December 2019
From Executive Director Tom Ikeda
Dear friends,

At we settle into the holiday season, I find myself reflecting on the accomplishments — and challenges — of the past year. 2019 has been a big one for me. I spent a lot of time on the road this year: conducting fascinating interviews, connecting with old and new friends, and sharing the exciting work Densho is doing with communities across the country. I’ve also been pushing myself out of my comfort zone to move beyond just preserving history and participate in the making of history as it unfolds.

This work is challenging but necessary, and I’m convinced more and more every day that it’s the right thing to do. It’s also something that would be impossible for me to do alone, and I’m humbled and grateful to be part of such a passionate, engaged community.

Thank you for supporting Densho in 2019 — whether you attended one of our events, spread the word about our archives and education programs, or made a donation. I look forward to continuing to build together in the coming year.

With gratitude,
Save the date!
Join Tsuru for Solidarity, La Resistencia, Densho, and Seattle JACL for Day of Remembrance, Day of Action at Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington on February 23, 2020 from 12:30-2:30.

The Day of Remembrance, Day of Action at NWDC commemorates the 78th anniversary of the Executive Order that incarcerated 126,000 citizens and immigrants of Japanese descent during WWII. Today, thousands of immigrants and refugees are confined in similar concentration camps. They are subjected to inhumane conditions, family separations, threats of deportation, and countless indignities.

The Northwest Detention Center (NWDC) in Tacoma, WA is one of the largest immigration prisons in the country, with a capacity to hold up to 1,575 immigrants per day. Up to 200 people, many of whom are seeking asylum, are transferred from the US-Mexico border to the NWDC each month. Other people held at the NWDC have lived in the US for years, in some cases for the majority of their lives. While some are deported after only weeks, some are held for months and even years awaiting the outcomes of their deportation cases. Few legal protections apply to these civil detainees, and those held are not entitled to an attorney at government expense; approximately 90% of them move forward in their cases unrepresented.

As survivors and descendants of Japanese American WWII incarceration, we stand united with all those who have suffered the atrocities of U.S. concentration camps, past and present, to say, “Stop Repeating History!”

This message will be amplified by the beats of taiko drums and carried on the wings of thousands of tsuru, origami cranes symbolizing peace, compassion, hope, and healing.

2019 Artist-in-Residence Mari Shibuya
There is a learning that gets unlocked by hearing the story of others who come from a similar ancestral experience, yet talking about it will only get you so far. To really dive into the story, we need the arts." In this guest blog post, Mari Shibuya reflects on her time as one of Densho's 2019 artists-in-residence, what she learned about what it means to be Japanese American, and why this history remains so important today.

>> Read more .
Densho Joins Community Archives Collaborative in Chicago
In late November, Densho staffers Caitlin Oiye Coon and Natasha Varner joined colleagues from South Asian American Digital Archive, Texas After Violence Project, and the Interference Archive in Chicago as part of a planning grant funded by the  National Historical Publications & Records Commission . The  Community Archives Collaborative  seeks to formalize partnerships between community-based archives by creating a space for community-based archives practitioners across the country to collaborate, share skills, trainings, and best practices, leverage pooled resources, and provide peer-to-peer mentoring in order to support long-term sustainability and growth at these institutions. In doing so, the  Community Archives Collaborative  will help ensure that marginalized communities are more fully represented in the historical record.

We're thrilled to be part of this incredible group of community archivists and will report back as our collaboration grows.

Last Call: 2019 Winter Appeal
We've spent the past 24 years working to keep the story of Japanese American WWII incarceration alive and, now more than ever, that story needs to be told. Support this necessary work by making a donation to the 2019 Densho Winter Appeal before December 31st.

Donate $125 and we'll send you an exclusive thank you gift; donate $250 or more and we’ll send you two!

Premium One: Mitsuye May Yamada is an acclaimed poet, essayist, educator, feminist and human rights activist, At the age of 96, she has released her latest work,  Full Circle: New and Selected Poems  (2019).  

Premium Two: Designed exclusively for Densho by artist Kiku Hughes, this custom enamel pin is the first in a series commemorating the ten main WRA concentration camps. It's an homage to the Japanese Americans incarcerated in Tule Lake, who would hand craft intricate corsage pins from shells found around camp.

THANK YOU to those who have already donated — your gifts and acknowledgement letters are on their way to you!
Oral History Spotlight: Yoshiko Kanazawa

Yoshiko Kanazawa grew up in Pasadena, California, and was incarcerated at Tulare Assembly Center and the Gila River concentration camp during WWII. After the war, she and her family returned to Pasadena, where her father was able to purchase a small house with some savings a family friend had protected while they were gone. In this clip, Yoshiko recalls the difficulties Japanese Americans faced to find housing after camp, and how her father opened their home to another family with nowhere to go.

Request for Bids: Seeking Producer for Short Educational Video

Densho seeks a filmmaker to produce a short animated film that features a history of US policies relating to immigration, xenophobia, and racial discrimination. The film will be produced in collaboration with Densho's education team and will include animated representations accompanied by text and a musical score.