Stuff contributed by jonathan

A Journey to Guadalupe

Jonathan van Harmelen

One of the more difficult questions historians are asked is not about history itself, but their work as historians: “Why do you write about this topic?” Of course, like other people who study history, I do so for a variety of reasons, whether to understand broader issues affecting society or …

Auld Lang Syne in the Desert and Swamp: New Year’s in Camp

Jonathan van Harmelen

The holidays are a special time of unity, with the end of each year bringing senses of joy and reflectiveness. For Japanese Americans experiencing incarceration during World War II, the New Year’s holiday elicited a number of responses that reflected both the importance of the traditional festivities and the anxieties …

Power Failure: The Journey of a Utility Bill to Fort Missoula

Jonathan van Harmelen

When a collections representative for Pacific Gas and Electric sent out a regular utility bill to Mr. Yoshiyuki Akiyama of San Francisco in late January 1942, the company received no reply. Mr. Akiyama, a former resident of Apartment 5 of 1920 Pine St., San Francisco, was unable to respond. Earlier …

Posh Writings on Prisons in the West: The New Yorker’s Take on Japanese American Incarceration

Jonathan van Harmelen

In the wake of the Los Angeles Times’s recent self-reflection on the place of racism in its past, it is worth considering how mainstream publications covered historical events in American history associated with race and civil rights. One issue that inspired a wide range of responses was the mass removal …

Bunji Omura – New York Japanese Antifascist Writer and Publicist

Greg RobinsonJonathan van Harmelen

Although the saga of the Issei generation has been written by a number of historians, our understanding the views of Issei writers and thinkers on Japan is still incomplete. While the work of Eiichiro Azuma delves into the connections of the Issei to Japanese expansionism and the rise of militaristic …

Finding Sunshine Among Shadows: The Unknown History of Wartime Disabled Japanese Americans

Jonathan van Harmelen

On Aug. 13, 1943, Japanese Americans at the Tule Lake concentration camp opened copies of the Tulean Dispatch to find, on Page 2, a letter from Helen Keller, the deaf-blind disability activist. The entry was surprising but not unexpected: days before, students with disabilities decided to name their newly opened …

Wisdom through troubling times: The Life of LaVerne Senyo Sasaki

Jonathan van Harmelen


The Pulitzer Prize and Japanese Americans in the South

Jonathan van Harmelen

As with other tragic chapters in United States history, the incarceration of Japanese Americans has had a lasting legacy on American culture. While the history of race relations in the American South has traditionally focused on black-white relations and the legacies of Jim Crow, a parallel field examining the experience …

Kizuna 2020: Nikkei Kindness and Solidarity During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Importance of Place: The Manzanar Pilgrimage and COVID-19

Jonathan van Harmelen

Like so many events these days, the 51st annual Manzanar Pilgrimage was cancelled on Thursday, April 17 due to COVID-19. For the first time, the Manzanar Pilgrimage, a tradition that brings former incarcerees, activists, and scholars together, will not be held on the grounds of the Manzanar Concentration Camp. The …

Sometimes the Smaller Things Tell a Greater Story

Jonathan van Harmelen

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 …

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