Densho eNews - July

From the Director: Tom Ikeda

Densho's recent interview trips to Denver and Salt Lake City have uncovered a wealth of new stories and fascinating details. For example, Frank Konishi's story of his grandfather carrying iron sembei (rice cracker) makers while walking hundreds of miles from Mexico to settle in Colorado; or Jun Kurumada setting up an office with his own money in Salt Lake City to help West Coast Japanese Americans find housing and jobs during the war. I look forward to sharing these and other stories in presentations I am making in July at the Denver conference hosted by the Japanese American National Museum and the Salt Lake City JACL national convention. See "Densho Presents in Denver and Salt Lake City" below for more details.

The recent trips reinforce Densho's efforts to expand our oral history collecting to more cities. As we begin planning trips for next year, we find it greatly enhances the process to partner with local organizations. Community organizations know the good candidates for interviewing in their location, and can share the expenses of filming interviews by applying for regional grants. Please contact me at [email protected] if your organization is interested in working with Densho. Even if you are not affiliated with an organization, you can help by nominating a potential interviewee. All you need to do is fill out a simple form. See "Call for National Interviewee Nominations" for more details.

This month we are making public the Densho staff blog, created to give a more personal, informal glimpse into the day-to-day workings at Densho. Individual staff members share their experiences from interview trips, meetings and conferences with comments and photos (and soon, videos.) It also gives our viewers an opportunity to comment on our activities. See "Densho Staff Blog" for more details.

From the Archive

From Island to Mainland: Detainees of Hawaii

"I think the project of taking all of the Japs out of Oahu and putting them in a concentration camp on some other island in the group ought to be pressed vigorously."
   -- Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox

The incoherent justification for rounding up and detaining Japanese Americans during World War II can clearly be seen in one striking comparison: In Hawaii, the territory attacked by the Japanese enemy where espionage might reasonably be suspected, people of Japanese ancestry formed more than 35% of the population. By war's end barely 1% were detained. On the mainland, less vulnerable to attack, Japanese Americans represented roughly 1% of the population. Within months, every man, woman, and child of Japanese heritage was forced from the West Coast and imprisoned. If the generals in charge had been exchanged, a dark blot on American history might have been averted. In command of the West Coast, General John DeWitt told Congress, "A Jap's a Jap...There is no way to determine their loyalty." In Hawaii, General Delos Emmons told the public, "We must remember that this is America, and we must do things the American Way. We must distinguish between loyalty and disloyalty among our people."

>> Read more of this article

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Densho News

Call for National Interviewee Nominations

Nominate a friend or family member to become part of the award-winning Densho Digital Archive of video oral histories. Their life stories about the Japanese American incarceration will be preserved for the education of future generations. Our interview team is traveling around the country to gather oral histories from multiple perspectives that will paint a complete picture of the World War II mass detention and the postwar period of redress and healing.

You may submit nomination forms by mail (1416 S. Jackson St., Seattle, WA 98144), fax (206-320-0098), or email ([email protected]).

>> Download the interviewee selection criteria
>> Download the interviewee nomination form

Densho Presents in Denver and Salt Lake City

Tom Ikeda, Executive Director of Densho, will share video interviews from recent trips to Denver and Salt Lake City in two presentations scheduled for July. He will present on Friday, July 4, from 3 to 5 p.m. in Denver at the national conference hosted by the Japanese American National Museum. In a multimedia presentation, Tom will show video clips about Colorado's Japanese American community and share recently acquired photographs from the Amache concentration camp. Tom's second presentation will be the morning of Friday, July 18, at the national convention of the Japanese American Citizens League in Salt Lake City. He will show video clips from interviews with members of the Salt Lake City Japanese American community produced in partnership with the Topaz Museum.

>> Visit the Denver conference website
>> Visit the Salt Lake City conference website

Densho Staff Blog

Earlier this year we created a blog to allow Densho staff members to communicate during times of heavy travel. We think readers of the eNews might like to take a behind-the-scenes look at Densho. In the blog we write about the people we interview, friends and colleagues we meet, and assorted day-to-day activities and thoughts about Densho's work and related news. We like to hear from our readers. Please visit the blog and feel free to post a comment.

>> Visit the Densho blog

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