About Densho

Densho: Preserving Stories of the Past for Generations of Tomorrow

Our mission: To preserve and share history of the WWII incarceration of Japanese Americans to promote equity and justice today.

Densho documents the testimonies of Japanese Americans who were unjustly incarcerated during World War II before their memories are extinguished. We offer these irreplaceable firsthand accounts, coupled with historical images and teacher resources, to explore principles of democracy, and promote equal justice for all.

Densho is a Japanese term meaning “to pass on to the next generation,” or to leave a legacy. The legacy we offer is an American story with ongoing relevance: during World War II, the United States government incarcerated innocent people solely because of their ancestry.

Densho is a nonprofit organization started in 1996, with the initial goal of documenting oral histories from Japanese Americans who were incarcerated during World War II. This evolved into a mission to educate, preserve, collaborate and inspire action for equity. Densho uses digital technology to preserve and make accessible primary source materials on the World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans. We present these materials and related resources for their historic value and as a means of exploring issues of democracy, intolerance, wartime hysteria, civil rights and the responsibilities of citizenship in our increasingly global society.

2019 Annual Report


+ Japanese American National Museum Founders’ Award

+ Association of King County Historical Organizations Charles Payton Award for Cultural Advocacy

+ City of Seattle Mayor’s Arts Award for Cultural Preservation

+ Stetson Kennedy Vox Populi Award of the Oral History Association

+ Society of American Archivists Hamer-Kegan Award

+ American Library Association Online History Award

+ Association of King County Historical Organizations Long Term Project Award

+ Washington State Historical Society David Douglas Award

+ Humanities Washington Award

+ Japanese American Citizens League Biennium Award

+ Japanese Community Services of Seattle Award

+ Nisei Veterans Committee of Seattle Commanders Award

+ NPower Innovation Award

Annual Report

+ 2018 Annual Report

+ 2017 Annual Report

+ 2016 Annual Report

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  • Calling all middle school and high school students! This year’s @MinoruYasui Student Contest is on the topic of the… https://t.co/LU7ejSmfoB
  • The latrines in WWII Japanese American concentration camps were not only inconvenient—they lacked privacy and were… https://t.co/WAbgx4gaTC
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  • In this episode of #CampuPodcast, we talk about everything you never wanted to know about latrines in WWII Japanese… https://t.co/TZrtDQTzRf
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