August 2020
From Executive Director Tom Ikeda
Dear friends,

In early March with the Covid-19 virus spreading, we knew we would lose the face-to-face interactions of Densho’s in-person events. I was especially disappointed about canceling a series of West Coast family history workshops and the opportunity to connect with a hundred or so Densho friends in Los Angeles, the Bay Area, Portland, and Seattle. I have been leading workshops for almost 25 years and this act of sharing Densho’s work keeps me connected to the Japanese American community and the importance of what we do, so I was saddened to miss these trips.
The pandemic forced us to change and in some cases new and exciting opportunities have arisen. For example, we reimagined our genealogy workshops as an in-depth, 10-episode series and have already had over 1,100 participants -- ten times more than what we planned with the face-to-face workshops. In addition to more participants, we reached people in all parts of the country, something we would not be able to do with our original West Coast workshop plan. Below is a note an East Coast participant sent us a couple of weeks ago.
"I would like to thank you for offering this series of genealogy webinars. I have thoroughly enjoyed them and I have learned so much. My grandmother is 98 years old and is a survivor of Tule Lake. I just recently reconnected with her and I am trying to learn all I can about my family history. I am located on the East Coast, so I feel very removed from the Japanese American community. Your webinars have been a tremendous help. Thank you, thank you, thank you, from the bottom of my heart.”
I was deeply touched by this note because it reminded me of the impact of our work, and the power of community connection even in the midst of this global crisis. 

You can still participate in our family history series by listening to recordings of the first nine webinars, or by registering for the 10th webinar, which will be held this Thursday, August 20th at 10 am PDT. I’lll be talking to Densho’s Digital Archivist, Caitlin Oiye Coon about conducting family oral history interviews -- I hope you will join us Thursday or take time to watch the recording later. 

I want to thank you all for reminding me about the power of community during this time. I also want to ask that you consider a donation to Densho during our ongoing Summer Appeal. Your support is crucial to us now and will allow us to continue cultivating this new virtual community through innovative workshops, teaching materials, and other offerings. 
With gratitude and in solidarity,
Last Call: Summer Appeal 2020
If you've already donated to our summer appeal, THANK YOU! If you haven't had a chance yet, please make a donation now. Donate $125 or more by August 31st and we’ll send you one of two exciting thank-you gifts: a new biography of Japanese American sculptor Ruth Asawa that includes over 60 reproductions of Asawa’s art and archival photos, or a custom enamel pin designed by artist Kiku Hughes in honor of Japanese Americans incarcerated at Amache/Granada concentration camp. Donate $250 or more and we’ll send you both!
We're thrilled to join comic artist Kiku Hughes for the virtual launch of her debut graphic novel! Displacement is inspired by Kiku's family history of WWII incarceration, and follows a Japanese American teenager who is pulled back in time to live in a concentration camp alongside her Nisei grandmother. Join the livestream this Wednesday, 8/19, at 5pm PST to see Kiku in conversation with Densho Communications Coordinator Nina Wallace.

Photo Essay: The Amache Silk Screen Shop

Amache was unique in that it had a successful silk screen shop run almost entirely by Japanese American incarcerees. Over its two-year run, those workers produced, somewhat ironically, over 250,000 U.S. Navy posters to aid the war effort that had put them in camp. But they also designed and printed cards, calendars, and a lot more for their fellow incarcerees, adding some color and boosting community spirits amidst the many hardships of incarceration.

Commemorating Redress in the Archives

The Civil Liberties Act, signed into law on August 10, 1988 after decades of organizing by survivors and their descendants, granted an official apology and $20,000 in reparations to Japanese Americans incarcerated during WWII. We highlight some recent additions to Densho’s archives that focus on the Redress Movement, in the hope that these stories can provide insight into how the Japanese American community fought for and won redress—and the need to continue that struggle today.

>> Read more.
We want to give a special shout out and congratulations to Japanese American Memorial Pilgrimages as they wrap up the Tadaima! Virtual Community Pilgrimage. In the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, each of this year’s pilgrimages to former Japanese American incarceration sites was cancelled—but JAMP stepped up to recreate these important educational and community-building experiences at home. All nine weeks of Tadaima! programming is now available online.

Catch up at and check out a few of Densho’s contributions below!
“Yon-Say” Podcast: A Lineage of Bad*sses

Women’s histories are often erased, forgotten, or misremembered—and Nikkei history is no exception. For Week 8 of the "Yon-Say" Podcast, Densho Communications Coordinator Nina Wallace and Nikkei Resisters organizer Miya Sommers discussed the vital, but often overlooked, contributions of women in the redress movement, and the Nikkei women who inspire us today.

Understanding Tule Lake

Tule Lake started out a lot like other Japanese American concentration camps during WWII—but that quickly changed when it was turned into a "segregation center" after the disastrous loyalty questionnaire. Filmmaker Sharon Yamato and Densho Content Director Brian Niiya give an overview of this complicated history, and explore how Tule Lake has evolved over time from a place stigmatized by the larger Japanese American community to one that is recognized today for its role in resistance to the WWII incarceration.

Sunday Supper with Danielle Higa and Family!

Densho Fund Development Manager Danielle Higa hosted a Tadaima! Sunday Supper, along with her sister Alex and dad Warren. Watch their fun, intergenerational cooking lesson as they share their family recipe for sweet & sour spareribs “pakui” along with a side of family history.

Oral History Spotlight: George Kazuharu Naganuma

George Kazuharu Naganuma was born in Lima, Peru. During World War II, the FBI arrested George's father and the family was sent to the Department of Justice camp at Crystal City, Texas. After the war was over, the family was not allowed to return to Peru, so they moved to San Francisco. In this clip, George talks about how he felt as a Japanese Peruvian youth struggling to adjust to his post-war life in America.

Save the Date: October 24, 2020

The Densho Dinner is going virtual this year! We'll miss seeing our community in person, but we're excited that our virtual event will allow us to welcome friends and supporters from far beyond Seattle. We have a truly amazing line-up in the works we'll be announcing program details and opening registration soon.