Jonathan van Harmelen

Jonathan van Harmelen is currently a Ph.D student in history at UC Santa Cruz specializing in the history of Japanese-American incarceration. He holds a BA in history and French from Pomona College and an MA from Georgetown University. He can be reached at jvanharm@ucsc.edu.

Updated February 2020

war en

The Woes of Voting in Camp in 1942

In every election, the question of voter turnout poses a serious challenge. On innumerable occasions, the problem has been aggravated due to legislators’ attempts to restrict access to voting, often targeting minority voters. In the Jim Crow South, the imposition of poll taxes and literacy tests long served to prevent African Americans from voting. Eighty years ago, in both the elections of 1942 and 1944, Japanese Americans confined behind barbed wire fences faced particular hurdles in order to exercise their right as voters. The problem was particularly acute in 1942. The Issei, who w…

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education en

Yukuo Uyehara – An Issei Academic in Wartime - Part 2

Read Part 1 >> The bombing of Pearl Harbor turned Professor Yukuo Uyehara’s life around, as it did to countless other Japanese Americans in Hawaii. In the wake of the attack, the FBI arrested dozens of Issei community leaders. Uyehara remained free and continued his work as an instructor at University of Hawaii, although he held the status of “enemy alien.” In September 1942, Uyehara was added to a directory of leading scholars in the United States for his work in Japanese. Shortly thereafter, the University of Hawaii appointed Uyehara as chair of the East Asian Lan…

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education en

Yukuo Uyehara – An Issei Academic in Wartime - Part 1

Before U.S. entry in World War II, a small group of Japanese immigrants found work as academics in American universities. A few, such as Yamato Ichihashi of Stanford University, Toyokichi Iyenaga of University of Chicago, were prestigious researchers who conducted pioneering work on Japan and/or prewar Japanese American communities. Others, like Etsu Sugimoto and Bunji Omura, supplemented their income by teaching at universities like Columbia University, where they provided introductory courses in Japanese language and culture to students. Within this group, one exceptional individual was …

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culture en

A Heart to Heart: Carlos Bulosan and Japanese Americans - Part 2

Read Part 1>> In our previous section, we discussed Carlos Bulosan’s biography and his rise to success as an Asian American writer during the war years. While Bulsan wrote as a representative of Philippine Americans and centered his discussion on the experience of Pinoy workers, he showed a deep interest in other Asian American groups, particularly Japanese Americans. At a time when tensions were high between Filipino and Japanese Americans due to the Pacific War, Bulosan expressed feelings of friendship, empathy and admiration for the Nisei. In return, several Japanese Americ…

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culture en

A Heart to Heart: Carlos Bulosan and Japanese Americans - Part 1

One of the first and most gifted writers to express an Asian American consciousness was Carlos Bulosan. Bulosan’s experience as a migrant laborer from the Philippines to the U.S. and his travels along the California coast during the era of the Great Depression inspired his work, most notably his autobiographical novel America is in the Heart (1946). The novel introduced the experience of Filipino migrants to American audiences. Bulosan’s incisive portraits of migrant farmworkers provided one of the first accounts for a mainstream audience of the prejudice and hardships that Fili…

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