Densho eNews - July

From the Director: Tom Ikeda

We are changing Densho's mission statement and I want your feedback. Our new mission statement should emphasize Densho's growing education focus.

In the early years of Densho our primary goal was preserving life history interviews, historic photos, and documents about the Japanese American experience. But over the years we've gradually expanded into education, especially around the use and analysis of primary source materials.

While some of our project goals have evolved, the core themes of justice and civil liberties during wartime have always remained the same. This is a natural fit for us, as our materials describe the targeting and incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. With these factors in mind, I've drafted the following statement and would like to know what you think.

Densho's mission is to promote critical thinking and equal justice, especially during national distress, through the preservation and examination of the Japanese American experience during World War II.

Please give me your first impressions by emailing me at [email protected]. Also, read our 2009 Annual Report [see below] and let me know what you think. Your ideas and suggestions make Densho better. Thanks!

Archive Spotlight

New Photo Collection Donated

In addition to over 400 video oral histories, the Densho digital archive contains nearly 11,000 historical photos and documents available free of charge. The Magden collection of 75 photographs is a recent addition to the archive, donated by historian Ron Magden whose interview is included in the archive. Seen here is a photo taken in Tacoma, Washington, circa 1912, of a tanomoshi meeting. Tanomoshi were savings associations formed by Japanese Americans for mutual financial support when conventional banks would not lend to them. A small group of farmers or aspiring business owners would each give a fixed amount of money, perhaps $50, every month to set up a pooled fund. The money was then used to assist one member each month until every member of the group had received funds, perhaps $1,000. That sum would allow a person to purchase land or open a store. Tanomoshi were not legally binding, but depended on the honor system and a strong group ethic.

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

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Densho News

Nominate Someone to be Interviewed from the Bay Area

Densho will conduct twenty interviews in the next six months in the Bay Area thanks to the generous support of the Manzanar National Historic Site and the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program. We are looking for your help in identifying Japanese Americans to interview. Selection criteria are listed below. If you know of good interview subjects, please fill out and send in a nomination form.

Willingness and readiness to be interviewed
Some individuals are naturally outgoing, like to talk about their experiences, and do not mind saying things for the record. Others are quite reluctant. Experience shows that talking someone into being interviewed usually does not result in a successful interview.

Good health of the potential interviewee
The potential interviewee should be healthy enough to come to a studio and answer questions for an hour or more.

Experiences that are relatively less well documented
We are seeking to document less known aspects of the incarceration story, such as draft resistance, renunciation of citizenship, and Japanese residence. Densho also interviews Japanese Americans who were not in a detention facility and non-Japanese Americans who played roles in the incarceration process, such as guards, teachers, and administrators in camp.

Ability to reflect and give perspective on issues of civil rights, race relations, and social justice
Densho's materials are used in schools where teachers relate historical events to more recent events like the backlash against Arab Americans and Muslims after the September 11th attacks.

>> Fill out the interview nomination form

2009 Annual Report Available

This month Densho issued an annual report documenting our work and acknowledging our donors in 2009. This year's report doubled in length because we want to share in greater depth how we make use of our supporters' contributions. We tell you about Densho's interview collecting, education outreach, public programs, financial health, and plans to create new online resources for students and the general public. To order a printed copy of the 2009 annual report, send your name and postal address to [email protected]. You may also read the report online on our News page.

>> Read the Densho 2009 Annual Report online (5.20 MB)

Save the Date: Sushi & Sake Gala - Upgraded and Redesigned

You are invited to the Sushi & Sake Gala, a benefit event for Densho. Join us on Wednesday, November 10 (the evening before Veterans Day), at the Seattle Sheraton, 5:30-8:30, for an evening of fine food, drink, auction prizes -- and good company for a good cause! The gala starts with a sushi and sake tasting reception and a silent auction, followed by a seated dinner in the grand ballroom. Enjoy an evening of Japanese American culture and history to promote the educational mission of Densho.

Upgraded and Redesigned Format - We are excited to hold this year's event at the Seattle Sheraton. The newer, more spacious venue allows us to upgrade and redesign the event. The gala starts with 90 minutes of our famous sushi and sake reception with the city's best sushi chefs and a fantastic array of premium sake. A silent auction features premium items like travel, jewelry, and art for you to win. The reception is followed by a new feature -- a salmon dinner with dessert to round out the evening!

Tickets are available online for this unique dining experience for only $100 through September 30, 2010. After that, they jump to $150. Please be a table captain and talk with friends and family to put together a table for 10 before the end of September.

>> Learn more about the Sushi & Sake Gala

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National News and Events

Densho Leads Seminar at Japanese American National Museum

On Saturday, July 31, from 10am to noon, Densho Executive Director Tom Ikeda will conduct the seminar "Conducting Oral Histories for Educational Use Online" at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles. This seminar is for individuals who are interested in how oral history interviews are captured and adapted for educational purposes from a website. Oral histories offer a valuable way to preserve and document the memories of individuals. They are also useful for creating innovative educational materials. This seminar will demonstrate how digital technology is a powerful tool in conducting interviews and making them readily available over the internet. The seminar is free for registered attendees. Seating is limited, so RSVP early to [email protected].

Tom Ikeda will discuss how Densho selects an interviewee, prepares for each interview, and then conducts and video records the interview. He will explain the post-interview processing of a recorded interview through the web publishing of the complete video oral history with transcript. For examples, Tom will use interviews recently conducted in Los Angeles with Japanese American women. Tom will then demonstrate how interview materials are used in real-world teaching materials such as videos, websites, classroom activities, books, and multimedia presentations. Funding for the interviews and seminar was provided by a grant from the California State Library through the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program.

>> Register for the seminar
>> Learn more about the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program

All-Camp Lunch Social

A bento-lunch social gathering for Japanese Americans who were incarcerated during the war (and their friends and family) will be held from noon to 4:00 pm on Saturday, September 4, at the Nisei Veterans Committee Memorial Hall, 1212 South King Street, Seattle. This gathering will be a chance to renew old friendships and meet new people the day before the NVC Memorial Wall dedication. The lunch has seating for 250 people. Tickets are $20 per person and are going fast. Contact Takeko Todo at [email protected] to RSVP and pay for your ticket.

>> Purchase all-camp lunch tickets
>> Learn more about the Nisei Veterans Committee Memorial Wall

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