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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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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culture en ja es pt

Foujita Discovers the Americas: An Artist's Tour - Part 1

The name of Léonard Foujita (AKA Tsuguharu Foujita) has lost much of its luster today. However, in his heyday in Paris in the 1920s, Foujita was not only the most celebrated Japanese artist in the world, but (along with Hollywood star Sessué Hayakawa) arguably the most famous living person of Japanese ancestry. Born Tsuguharu Fujita in Japan in 1886, the son of a Japanese general, in 1913 he left Japan to seek his career as a painter in Paris (where he changed the spelling of his name to “Foujita” and most often went by his last name alone). Although his debut ex…

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Kin was Much More than Kind: The Japanese Student Who Transformed Maryville

Kin Takahashi, a Japanese student at Maryville College in Eastern Tennessee at the turn of the 20th century, attracted nationwide attention for his achievements on campus. In the succeeding century, he stood as a legendary figure at his alma mater. As is often the case with legends, separating fact from fiction can be a difficult business. Kin Takahashi was born in Yamaguchi, Japan, around the time of the Meiji Restoration, and grew up in the town of Hiramochi. Just when he was born is a matter of dispute. He was somewhere in his late teens when he migrated to the United States. Acco…

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