Densho eNews - March

From the Director: Tom Ikeda

Over the years I've enjoyed discussing with students what happened to Japanese Americans during World War II. One of the occasional questions I get asked is, "Why don't you use the term 'internment camp' when you talk about Manzanar, Minidoka, or the other WRA camps?" I like this question because it gives me the opportunity to explain how the term "internment" is often misused, as it should refer specifically to the legally permissible detention of enemy aliens during the war -- something that happened to over 5,000 Japanese immigrants in the days and weeks after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. For the ten WRA camps that held over 110,000 Japanese Americans, two-thirds U.S. citizens, I use the term "concentration camps," a term that President Roosevelt used during World War II, and avoid the euphemism of "relocation centers," which was the official government term. Read the "From the Blog: Terminology Redux" below for a more detailed explanation about Densho's terminology.

I know many people do not use "concentration camp" in this context. Let me know what you think about using "concentration camp" when talking about a WRA camp. What term would you use? I am interested in hearing what you think. You can email me at [email protected].

>> Read Densho's A Note on Terminology
>> NPR: Euphemisms, Concentration Camps And The Japanese Internment

From the Blog

Terminology Redux

This blog post from Densho's Content Director Brian Niiya discusses Densho's recent terminology change from "incarceration camp" to "concentration camp" when referring to one of the ten WRA camps.

>> Read Densho's blog

to top

Archive Spotlight

Archie Miyatake: Father Avoids Photography Restriction in Camp

Toyo Miyatake, well-known Issei photographer, received permission to take photographs at the Manzanar concentration camp, California. However, because of War Relocation Authority rules, Toyo was allowed to set up the shot, but then only a white photographer could actually take the picture. In this clip, Toyo's son Archie tells the story of how his father managed to get around this restriction. Archie Miyatake's full interview is available in the Densho Digital Archive.

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

to top

Densho News

Volunteer Handyman or Handywoman

Densho is in need of a handyman or handywoman to help us with small building maintenance issues. We would greatly appreciate having someone who could volunteer about 2-4 hours each month doing jobs like changing light bulbs that require a tall ladder, washing windows, minor groundskeeping and small repairs. If you are interested, please contact Ruth Huffman: [email protected] or (206) 320-0095.

to top