ジョナサン・バン・ハーメルン

(Jonathan van Harmelen)

Jonathan van Harmelen is currently a PhD student in history at UC Santa Cruz specializing in the history of Japanese-American incarceration. He holds a BA in history and French from Pomona College, and has completed an MA from Georgetown University. From 2015 - 2018, he previously worked for the National Museum of American History as an intern and researcher. He can be reached at jvanharm@ucsc.edu.

Updated February 2020

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Memories on the Open Market

For scholars of Japanese American history, telling the story of incarceration is important yet difficult. Doing justice to the complicated narrative of camp life and the experiences at ten unique camps across the deserts and swamps of the U.S. is not easy. As a historian, I find it is important to look beyond government records and interviews when I write about the history of the incarceration. One way I do so is by examining objects of incarceration. In a previous article, I discussed the ways in which personal items such as postcards help tell broader stories of removal and ...

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Sometimes the Smaller Things Tell a Greater Story

A woman arrives at New York City after a long trip from Detroit. She writes to a distant friend about her long travels from home to Detroit and, finally, to New York City for the first time. The city was astonishing; vast city streets, landmarks abound, yet riddled with trash and squalor from a lack of upkeep. The Metropolitan Opera House offered a performance of the Ballet Russe, a wonder for someone visiting a cosmopolitan city for the first time. The most emotional experience, however, was riding a commuter train along the New York City skyline and watching the shining ...

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絆2020:ニッケイの思いやりと連帯―新型コロナウイルスの世界的大流行を受けて

Quarantine in Camp: Stories of Other Pandemics

Shortly after leaving Topaz to attend the University of Montana, Missoula, Miyeko Taketa received a letter from her friend Pearl Nugent in February 1944. Nugent, the wife of Reverend Carl Nugent of Topaz’s Protestant Church, shared one interesting story that might interest readers today:

“Yesterday our seven week scarlet fever quarantine came to an end and I went shopping, free as the air, the first time I’ve been out since we returned from Topaz on Christmas afternoon.”1

While Pearl Nugent had the freedom to leave the camp regularly unlike those confined, her story of camp quarantine is ...

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“Infamy’s legacy: Tule Lake and repatriation remembered”

One of most divisive chapters of the Japanese American incarceration is the story of Tule Lake. While established as a traditional War Relocation Authority (WRA) camp, it was declared a “segregation center” by the WRA to meet Congressional demands issue loyalty oaths and begin military recruitment within camp. Of the 120,000 Japanese Nationals, and Japanese Americans that were incarcerated starting in 1942, about 10,000 were labeled as “No, No” Boys: troublemakers who refused to answer two questions of the infamous ‘loyalty oath’ related to loyalty and military service, and were labelled anti-American. Of the approximately the 10,000 ...

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Hung Wai Ching: The Founding of the Varsity Victory Volunteers and relations between Chinese and Japanese Americans

The study of relations between Chinese and Japanese Americans during WWII is a small yet growing field. Although both immigrant communities shared experiences of racial discrimination, tensions between Chinese and Japanese immigrant communities increased drastically following the invasions of Manchuria and China. Following Pearl Harbor, anti-Japanese sentiment forced Chinese Americans to distinguish themselves and take a position against their neighbors. Yet as historian Greg Robinson notes in his column for Discover Nikkei, a number of Chinese Americans stood as advocates for the Japanese American community or, in cases of marriage, were separated from their spouses by mass removal.

One such ...

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