Densho eNews - September

From the Director: Tom Ikeda

I want your help. Last month we received great news: The National Park Service has awarded Densho a challenge grant of $112,500 to record 40 video oral histories of Japanese Americans who were incarcerated during World War II, and to share these stories from our award-winning website. This grant will support our travel to other communities so that we can conduct interviews to complement the 374 completed oral histories now on our website. You can help by nominating Japanese Americans who have compelling stories about their first-hand experiences during the war. Please see the Archive FAQ at to learn more about nominating someone to be interviewed.

This challenge grant is a "twofer," meaning for every $1 we contribute, NPS will contribute $2. Please consider helping us make this challenge by donating online or sending a check to Densho, 1416 S. Jackson Street, Seattle, WA 98144. Thank you!

>> Nominate someone for Densho to interview

From the Archive

Nikkei Women Tested: Daughter, Sister, Wife, and Mother behind Barbed Wire

"I was very angry and felt so responsible for my child."
   -- Aiko Herzig-Yoshinaga

Women's lives revolve around relationships, no matter what the time period. In 1942, Japanese American women's family roles were suddenly complicated by the forced eviction from their homes, and for some, the disappearance of fathers or husbands in the FBI arrests following the attack on Pearl Harbor. Densho is dedicating resources to record interviews with Nikkei women, whose stories are often less documented in oral history collections. Female narrators share their memories of fulfilling universal social and emotional duties: to be a good wife, mother, daughter, sister, is hard enough in wartime, they can attest. Imagine the additional strain of caring for family members in a primitive camp, with no personal freedom and an uncertain future.

>> Read more of this article

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Densho News

Last Chance to Buy Early Bird Tickets for Sushi & Sake Fest!

Don't miss your opportunity to buy lower-priced tickets to Densho's Sushi & Sake Fest, the most delicious event of the year. Sushi & Sake Fest takes place at the Seattle Westin Hotel on November 5. Individual tickets are now only $50. Early Bird tickets are selling fast. After the first 400 are sold, the price will be $75. A Sponsor Table for ten people with wait service can be purchased for $2,000. Come with friends and community members to sample delectable sushi, taste premium sake and beer, bid on enticing auction items, listen to live music, and more. This fun and festive event delivers both cultural and culinary delights.

>> Visit the Sushi & Sake Fest webpage
>> Buy tickets online

Talk by Roger Daniels: "Incarceration and Remembrance: A Historian's View"

Asian American history scholar Roger Daniels delivers a lecture on Saturday, September 19, 2:00pm, at the Tateuchi Story Theatre of the Wing Luke Asian Museum, located in Seattle's International District. Daniels will speak about how the Japanese American incarceration during World War II has been suppressed and remembered over the decades--from the war years, through the redress movement, and into the shifting agendas of today. Densho is co-presenting this event with the Wing Luke Asian Museum. Admission is free to the museum on the third Saturday of the month. No tickets are required for the lecture.

>> Learn more about this event

Public Presentations by Tom Ikeda

Executive Director Tom Ikeda will present two talks at the "Empires Gained, Empires Lost" History and Social Sciences Conference held by the Idaho Council for History Education at Boise High School, October 1-2. He will share excerpts from Densho's digital collection of primary sources at the session "Righting a Wrong: The Grassroots Effort of the Japanese American Community to Gain Redress for Their Incarceration." At a second session, Tom and Annette Rousseau, an education specialist with the National Park Service, will give a presentation on new curriculum units Densho developed for the Minidoka National Historic Site. Teachers will receive free copies of the multimedia lessons. Then, on October 4, Tom will speak at the Watsonville-Santa Cruz JACL luncheon. He looks forward to visiting with members of this group who helped Densho produce video interviews in their community last year.

>> Learn more about the Idaho Council for History Education Conference

>> Learn more about Densho's interviews in Watsonville

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New to the Archive

Look Inside the Archive: Norman Mineta on Redress Legislation

Last year Densho had the honor of interviewing Norman Mineta, former U.S. Congressman and Secretary of Transportation. Secretary Mineta described the part he played in advancing the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, the long-fought redress bill. The proposed legislation had stalled as the chairmanship of the House Judiciary Committee passed from one congressman to another, none of whom wanted to put the bill forward for a vote. Mineta kept the pressure on, and was delighted when Barney Frank was appointed committee chair. The redress legislation had other powerful allies in Congress, most notably Majority Leader Jim Wright, who sponsored the bill. Mineta tells Tom Ikeda about speaking on the floor of the House in support of the legislation before the tense but successful vote on Constitution Day, September 17, 1987. While redress advocates had to overcome more hurdles before President Ronald Reagan finally signed the bill in August 1988, Mineta recalls the House vote as "a momentous day."

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

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National News and Events

Yellow Terror: The Collections and Paintings of Roger Shimomura

The exhibition Yellow Terror will be on display from September 11, 2009, to April 18, 2010, at Seattle's Wing Luke Asian Museum. Throughout his career, Roger Shimomura has addressed -- through his art -- issues of his ethnic identity as a third-generation Japanese American. His paintings tackle socio-political issues of Asian America and invite audiences to question their own and society's perceptions about race and culture. This special exhibit will feature Shimomura's collection of ephemera as well as art works created by him that were inspired by the collection, along with recent discriminatory experiences faced by him and others. The collection encompasses the sheer volume of stereotypical images of Asian Pacific Islander Americans produced in many media: binders of World War II prints and postcards, nearly 700 salt and pepper shakers, and over 50 Halloween masks.

>> See invitation to the exhibition

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