This past weekend, we joined our friends at Tsuru for Solidarity for a Day of Remembrance caravan from the Puyallup Fairgrounds to Tacoma’s Northwest Detention Center. About 60 cars bearing signs, tsuru, and protest artwork showed up to remember Japanese American WWII incarceration, and demand freedom and justice for immigrants who are unjustly detained today.
In recent decades, many new books on the wartime experience of Japanese Americans have filled the shelves of bookstores and libraries. Of this ever-growing new crop of titles, many are geared specifically towards Young Adult (YA) readers. Here, Densho Content Director Brian Niiya highlights some classics and more recent arrivals that he thinks are worth spending some time with.
We are thrilled to introduce you to Lauren Iida and Molly Murakami, the talented artists who will be joining Densho for our third annual artist residency program. Both Lauren and Molly have personal connections to WWII incarceration, and have found unique ways to explore those connections through artistic mediums.
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. We’ll be sharing these actions on our social media pages so be sure to follow along @DenshoProject!
Food is more than just sustenance. It’s a vehicle for culture, a way to delight in the world around us, engage our senses, connect with other people. It’s how we tell someone we love them. It’s the lessons we pass down between generations—and the ones we don’t. This episode is about food in Japanese American concentration camps. It’s about mutton, so much mutton…but it’s also about disrupted traditions, about memory, about politics, and about subtle—and not so subtle—acts of resistance.
Once a taboo topic, the impacts of WWII incarceration on Japanese Americans who lived through it are well-documented and widely acknowledged today. Donna K. Nagata, a psychology professor at the University of Michigan and the daughter of camp survivors, started studying these impacts in the early 1990s, focusing first on the intergenerational effects felt by the Sansei and then expanding to look at the lived experiences of Nisei like her parents. Her research has provided vital insight into the lasting legacy of WWII incarceration — and how it continues to reverberate in the Japanese American community decades later.
1921 likely marked the peak year of Nisei births in the continental US. So with the arrival of 2021, there are a whole host of Nisei artists, activists, performers, civil servants, and more born whose 100th birthdays are well worth commemorating. We’re kicking off the new year with a look back at some of these Nisei notables.
In this episode, we talk about everything you never wanted to know about latrines in WWII Japanese American concentration camps. Our research may have gone down the toilet, but we promise this story isn’t all about poop. We’ll look at how incarcerees adapted to extremely adverse conditions and the unique challenges women incarcerees faced, including sexual violence and harassment.
Pictures allow us to peer into the past, but those images are often far more complicated than what initially meets the eye. Photographs (and the people who took them) portrayed Japanese Americans as menacing threats, as hapless victims, as model Americans. But there were also covert acts of resistance playing out on both sides of the camera. In this episode, we talk about the visual record of WWII incarceration and the stories that unfolded behind the lens. About what you see — and what you don’t.
On December 27, 1969, an intergenerational group of Issei, Nisei, Sansei, and a few Yonsei made the 220-mile trek from Los Angeles to Manzanar. It was the first organized pilgrimage to one of the former concentration camps where Japanese Americans were incarcerated during WWII. But it wouldn’t be the last. That first Manzanar Pilgrimage sparked a long-standing tradition that spread to other WWII incarceration sites and helped start a campaign to preserve Manzanar as a site of national historical significance.
- after camp
- book review
- camp life
- current events
- Densho statement
- film review
- guest post
- hidden histories
- In memoriam
- open letter
- oral history
- Pacific Northwest
- photo essay
- popular culture