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Archives Spotlight: The Seattle Betsuin Buddhist Temple Collections

In honor of American Archives Month, we feature a guest post from Densho Digitization Tech, Christen Greenhill Robichaud. In this essay, Robichaud details her team’s work on an exciting new…

Densho’s Oral History Program Is Back after a Pandemic Pause

Like many oral history projects, we’ve spent much of the last 18 months adapting and adjusting to meet the challenges of the pandemic. Knowing that elders and communities of color…

Displacement and Resistance in Japantowns: A Resource List

Japantowns in the U.S. have been shaped by a long history of both exclusion and resilience — from the dispossession of Indigenous peoples to the forced removal of Japanese Americans…

Ask A Historian: How Did Japanese American Mothers Feed Their Babies in Camp?

Densho Content Director Brian Niiya answers a fascinating question from a 99 year old camp survivor who worked in an “assembly center” milk station providing food for infant incarcerees.

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.

Social Science as a Tool for Surveillance

In the wake of inmate unrest at Poston and Manazanar in the winter of 1942, the War Relocation Authority decided they needed to better understand what they dubbed a “trouble…

Ask a Historian: Where to Find Records on Family Members Sent to DOJ Camps

In this month’s installment of Ask a Historian, Densho Content Director Brian Niiya advises a reader on how to track down records of Japanese Americans arrested as “enemy aliens” and…

Red tinted photo of a Japanese child looking at a building destroyed in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima

Thousands of Japanese Americans Were in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. The US Government Still Won’t Recognize Them.

Early in the morning on August 8, 1945, an American warplane cut through the cloudless sky over Hiroshima and dropped a single, devastating bomb, obliterating the hospital directly below the…

Several Japanese Americans seated at a table with microphones. Closest to the camera is William Hohri, who is reading a written statement into a microphone.

Photo Essay: Japanese Americans Demand “Justice Long Overdue” at 1981 Redress Hearings

In July 1981, congressional hearings on Japanese American WWII incarceration began in the nation’s capitol. For two days, witnesses spoke out to expose the cruel facts and painful memories surrounding…

A street in between barracks at Manzanar. A man is sitting on the front steps of a barrack, and another is walking down the street. There are mountains visible in the distance.

Ask a Historian: What’s the Story Behind Ansel Adams’ Famous Manzanar Photos?

Each month, Densho Content Director Brian Niiya will answer your questions about the WWII incarceration of Japanese Americans — the small details of life in camp, the rumors and myths…

Graphic with a collage of photos and artwork from Gidra. Text reads "Truth is not always pretty. A radical history and zine making workshop. August 19, 11am-1pm."

“Truth Is Not Always Pretty”: A Radical History and Zine Making Workshop

High school students (ages 14-18) are invited to join Densho for a hands-on history and zine-making workshop on August 19th, 2021. Drawing upon the lessons handed down to us from…

Sites of Shame traces the paths of Japanese Americans forced into camps during WWII

Joe Yasutake was only nine years old when his father was apprehended by the FBI and interned as an enemy alien. In a matter of hours following the attack on…

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…

Group photo of Okaeri members smiling and waving next to an Okaeri banner

Okaeri wants a world where all LGBTQ+ Nikkei feel safe, loved, and at home

Okaeri is a Los Angeles-based resource and support group whose mission is to create visibility, compassionate spaces, and transformation for LGBTQ+ Nikkei and their families by sharing our stories and…

A group of cute and happy queers standing under a banner that reads "Asian/Pacific Queer n Proud"

Where to Learn the Queer Asian American History You Absolutely Missed in School

Let’s face it. It’s hard to find queer voices within Asian American history. They’re often erased from both mainstream (read: white) LGBTQ and Asian American narratives — but thanks to…

Japanese Americans waiting in a mess hall line in Manzanar. They are standing and sitting in the shade next to a barrack.

Ask a Historian: How Many Japanese Americans Were Incarcerated During WWII?

Do you have a burning question about Japanese American history? A piece of family lore you’re not sure is myth or fact? Brian Niiya, Densho’s Content Director and basically a…

A woman farmer standing in a field next to her son. The woman is wearing protective clothing and holding a basket of strawberries, and her son is wearing a U.S. Army uniform.

Issei Mothers Played an Important—and Largely Forgotten—Role in the Japanese American Draft Resistance Movement

The resistance of nearly 300 young men who refused to be drafted into the U.S. military out of U.S. concentration camps has become a prominent part of the Japanese American…

Japanese Americans walking between barracks at Manzanar. The Sierra Nevada mountains are visible in the distance.

A Mattress Factory, Female Administrators, and Other Unusual Things About Manzanar

The first of America’s WWII concentration camps to be built, Manzanar was first at a lot of other things as well: the first to have an official historic marker, the…

Fred Shiosaki standing next to a photo of himself and fellow Nisei soldiers taken during WWII.

A Tribute to Fred Shiosaki’s Remarkable Legacy

Fred Shiosaki was a remarkable man who led a remarkable life. We are deeply saddened to learn that he recently passed away — but incredibly grateful for the legacy he…

In Conversation: Artists Lauren Iida and Erin Shigaki

Earlier this year, Densho artist-in-residence Lauren Iida sat down with Erin Shigaki — a longtime Densho friend, designer, and artist — for a conversation about how their art is influenced…

Grilled Rattlesnake, Missing Toilets, and Other Things You Might Not Know about Jerome

One of two camps located in southeastern Arkansas—and less than thirty miles from Rohwer, the other such camp—Jerome was the earliest WRA camp to close, shutting down at the end…

Anti-Asian Violence Isn’t Un-American. It’s a Racist Tradition That Goes Back Over 150 Years.

In the wake of the heinous murders in Atlanta and a sharp uptick in anti-Asian hate crimes, Congress held its first hearings on discrimination against Asians in more than 30 years. Among…

At 90 years old, Chizu Omori is still fighting for justice

Activist and filmmaker Chizu Omori has spent most of her life advocating for the rights of marginalized peoples. And at the age of 90, she shows no sign of slowing…

Photo Essay: Day of Remembrance Caravan from Puyallup to Northwest Detention Center

This past weekend, we joined our friends at Tsuru for Solidarity for a Day of Remembrance caravan from the Puyallup Fairgrounds to Tacoma’s Northwest Detention Center. About 60 cars bearing…