2021 is Densho’s 25th anniversary! Join us throughout the year as we celebrate our roots and find innovative ways to shepherd our community’s history into the future.
Not Yo’ Butterfly Book Event
Thursday, July 22, 6:00pm
Not Yo’ Butterfly is the intimate and unflinching life story of Nobuko Miyamoto—artist, activist, and mother. Beginning with the harrowing early years of her life as a Japanese American child navigating a fearful west coast during World War II, Miyamoto leads readers into the landscapes that defined the experiences of twentieth-century America and also foregrounds the struggles of people of color who reclaimed their histories, identities, and power through activism and art.
Join author Nobuko Miyamoto for a virtual book event on July 22 with Elliott Bay and Seattle Public Library, cosponsored by Densho and the Japanese American Citizens League Seattle Chapter. The event will feature speakers Vincent Schleitwiler, Anida Yoeu Ali, Michelle Habell-Pallan, Asiyah Ayubbi, and Linda M. Ando.
Sites of Shame Virtual Launch
Wednesday, July 28, 12-1PM PDT
Join us on July 28 for a Sites of Shame virtual launch event! This innovative new mapping tool from Densho gives users an unprecedented view of the landscapes and dislocations of WWII incarceration. Sites of Shame combines the latest scholarship on WWII incarceration history, data gathered by the US government during WWII, and original research by the Densho team, the new platform maps out nearly 100 sites where Japanese Americans were detained and illustrates the population flows into and out of those sites.
The site’s co-creators, Densho’s Deputy Director Geoff Froh and Content Director Brian Niiya, will walk you through the site’s virtual features and give you insider tips for exploring your own family histories. They will also talk about the research and design process, and will leave plenty of time for questions from the audience! The event will be moderated by Densho’s Executive Director Tom Ikeda.
Black + Japanese American Reparations Book Club
January – July 2021
More Info & RSVP
Join the USC Shinso Ito Center for Japanese Religions and Culture for Black + Japanese American Reparations, a special virtual events series and book club. Many Black reparations advocates have pointed directly to the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 granting reparations to Japanese Americans interned during World War II as a precedent that can inform the case for restorative justice for African Americans. Indeed, as Ta-Nehisi Coates has argued, reparations is more than a recompense of past injustices, but a national reckoning “that would lead to spiritual renewal.” Co-hosted by Densho, Japanese American National Museum, and Tsuru for Solidarity. The reparations-themed book club which meets every third Tuesday from January to July at 4pm PST.
“Truth is not always pretty”: A Radical History and Zine Making Workshop
Thursday, August 19, 11am-1pm
High school students (ages 14-18) are invited to join Densho for a hands-on history and zine-making workshop on August 19th, 11am-1pm. Drawing upon the lessons handed down to us from our activist elders, we’ll explore the archives of GIDRA, a radical newsletter that served as the voice of the Asian American movement from 1969-74. Using Gidra’s mission statement—“Truth is not always pretty, not in this world”— as a guiding force, we’ll be writing and making art, building community, and reflecting on the power of art and activism to confront the ugly realities of today.
This event is free and will be held in person at the Densho office in Seattle. Masks are required, vaccinations encouraged. Food and beverages will be provided. Space is extremely limited.
Densho Anniversary Gala: 25 Years of Story
Saturday, October 23rd
2021 is Densho’s 25th anniversary! Save the date for Saturday, October 23rd as we celebrate our roots and find new ways to shepherd our community’s history into the future. Join us for an evening of storytelling, art, music, and community.
This event will be virtual so that our supporters from across the country and world can participate. Stay tuned for program announcements and exciting opportunities to get involved.
Untold Stories of Nikkei New York
Thursday, January 21, 2021
Watch Webinar Recording
In his new book, “The Unsung Great: Stories of Extraordinary Japanese Americans,” scholar and journalist Greg Robinson showcases the lives and achievements of relatively unknown but remarkable people in Nikkei history. Join us for a book launch event on January 21 where Robinson will explore the unknown aspects of the diverse and artistically vibrant Nikkei community in prewar and wartime New York. He will then be joined by artists Tomie Arai and Sheila Hamanaka in a conversation moderated by Brian Niiya, Densho Content Director.
Copies of the book are available for purchase at Elliott Bay Book Company: bit.ly/UnsungGreat
Co-presented by Densho, Japanese American Association, NYC DOR Committee, JACL-NY, University of Washington Press, and Elliott Bay Book Company.
