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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Nisei Revisits Her Wartime Past Through Watercolors

Through a sophisticated blend of artwork, prose, and photographic images, plus an assortment of other useful illustrative materials, Lily Yuriko Nakai Havey has crafted in Gasa Gasa Girl Goes to Camp what is assuredly among the very most exquisite, insightful, and candid memoirs of the World War II Japanese American experience. I vigorously applaud the University of Utah Press’ marketing of this volume—which hinges on Havey’s pre- and early-adolescence incarceration at the Santa Anita Assembly Center in Southern California and the Granada (Amache) Relocation Center in sou…

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Nikkei History Meets Multi-generational Family Memoir

Although its publisher markets Looking after Minidoka as a “memoir,” this volume can lay equal claim to being a “history.” It is, in fact, the superlative fusion of these two genres that accounts for the most fundamental value and utility of this richly documented, exquisitely composed, and diversely illustrated work. Rather than a personal memoir, Neil Nakadate (an emeritus professor of English at Iowa State University) has fashioned a family memoir that conveys to readers the historical experience of his immigrant Issei grandparents, his U.S.-born Nisei parents, and …

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‘Masterpiece’ Traces Battles Nikkei Fought for Justice

On the dust jacket of this volume, I am quoted as pronouncing it to be “a substantial contribution to Japanese American historiography and collective memory.” That reserved opinion was based upon my reading of the penultimate manuscript draft that University of Hawai‘i Professor Eileen Tamura revised into In Defense of Justice. Having now read the published version of this work, I am prepared to proclaim it a masterpiece deserving of inclusion in the pantheon of books on Japanese American World War II dissent-protest-resistance along with such earlier classics penned by Roge…

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Viewing Seattle's Nikkei Community through Multiple Lenses

During the first two decades of the twentieth century, Seattle was the West Coast’s most populated Japanese American city. However, in the subsequent years prior to World War II, both Japanese San Francisco and Japanese Los Angeles not only surpassed the then-nicknamed Queen City in numbers, but also overshadowed it in geographical, commercial, and cultural importance. This situation remains intact today. Still, it could plausibly be argued that in terms of the historical representation in published books of these three urban racial-ethnic communities, Japanese Seattle has fared better …

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Memories of a Colleague and Friend: Karin Higa

On the afternoon of Wednesday, October 30, 2013, four current Japanese American National Museum (JANM) staff members and one past staffer emailed me about the death on the previous day of 47-year-old Karin Higa, the museum’s longtime and highly esteemed former senior curator. Several of these messages included an attached remembrance of Karin by Laura Kina, an artist and associate professor of art at Chicago’s DePaul University, whose research focuses on contemporary visual art, Critical Mixed Race, and Asian American Studies. Like Karin, Laura was born in California and descende…

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