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Japanese Americans preparing to leave Redondo Beach in a car caravan to Manzanar.

Ask a Historian: Could Japanese Americans Drive Themselves to Camp?

Oliver Wang, curator of the Japanese American National Museum’s summer 2025 exhibit, Cruising J-Town: Behind the Wheel of the Nikkei Community, which looks at how car and truck culture have…

The World of Mary Mon Toy, the Broadway Actress Who Hid Her Japanese Identity Behind a Chinese Name

Actress and performer Mary Mon Toy is best known for her breakout role as Minnie Ho in the original Broadway production of The World of Suzie Wong — which led…

Model of Tuna Canyon Detention Facility with barracks and a sign in the hills behind the camp that reads "Tuna Canyon"

The Literature of Japanese American Incarceration: Unlocking the Voices of Issei and Kibei Nisei Writers

In this guest post, Frank Abe introduces a selection from the new anthology, The Literature of Japanese American Incarceration, which he co-edited with Floyd Cheung. The book was published this…

Photo Essay: Amache Through the Lens of George Ochikubo

Amache was the smallest of the ten concentration camps the US Government constructed to detain Japanese Americans during WWII. Yet with a peak population of more than 7,000, the prison…

A Japanese American man and French woman sitting together at a beach in France circa 1944 to 1945.

Intern Spotlight: Kathryn Perry Bolin on How Archives Can Be a Platform for Social Justice Work

Kathryn Perry Bolin is a graduate student at the University of Washington pursuing a Master’s in Information and Library Science (MLIS), and recently completed an internship with Densho’s archives team….

The 2024 Japanese American Leadership Delegation with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

Naomi Ostwald Kawamura: Building Community and Connection that Transcends Borders

In early March, I had the opportunity to be part of the 2024 Japanese American Leadership Delegation (JALD), a program jointly supported by the US-Japan Council and Japan’s Ministry of…

Two Densho staff members at a computer workstation looking at a printed photograph

The Densho Legacy Archive Offers a Glimpse into Hard Work and Passion That Built Densho

Densho Project Archivist Will Allen has been helping to create Densho’s Legacy Archive, an archive of Densho’s organizational records since its founding in 1996. Will shares some highlights from this…

Mug shots of the Shitara sisters after their arrest on charges of treason in 1944.

“Little Benedict Arnolds in Skirts”: The Shitara Sisters’ Scandalous WWII Treason Trial

In late 1943, three Japanese American sisters helped two German prisoners of war escape from a southern Colorado POW camp. The men were soon caught and sensationalized stories of “Japanazi…

A barbed wire fence at the site of the Tule Lake concentration camp, photographed circa 1983.

Take Action to Stop the Fence at Tule Lake!

Tule Lake is under threat AGAIN. Despite more than a decade of strong opposition from camp survivors and descendants, the Federal Aviation Administration and Modoc County are renewing their attempts…

A man stands in the doorway of his hotel, located on Yesler Avenue in Seattle's Nihonmachi or Japantown, circa 1913.

Seattle’s Japantown Was Once Part of a Bustling Red Light District — Until Its “Troublesome” Residents Were Pushed Out

In Seattle from the Margins: Exclusion, Erasure, and the Making of a Pacific Coast City historian Megan Asaka examines the erased histories of the communities who built Seattle. In this…

Members of the Hirabayashi, Korematsu and Yasui legal teams pose for a group photo at a celebration in Seattle. Gordon Hirabayashi stands at the center of the group.

The Women Who Led the Fight to Overturn the WWII Supreme Court Japanese American Incarceration Cases

Lorraine Bannai was part of the legal team that in 1983 successfully overturned Fred Korematsu’s conviction for his wartime civil disobedience. Along with similar wins for fellow resisters Gordon Hirabayashi…

Portrait of Shizuko and Shigenori Oiye. Shizuko is seated wearing a flower in her hair, and Shigenori is standing beside her.

