Densho eNews - December

From the Director: Tom Ikeda

The coming months, and possibly years, will be difficult for nonprofit organizations as we confront the global financial recession. Paradoxically, demand will rise for the social and educational services that nonprofits provide during the same period when revenue from donations and grants will decline. In these difficult times some organizations will fail, but others will succeed because they are responsive, efficient, and innovative. I believe Densho's investment in a savvy, dedicated professional staff (average tenure over 7 years) and cost-saving internet technology gives us the opportunity to thrive, even in these challenging times.

But to weather the economic storm, we need the support of individual contributions. One quarter of our $500,000 operating budget comes from modest individual donations, with most ranging from $50-$250. If everyone who received this eNews donated $25, we would meet our financial goals for the year. Please include Densho in your year-end giving by donating online. You can help us achieve our mission to preserve and share the stories of the Japanese American community for the benefit of everyone's civil liberties.

From the Archive

Justice Delayed Is Justice Denied: The Mitsuye Endo Supreme Court Case

"The government grossly violated the law of habeas corpus."
   -- William Marutani

One week before Christmas in 1944, a young woman named Mitsuye Endo, living behind barbed wire at the Topaz, Utah, War Relocation Authority camp, learned that she had won her Supreme Court challenge to her imprisonment. After waiting two years for her appeal to be heard, she was declared a loyal citizen, and as such, must be freed to live where she pleased. She won not only her own freedom but that of all other designated loyal Japanese Americans held in the prison camps since spring of 1942.

>> Read more of this article

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Densho News

Sushi + Sake = Success

Densho supporters and sushi lovers united the evening after election day for a celebration of Japanese food and culture. Attracting nearly 1200 people, the 7th annual Sushi & Sake Fest raised over $75,000 in support of Densho's educational programs. If you attended the event and want to find yourself in the crowd, or if you just want to see the fun, take a look at the event photos (copyright K's photography). Densho is deeply grateful to the Sushi & Sake Fest Committee, Densho staff, vendors, donors, sponsors, and army of volunteers. Reviews say this was the best Sushi & Sake Fest yet. But stay tuned -- we may outdo ourselves next year.

>> See photos of Sushi & Sake Fest

Free Teacher Training: Social Studies CBA Curricula

We invite interested teachers to test curriculum produced by Densho, an award-winning leader in the field of oral history, while they gain expertise in working with oral histories in the classroom. Densho is holding a teacher training workshop on Saturday, January 10, at our Seattle office. We will present our innovative lessons that include primary sources drawn from Densho's Digital Archive of interviews, photos, and documents. The workshop will introduce new social studies units for elementary, middle, and high school that are aligned with Washington State Classroom Based Assessments (CBAs). The free workshop runs from 10am to 4pm; light refreshments will be served. Densho welcomes educators' comments about our lessons, free and available online.

>> Request more information or register for the workshop
>> Take the survey

Densho Poll: Japanese American Artists

Visual artists of Japanese descent reached prominence before, during, and after the trauma of the wartime detention. They have transmitted and transformed the artistic influence of Japan into a fully American vernacular. Let us know whose artistic contribution you value most and why. We will share your thoughts next month.

We've tallied the winners of the November poll of most respected Japanese American political leaders: first, Sen. Daniel Inouye of Hawaii; second, Sec. Norman Mineta of California; and third, Sen. "Spark" Matsunaga of Hawaii. All three are highly respected for their instrumental work in gaining redress. Several readers pointed out we forgot to include in the poll Sen. S.I. Hayakawa of California. Thank you for voting!

>> Take the survey

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New to the Archive

Look Inside the Archive: New Photo Collections from Amache

While conducting interviews in Denver last summer, Executive Director Tom Ikeda was told about never-published photos of the Amache (Granada) incarceration camp in Colorado. Bob Fuchigami kindly lent Densho his stored collection of wartime photos for us to scan into the Digital Archive. The most striking were taken by George Ochikubo, from Portland, Oregon. He took dramatic photographs of life at Amache using a 4x5 speed graphic camera. Other photos of the camp now in the archive are from the James G. Lindley and Catherine Lundy collections. We invite people to view these compelling images of the crowded detention facility. Please send us any identifying information about individuals in the photos so that we can add accurate captions. You may register online to view the free Densho Digital Archive.

>> See the featured sample from the Densho Digital Archive
>> Register for the free Densho Digital Archive

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Regional Events

Book Event: Mine Okubo -- Following Her Own Road

Asian American studies scholar Greg Robinson will speak in Seattle on December 5 about Mine Okubo -- Following Her Own Road, a new book about the pioneering Nisei artist, co-edited with Elena Tajima Creef. The reading will be held at 7:30pm at the Elliott Bay Book Company. Okubo's landmark Citizen 13660 (1946) is the first and perhaps best-known autobiography of the wartime confinement experience. The book is richly illustrated with Okubo's artwork and contains essays that illuminate the importance of her contributions to American arts and letters.

>> Read about the book

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Support Densho

[ Donate Now! ]

"Our union can be perfected."

"That's the true genius of America. That America can change. Our union can be perfected. What we have already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow." We at Densho were inspired by those words, spoken by our new president Barack Obama upon winning the election. They echo sentiments expressed by former detainee Grayce Uyehara, whose interview is preserved in Densho's archive: "This world and this country are still full of problems. I hope that from our experience of redress Japanese Americans can come together and have an impact in making America a much better place."

Please help Densho capture the stories of other Nisei elders, so that we can teach students around the country the vital importance of working toward justice for all. Make a gift that matters. Please contribute today.

>> How can I donate to Densho?
>> I want to donate to Densho online

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