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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A Case Study of Heart Mountain’s Draft Resisters and Military Service

This is Mike Mackey’s fifth and, apparently, final book centered on the World War II experience of the Heart Mountain Relocation Center in northwest Wyoming. Mackey, who has made his home in both Powell and Cody, the two communities nearest to Heart Mountain, is exceedingly well informed on the camp’s history and passionately dedicated to its historical interpretation and legacy. Accordingly, it has always shocked and saddened me that as a professional historian, Mackey’s knowledge and commitment relative to Heart Mountain has not, for one or another reason, been translat…

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Hope amid hardship

This altogether beautiful book by noted Seattle-based art historian and curator Barbara Johns strikingly testifies to the oft-stated judgment that a picture is worth a thousand words. The core of The Hope of Another Spring is the astonishing illustrated diary that Issei Takuichi Fujii (1891-1964) fashioned (almost completely) while incarcerated during World War II with his wife and two daughters at the Puyallup Assembly Center (Washington) and the Minidoka Relocation Center (Idaho) concentration camps. Described in a discerning foreword by renowned historian Roger Daniels as “th…

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A historical survey of Asian Americans in the Heartland

In 2009, I published an article about Japanese Americans in the Interior West, a field earlier pioneered by two Arizona State University doctoral students, Eric Walz and Andrew Russell. So I was naturally pleased when the Nichi Bei Weekly invited me to review the present book. It, in effect, shifts the venue of the same general topic east to the Midwestern state of Michigan (particularly Detroit’s Tri-County area: Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties) and broadens its concern from Japanese Americans to Asian Americans. The first book to tackle this subject, Asian Americans in Michigan,…

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Groundbreaking fieldwork a guidebook to Nikkei journey of (further) discovery

In spite of being involved in researching and writing about Japanese American history for 45 years, I have only been to Japan once, and then for but a week in the Tokyo-Yokohama area. My purpose was to participate in a conference of the Japan Oral History Association. I was accompanied to this gathering at Tokyo’s Rikkyo University by a Japan-born, U.S.-educated colleague at the Japanese American National Museum; she had served an extended professorship at a Japanese university and was a notable specialist in both Japanese and Japanese American history. Throughout the conference, I was…

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‘Historical portrait’ adeptly conveys Nikkei’s lifestory

One of my favorite songs by country singer Hank Williams, Jr. — whose political and social philosophy I revile — is “Family Tradition.” The book under review here falls into the same category as that particular record’s title, and does so in a very profound way. Indeed, it was precisely owing to family tradition that Naomi Shibata felt stirred to write Bend with the Wind in the first place, and which by her then doing so resulted in that tradition being significantly expanded and enriched. In the spring of 1980, when I was a visiting professor of history …

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