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Japanese Americans walking in a street between barracks at Heart Mountain concentration camp. Heart Mountain is visible in the distance.

Frozen Hair, Work Stoppages, and Other Lesser-Known Stories from Heart Mountain

Perhaps you know the Heart Mountain, Wyoming, concentration camp for stories of boyhood-friends-turned-congressmen Norman Mineta and Alan Simpson, for the draft resistance of the Heart Mountain Fair Play Committee, for…

A photomontage created by Dean K. Terasaki from two images. One is a detail of the Poston Concentration Camp Monument. The other is a request for inkstone, ink and brushes in a Japanese-language letter sent to T.K. Pharmacy.

Community Curator Spotlight: Dean Terasaki on Memory and Mystery

Erin Shigaki, Seattle-based artist and Densho’s inaugural Community Curator, caught up with photographer Dean Terasaki to learn how he’s turned his lens toward an 80 year old family mystery.

A Japanese American family standing in front of barracks at Minidoka.

Intern Spotlight: Kathleen Singleton on the Power of Archives

Kathleen Singleton is a mixed Yonsei, born and raised in Seattle, Washington. They graduated from Central Washington University with a BA in Professional and Creative Writing with a minor in…

A page in a photo album with several photos of a Japanese American family.

Intern Spotlight: Ron Martin-Dent on Hidden Connections in the Archives

Densho Archives Intern Ron Martin-Dent shares some lessons learned and surprises uncovered during his time adding new collections to the Densho Digital Repository.

Six kibei siblings in Japan. They are standing in a row, one wearing dark colored hakama and haori, another in a western suit, and the four younger siblings in school uniforms.

The Kibei Story Is “The Biggest Unexplored Episode In The History Of Japanese Americans.” Here’s Where To Learn More About It.

A recent episode of NPR’s Code Switch explores an often forgotten chapter of Japanese American history: the Kibei story. Kibei were Japanese Americans who were born in the US to…

Japanese Americans reading in the library at Tanforan Assembly Center.

Counting Down Our Top 5 Most-Read Densho Encyclopedia Articles

Since launching the Densho Encyclopedia in 2012, we’ve published 1,500 articles on Japanese American history written by expert scholars and public historians — making it the go-to resource for many…

A Japanese American teen performing a flag salute during an Independence Day parade at Tule Lake. She has a big smile and is holding a baton and leading the parade.

Ask a Historian: Why Do Some Survivors Say Camp Was “Fun”?

Densho Content Director Brian Niiya responds to a question from a descendant of the camps who wonders why his Nisei father often shared “happy” memories of the wartime incarceration.

Graphic with the cover of Love in the Library superimposed over an aerial photo of the Minidoka concentration camp

Author Maggie Tokuda-Hall Takes a Stand Against Censorship and the “Deeply American Tradition of Racism”

Earlier this month, author Maggie Tokuda-Hall received a troubling offer from publishing giant Scholastic: they would license Love in the Library, her acclaimed children’s book based on her grandparents’ experiences…

Diana Tsuchida as a baby with her father and grandparents. Her grandmother is holding Diana in her lap, sitting at a table next to her grandfather, while her father stands behind them.

Diana Emiko Tsuchida On How Her Grandmother’s Story Helped Her Write Her Own

In this guest post for Women’s History Month, Diana Emiko Tsuchida, creator of the journal and oral history project Tessaku, writes about how her grandmother’s experiences during WWII have shaped…

Two small children walking down a dirt path between barracks at Minidoka.

The Proposed Lava Ridge Wind Farm at Minidoka Is Part of a Larger—and Ongoing—Pattern of Erasing Marginalized Histories

A proposal to build a 76,000-acre wind farm surrounding the former Minidoka concentration camp threatens to erase the site’s historic legacy. The Bureau of Land Management is accepting public comments…

Collage of photos of Japanese Americans. Right to left: a woman working in an art studio, an elderly couple posing for a portrait, three young men standing with their arms wrapped around each other, a young woman holding a snowball.

#WhoWeRemember: A Collective Memory Project for Day of Remembrance 2023

Last week, Japanese Americans across the country gathered to remember a day that will forever be impressed upon our collective memory. February 19, 1942 — when FDR signed Executive Order…

Watercolor paintings of the rocks collected by Alison Moritsugu's grandfather on display at the "Moons and Internment Stones" exhibition at the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center.

Community Curator Spotlight: Alison Moritsugu’s “Moons and Internment Stones”

Artist Alison Moritsugu’s work explores our relationship with nature and how the stories we tell about landscapes—often idealized to hide what lies beneath the surface—shape our conceptions of the world…

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…