the celebratory tenor of the anthology.  Smith, for ...

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