Tying a Family Together: My Grandmother’s Wedding Obi

Growing up I was always fascinated by the blue trunk in our sunroom. When opened, it reeked of mothballs but contained all the treasures my grandmother saved over the course…

Activist Stan Shikuma speaking at a rally outside the Northwest Detention Center. In front of him are posters with photos of Japanese American incarceration camps that say "NWDC is a US concentration camp" and "No more US concentration camps."

Photo Essay: A Day of Remembrance and Resistance

Last weekend marked the 82nd anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066, which authorized the forced removal and incarceration of more than 125,000 Japanese Americans during World War II….

This 150 Year Old Bonsai Holds the Incredible History of One Japanese American Family

The Pacific Bonsai Museum in Federal Way, Washington connects people to nature through the living art of bonsai. The Densho communications team recently had the chance to visit the museum…

Photo of Erna Harris smiling and wearing a black beret circa 1970s, over a newspaper background

Meet Erna P. Harris: Writer, Dissident, and Ally

Through stories of remarkable people in Japanese American history, The Unknown Great illuminates the diversity of the Nikkei experience from the turn of the twentieth century to the present day….

Reflections from Densho Artist-in-Residence Matthew Okazaki

In his recent work as one of Densho’s 2022/23 artists-in-residence, Matthew Okazaki used archival photos, sculptural pieces, and excerpts from his grandfather’s post-war diary to capture the resilient spirit reflected…

Black and white photograph of a toddler in a high chair with a large birthday cake with two candles that reads "Happy Birthday Marian"

Meet the Nisei Notables Who Would Have Turned 100 in 2024

As we celebrate the arrival of 2024, it’s time for our annual roundup of prominent Nisei who would have turned one hundred years old in the year to come. We…

With talking stick in hand, UTTC President Leander R. McDonald presides over the ground blessing ceremony for the Snow Country Prison Japanese Internment Memorial.

Memorializing a Shared History Between Native and Japanese American Communities at Fort Lincoln

In September, I had the privilege of attending the ground blessing ceremony for the Snow Country Prison Japanese American Internment Memorial on the campus of United Tribes Technical College (UTTC)…

Print Garden by Kanon Shambora. The artwork features several acrylic plates with laser cut drawings of fruits, vegetables, flowers and fish cultivated and caught by Japanese American agricultural workers prior to World War Two incarceration.

Kanon Shambora on the Making of Print Garden

Artist-in-residence Kanon Shambora used her time at Densho to explore the roots of Japanese American identity. Their culminating Print Garden pays homage to early Issei and Nisei, as well as…

Three Japanese American women and two girls standing behind a fence at Puyallup Assembly Center in 1942.

Justifying the Unjustifiable: Why Japanese Americans Must Stand with Palestine

Guest opinion essay by Maggie Tokuda-Hall. Densho publishes guest opinion essays that draw meaningful connections between the incarceration story and the present, and that promote equity and justice today. Learn…

Barracks at Minidoka concentration camp under construction in 1942

Ask a Historian: When Did America Start Building Its WWII Concentration Camps?

Densho Content Director Brian Niiya answers a question about the origin of the concentration camps where Japanese Americans were imprisoned during World War II.

Paul Kikuchi playing drums

Community Curator Spotlight: Paul Kikuchi on Finding Ancestral Connections through Music

Percussionist, composer, and interdisciplinary artist Paul Kikuchi speaks with Densho Community Curator Erin Shigaki about the influences of his ancestors, identity, and community on his art. Kikuchi shares, “How easily…

Densho staff with speakers and performers at the 2023 virtual fundraiser. They are gathered on a stage in front of a background that reads Our Voices Will Not Be Silenced.

Highlights from Densho’s 2023 Virtual Fundraiser: Our Voices Will Not Be Silenced

Thank you to everyone who tuned in on October 5 for Densho’s 2023 virtual fundraiser, Our Voices Will Not Be Silenced! 

Kaneji Domoto pruning a bonsai

How Kaneji Domoto’s “Compassionate Architecture” Highlights The Contradictions Of Camp

As an intern at Densho, I have spent this past summer and fall processing new additions to the Kaneji and Sally (Fujii) Domoto Collection. During that time, I enjoyed getting…