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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How fair is “Fair Enough?” Westbrook Pegler and Japanese Americans - Part 2

Read Part 1 >> On May 4, 1943, a few days after his two columns on Japanese Americans appeared in print (and less than two weeks after Eleanor Roosevelt’s tour of the same camp) Pegler came to Gila River. Afterwards, Pegler wrote in his May 6, 1943 column that conditions were austere and trying, but asserted that many Japanese Americans – specifically Kibei - were disloyal and “savages like the Japanese soldier.” He cited a rumor spread by a nurse at the Gila River hospital that patients had cheered when reports came from Japan that airmen who had been captured …

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How fair is “Fair Enough?” Westbrook Pegler and Japanese Americans - Part 1

On March 28, 1945, the Manzanar Free Press ran a remarkable article relating to Japanese Americans. In discussing the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in the case of Korematsu vs. United States, the text cited the noted (and notorious) newspaperman Westbrook Pegler, who had proclaimed in his nationally syndicated column “Fair Enough” that Fred Korematsu had been convicted for violating a rule issued by “a lieutenant-general”—referring to General John DeWitt –“but (who) might as well have been a corporal.” In addition to lambasting DeWitt for in…

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Mari Sabusawa Michener: Supporter of the Arts

Read Part 1 >> Following their wedding, James and Mari Michener went on an extended honeymoon in Hawaii and Australia. In the period that followed, they moved to Hawaii, where James A. Michener did research for his bestselling 1959 novel Hawaii. However, two years later, the couple unleashed a storm of controversy when The New York Post journalist Joseph Wershba ran an article quoting Michener as saying that the couple had been forced to leave Hawaii due to racism against his Nisei wife: “On the day-to-day operating level at which my wife and I had to live, we met with mor…

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Mari Sabusawa: Champion of Civil Rights

One arena of public life in which Japanese Americans have achieved great visibility during the 20th century is the arts. A constellation of brilliant Nisei artists, including Isamu Noguchi, Ruth Asawa, George Nakashima, Shinkichi Tajiri, Frank Okada, and Satoru Abe, won renown on the national and international level for their work. Curiously, one of the most outstanding Nisei contributors to the American artistic and literary scene was Mari Sabusawa Michener, a woman who never produced any artwork or creative fiction on her own. Instead, she served as companion and supporter of her husba…

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Foujita Discovers the Americas: An Artist's Tour - Part 2

Read Part 1 >> After his stays in Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, and Cuba, Tsuguharu Foujita resumed his round-the-world tour. In November 1932, he arrived in Mexico City. As an international celebrity in the art world, he was already well-known to Mexican art lovers. As early as 1922, his work had been the subject of a feature article in the newspaper Excelsior, “Foujita, Un grande y extraño artista japones, muy apludido en Paris.” [Foujita, A great and strange Japanese artist, Greatly applauded in Paris]. Foujita originally intended to stay in Mexico City …

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