October 2018
From Executive Director Tom Ikeda
Dear Friends,

When we started Densho 22 years ago, back in the days of CD-ROMs and dial-up internet, web-based technology was a pretty unconventional medium for historical preservation. We made a choice to invest in something new and different because we knew this would allow us to share the Japanese American story across multiple borders, communities and generations.

I see art as another “unconventional”—but no less powerful—way to share our history. Over the past year, the Densho staff and I have had the chance to work with filmmakers tackling the intergenerational trauma of WWII incarceration, musicians creating soundtracks of resistance, poets exploring themes of identity and belonging, and visual artists breathing new life into historic images from the Densho archives. Art has a unique power to change our perspective, lift up untold stories and unheard voices, and inspire visions of the future we want to build.

That’s why I’m especially excited for this year’s Densho Dinner . Our theme this year is, “Keeping our History Alive through Art and Story,” and we will be sharing examples of how art can provoke important conversations about the past and present. We will also be acknowledging Densho’s origins by honoring Scott Oki and his vision of using digital technology to preserve and share the stories of our community.

Please join us for this celebration!

Tom Ikeda
Last chance for Densho Dinner 2018 tickets!
The Densho Dinner will honor our past, deepen conversations through art and story, and reinvigorate our commitment to standing up for justice today.

Learn more about the event:  www.Densho.org/DenshoDinner
Last month, Trump announced plans to allow the indefinite detention of migrant children and their families. Nearly 13,000 kids are already being held in immigration custody—the highest level of child and family detention since our own families were incarcerated during WWII. As Japanese Americans, we know the deep, intergenerational trauma of indefinite detention in state-run concentration camps. That's why we're stepping up to say "NEVER AGAIN" IS RIGHT NOW.

We have less than 30 days to tell DHS that incarcerating children is inhumane and unacceptable. Please take a few minutes and submit your comment today.

Densho in the News

This Densho-produced article for Public Radio International takes a deep dive into the history of Japanese Latin Americans and their ongoing struggle for justice:

During World War II, the US forcibly relocated and detained thousands of Japanese Latin Americans. When the war ended, many were rendered stateless because they didn't have legal entry documents. To add insult to injury, they were told they weren't eligible for redress because they had entered the country "illegally." Today, their fight for redress and recognition continues. As Grace Shimizu puts it: “Redress isn’t finished. It’s a human rights issue, and this unfinished World War II business is important to all.”

Oral History Spotlight: Elsa Kudo

 Elsa Kudo was born in Canete, Peru. During World War II, her father, a store owner, was arrested by the FBI and separated from the rest of the family. Elsa and her mother and siblings were deported from Peru and taken by ship to the Crystal City internment camp, Texas, where they were reunited with her father. Years later, as a junior in college, Elsa learned that her entry into the U.S. had been labeled "illegal."

Community Engaged Archives for Social Change 

October is American Archives Month! Densho works hard to foster our Seattle roots and community partnerships as we build archives and other digital offerings that contribute to national and international understandings of our past. We are also uniquely committed to helping other community-based archives as they engage in similar endeavors. We were invited to write about our approach for the Architecting Sustainable Futures for community archives blog.

New Staff Announcement

Please join us in welcoming Jen Fukutaki as Densho's new Fund Development Director. Growing up in Texas, Jen had no exposure to information about the WWII incarceration of Japanese Americans. After moving to CA and meeting her husband, she received first-hand accounts of the camps from her father-in-law and some of his 12 siblings. The Fukutaki family lived in Pasadena when WWII began and were subsequently sent to Gila River. Jen deeply appreciates the access to history that Densho preserves and shares, as well as Densho’s voice in preventing discriminatory practices in today’s society. She has a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from TCU and an MLIS from the University of Washington. Jen is utilizing her background in advertising, marketing research, education, libraries, and fundraising to help build Densho’s resources for a sustainable future.
Haunted Healing: Confronting Intergenerational Healing
Through Film and Story
Thank you to everyone who turned out for Densho's Haunted Healing event earlier this month! We had a powerful conversation about the role of art in healing from historical trauma. This event brought together Japanese American and Native American artists who also discussed the importance of seeing the overlaps and parallels in our communities' histories. Thank you to filmmaker Daryn Wakasa for screening his film Seppuku , to poet Melissa Bennett ( Umatilla/Nimiipuu/Sac & Fox/Anishinaabe) for sharing her new work, and to Ellany Kayce ( Tlingit Nation/Raven-Frog) for opening and closing the event. Thanks to Seattle Public Library for hosting the event, and to Seattle Asian American Film Festival and Evergreen Longhouse Education and Cultural Center for co-sponsoring it. Finally, huge thanks to Na'ah Illahee Fund, United Indians of All Tribes, and Ellany Kayce for generous donations that allowed us to provide food.

Photo: Left to right, Natasha Varner, Densho Communications and Public Engagement Director, filmmaker Daryn Wakasa, and poet Melissa Bennett. Credit: Vic Brown
Thank you, 4Culture!
In 2018, Densho received four grant awards from  4Culture , the cultural funding agency for King County, Washington. The 4Culture projects include both operational and collections support as we upgrade preservation equipment and train heritage interns who help us preserve the rich local history of the Japanese American experience:
  • A Heritage Sustained Support grant that provides vital funding to assist with the day-to-day needs of our general operations.
  • A Heritage Collections grant to preserve the papers of local filmmaker Frank Abe. These primary source materials will help illuminate the heritage of Japanese American activist and Japanese American WWII draft resisters who refused to fight in the war while their families and friends were incarcerated in concentration camps.
  • A Heritage Projects grant that allowed us to hire and train interns who have been helping us preserve and share four King County collections containing more than 1,500 historical photographs and documents that help illustrate the history of local Japanese immigrants and their descendants from the early 1900’s to the 1950’s.
  • An Equipment grant to update workstations and cameras used to digitally process and preserve archival materials.
We are grateful for the support provided by 4Culture over the years. We currently have four staff members who began at Densho as 4Culture grant funded interns!
Crucial Questions to Answer Before Embarking on your Estate Plan

Seattle friends, join us for an informative discussion about planned giving with three seasoned experts in values-based estate planning. There are two opportunities to attend on Tuesday, October 30th :

1:30 - 3:00 p.m.
Ravenna Eckstein Community Center

5:30 - 7:00 p.m.
Seattle Goodwill Admin and Job Training / Education Center

Space is limited! Please RSVP before October 24 by emailing Danielle Higa at danielle.higa@densho.org.

>> Learn more .
Olympia, Washington
Teacher Workshop

This workshop will explore the World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans through an original play, "GRIT" by Tere Martinez and Janet Hayakawa, followed by the exploration of concepts of race, discrimination, democracy and constitutionality through drama-in-education activities and the use of thinking routines.

The workshop is for middle/high school teachers and will be held on January 12, 2019, 9:00 am - 1:30 pm at The Evergreen State College, Olympia, WA. Lunch and a $100 travel stipend will be provided. Four clock hours are available for $20.