These little random incidents of randomness are often just as interesting for where they take me as are the news bits (like Japanese imperial oppression of Christians in Korea and Japan or what was happening to Korea under Japanese rule).
Died. Sadakichi Hartmann, eightyish, dramatist, artist, philosopher and mop-haired onetime "King of Greenwich Village"; in St. Petersburg, Fla. Born in Nagasaki, Japan, son of a Korean woman and a German munitions worker, he married three times, begat 15 children, named one set after jewels, another set for flowers, was the boon companion of artistic greats, from Walt Whitman to John Barrymore.
I vaguely remember hearing of this man, who was quite prominent in his day. In this brief bio, which mentions nothing of any reputed Korean background, his problems as a former Japanese citizen in a country at war with Japan are described:
World War II imposed its horrors on the old man when the FBI started inquiring into his Japanese-German background, despite the fact that he had been a citizen since 1894. After they were interviewed by FBI agents, many of the Hollywood crowd quickly dropped Hartmann and invitations to parties ceased. Only Gene Fowler continued to show interest in the old man. In numerous embittered letters, Hartmann pleaded with high government officials not to intern him, arguing that there could be nothing more American than to have written the first modern History of American Art. The harassment never completely ceased, and sheriff's deputies again and again received reports from townspeople that Hartmann made periodic climbs to the top of Mt. San Jacinto to signal Japanese planes with a lantern.World War II-era hysteria against Japanese-Americans (and more than a few ethnic Koreans considered "Japanese") never ceases to amaze me.