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A mother and child walking down a dirt path between barracks at Minidoka concentration camp.

Ask a Historian: How Did Alaska Natives Wind Up Inside Japanese American Concentration Camps?

Brian Niiya delves into the hidden history of a group of Alaska Natives caught up in the WWII incarceration of Japanese Americans in our first “Ask a Historian” entry of…

A large group of picture brides arriving at the Angel Island immigration station, c. 1910.

This Classic Novel by Yoshiko Uchida Chronicles the Dreams and Struggles of Japanese Picture Brides

In an excerpt from her foreword to a new re-release of Yoshiko Uchida’s Picture Bride, Elena Tajma Creef shines a light on the unsung history of the women who inspired…

Children at a birthday party in 1956.

Happy 100th Birthday to These 17 Nisei Notables

The early 1920s were the peak of the Nisei baby boom and, according to War Relocation Authority records, the year 1923 saw the second largest number of Nisei (and undoubtedly…

Naomi Ostwald Kawamura and siblings with their father when they were children

How Naomi Ostwald Kawamura’s Family History Shaped Her Life: An Interview with Densho’s New Executive Director 

Densho’s new executive director Naomi Ostwald Kawamura brings with her a deep knowledge and passion about public education’s role in ensuring that the stories of Japanese American WWII incarceration reach…

Caution This object is protected by copyright. You must ask permission from the rights holder if you re-use or publish it elsewhere, unless your project falls under a fair-use exception. Learn more... AddThis Sharing Buttons Share to Facebook Share to TwitterShare to More PARTNER CSU Japanese American History Digitization Project Visit partner OBJECT ID ddr-csujad-26-92 (CSUJAD Local ID: mei_05_029, CSUJAD Project ID: ucsb_mei_0092) PARENT COLLECTION UC Santa Barbara Robert Billigmeier Collection DESCRIPTION Two young Japanese American boys doing schoolwork write in notebooks. A chalkboard is blurred in the background.

Counting Down Our Top 10 Reads from the Densho Catalyst in 2022

As we approach the end of 2022, we’re looking back at the highs — and lows — of the past year. Here are this year’s top ten most-read pieces from…

Illustration from "Jingle, Jingle, Jangle" by Mine Okubo showing aliens in Santa suits crossing a street at a crosswalk in New York City.

Mine Okubo Illustrated a Book About Invading Alien Santas That You’ve Probably Never Seen…Until Now

Mine Okubo was best known for her 1946 illustrated memoir, Citizen 13660, which depicted her incarceration at Tanforan and Topaz. While that book brought her the most acclaim, Okubo was…

Tom Ikeda and Naomi Ostwald Kawamura in conversation seated on stage during filming of the Densho Virtual Gala. Ikeda is handing off a baseball trophy to Naomi that was gifted to him by a Nisei community leader when he first started at Densho.

Highlights from the 2022 Densho Virtual Gala: Telling Our Next Story

Thank you to everyone who joined us on November 3 to make the Densho Virtual Gala a very special event! Even though we weren’t able to gather in person, we…

A Japanese and Japanese American family posing for a photo outside their home in Japan in 1940.

Two Books That Shine New Light on the Nisei Experience in Japan

I’ve always thought of myself as a somewhat atypical Sansei in various ways, chief among them, that one of my Nisei parents—my mother in this case—was a bit more “Japanesy”…

Four teens standing against a brick wall outside the Densho building holding collages they made inspired by Gidra.

Sharing Gidra’s Lessons on Art and Solidarity with the Next Generation of Student Activists

Over the past several months, Densho staff worked with some incredible artists and educators to develop a hands-on zine-making workshop for middle and high school students. Using the radical Asian…

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…

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…

Children reading at a table

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…