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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…

Still from short animated film on the model minority myth. Two groups of people, one Black and one Asian, are being contained in two boxes that keep them separated from each other.

Inventing the “Model Minority”: A Critical Timeline and Reading List

The idea of Asian Americans as a “model minority” has a long and complicated history. By focusing on cherry-picked indicators of “success” like income, education level, and low crime rates—while…

How 9/11 Changed Us

In commemoration of the 20th anniversary of September 11th, Executive Director Tom Ikeda shares his recollections of the aftermath of the attacks and how it radically reshaped Densho’s focus.

Nobuko Miyamoto, Attallah Ayyubi, and another marcher at a Republic of New Africa demonstration in 1973. They are holding signs that read "Free All Prisoners of War," "We are not US citizens, we demand a free pleblescite!" and "Free the R.N.A."

How the Asian American Movement Learned a Lesson in Liberation from the Black Panthers

As a musician, artist, and activist, Nobuko Miyamoto has long used art to create social change and solidarity across cultural borders. Her new memoir, Not Yo’ Butterfly: My Long Song…

Black-and-white photo of a Mojave man and his horse in the desert. He is wearing jeans, a button-up collared shirt, and a brimmed hat, standing in front of the horse with his arm resting on the saddle.

Japanese American Incarceration on Indigenous Lands

Japanese American incarceration, like all of American history, took place on occupied Indigenous land. These threads of displacement, confinement and forced assimilation are rooted in a much larger history of…

The Karma of Becoming American

In this guest post, scholar and Soto Zen Buddhist priest Duncan Ryūken Williams reflects on celebrating his first 4th of July as an American citizen in the midst of a…

Immigration Bans are Object Lessons in Weaponized White Fears

The Immigration Act of 1924 created a national origins quota for the first time in U.S. history, and a complete and total ban on Japanese immigration. Building on a half-century…

This Isn’t The First Time White Supremacists Have Tried to Cancel Birthright Citizenship

In the latest in a long string of attacks on immigration, this week Trump declared he would issue an executive order ending birthright citizenship. Established by the 14th amendment in…

Ship Jumpers, Border Crossers, and Other “Illegal” Issei Immigrants

Here at Densho, we often draw parallels between the forced removal and subsequent incarceration of Japanese Americans from the West Coast and the treatment of marginalized groups today. Sadly, the…

In the Belly of the Monster: Asian American Opposition to the Vietnam War

The Vietnam War, which officially commenced on November 1, 1955 and lasted for nearly twenty years, cost the lives of over 58,000 Americans and more than 3 million Vietnamese, Cambodian,…

The Muslim Ban Is Racial Profiling—And We’ve Seen It Before

On October 10, the Supreme Court will hear two cases contesting President Trump’s Executive Order 13780, which threatens to ban travel to the U.S. from six Muslim-majority countries and halt…

Strikers, Scabs, and Sugar Mongers: How Immigrant Labor Struggle Shaped the Hawai‘i We Know Today

Hawai‘i is touted as a multicultural paradise, but the history of the sugar industry in this occupied Native land tells us otherwise. The industry played a central role in the…

Yellow Power: The Origins of Asian America

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…

Immigrants Do Not Need to Prove Themselves Worthy of Inclusion

2017 is shaping up to be a rough year for immigrants—which is saying a lot, considering that building a new life in a new country is, by definition, pretty damn…

Exiled: The Anti-Immigrant Roots of Mass Deportation in Mexican and Japanese American Repatriation

Following a blueprint laid out by the Depression-era Mexican Repatriation, Japanese Americans were subjected to deportation during WWII as a punitive measure for their supposed disloyalty. This practice has been…

Japanese Americans Incarcerated During WWII Could Still Vote, Kind Of

This article was co-published at PRI.org. During World War II,120,000 Americans of Japanese descent were stripped of their rights and property under the guise of national security. They were packed…

Family Detention, Then and Now

As the 2016 election cycle ramps up – with a Republican nominee who has described Mexican immigrants as rapists and drug dealers, and a Democrat who supports deporting child migrants…

Japanese migrant strawberry pickers, possibly on Vashon Island, Washington.

Over More than a Hundred Years of Farm Labor History, Japanese and Mexican Americans Have Been Both Allies and Adversaries

Berry season is in full swing, with farmer’s markets and produce departments across the country overflowing with these quintessential summer fruits. But the story isn’t always so sweet for the migrant…

Rooted in Japanese American Concentration Camps, “Model Minority” became Code for Anti-Black

By now most of us have heard the news: former NYPD officer Peter Liang will serve no jail time for killing Akai Gurley. Liang was found guilty of second-degree manslaughter…

Intersections of Black and Japanese American History: From Bronzeville to Black Lives Matter

During World War II, Black and Japanese American fates crossed in ways that neither group could have anticipated. While Japanese Americans were being forced to abandon the lives they’d built…

Gila River Concentration Camp: Intersecting Japanese American and Indigenous Histories

Until his death earlier this year, Mas Inoshita made it his duty to regularly travel to a remote part of the Arizona desert to tend to a stark monument, a…

Intersections: Hispanic and Japanese American History

While the incarceration of people of Japanese descent throughout Latin America has been the focus of a number of studies, little has been written about interactions between Hispanic and Japanese American communities in…