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Mourners standing next to a casket at a funeral in Amache concentration camp

Ask a Historian: What Did Funerals Look Like in Camp?

In this latest query from Densho Content Director Brian Niiya’s “Ask a Historian” series, Shelley Lekven asks what funerals looked like for Japanese Americans incarcerated during World War II: Do…

View of barracks at Tule Lake concentration camp, with hills in the distance

Iron Fences and Pepper Pods: Four Poets at Tule Lake and their Stories 

Shootings by guards, martial law, divided loyalties among families,  intra-camp conflicts and antagonistic administrators, and mass renunciations of U.S. citizenship all contributed to making Tule Lake—initially one of ten War…

People walking between barracks at Tanforan Assembly Center.

Horse Stall Housing, Spoiled Ham, and Other Stories of Life in Tanforan

The second largest of the so-called “assembly centers” with a peak population of 7,816, Tanforan was built on the site of the Tanforan Racetrack in San Bruno, California, near the…

Six Japanese American high school students playing in a brass band in Rohwer concentration camp.

Four Nisei Jazz Stars You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

As the music genre that defined the United States for the first half of the 20th century, jazz had a deep impact on Japanese Americans. For many Nisei, music served…

Naomi Ostwald Kawamura

Introducing Densho’s New Executive Director

After an exhaustive national and international search, the Densho Board of Directors is pleased to announce Naomi Ostwald Kawamura is the organization’s next Executive Director. Ostwald Kawamura will join Densho…

A view of Heart Mountain from the former camp site.

Photo Essay: 2022 Heart Mountain Pilgrimage

Several Densho staff members were honored to be among the attendees of the 2022 Heart Mountain Pilgrimage this past weekend. This was Heart Mountain’s first major on-site pilgrimage since the…

The Japanese American History Books Your Little One Needs in Their Library

Given the many books on the forced removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II aimed at teenage audiences, it is a bit surprising that there are relatively…

The Miwa family sitting on a couch and smiling, circa 1970s.

Archives Spotlight: The Miwa Family’s Transnational WWII Journey

The James Seigo Miwa Family Collection is a new and fascinating addition to the Densho Digital Repository. It includes family photos and documents relating to Miwa’s detainment as an “enemy…

Graphic with the cover of When the Emperor Was Divine over a background photo of Japanese American children in a concentration camp classroom.

Hey Muskego-Norway School Board, Your White Fragility is Showing

Julie Otsuka’s novel, When the Emperor Was Divine, has received numerous distinctions: an Alex Award from the American Library Association; a Literature Award from the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association, and…

Illustration showing a large Japanese American family on the shores of Terminal Island.

A Peek at Densho’s First Graphic Novel by Molly Murakami

We’re excited to share a new graphic novel by 2021 Densho artist-in-residence Molly Murakami! Tide Goes Out takes an intimate look at the lesser-known history of Terminal Island, a Japanese…

The interior of preserved barracks at present day Heart Mountain

“Show Me The Way To Go to Home”: Photo Essay by Sandy Sugawara

Three years ago, Sansei journalist and photographer Sandy Sugawara set out to visit each of the War Relocation Authority camps where Japanese Americans, including her parents and grandparents, were incarcerated…

Aya Hori Masuoka in the 1960s. She is wearing sunglasses and a plaid blouse with a white scarf wrapped sylishly over her hair.

A Japanese Picture Bride in Montana: The Story of Aya Hori Masuoka

In this guest post, Kathryn Tolbert, creator of the oral history archive The War Bride Project, shines some light on the experiences of Japanese immigrant women in Montana through the…

Painting of two men playing go in Minidoka.

Meet Densho’s 2022 Artists-in-Residence

We’re delighted to introduce Densho’s 2022 Artist-in-Residence cohort! This year’s call for artists garnered more submissions than ever before and it was incredible to see all the creative ways y’all…

Photo of Kuromiya in barracks for use with "Conscience and the Constitution" documentary

Book Review: Beyond the Betrayal

Yoshito “Yosh” Kuromiya is best known as one of the sixty-three men from Heart Mountain convicted in 1944 for refusing to report for induction in the largest mass trial in…

Old man standing next to a sign that reads "No Japs allowed to reside in Kane County"

We Need Critical Race Theory in our Schools Now More Than Ever

Here at Densho we talk a lot about the importance of preserving the history of WWII Japanese American incarceration. But we are well aware that this one moment in history…

Danielle Higa with two Densho colleagues and community members at the 2019 Heart Mountain pilgrimage.

A New Chapter for Densho Fund Development Manager Danielle Higa

We’re sharing the bittersweet news that Densho Fund Development Manager Danielle Higa is taking on a new role as a Senior Associate at the Nonprofit Professionals Advisory Group. While we’re…

Norm Mineta speaking at a podium

Remembering Norm Mineta

We mourn the passing of Secretary Norm Mineta. Densho Director Tom Ikeda remembers him for his impressive political career, as an important member of the Japanese American community, and as…

Eugenie Clark surrounded by shark teeth

Eugenie Clark Swam with Sharks and Blazed a Path for Women in Science

Famed marine biologist Eugenie Clark, or “Genie” as she was known to friends and family, was born in New York City on May 4, 1922. Her father, Charles Clark, died…

Collage with a typed poem and photos of fences, inmates, and guards at Japanese American concentration camps.

The Unsolvable Mystery of “That Damned Fence”

The barbed wire fence is an enduring symbol of the WWII incarceration of Japanese Americans. As Hana and Noah Maruyama point out in Episode Three of the Campu podcast, the…

Manzanar cemetery monument. It is a white stone obelisk with kanji that reads "monument to console the souls of the dead."

How Japanese Americans Fought to Make Sure We Never Forget Manzanar’s History

This National Park Week, we want to uplift the story of how Manzanar became the first of the US concentration camps where Japanese Americans were incarcerated during WWII to become…

A Japanese Peruvian family on a plantation.

Photo Essay: Japanese Peruvian Lives Before World War II

During World War II, the United States colluded with several Central and South American nations to imprison some 2,200 Japanese Latin Americans on US soil. The majority—nearly 1,800—were abducted from…

Book covers of several Japanese American novels and memoirs with African American characters.

Japanese American Literature Traces Changing Relationships between Nikkei and African Americans Over Time

Co-authored by Brian Niiya and Greg Robinson In our many combined years of doing research on Japanese American history and literature, we each noted a striking fact with regard to…

Japanese American artist leaning over a canvas painting

Densho 2022 Artist Residency Program: Call for Proposals

Densho’s 2022 artist program theme, Answering the Archive, pulls focus on the individual and collective responses that archival materials elicit, and on the actions they call upon us to take….

Sarah Yomogi Okada standing in front of a barrack in Jerome concentration camp wearing a graduation cap and gown.

Lane Tomosumi Shigihara: “Vocal Young Woman”

In this final piece from our 2022 Women’s History Month writing challenge, gosei poet Lane Tomosumi Shigihara shares a haiku inspired by his grandmother’s courage in standing up for her…