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The Final “Confusing, Cumbersome” Days in Minidoka Concentration Camp

Historical accounts of Japanese American incarceration often pay far more attention to the beginning than the end. But the scenes of camp officials hustling bewildered inmates onto trains in late…

T. K. Pharmacy Was a Lifeline for Incarcerated Japanese Americans during WWII

T. K. Pharmacy was one of few Japanese American businesses that remained open during World War II. Operating out of Denver—outside the so-called “exclusion zone”—it offered a lifeline to Japanese…

Join us: Densho Dinner @ Home on October 24

Our history shows that in moments of turmoil, our connections to one another matter more than ever. While we can’t come together in person, we can still be in community with each other to collectively remember our past and affirm our commitment to action. Join Densho for an inspiring evening of community, remembrance and solidarity. Together we can transform this challenging time into a moment for powerful social change. Join us for a one-of-a-kind virtual event on Saturday, October 24th.

Densho Dinner @ Home: Sushi, Sake, and Cocktails

The Densho Dinner @ Home experience wouldn’t be complete without sushi and sake! Our friends in the Seattle area can now order sushi kits from area restaurants — Sushi Kashiba, Ten Sushi, and I Love Sushi — that you can enjoy at home while watching the Densho Dinner on October 24th. Try pairing your sushi with sake recommendations from the Sake School of America.

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…

Photo Essay: Japanese American History Through the Eyes of Everyday Families

Personal collections are a critical component of Densho’s archives. These collections, donated by families and individuals, provide amazing insights into Japanese American history that might otherwise be forgotten, while allowing…

Two men holding a dog in front of a barrack in a Japanese American incarceration camp. The men stand side by side with the dog in the middle. The man on the left wears an army uniform, and the man on the right is wearing glasses and a peacoat. The dog is white/light brown.

Pets in Camp: Dogs, Cats, Canaries, and “Even a Badger”

It is one of the most poignant—and often told—stories of the WWII roundup and incarceration of Japanese Americans: the wrenching decision that had to be made about a beloved pet…

In Memoriam: A Tribute to Lane Ryo Hirabayashi

Lane Ryo Hirabayashi was an innovator in the field of Asian American Studies, a historian and storyteller who dedicated his life to deepening public knowledge of Japanese American WWII incarceration,…

Commemorating Redress in the Archives

On this anniversary of the signing of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 we’re highlighting some recent additions to Densho’s archives that focus on the Redress Movement. Along with our…

Photo Essay: The Amache Silk Screen Shop

The Amache concentration camp in southeastern Colorado was, in many ways, similar to other War Relocation Authority camps where Japanese Americans were incarcerated during World War II: rural and rugged,…

Understanding Tule Lake: A Brief History

Tule Lake began as one of ten concentration camps that held Japanese Americans forcibly removed from the West Coast in 1942. Early experiences there were, in many ways, much like…

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…

Why Japanese Americans Should Join the Fight for Abolition

Guest post by Sara Onitsuka The last few weeks of protest, sparked by the murder of George Floyd and rising out of 400+ years of slavery, genocide, and other white…

5 Queer Nikkei Ancestors Everyone Should Know About

As we uplift the achievements and ongoing struggles of LGBTQ communities this Pride season—which, friendly reminder, exists because Black trans women rioted against police violence—we want to highlight the stories…

Densho Events Calendar

We may not be able to come together in person anytime soon, but you can rest assured that we’re working hard to expand our digital offerings and create virtual gathering…

Densho Community Hour with Executive Director Tom Ikeda

At this moment, we are all trying to comprehend the gravity of recent tragic events and the constantly changing COVID-19 situation. Many of us are processing feelings of frustration, anger,…

Asian American Anti-Blackness Is Real—And So Is Our Responsibility to End It

We’re holding a lot of grief and anger over the Black lives stolen by white supremacy in recent weeks. For George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Nina Pop, Ahmaud Arbery, and so…

Epidemics in American Concentration Camps: From the “White Plague” to COVID-19

On the afternoon of April 15th, detainees at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington filled the narrow triangle that serves as the facility’s recreation area. In a carefully choreographed…

Announcing a Virtual Teach-In on the History of Xenophobia (and what we can do to combat it)

Join us for a virtual teach-in that will deepen your understanding of American xenophobia and racism, using Japanese American WWII incarceration and the current crisis of immigrant detention as case…

Read These “Camp” Memoirs for a First-Person Look at Japanese American WWII Incarceration

When we think of Japanese American memoirs of the concentration camp experience, most of us think of a handful of older classic titles first: Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and James Houston’s…

We Can’t Believe This Actually Needs to Be Said, But No, Quarantine Is Not the Same Thing as Incarceration

Earlier this month, three Kentucky pastors filed a lawsuit against a statewide lockdown to limit the spread of COVID-19 — citing Fred Korematsu’s Supreme Court case to paint the order…

Announcing a New Digital Genealogy Series

Densho is pleased to announce a new digital genealogy series with Linda Harms Okazaki, noted expert in Japanese American genealogy. All sessions will be held on Zoom and advance registration…

‘It was my first grown-up feeling of responsibility’: Student Views of Life in a Japanese American Concentration Camp

We’re fortunate today to have access to hundreds of testimonies from Nisei elders who were incarcerated as children during WWII. But the perspective captured in these oral histories is that…

7 Ways To Learn Japanese American History From the Comfort of your Home

As we navigate this new world of mandatory home time, many of us are finding ourselves suddenly having to set up makeshift schools for our kiddos, engage students online, or…