Densho eNews - August

From the Director: Tom Ikeda

Sixteen years ago Densho started the exciting journey of capturing and sharing the diverse stories of Japanese Americans during World War II. Early on, we spent a lot of time thinking about the hundreds of steps required to go from doing an interview to making it available on the web. It was an interesting puzzle with challenges like,

"How do we enhance the healing nature of the interviews?"

"How can we create an efficient process to keep costs low?"

"How do we design a website so that millions of people can find the interview they want and view it instantly?"

"What questions do we ask and information do we collect so that our interviews are valuable to scholars a hundred years from now?"

"What technological steps do we take to insure that the interviews are accessible for years and generations to come?"

"How do we find the stories less told and recruit these people to be interviewed?"

After answering these questions and many more, we interviewed hundreds of Japanese Americans across the country and created the Densho Archives which currently has 680 interviews (1,363 hours) available for viewing. It is a collection of diverse voices that is a tribute and lasting legacy to the individuals who sacrificed so much during World War II. The collection is also a resource to increase the knowledgebase of what happened to Japanese Americans.

Deep thanks to the hundreds of you who made donations to Densho over the last month with our annual report mailing. Contact me at [email protected] with a mailing address if you would like an annual report mailed to you or you can download a copy.

Archive Spotlight

Elsa Kudo: Mother's Hardships on the Journey from Peru

Elsa Kudo was born in Canete, Peru, where her parents ran a successful store. During World War II, her father was arrested, deported to the U.S., and held at the Crystal City internment camp, Texas. In this clip, Elsa, a child at the time, describes her mother's difficulties in taking her children alone to reunite with Elsa's father in Callao, Peru, before making the trip as a family to the United States. Elsa Kudo'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

Stories Less Told NPS project completed

This month we complete a huge project to add 140 video interviews to the Densho Digital Archive. We were fortunate (1) to be awarded a $210,000 National Park Service Japanese American Confinement Sites challenge grant to collect and share the stories of the Japanese American experience during World War II, and (2) to have generous supporters donate over $110,000 to provide the challenge match to make this project happen. Interviews were collected from California, Washington, Hawai'i, Illinois, Minnesota, and the District of Columbia. Kudos to the Densho interview team for a big job well done!

Friends of Manzanar Visual History Project

This month Densho completes a partnership with the Friends of Manzanar to conduct and web-host 16 video interviews of Japanese Americans incarcerated at Manzanar. These interviews were conducted by journalist Martha Nakagawa and writer/filmmaker Sharon Yamato. The interviews were then transcribed and processed for web hosting by the Densho production team led by Dana Hoshide.

Community News and Events

Japanese Heritage Sites on the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest

Join a couple of special tours to hike and discover the uncovered heritage of early Japanese American pioneers. Participants will explore the legacy, historic landscape and experience of Japanese pioneers whose labor was instrumental in the development of the American West. This project is made possible through a partnership between the Wing Luke Museum and USDA Forest Service. The Monte Cristo mining camp hike is on August 24-25, 2012. The Iron Goat trail hike is on September 8, 2012.

>> For more information

to top