Perhaps because there are so many oral history accounts of Japanese Americans imprisoned in American concentration camps during World War II (including many hundreds on our website), it’s always seemed like there are more camp memoirs than there are. In reality, there are surprisingly few, and as the years go by and survivors continue to pass on, there will soon be no more. Thus, I am glad to note the most recent addition to the list: Jeanette S. Arakawa’s The Little Exile (Stone Bridge Press, 2017).
Mothers’ Day is around the corner—which means most of us are busy getting ready to show some love and affection to the women who raised us. (Y’all should really be doing this every day, but the holiday is still a good reminder to give Mom and Baachan a call.) We’re celebrating with a look back at the strength and sacrifice shown by mothers during the trials of World War II.
Prior to the social and political upheavals of the 1960s, there was no “Asian America”—at least not as we know it today. While Americans of Asian descent had joined forces on the picket line and plantation field throughout history, their identities and struggles were mostly defined along distinct ethnic lines. But amidst the tumult of the civil rights movement, young people united their communities to forge a new identity based on their collective experiences as Asian Americans.
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.
- The Muslim Ban Is Racial Profiling—And We’ve Seen It Before
- So How Many Assembly Centers Were There Anyway?
- Photo Essay: Fairground Detention Facilities
- As We Fight for DACA, We Must Remember These Four Things
- Strikers, Scabs, and Sugar Mongers: How Immigrant Labor Struggle Shaped the Hawai‘i We Know Today
- book review
- camp life
- current events
- Densho statement
- film review
- hidden histories
- In memoriam
- oral history
- Pacific Northwest
- photo essay
- popular culture