January 2020
From Executive Director Tom Ikeda
Dear friends,

The beginning of the year 2020 brings a sense of both melancholy and hope. I remember doing “2020 Vision” exercises 10, 15, 20 years ago where I imagined the future. My visions of the future were influenced by Martin Luther King, Jr.’s words, “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice,” and I thought 2020 would be a time when the world would be more just and moral. Instead, today I see divisiveness, oppression, and greed on the rise and find myself thinking of dystopian futures where each of us are constantly monitored, civil liberties are non-existent for the poor, and we repeat the mistakes of our past instead of learning from them.
However, I also see reasons to hope. More people are questioning what is happening in the world and looking for ways to take action. These people were previously too busy with their own lives and work; they trusted that others would make the world better. I was one of those people, but now many of us are realizing that change begins with us. The world is more just and moral when the most vulnerable are treated fairly and compassionately. It is going to take a lot of us getting out of our comfort zone to make this happen — but I also believe that when we come together, we are powerful.

With gratitude,
Day of Remembrance Call to Action
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.

We are calling on our community to turn out for this event and say 'Stop Repeating History'! If you are interested in volunteering or supporting our action in any other way, please email tsuruseattle@gmail.com. We look forward to standing in solidarity with you on February 23!

>> Learn more and spread the word: Facebook event page / downloadable flyer
Join us on March 11 for a free genealogy workshop!
Densho is pleased to offer a free workshop with Linda Harms Okazaki, noted expert in Japanese American genealogy. Topics covered in the workshop will include:

-Historical overview of events leading up to Japanese immigration to US
-Getting started in family history
-Finding the documents (vital, immigration, census, land, camp, etc.)
-Tips for finding records in Japan

The event will be held at Densho (1416 S. Jackson Street; Seattle, WA 98144) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on March 11, 2020. Lunch will be provided.

Registration is free but space is limited sign up today!
Photo essay: Japanese Americans
Return to the West Coast
The exclusion of Japanese Americans from the West Coast during WWII came to an official end on January 2, 1945. By the end of the year, nine of the ten  War Relocation Authority  concentration camps had been shut down — although Japanese American  “renunciants”  and  Japanese Latin Americans  slated for deportation to Japan remained imprisoned even after the war’s end. On the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the end of Japanese American incarceration, we take a look back at some of the images from this moment in history.

By 1945, many Japanese Americans, particularly college- and working-age Nisei, had already left the camps to  “resettle”  in Midwest and East Coast hubs, which meant that the majority of those who remained were elders and families with young children for whom another forced move was a significant hardship. Incarcerees were ordered to leave and given just $25 and a one-way ticket home — but many had nothing to come back to.

>> Read more .
Thank you to our donors!
We want to send extend a huge thank you to all who made financial contributions during our 2019 Winter Appeal! Our work is dependent on your generosity and we appreciate that you choose to continue supporting us!
Oral History Spotlight: Ben Takeshita

Ben Takeshita and his family were removed from San Mateo, California and incarcerated at Tanforan Assembly Center and Topaz concentration camp during WWII. In this clip, he describes preparing for the forced removal, and realizing that some of his friends didn't come to say goodbye because they were afraid to be seen as "too friendly with the so-called 'enemy aliens'."