The Japanese American Citizens League is considering a resolution that proponents say would help heal a decades-old wound. The conflict stems from the disastrous “loyalty questionnaire” administered by the US Government to Nikkei citizens and immigrants being held in WWII concentration camps. Based on their responses to two questions, some 12,000 incarcerees were further penalized by the US Government and ostracized by members of their community. The resolution contends that “this stigma of ‘disloyalty’ and being branded as ‘no-no’s’ persists to the present day,” and that a formal apology from the JACL would help the community heal.
Two new documentaries break the mold of traditional cinematic takes on the World War II incarceration story. Densho Content Director Brian Niiya reviews the films—The Ito Sisters and Masters of Modern Design—and explains why you really ought to make time to watch them while they’re still available for free online viewing.
The Trump Administration’s plan to use Fort Sill, Oklahoma as a concentration camp for immigrant and refugee-seeking children is just the latest in a long legacy of violent incarceration and family separation at that site.
This month, Densho Content Director Brian Niiya and Japanese American National Museum Collections Manager Kristen Hayashi will present two public lectures in California focusing on the experiences of Japanese Americans who returned there after being released from WWII incarceration. Join them on June 15 @ 2pm at the Gardena Valley Japanese Cultural Institute or June 29 @ 2pm at the Japanese American National Museum. Here, Brian writes about the importance of returning to this under-documented moment in Japanese American history.
The Immigration Act of 1924 created a national origins quota for the first time in U.S. history, and a complete and total ban on Japanese immigration. Building on a half-century of anti-Asian laws and policies, the bill enacted what we might today call a “Japanese Ban.” Almost 100 years later, as lawmakers continue to criminalize and exclude non-white, working-class immigrants, the history behind this early immigration ban should be both a warning and a call to action.
To celebrate what would have been Yuri Kochiyama‘s 98th birthday, we asked next-gen Nikkei artists and activists to share what they’ve learned from Yuri’s revolutionary life — and how they carry on her legacy of building bridges and interrupting injustice in their own lives. Here’s what they had to say about what #YuriTaughtMe.
This year’s Densho Dinner is on November 2, 2019 and we’re encouraging friends and supporters from all over the country to make a trip out of it! With Satsuki Ina as our keynote speaker and an impressive lineup of arts, activism, and history, we promise that the program alone will be worth the trip — but just to sweeten the deal, here’s a whole weekend’s worth of Japanese American and pan-Asian history, culture, and foods you can enjoy while you’re in Seattle.
The Fresno Assembly Center* (FAC) opened on May 6, 1942 and held a total of 5,344 Japanese Americans forcibly removed from the Fresno and Sacramento areas. One of fifteen dedicated short-term detention camps opened in the spring of 1942, the facility closed six months later when the population was transferred to a more permanent prison camp in Arkansas. Though surrounded by barbed wire fences and guarded by military police—all the while facing oppressive heat in a nearly shadeless camp and a nightly curfew and roll call—Fresno inmates did their best to make the best of things. We’ve put together a list of some of these FAC facts of life and stories of making do.
2042 will mark the 100th anniversary of Executive Order 9066 and Densho is already making some ambitious plans for what we want to accomplish by that date. We recognize that our strength in reaching these goals will come from our community, so we’re launching a listening tour in order to create space for your input and ideas!
It seems like more people are talking about Japanese American history than ever before. As it’s become increasingly relevant to our country’s current political moment, the Japanese American story has started to pop up in some unexpected places, from podcasts and breaking news coverage to viral Reddit threads and popular TV series. But the language used to tell this story hasn’t quite caught up with its newfound reach. While more people know what happened to Japanese Americans during WWII, most of them are still learning that history through decades-old euphemisms that diminish its harsh realities.
- after camp
- book review
- camp life
- current events
- Densho statement
- film review
- hidden histories
- In memoriam
- open letter
- oral history
- Pacific Northwest
- photo essay
- popular culture