Densho eNews - March

From the Director: Tom Ikeda

This week I am watching with concern the congressional hearing that Representative Peter King (R-NY) is holding about the growing number of radical Muslims in the United States. There is nothing wrong about Representative King wanting to protect our country, but what I am concerned about are the prospects of fear and misinformation coming from these proceedings. I fear politicians are trying to win votes by playing the dangerous game of bashing Muslims and using scare tactics.

I say this because during WWII this happened with Japanese Americans. During WWII, the FBI and the Office of Naval Intelligence looked into rumor after rumor about sabotage and spying and came to the conclusion that a mass removal of Japanese Americans from the west coast was not needed. But the recommendations from the intelligence committee were not heeded because of the fear and ignorance caused by inflammatory statements from the media and by politicians holding investigative hearings. (See below for article by Professor Eric Muller.)

I, along with other Japanese Americans are not comfortable watching a public official playing the politics of division at the potential risk of hurting many people. Feel free to drop me a line at [email protected] and let me know what you think.

Featured Article

Representative King's Investigation and the Ghost of Hearings Past by Professor Eric Muller

This month's featured article comes from Professor Eric Muller of the University of North Carolina Law School who takes a look back at a congressional hearing investigating sabotage amongst Japanese Americans.

>> Read the article

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Archive Spotlight

Hiroshi Terry Terakawa: Wartime Experiences in Salt Lake City

Recently Densho conducted a series of interviews in partnership with the Japanese American Museum of San Jose. One of the gentlemen interviewed was Hiroshi Terry Terakawa, who was living in Salt Lake City, Utah. In this clip, he describes the protection he and other Japanese Americans received from the local Mormon police force.

>> View the interview excerpt
>> Register for the free Densho Digital Archive

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Densho News

Nominate a "Story Less Told" to be Preserved

Documenting the richness and diversity of the Japanese American experience is a priority at Densho. We have collected over 500 interviews, with stories from all 10 WRA camps, (e.g., Manzanar, Tule Lake, Poston, etc.), most of the assembly centers, and some of the Department of Justice camps, (e.g., Santa Fe, Bismarck, and Crystal City.) We plan on adding another 100 interviews in the next 15 months and we are especially interested in finding and preserving "stories less told" of the wartime Japanese American experience.

For example, looking for less common stories has recently led us to documenting fascinating stories of the Nisei in Japan during the war. There were thousands of Nisei who were living in Japan during the war. We've interviewed some who talked about being viewed with suspicion because of their American connections, with local police tracking their movements. And there were others we interviewed who talked about being enlisted into the Japanese military effort, for example, translators, a Kamikaze pilot, weapons factory workers, and an infantry soldier. We also heard from a Nisei who described his horror of being in Hiroshima during the atomic bomb blast. We are looking for more "stories less told" of the Japanese American experience during World War II. If you know of good interview subjects, please fill out and send in a nomination form.

>> Fill out the interview nomination form

National News and Events

Honouliuli Gulch Pilgrimage on Oahu

Last month Densho joined over 200 others for the Honouliuli Day of Remembrance Pilgrimage on February 27th. The pilgrimage visited something rarely seen, a largely undisturbed internment camp on Oahu that was used to hold Japanese immigrants and Japanese Americans during World War II. Over 100 features of the camp have been identified making the site a strong candidate for preservation. The National Park Service is currently soliciting comments about the future of this site.

>> For more information

2011 Minidoka Pilgrimage

Registration is now available for the 2011 Minidoka Pilgrimage on Thursday-Sunday, June 30 - July 3, 2011. The 2011 Pilgrimage includes participation in the symposium on Civil Liberties in Wartime at the College of Southern Idaho, a guided tour of the Minidoka Internment National Monument by National Park Service staff, and a BBQ dinner hosted by a local rancher with entertainment and speakers.

>> For more information

Grand Opening of the Heart Mountain Interpretive Learning Center

Registration is now being accepted for the three days of activities, including the Pilgrimage Dinner and All-Camp Get-Together, Dedication Ceremony, tours, mountain hike, and a Gala Banquet which are all part of the Grand Opening of the Heart Mountain Interpretive Learning Center Aug. 19, 20, and 21. Registration deadline is June 20.

>> For more information

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