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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Foreword to Nurse of Manzanar - Part 1 of 3

Whenever I encounter a memoir such as that at the heart of Nurse of Manzanar: A Japanese American’s World War II Journey, I instinctively assay its strengths and shortcomings by viewing it through a flexible template composed of two basic questions: 1) Does the author create an interesting and well crafted narrative?; 2) Is the narrative developed by the author suffused with and sustained by a respect for historical truth? [inline:Nurse_of_Manzanar.jpg] In the present case, Toshiko Eto Nakamura satisfies both of these criteria quite admirably. Indeed, one need only read the opening pa…

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The Harada House of Riverside, California: A Milestone in Japanese American Resistance to Racist Oppression - Part 6 of 6

Read Part 5 >> At the close of our interview, I put this question to Sue. “You said it’s been, or it is increasingly becoming, a form of catharsis for the Nisei generation to talk about their evacuation experiences. Has your involvement in the struggles of the past few years been cathartic for you? If you perhaps disavow the label ‘radical,’ has your entire participation since 1969 in the Manzanar Committee and related activities succeeded in ‘radicalizing’ you somewhat?” I guess I’ve come out much more strongly since I’ve be…

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The Harada House of Riverside, California: A Milestone in Japanese American Resistance to Racist Oppression - Part 5 of 6

Read Part 4 >> In 1970, a group of people, including Sue, organized a small committee called the Manzanar Project Committee. Along with Furutani, this committee took up the matter of the advisability of the Manzanar site becoming a historical landmark. By the next year, 1971, when the committee first assumed the name of the Manzanar Committee, the members did a lot of research and obtained a historical landmark application from the State of California. According to Sue, the committee members were informed that the state would set aside one qualification for landmark status, a plac…

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The Harada House of Riverside, California: A Milestone in Japanese American Resistance to Racist Oppression - Part 4 of 6

Read Part 3 >> Before I pursue that matter, however, I would like to say a few words about one topic that Sue and I did not cover in our second interview session—her involvement in the Nisei Progressive organization. When Sue left Manzanar in October 1943 to resettle in the so-called “free zone” of the United States, she went first to Madison, Wisconsin, and then, in July 1944, moved to Chicago. There, as a clerical employee at the Newberry Library, she developed an interracial friendship circle of girlfriends and even dated interracially to a limited extent. Up…

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The Harada House of Riverside, California: A Milestone in Japanese American Resistance to Racist Oppression - Part 3 of 6

Read Part 2 >>My next meeting with Embrey took place on June 5, 1973, in conjunction with her lecture at the UC Irvine series about the symbolic meaning of the wartime concentration camp experience for Asian Americans. Following her lecture she, along with another Nisei woman from the Manzanar Committee, Amy Uno Ishii, joined me and my Nisei colleague and friend from the Cal State Fullerton History Department, Kinji Yada, for food, drinks, and conversation at a nearby campus pub. (For the record, Amy Uno Ishii was the older sister of Edison Uno, the so-called father of Japanese America…

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