December 2017
From Executive Director Tom Ikeda
Dear Friends,

As the holiday season approaches, I often think of my childhood. I was the kid who would spend hours next to a stream building elaborate canals and make-believe castles while others sat around a campfire. I loved inventing and creating structures using the force of running water against the contours of sand, driftwood, or a well-placed rock. So it probably wasn’t surprising that my career centered on building things that started out as just ideas, things like medical devices, small companies, digital products—and Densho.

2017 has been a different type of year for me. Instead of building things, I found myself extending bridges—emerging as a spokesperson shining a light on the fear, hate, and bigotry rising in the United States. This year, I did over 40 presentations about how Japanese Americans suffered when other Americans saw an imagined enemy from within. In places like Birmingham, Boulder, Chicago, and Bangor, Maine, I watched people wake up to the realization that the injustices against Japanese Americans during World War II are being repeated today against American Muslims, African Americans, Indigenous peoples, and others.

Stepping out and speaking up has been uncomfortable at times as I am a private person, but it has also filled me with gratitude. I am grateful for the dozens of individuals who invited me to speak and then went out to promote the event so that people would attend. I also have greater gratitude for the speakers at Densho events who spend the time to prepare, travel, and rise to the occasion to give their talks. And, I have gratitude for the generous donors who support Densho and make it possible for us to do events and speaking engagements that get more people thinking, talking, and taking action to learn from the mistakes of our past and forward our communities today.

Please have a happy holiday season. And please, take a moment to send me a message at  and let me know what's on your mind as the year comes to a close.


Tom Ikeda
RSVP for Our 2018 Day of Remembrance Event
We are honored to host Gold Star father Khizr Khan as the featured speaker at our 2018 Day of Remembrance event. Ever since Mr. Khan’s breakout appearance at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, he has been traveling the country to spread his messages of civic endurance and engaged resistance to injustice. Musician Kishi Bashi will open the program with a performance and presentation about his forthcoming documentary, Omoiyari: a Songfilm by Kishi Bashi . In the film, Kishi Bashi creates music in locations relevant to Japanese American incarceration and, in doing so, he delves into a rich exploration of history, identity, and contemporary social issues through art. 

World War II incarceration survivors and Nisei veterans are encouraged to attend and will be honored during the event — if you plan to attend, please email  with your name and the names of your accompanying family members so that we can issue VIP tickets to you. 

February 19, 2018 from 2:00-3:30 p.m.
at the Seattle Center Fisher Pavilion 

Reminder: Get Your Donations in by December 31st

Make a donation of any amount to Densho by December 31st and you will receive a set of five exclusive commemorative stamps marking the upcoming 100th anniversary of Gordon K. Hirabayashi’s birth. 

Gordon's legacy as a resister reminds us that together, we can confront the dark days ahead as we look to the lessons of our past and remember that it is our 
privilege — and our responsibility — to build a brighter future.

Thank you to all who have donated already — acknowledgment letters will be on their way to you soon!
Media Spotlight

Civil rights scholar Megan Ming Francis drops fire as she talks about the political moment we find ourselves in today, critically framing it in a broader historical and social context. With an eye toward social justice, she reminds her audience of the perils of inaction and urges folks to use their talents, whatever they may be, to speak out on behalf of those who are being targeted simply for their race, religion, or other aspects of their identity.

Blog Highlight: Remembering the Manzanar Riot

This month marks the 75th anniversary of the Manzanar Riot, the best known instance of mass unrest in one of the Japanese American concentration camps. The uprising was also one of a handful of times in which military police killed inmates in the camps and was a key event in leading the War Relocation Authority down the road of the “loyalty questionnaire” and segregation. 

Washington State: Sign I-940!

As the children and grandchildren of Japanese Americans herded into concentration camps by those sworn to protect them, we cannot stand idly by as other communities are targeted. For this reason, we are endorsing Initiative 940, a measure brought forth by families of victims of police violence to provide de-escalation and mental health training to all law enforcement officers in Washington State, and to end our state's de facto immunity from prosecution for unjustified use of deadly force. We ask you to join us in supporting De-Escalate Washington's campaign.

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