Greg Robinson

Greg Robinson, a native New Yorker, is Professor of History at l'Université du Québec À Montréal, a French-language institution in Montreal, Canada. He is the author of the books By Order of the President: FDR and the Internment of Japanese Americans (Harvard University Press, 2001), A Tragedy of Democracy; Japanese Confinement in North America (Columbia University Press, 2009), After Camp: Portraits in Postwar Japanese Life and Politics (University of California Press, 2012), Pacific Citizens: Larry and Guyo Tajiri and Japanese American Journalism in the World War II Era (University of Illinois Press, 2012), and The Great Unknown: Japanese American Sketches (University Press of Colorado, 2016), as well as coeditor of the anthology Miné Okubo: Following Her Own Road (University of Washington Press, 2008). Robinson is also coeditor of the volume John Okada - The Life & Rediscovered Work of the Author of No-No Boy (University of Washington Press, 2018).

His historical column “The Great Unknown and the Unknown Great,” is a well-known feature of the Nichi Bei Weekly newspaper. Robinson’s latest book is an anthology of his Nichi Bei columns and stories published on Discover Nikkei, The Unsung Great: Portraits of Extraordinary Japanese Americans (University of Washington Press, 2020). It was recognized with an Association for Asian American Studies Book Award for Outstanding Achievement in History Honorable Mention in 2022. He can be reached at robinson.greg@uqam.ca.


Updated March 2022

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After Camp, Canadian Style: The Japanese Canadian Post War Experience Conference - Part 2 of 2

Read Part 1 >>One hint as to the prevailing spirit was that during the day several different people spoke of working in Jewish firms, which were the only ones that did not practice discrimination, or compared their experience with Jewish friends and classmates (Frank Moritsugu spoke of being hired in 1952 by McLean’s and being welcomed by the staff. Soon after, a reporter who had been on assignment returned, ushered Frank into his office, shut the door, and then said, “As the first Jew in this building, let me welcome the first Japanese.” The man, Sid Katz, had broken …

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After Camp, Canadian style: The Japanese Canadian Post War Experience Conference - Part 1 of 2

At the first Japanese Canadian Heritage Committee conference I attended, back in 2010, I was invited to come on the night before the main event and give a warmup with some historical background. At the Keisho conference last year, I was asked to attend and then speak about my reflections at the end. This time, I appeared on both ends, as kickoff speaker the first morning and then as assessor. I am very glad to take on the task of giving an honest appraisal of my personal reactions to the conference and to do some thinking about it. First, I can say that for me the conference was a very sat…

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Nisei Journalists and the Occupation of China: Buddy Uno and Bill Hosokawa Compared - Part 3 or 3

Read Part 2 >>In 1995, a conference on the Japanese American experience was held at Northwest College in Powell, Wyoming. Among the conference speakers were historian Yuji Ichioka, who presented a paper on Buddy Uno, and Hosokawa. According to surviving tapes of the sessions, Ichioka asserted during his presentation that Uno, despite his work for Tokyo and his belief in the superiority and honorable mission of Japan’s military, was NOT a traitor to the United States. Rather, he was simply conflicted—a “marginal man” who never felt at home either in Japan or (beca…

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Nisei Journalists and the Occupation of China: Buddy Uno and Bill Hosokawa Compared - Part 2 of 3

Read Part 1 >> Kumpei William Hosokawa was born in Seattle on January 30, 1915. Although he did not begin speaking English until he went to kindergarten, he developed an early interest in reading and sports. He excelled in basketball, and later helped found a local Nisei basketball league.  Like many young Nisei, he spent several summers in Alaska working in salmon canneries.  In 1933, Hosokawa entered University of Washington to study journalism, although he was warned that no mainstream newspaper would ever hire a Japanese American (Hosokawa’s younger brother Rober…

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Nisei Journalists and the Occupation of China: Buddy Uno and Bill Hosokawa Compared - Part 1 of 3

One of the difficulties of doing Japanese American history is maintaining a balanced perspective in the face of politically and ideologically-charged debates. Many chroniclers of Japanese Americans, in trying to debunk racist wartime images of Nisei as disloyal and pro-Japanese, have perhaps gone rather too far in the other direction. Eric Muller, the distinguished legal scholar and historian, has eloquently complained that books, plays, and exhibits have largely erased the Japanese connections of prewar Nisei, and have tended to portray them in almost Hollywood-style terms as assimilated sm…

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