Week of Action and Remembrance
This year we mark the anniversary of Executive Order 9066 with a full week of action and remembrance. Join us each day between February 14th and 21st as we dig deeper into the past and find new ways to take action towards justice and equity today.
Embrace: Show Japanese American history orgs some love!
Learn: Discover and share resources for the classroom
Bridge: Build deeper understanding and connection through community
Dig Deeper: Explore Densho resources to learn more about our history
Connect: Understand how Japanese American WWII Incarceration is part of broader systems of oppression
Remember: Observe the anniversary of EO 9066
Saturday & Sunday, 2/20-21
Take Action: Let this history inform your solidarity with other targeted groups
Why the Lessons of the WWII Incarceration Still Matter Today: A Conversation with Dale Minami
Tuesday, February 16 at 1PM PDT
Watch Webinar Recording
What Constitutional rights were promised to Japanese Americans during World War II? Why weren’t these promises kept and protected? What forces weaken the protections of the Constitution? What can you do when you see the abuse of power? What are the remedies when we fail to uphold the Constitution?
Join Dale Minami, best known for heading the coram nobis legal team that overturned the conviction of Fred Korematsu, and Tom Ikeda, Densho’s founding Executive Director, for a discussion framed by these questions. Minami and Ikeda will connect the lessons of the WWII Japanese American incarceration with the events of today.
Added Webinar Bonus – After you register, you will be given a link to a free viewing of the documentary, ALTERNATIVE FACTS: The Lies of Executive Order 9066, a one-hour documentary about the false information and political influences that led to the World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans.
Racism, Resilience, and Resistance: Executive Order 9066
Thursday, February 18 at 12PM PDT
Join Densho Executive Director Tom Ikeda for “Racism, Resilience, and Resistance: Executive Order 9066 in 2021” from 12-1:30pm PDT. This panel discussion hosted by the Seattle College District will explore the community impact of Japanese American imprisonment during World War II, its echoes today, and contemporary anti-xenophobic activism. Panelists include Tom Ikeda, Densho, Paul Kurose, North Seattle College, Hamdi Mohamed, King County Office of Equity & Social Justice, Anna Hasegawa.
Xenophobia: From Japanese American Incarceration to Immigrant Detention Today
Thursday, February 18 at 5PM PDT
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This digital teach-in will deepen your understanding of American xenophobia and racism, using Japanese American WWII incarceration and the current crisis of immigrant detention as case studies. This interactive learning experience is designed for teachers, high school or college students, community leaders, and individuals simply looking to expand their knowledge and deepen their commitment to action. The teach-in will use a combination of short films and oral histories, as well as creative learning routines and dialogue. Educators will come away with activities and curriculum that can be directly applied to the classroom; professional development credit is available through OSPI.
The Xenophobia teach-in is presented by Densho and the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Washington, and made possible through funding from the Kip Tokuda Memorial Civil Liberties Public Education Program.
Tsuru for Solidarity Day of Remembrance Car Caravan
Sunday, February 21 at 1PM PDT
See photos from the day here
Join Tsuru for Solidarity, La Resistencia, the Minidoka Pilgrimage Planning Committee, Seattle JACL, and Puyallup Valley JACL for a car caravan from the Puyallup Fairgrounds to Northwest Detention Center, February 21st starting at 1:00pm.
The Day of Remembrance commemorates the anniversary of Executive Order 9066, which led to the incarceration of over 125,000 Japanese Americans during WWII. In 1978, Seattle organizers held the first Day of Remembrance in the country, leading a caravan from Seattle to the Puyallup Fairgrounds, where 7,400 Japanese Americans were imprisoned in 1942. Join us as we return to Puyallup to remember the past, then take the caravan to Tacoma to demand freedom and justice for immigrants imprisoned at NWDC today.
Puyallup image courtesy of MOHAI 1986.5.6681.3. Artwork by Erin Shigaki and Eugene Tagawa.
TAM Teach: Missives from Minidoka
Thursday, March 11, 4-6PM PDT
Densho has teamed up with the Tacoma Art Museum (TAM) to offer a workshop for K-12 teachers. We’ll explore the works of Kenjiro Nomura, an artist who was incarcerated at the Minidoka concentration camp during World War II, and consider how art sheds light on our history and present. You’ll come away from the workshop with discussion prompts, Thinking Routines, and creative practices to help you teach about the WWII incarceration of Japanese Americans.
