May 2018
From Executive Director Tom Ikeda
Dear Friends,

Fifteen years ago, I was captivated by a Nisei storyteller on a long bus ride during the first Minidoka Pilgrimage. As we rode past the rolling fields of Eastern Washington and Idaho, I heard personal stories of another mass removal and a harsher incarceration at Tule Lake. After holding Japanese Americans a year behind barbed wire, the government rounded up leaders, organizers, and other targeted Japanese Americans and their families—over 12,000 in total—and sent them to the high security prison camp of Tule Lake that had more guards, higher fences, and stricter rules. I had never heard these stories told so vividly.

My companion on that bus ride was Jimi Yamaichi, a former detainee from Tule Lake and one of the key organizers of the Tule Lake Pilgrimage. Jimi was on his first visit to Minidoka and he was full of curiosity about the camp, asking me about my own family’s experience in Minidoka during the war. Meanwhile, Jimi shared his deep knowledge of Tule Lake. The time we spent talking made the many hours on that bus ride melt away.

Jimi Yamaichi passed away over the weekend. He was an extraordinary man who played a visionary role for the Tule Lake Pilgrimage and the Japanese American Museum of San Jose. He will be missed but not forgotten.

Rest in Power, Jimi.
Oral History Spotlight: Jimi Yamaichi

Jimi Yamaichi grew up in San Jose, California where his father had a farming operation. During World War II, he was incarcerated in Pomona Assembly Center, Heart Mountain concentration camp and Tule Lake Segregation Center. 

In this 2011 interview, Jimi spoke with Tom Ikeda about the importance of sharing the stories of WWII incarceration through camp pilgrimages.


Thank you to all who donated to Densho on May 9! Your generous support helps us continue the important work of documenting Japanese American history for today and for our future! Our official thank you's will be mailed out soon.

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Blog Highlight: Yamamoto is an American Name Too

This spring, the Palo Alto school board voted against honoring Fred Yamamoto, a decorated American war hero, because his name reminded some "concerned citizens" of the Pearl Harbor mastermind. Their logic hit close to home, reminding us and many others of the same "guilty by association" brand of xenophobia that led to widespread incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II.

>> Read more .
Save the Date for Densho Dinner: November 3, 2018
The second annual Densho Dinner will be held on November 3, 2018. Join us for a sushi & sake reception, an elegant seated dinner, live and silent auctions, and an inspiring program that will honor our past, deepen conversations through art and story, and reinvigorate our commitment to standing up for justice today. This will truly be a night to remember and your participation will help Densho continue its important work for years to come.

Thank you, City of Seattle!

The Seattle Office of Arts & Culture is generously providing support for Densho’s monthly eNews and other core programs this year. Thank you!

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