Densho eNews - July

From the Director: Tom Ikeda

Last month I heard a terrific speech by the honorable Michael Gillette, an associate justice of the Oregon Supreme Court. He spoke at a civil liberties conference preceding the annual pilgrimage to Minidoka, the former incarceration camp near Twin Falls, Idaho. Judge Gillette challenged the Japanese Americans in the audience to speak out about what happened to their communities sixty-five years ago. He insisted our country urgently needs to hear these stories because we have forgotten our past, and are repeating today some of the same civil liberties offenses committed against Japanese Americans during World War II. While his speech was troubling, it serves as a powerful reminder of how important it is for a vibrant democracy to preserve the stories of the unjust Japanese American incarceration. This issue of the eNews shares our recent contributions toward that goal: adding compelling new images to the Densho Digital Archive, promoting legislation to preserve the sites of former camps, and creating innovative new classroom lessons on civil liberties in wartime.

From the Archive

Moving Images: Film from inside an Incarceration Camp

"I had permission from the guard to be able to take pictures."
   -- Eiichi Edward Sakauye

The rich trove of photographs in the Densho Digital Archive that help us understand what life was like for the 120,000 Japanese Americans confined in government-run incarceration camps are now joined by rare moving images. San Jose native Eiichi Edward Sakauye was one of very few Nisei who secured both the equipment and permission to film daily life in the War Relocation Authority (WRA) camps.

>> Read more of this article

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Densho News

Lobbying in Washington D.C.

In June, Densho staff traveled to Washington, D.C., to promote legislation for preserving the legacy of the incarceration camps. We advocate funding the Camps Preservation Bill (HR 1492) and passing Senate legislation to expand the Minidoka site to include Bainbridge Island (S916). Densho also supports a Special Resource Study for Tule Lake (HR 6361), recently designated a National Historic Site. An archaeological study would lay the groundwork for allocating federal money to preserve the site of the largest, longest run, and most tumultuous of the incarceration camps. (Pictured are Floyd Mori, Executive of Director of the Japanese American Citizens League; Tom Ikeda, Executive Director of Densho; Senator Patty Murray; and Dan Sakura, Director of Government Relations, the Conservation Fund.) While in Washington, Tom Ikeda gave a well-received presentation hosted by Densho board member Franklin Odo for staff and friends of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program. We were pleased to share Densho's work with national museum professionals and fellow historic preservationists.

>> More information on the Tule Lake Special Resource Study

Sixth Annual Sushi & Sake Fest

Come join us on October 30 at 6:00 at the Westin Hotel Seattle to enjoy a delicious variety of sushi prepared by renowned local sushi chefs, premium Japanese sake and beer, live music, a silent auction, and more. This unique fundraiser is for Densho members, supporters, their families, and friends. Proceeds from this private event will support our preservation and education work. Tickets are $75 for individuals ($90 after September 15); $2,000 for full service table for ten. You will be entered automatically to win two free tickets when at least one ticket is purchased before July 31. Please note that attendees to this event must be 21 or older. For more information contact Densho at 206-320-0095 or [email protected]

>> Purchase tickets online
>> Get updated event information

New Teacher Resources Available

Densho offers new free standards-based lessons in social studies drawn from our rich archive of primary sources. The four innovative classroom lessons focus on constitutional issues of civil liberties in wartime, critically assessing the media, checks and balances of our branches of government, and the complex factors behind deciding to incarcerate Japanese Americans during World War II. Teachers may request resource CDs by phone (206-320-0095) or email ([email protected]). The lessons will later be available to download from the Densho website. These new curriculum units were created with the support of the Washington Civil Liberties Public Education Program, the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program, and 4Culture.

>> Find additional free Densho lessons

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Community Event

Minidoka Camp Reunion

Over 175 Japanese Americans detained at the Minidoka incarceration camp, Idaho, along with family members have already registered for the 2007 Minidoka Reunion in Las Vegas. This reunion will take place November 6-7 at the Golden Nugget Hotel. The cost per person is $150 and includes a welcome reception on November 6 and a dinner banquet on November 7. Rooms at the Golden Nugget are $89 per night and can be reserved directly with the hotel by calling 1-800-634-3454 and referencing the Minidoka 2007 Reunion. For more information or to register, contact Tak Todo, 15537 32nd Ave NE, Shoreline, WA 98155. Phone: (206) 362-8195

>> Register for the Minidoka reunion via email

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Individual supporters are the key to Densho's success. Your contributions allow us to capture compelling life stories and create enlightening educational materials to promote respect for the civil liberties of all Americans. Densho is now pleased to receive donations through, an easy and secure online site serving nonprofit organizations. Thank you for your support!

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