August 2019
From Executive Director Tom Ikeda
Dear Friends,

My heart is heavy as I write this — for the victims of the El Paso massacre, for the nearly 700 immigrants stolen from their children and their communities by ICE raids just a few days later, for the thousands of asylum-seekers detained in dehumanizing conditions for the “crime” of seeking a better life. The calculated cruelty behind these attacks on the Latinx community is devastating, despicable, and inhuman. It is also all too familiar.

They called my grandparents an “invasion” when they came to this country, sent government agents into our communities to arrest Issei fathers in front of crying children, issued “Jap hunting licenses,” and told us to “go back” to where we came from.

I can’t imagine the pain and fear these families are carrying. But as the son and grandson of Japanese Americans who were once imprisoned because of their identity, I cannot remain silent in the face of such blatant acts of white supremacist violence. And I urge you to speak out, stand up, and reach out to your immigrant friends and neighbors to lend your support.

“Never Again” is now. This is a moment when we must put action behind those words.

In solidarity,
NHK World Premier: "I too was a Child of Camp"
Densho Dinner's keynote speaker, Satsuki Ina , is the subject of a new documentary that will premier on NHK this week. Ina was born in Tule Lake and her experiences there shaped her career as a trauma therapist. Her extensive clinical records reflect the Japanese Americans' postwar history.

These days, she finds that migrant children in detention centers in the US are experiencing the same sort of distress that she did. Tune in to learn how her decades of research and outreach help ease the suffering of people and community. 

Join the Densho community in welcoming Dr. Satsuki Ina to Seattle...
In times like this, coming together in community is a radical act.

We invite you to join us in Seattle on November 2nd to welcome Dr. Satuki Ina, co-founder of the Tsuru for Solidarity movement. Together, we will reaffirm our commitment to action and to community, all while raising critical funds for Densho so that we can keep up the necessary work of documenting the past and raising our voices against the injustices of today.

You can support the Densho Dinner, whether you live near or far:
Contact or with questions, or learn more here .
Densho in the News: "The Organization Telling the Stories of the Japanese American Incarceration"
A reporter with The Outline asked Densho's Brian Niiya about what parallels he saw between WWII and today. He answered:

There’s a similar disconnect between all these rumors and propaganda, and there’s this purposeful distortion as to what conditions really are. The obvious one is the racially based, guilt by association sort of episode. All because we were at war with Japan, anyone with Japanese ancestry is suspect and rather than making individual determination, everybody just strictly based on their ancestry is just thrown into a camp. That’s the greatest similarity today, not just with the stuff going on the border, but even with recent episodes with our popular perception and treatment of Arab-Americans. 

Oral History Spotlight: Amy Iwasaki Mass

Amy Iwasaki Mass grew up in the Los Angeles area and was incarcerated with her family during WWII. In this clip she describes what it was like to experience the train ride from Pomona Assembly Center to Heart Mountain as a young child, and the impact of hateful messages in the media.

>> Watch the clip .
On Saturday August 17th, Densho will join with other community orgs at Hai! Japantown , an annual event that celebrates the history and culture of Seattle's Nihonmachi!

Street theater and Butoh dancing, yukata lessons, Spam musubi contest and Hawaiian beats — it’s all part of how Seattle’s Japantown mixes it up to celebrate Japanese culture in a uniquely Northwest way. Find Densho staff and artist Erin Shigaki leading a community art project with (of course) a history and social justice bent to it.

When: August 17th from 3-7 p.m.

Thank you, City of Seattle!

The Seattle Office of Arts & Culture generously provided support for Densho’s monthly eNews, local events like our Hai! Japantown participation, and other core programs. Thank you!
In a series of community events, Tom Ikeda will share updates about Densho’s fast-growing archives, evolving technologies and partnerships, and our audacious goal for 2042 (the 100th anniversary of EO 9066).

>> RSVP to or call 206-320-0095 x102
Blog Highlights
Last month, about 325 people gathered in southeast Idaho for the 17th annual Minidoka Pilgrimage , as well as the soft opening of the new Minidoka National Historic Site Visitor Center, which tells the Minidoka story and will officially open to the public in 2020.

Little Known Facts of Life at Minidoka

Minidoka concentration camp first opened in August of 1942. Located in southeastern Idaho, it held a total of about 13,000 people over the next three years — most of them hailing from Washington and Oregon, and unaccustomed to Minidoka’s extreme temperatures and relentless dust storms.

>> Read more .
10 TV Shows That Depicted Japanese American Incarceration, for Better or for Worse

The Terror's second season, "Infamy," is arguably the highest profile TV depiction of Japanese American incarceration during WWII. But there have been a surprising number of series episodes and made-for-TV movies that have already explored the topic — to, uh, various degrees of success. Read on for Densho Content Director Brian Niiya's list of some of the more memorable episodes to grace (or disgrace) TV screens over the years.

>> Read more .
Densho has only two fund drives per year, and we rely on your donations to continue our operations. The demand for Densho’s work is growing and exceeds what we can supply with our current resources. We ask that you please give as generously as you can.

If you make a donation between now and August 31, we’ll send you a custom Densho sticker and our eternal admiration!

A HUGE thank you to all who have donated already. Thank you letters and stickers will be on their way to you soon.