February 2016
From Executive Director Tom Ikeda

Dear Friend,

A couple of weeks ago I turned 60 and I have to admit that I was feeling pretty old. I thought to myself that when you are 60, it is time to start planning for retirement and your life will get smaller.

After feeling sorry for myself for a day or two, I reminded myself of the hundreds of men and women who were in their 70s, 80s and 90s when I did oral histories with them. For example, a few weeks ago on a trip to the Bay Area I interviewed Sam Araki, an 84-year-old entrepreneur who still advises high-tech Silicon Valley start-ups and has his own start-up company to do high quality farming in warehouses. I also interviewed Janice Mirikitani, the second Poet Laureate of San Francisco, who is in her 70s. The organization she helps run with her husband feeds thousands of homeless every day. Plus, Janice is an active runner and she can leg press a lot more than I can! 

Needless to say, thinking about the amazing people I’ve met helped me get out of my funk. The stories I’ve heard over the last 20 years have not only inspired me, they also provide me strength and grit when I hear how so many have overcome injustice and hardship. We have 876 interviews available in the Densho visual history collection and we use videoclips from many of these interviews in our YouTube channel. Take a look and enjoy!


Tom Ikeda

Our First Digital Teach-In:
Sign Up, Spread the Word

As part of this year's Day of Remembrance events, we're hosting our first-ever Digital Teach-In

From February 15th through the 19th, we'll deliver five simple lessons straight to your email inbox. These engaging, multimedia lessons will cover the basics of Japanese migration to the U.S., WW-II incarceration, the Redress Movement, and why this all matters today.   

Follow this link to learn more, then help us spread the word to your friends, family, and social networks.


Join us at the Seattle Asian American Film Festival! 

On February 20, Densho will co-present a series of short films about the Asian American experience in the Pacific Northwest. The event will begin at 2:30 and is free. The screening includes a short documentary by George Takei, a film about Shiro Kashino, a World War II Nisei veteran, and another that examines the model minority stereotype. Visit the Seattle Asian American Film Festival website to see the full line-up. RSVP for the event here

Oral History Spotlight

Shimako "Sally" Kitano was born on Bainbridge Island, Washington, and was sent to the Manzanar concentration camp, California, during World War II. After the war, she and her family returned to Bainbridge Island. In this clip, she describes how she felt when she was not allowed to join the Girl Scouts because she was Japanese American.
Blog Highlight 

In a two-part series, we examined the history and continued use of the racial epithet, "Jap," in dictionaries and other print media. 

Part one chronicled Shosuke Sasaki's 20-year effort to eliminate the use of "Jap" in print media, and to have it classified as a racial slur in dictionaries. Read more

Part two looked at how online dictionaries are perpetuating the racist use of the term. We provide contact information for one of the online dictionaries and encourage our followers to reach out and urge them to revise their treatment of the word. Read more

Oregon Day of Remembrance Event

On February 19th, head to the Deschutes Public Library for a Day of Remembrance event sponsored by the Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center, Densho, and the Japanese Association of Central Oregon (JASCO).

The program will feature Weston Nakamura-Koyama, Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center museum collections volunteer, as he traces his family’s journey from Portland to America’s concentration camps and relates the moving stories he uncovered from his family’s correspondence while they were incarcerated during World War II.

This year's Day of Remembrance celebrations take on a special significance in light of current events. As Todd Mayberry, Director of Collections and Exhibits at the Oregon Nikkei Endowment says, “This day makes sure we never forget the unjust incarceration of people of Japanese ancestry, the majority of whom were American citizens, so that this is never repeated again in our country.”

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