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

war en

Life in the Tule Lake Stockade

There now exists a richly diverse number of publications devoted to the World War II concentration camp for Japanese Americans generically called Tule Lake. This penal facility was initially known as the Tule Lake Relocation Center when it opened on May 27, 1942. However, in the wake of an ill-conceived so-called “loyalty questionnaire” imposed on all 10 of the “relocation centers” and administered by the War Relocation Center in early 1943, it alone—thanks to pressure applied jointly by the U.S. government, the U.S. Army, and the Japanese American Citizens Leag…

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community en

Bio of Issei Journo Shines

Prior to reading this book, my knowledge about prominent Issei lawyer/journalist Sei Fujii derived from two starkly contrasting experiences. The first of these was co-authoring with Ronald Larson a forthcoming published essay entitled DOHO: The Japanese American “Communist” Press, 1937-1942. The second was my viewing of the 30-minute award-winning 2012 film Lil Tokyo Reporter directed by Jeffrey Chin (the co-publisher with Fumiko Carole Fujita of A Rebel’s Outcry) at the Nichi Bei Foundation’s 2016 Films of Remembrance. Whereas Doho roundly denounced Fujii for pa…

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war en

‘Brilliant’ Work Relies on Oral Histories of Japanese American Hibakusha

In 1974, Betty Mitson and I co-edited a modest and virtually self-published and crudely fabricated book titled Voices Long Silent: An Oral Inquiry into the Japanese American Evacuation. It was conceived and developed as a way to open up discussion about a World War II event that had heretofore largely been muted by the general U.S. public and even the Japanese American community: the Nikkei’s wholesale and unjust eviction by the U.S. government from their predominantly West Coast homes and subsequent incarceration in inland concentration camps. The principal methodology we used in this …

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war en

A ‘Comprehensive Treatment’ of the Wartime Incarceration of Japanese Americans

During the 1980s, I was privileged to co-direct the Honorable Stephen K. Tamura Orange County Japanese American Oral History Project (OCJAOHP), jointly sponsored by the Japanese American Council of the Historical and Cultural Foundation of Orange County and the Japanese American Project of the Oral History Program at California State University, Fullerton. In addition to producing 15 bilingual oral history volumes with pioneering Issei and Nisei, this project yielded a survey of Japanese American historical sites in Orange County and gave rise to the 1989 publication by Lynx Books of an epic …

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education en

The American Democratic and Multicultural Promise

In 1949, when I was 10 years old, my family moved from New Jersey to Goleta, Calif., where I enrolled as a sixth grader in Goleta Union School. It historically had always been an integrated school, as were the schools in the neighboring county seat of Santa Barbara. However, another Santa Barbara County town, Carpinteria, for some 27 years prior to 1947, had consigned its Mexican American students, mostly children of lemon workers, to the segregated classrooms of Aliso School. There, according to John D. McCafferty, a former Aliso School student and author of the 2003 book Aliso School: &lsqu…

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