Hannah Fumiko Takemori receives prestigious accolade
The Department of History is celebrating again this spring because one of our undergraduate majors, Hannah Fumiko Takemori, has been selected as a member of the University of Washington’s Husky 100 for 2018. This distinguished group of students is recognized annually for the students' commitment to their studies and their drive to go above and beyond at the UW, truly making the most of the Husky experience. The Husky 100 are also chosen for their potential to inspire others and to “connect what happens inside and outside of the classroom and apply what they learn to make a difference on campus, in their communities and for the future.”
This is a much-deserved award, and we couldn’t be happier to see Hannah’s commitment and talent recognized. She was nominated by the Department of History’s undergraduate advisor, Nell Gross, who describes her as “kind, considerate and dedicated, not to mention an exemplary historian! Hannah approaches her school work, extracurricular projects and community service from a perspective of inclusion, concerning herself primarily with those individuals or historical concepts that are otherwise left out of the conversation.”
Hannah, whose middle name, Fumiko, means “historian” in Japanese, jokes that she was always destined to study history. “I am an inherently and insatiably curious person. From a very young age, I have been exposed to the political mobilization of history, and the questions that history prompts—particularly those surrounding race and empire—just happen to be the ones that keep me up at 3:00 am.”
Troubling the Narrative
Hannah came to the UW interested in learning more about the history of civil rights, with a desire to use this knowledge to educate and help others as an activist in the public sphere. She explains, “History is not merely something that I love—albeit I do—but something to be done in the public, beyond the archive and library.”
Her Honors in History thesis, titled “It Must Be Odd to Be a Minority,” “examined multiracial families and surveillance during the World War II mass incarceration of Japanese Americans.” This topic was important “because the current literature rarely addressed intersectional struggles within the greater community of color.” Working closely with Professor Moon-Ho Jung, she undertook original archival research to study attempts to reconcile what she calls the “monoracial logic” behind Japanese incarceration “with the multiracial reality that exposed it—the U.S. government’s Mixed Marriage Policy (MMP).”
“The MMP permitted some multiracial Japanese Americans to escape or avoid mass incarceration. My project therefore argued that U.S. treatment of multiracial Japanese Americans rewarded the disavowal of Japanese identity with ‘integration’ to project an image of liberal inclusion whilst allowing a reality of surveillance and segregation.” Hannah was awarded a UW Library Research Award for this innovative and important project.
A True Husky
Hannah fully embodies the Husky 100 ethos and has used the knowledge and skills gained during her degree to give back to the community in many ways. In her freshman year, she tutored at-risk youth in U.S. history through the UW Pipeline Project, and she has been an activist for the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) from a young age, acknowledging that her advocacy has been greatly “enriched and informed” by her study of history.
She has also gone the extra mile in helping out the Department of History, as both a student office assistant and a research assistant.
“The History Department has always been a welcoming space across the political spectrum, and I am grateful to serve the department in any capacity. This community has offered me so many opportunities.”
We are so pleased that she has found a home here and can’t wait to see where she takes her skills and expertise in the future.
Hannah’s achievements are made all the more special because she is the oldest and first of her siblings to get a college degree. She now plans to pursue a Ph.D. in history and to continue her civil rights activism through public history.
“I am beyond humbled by this award. It is an honor to represent my department. I’ve had phenomenal teachers and mentors.”