August 2016
From Executive Director Tom Ikeda

Dear Friends,

On September 24, Densho will host a gala to commemorate our first twenty years. Please read my essay below on why Densho is so important to me after all of these years and then consider coming to our gala to support our work. Information and tickets can be found at

Thanks for your support, 

Why Densho Matters to Me
By Tom Ikeda

Twenty years ago when Densho started, I began interviewing Japanese Americans about what it was like being incarcerated during World War II. To help me become a better interviewer I sat in the office reviewing others’ newly conducted interviews. On the computer monitor was Frank Fujii. I knew Frank as the popular Franklin High School art teacher and basketball coach from the school I attended back in the early 1970s.

Frank often had funny stories to tell his students. On the screen it looked like Frank was going to tell another one of his light-hearted anecdotes. He was smiling and excited to tell about the day his father, who had been picked up earlier by the FBI shortly after December 7th, was finally joining him, his mother, and other siblings at the Tule Lake concentration camp. Frank shared how family and friends gathered around his father in their makeshift barrack living space to welcome him. He explained how his father greeted each person with a smile and hello until he got to Frank. At this moment I was expecting a funny punch line and I was ready to laugh. Instead, Frank described how his father looked at him and said, “Who is this boy?” When Frank said these words, his voice cracked and he held back tears. Then his face softened with sadness, at the memory of his father not recognizing him.... [Continue Reading]

Densho 20th Anniversary Gala

*Early bird sale ends soon!

Date: Saturday, September 24, 2016
Time: 5:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Place: Sheraton Seattle Hotel

Ticket prices: Early Bird: $200 / After Labor Day: $225

Learn more at

Thank you, Table Captains! 

We would like to offer a sincere thanks to those who have agreed to serve as Table Captains at the Gala:

Michael and Tsuchino Forrester / Frank and Penny Fukui / Leonard Garfield / Janet and June Hayakawa /  Karen Ikeda / Victor and Mary Ikeda / Guy and Kathy Kozu / Karen Mano Little / Jill Nishi and Howard Nakase /  Larry and Mae Numata /  Frank and June Sato / Michel and Bobbie Stern

Some of our table captains are still looking for people to fill seats at their tables. Please go ahead and contact them if you want to join their table, or even better yet, organize your own table.
Call for Volunteers

Seattle friends, we are looking for a handful of people to help out as volunteers the night of the gala. If you'd like to support Densho but can't attend the gala as a guest, please consider this option. More information and applications can be found here, or simply email Thank you!
Announcing a new and improved online course.
Thanks to funding from the Kip Tokuda Memorial Fund and a private donor, Densho was able to pay a group of teachers to take our free online course, test it in the classroom, and provide feedback.

Now, we're pleased to unveil the new and improved course, updated with recommendations from classroom teachers. Updates include: 

-a new thinking routine to promote metacognition through reflections

- new, more interactive forms that allow educators to track their responses 

The feedback so far has been glowing. Take the course and let us know what you think!

"This is one of the FINEST pieces of continuing education I've used. As an online course it is unsurpassed in ease of use, quality of resources, and technical reliability (all the links opened!). It has just the right balance of content and self reflection."  –Patrick H., middle school teacher

"Seeing firsthand what was being discussed in the country's papers, propaganda being produced by the government, and personal testimonies of those impacted really bring this tragedy to life and I hope, connects with the students in a lasting way." Richard J., Washington teacher

Tom Ikeda published a powerful personal response to Khazir Khan's speech at the Democratic National Committee. Read it here and let us know what you think. Did the speech or Tom's essay resonate with you or remind you of your own family experience? Email with your thoughts. 

>> Read more

Oral History Spotlight

As a teenager, Yoshihiro Uchida earned his black belt in judo. After living in the Poston concentration camp, Arizona, and serving in the military during World War II, Mr. Uchida lived in San Jose, California, where he was the head of the judo program at San Jose State and helped make judo an American national sport. In this clip, he describes his efforts to get judo included in the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.

We've had a busy month over on the Densho blog! Check out our top performing articles if you haven't seen them already: 

Family Detention, Then and Now / By Nina Wallace

Densho in the News

Densho Communications Manager Natasha Varner wrote about Japanese and Mexican American farm labor history for

The article examines how a  relationship that Japanese American and Mexican American farm workers formed in the early 20th century provides a powerful example of how communities can facilitate change when they work together.

 Densho | |