February 2021
From Executive Director Tom Ikeda
Dear friends,

Last year, 400 of you braved the wind and rain to join us at Tacoma’s Northwest Detention Center and mark the anniversary of Executive Order 9066 with a day of action. This year’s Day of Remembrance will look a little different.

The past year has forced all of us to change how we come together, but we’ve managed to stay connected through lots of virtual events, teach-ins, and a Zoom happy hour or two. So as we approach this year’s Day of Remembrance, we hope to gather (from a safe social distance) in that same spirit of collaboration and community.

And in the spirit of honoring our community, for this year’s Day of Remembrance we want to take a step back and shine a spotlight on other organizations and individuals who are doing important work to share Japanese American history. We have a few things planned as part of our Week of Action and Remembrance — and we hope you'll join us! — but I also encourage you to participate in events hosted by some of these other community partners. 

However you choose to engage, I hope this Day of Remembrance allows you to reflect on the past, build community today, and take action for a more just future.

In solidarity,

Week of Action and Remembrance

This year we mark the anniversary of Executive Order 9066 with a full week of action and remembrance. Join us each day between February 14th and 21st as we dig deeper into the past and find new ways to take action towards justice and equity today.
  • Sunday: Learn about organizations that, like Densho, are working to preserve Japanese American history and map out your DOR schedule of events for the week ahead.
  • Monday: Find ways to integrate Japanese American incarceration history into your classroom and home learning routines.
  • Tuesday: Join Densho for a conversation about the ongoing legacy of WWII incarceration or participate in a discussion as part of the Black + Japanese American Reparations series.
  • Wednesday: Discover new ways to navigate Densho’s archives, encyclopedia, and other online offerings in order to deepen your understanding of Japanese American history.
  • Thursday: Participate in a teach-in about the history of racism and xenophobia in the United States, or watch a panel discussion relating Japanese American incarceration to contemporary injustices.
  • Friday: Mark the official Day of Remembrance through reflection, sharing, and honoring the lives of those incarcerated during WWII.
  • Saturday and Sunday: Continue to reflect and remember as you move into action in solidarity with other targeted groups. Attend a (socially distanced) rally, participate in a virtual event, and reaffirm your own commitment to social justice.
Find out more details on how to participate each day on our blog post and follow along on social media at @Denshoproeject!
Why the Lessons of WWII Incarceration Still Matter Today: A Conversation with Dale Minami

Please join Densho for a conversation with Dale Minami, best known for heading the coram nobis legal team that overturned the conviction of Fred Korematsu, as he connects the lessons of the WWII Japanese American incarceration with the events of today. Interviewing Minami will be Tom Ikeda, founding Densho Executive Director.

After you register, you will be given a link to a free viewing of the documentary, ALTERNATIVE FACTS: The Lies of Executive Order 9066, a one-hour documentary about the false information and political influences that led to the World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans. This film, directed by Jon Osaki, will provide a helpful historical overview for the conversation with Minami and Ikeda.
Oral History Spotlight: Dale Minami

Dale Minami is a Sansei who grew up in Gardena, California, where his parents eventually resettled after their wartime incarceration. He has been involved in significant legal cases on the civil rights of Asian and Pacific Americans, including the overturning of Fred Korematsu's 1944 conviction for disobeying Japanese American exclusion orders. In this clip, he reflects on the importance of understanding history.
Blog Spotlight: Dive into These YA Books on the Wartime Incarceration of Japanese Americans

In recent decades, many new books on the wartime experience of Japanese Americans have filled the shelves of bookstores and libraries. Of this ever-growing new crop of titles, many are geared specifically towards Young Adult (YA) readers. Densho Content Director Brian Niiya highlights some classics and more recent arrivals worth spending some time with.