May 2021
Issei Mothers played an important — and largely forgotten — role in the Japanese American draft resistance movement

The resistance of young men who refused to be drafted into the U.S. military out of U.S. concentration camps has become a prominent part of the Japanese American WWII incarceration story. But there is an equally inspiring — and largely forgotten — story about hundreds of Issei mothers who also protested the draft from within the camps. We take a look back at this hidden history and celebrate these fierce Issei moms.
Xenophobia Teach-In on May 24

This APA Heritage Month, we invite you to deepen your understanding of American xenophobia and racism, using Japanese American WWII incarceration and the current crisis of immigrant detention as case studies. This interactive learning experience is designed for the general public, including community members, teachers, students, life-long learners, and anyone who is looking to expand their knowledge and deepen their commitment to action. The teach-in on May 24 is free and open to the public.
Facing the Mountain Book Launch on May 11

Join Densho and community partners for the official launch of Facing the Mountain, a new book about WWII incarceration and the 442nd RCT by Daniel James Brown. The book is a gripping story about four Japanese American families and their sons: Gordon Hirabayashi, Kats Miho, Rudy Tokiwa, and Fred Shiosaki. Their stories challenge us to think about what it means to be an American and the many different forms that patriotism can take, from military service to civil disobedience. The virtual book launch event on May 11 will feature author Daniel James Brown in conversation with Densho’s Executive Director Tom Ikeda. 
A tribute to Fred Shiosaki's remarkable legacy

Fred Shiosaki was a remarkable man who led a remarkable life. We are deeply saddened to learn that he recently passed away — but incredibly grateful for the legacy he left behind and his generosity in sharing his story with us and so many others. In the words of Densho Executive Director Tom Ikeda, “I remember how easily he made me feel comfortable with him when I met him for the first time. I was captivated and felt so honored as I heard his story. Fred was not only special to me, but will continue to be special to many others.” Fred’s Densho interview was one of about a dozen we shared with author Daniel James Brown as he was considering protagonists for his book, Facing the Mountain. From those, Brown selected Fred’s story to help tell the wide arc of the Japanese American story.
Oral History Spotlight: Helping Issei father testify at the redress hearings

Mako Nakagawa, who sadly passed away last month, was five years old when she and her family were incarcerated at Puyallup Assembly Center and Minidoka concentration camp. After the war, she became a teacher and was actively involved in redress and educating the public about the WWII incarceration. In this clip, she describes helping her Issei father testify in front of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians in the 1980s.
Blog Spotlight: 10 unusual things about Manzanar

The first of America’s WWII concentration camps to be built, Manzanar was first at a lot of other things as well: the first to have an official historic marker, the first public camp pilgrimage, the first to become a unit of the National Park Service, among other things. It’s also well known for the infamous “riot” (now more commonly referred to as an uprising) of December 1942, the iconic “ireito” monument, and as the site of the Manzanar Children’s Village orphanage. Yet for all its firsts and claims to fame, there are quite a few unusual pieces of Manzanar’s history you probably haven’t heard about.