Last year’s roundup “10 Documentaries About Japanese American Incarceration You Can Watch Online for Free Right Now” has been one of our most popular blog posts to date. Since its publication, Densho content director Brian Niiya has been scouring the internet for more online documentaries and now adds four more titles to that list.
Japanese Americans subject to forced removal seventy-five years ago suffered tragic losses of property, business assets, family heirlooms, and more. But there were some notable exceptions—cases where non-Japanese Americans stepped in to watch over farms and other property left behind, ensuring their evicted friends and neighbors would have something to return to at the war’s end.
Imagine being told you had a week to pack up all your belongings. You can bring all the bedding, clothing, and toiletries you can carry, but you better find a way to store or sell just about everything else. Homes, cars, boats? Bargain them off for fractions of their worth, or find a friend and hope they keep things safe. Your family business? Liquidate your inventory in a panic sale. Crops and farmland? Sell or lease your land, and forget about seeing the profits from that harvest you’ve been toiling for all year.
March 30, 2017 marks the 75th anniversary of the removal of Japanese Americans from Bainbridge Island, Washington. The community of almost 300 was the second in the country targeted for eviction—after Terminal Island, where residents were given a mere 48 hours to pack up and move further inland—and the first taken directly to a concentration camp. We offer a look back at this historic date with photos taken during the March 1942 removal.
If you’re into strong women who like to color outside the lines and aren’t afraid to take what’s theirs, then you came to the right place, my friend. Following the fierce Nisei activists we featured last Women’s History Month, this year we’re continuing the herstory lesson with some little-known Issei trailblazers who were slaying stereotypes, undermining the patriarchy, and proving immigrants #MakeAmericaGreatAgain since before you were born. Get ready, ‘cause it’s about to get hot in here.
2017 is shaping up to be a rough year for immigrants—which is saying a lot, considering that building a new life in a new country is, by definition, pretty damn hard. A lot of (digital) ink has already been spilt over the now infamous travel ban, the ICE raids, the wall, the sharp increase in immigrant detention, the proposal to deport undocumented children receiving federal assistance. The xenophobia and callous disregard for human life lurking, none too subtly, beneath these policies speaks for itself, and if you’re reading this you probably know all that anyway.
Sara Onitsuka is a 20-year-old junior at The College of Wooster. She’s also a yonsei whose grandparents and great grandparents were incarcerated during World War II. She never spoke to her grandparents directly about their WWII experiences at Poston, Granada, and Tule Lake concentration camps because she knew it was a sensitive subject and feared they wouldn’t want to talk to her about it. While she regrets not trying to broach the topic with them now that they have all passed away, she credits the stories of injustice she doesn’t know with motivating her activism.
In his latest foray into historical revisionism parading as art review, Edward Rothstein, writing for The Wall Street Journal, would like viewers of two exhibits on Japanese American WWII incarceration to focus less on the actual injustice of Executive Order 9066 and more on “the shameful yet comprehensible complexities” of the decision-making behind it.
Stories of resistance to World War II incarceration often include Gordon Hirabayashi, Minoru Yasui, Fred Korematsu, and Mitsuye Endo. These are the most famous Japanese Americans who resisted the racially based curfew and exclusion, and later the mass incarceration. Their resistance led to the U.S. Supreme Court, and they are all deserving of the recognition they’ve received. But did you know that beyond this group, there were a good number of others who willfully disobeyed the exclusion orders authored by EO9066?
Join us as we examine World War II-era Japanese American incarceration history and how it relates to American Muslim rights today. Presenters include Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, Densho director Tom Ikeda, CAIR-WA director Arsalan Bukhari, ACLU of Washington director, and spoken word poet Troy Osaki. The event will be emceed and moderated by Michele Storms, deputy director of ACLU of Washington.
- book review
- camp life
- current events
- Densho statement
- film review
- hidden histories
- In memoriam
- oral history
- Pacific Northwest
- photo essay
- popular culture