Nisei Radicals: A Book Launch and Conversation with Diane Fujino and Mitsuye Yamada
Thursday, March 25, 6:00PM PST
Watch the recording
In her new book, Nisei Radicals: The Feminist Poetics and Transformative Ministry of Mitsuye Yamada and Michael Yasutake, Diane Fujino reveals a radical lineage of Japanese American activism through the lives of feminist poet, Mitsuye Yamada and her brother, Michael Yasutake.
In honor of women’s history month, we welcome Diane Fujino to discuss her book and the role that Mituye Yamada’s political activism played in building the Asian American and US Third World women’s movements and support for political prisoners.
After presenting her book, Fujino will be joined by Yamada for a discussion about the ways her poetry intertwines with her personal life, while also illuminating Japanese American women’s lives, and about the importance of speaking out against racism.
Presented by Densho with Elliott Bay Book Company, University of Washington Press. Funding for this event was provided, in part, by City of Seattle Office of Arts & Culture.
Unexpected Sites of WWII Incarceration
Wednesday, April 21, 12:00 PM PDT
Many of us are familiar with the ten major concentration camps where Japanese Americans were incarcerated during WWII, and maybe even some of the dozens of other Department of Justice-run camps that cropped up across the country. But little is known about the everyday buildings that were repurposed to serve as sites of incarceration.
Join us as we travel back to a private mansion in Chicago, a tuberculosis sanitarium, upscale hotels in North Carolina, and other sites where Japanese American confinement was hidden in plain sight. Scholars Takako Day, Courtney Sato, and Heidi Kim will present original research and join Densho content director Brian Niiya in conversation.
Facing the Mountain: Virtual Book Launch Event
Tuesday, May 11, 5:00PM PDT
Watch event recording
Join Densho on May 11 for the official book launch of Facing the Mountain, a new book about WWII Japanese American incarceration and the 442nd RCT by Daniel James Brown, NY Times bestselling author of The Boys in the Boat. The virtual event will feature a conversation between Brown and Densho Executive Director Tom Ikeda, who has conducted oral histories with many of the men highlighted in the book. Facing the Mountain grew out of conversations Brown had with Ikeda in 2015.
Facing the Mountain is an unforgettable chronicle of war-time America and the battlefields of Europe. Based on Brown’s extensive interviews with the families of the protagonists as well as deep archival research, it portrays the kaleidoscopic journey of four Japanese American families and their sons. While some fought on battlefields as members of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, others fought to defend the constitutional rights of a community. Regardless of where their battles played out, these individuals were exemplifying American patriotism under extreme duress by striving, resisting, standing on principle, and enduring.
Xenophobia: From Japanese American Incarceration to Immigrant Detention Today
Monday, May 24, 4:00PM PDT
This APA Heritage Month, we invite you to deepen your understanding of American xenophobia and racism, using Japanese American WWII incarceration and the current crisis of immigrant detention as case studies. This interactive learning experience is designed for the general public, including community members, teachers, students, life-long learners, and anyone who is looking to expand their knowledge and deepen their commitment to action.
The teach-in is free and open to the public. It will use a combination of short films and oral histories, as well as creative learning routines and dialogue. It is presented by Densho whose mission is to preserve and share history of the WWII incarceration of Japanese Americans to promote justice and equity today.
We Hereby Refuse Book Event
Monday, June 14, 6:00PM PDT
“We Hereby Refuse” is a new graphic novel from authors Frank Abe and Tamiko Nimura, with illustrations by Ross Ishikawa and Matt Sasaki. Japanese Americans complied when evicted from their homes in World War II — but many refused to submit to imprisonment in American concentration camps without a fight. Based upon painstaking research, “We Hereby Refuse” presents an original vision of America’s past with disturbing links to the American present.
Join Elliott Bay Book Company, The Seattle Public Library Foundation, Wing Luke Museum, and Densho on June 14 for a book event featuring Frank Abe, Tamiko Nimura, and Ross Ishikawa in conversation with Densho’s Tom Ikeda.
The History of Anti-Asian Hatred and the WWII Japanese-American Incarceration
Tuesday, June 22, 12:00pm PDT
Join Densho Executive Director Tom Ikeda on June 22 with the Holocaust Center for Humanity as he shares a brief history of anti-Asian hate in the US as well as his family’s experiences during WWII, when his parents and grandparents were incarcerated in Minidoka and why this history is important to improving equity today.