About Densho

Densho is a Japanese term meaning "to pass on to the next generation," or to leave a legacy. The legacy we offer is an American story with ongoing relevance: during World War II, the United States government incarcerated innocent people solely because of their ancestry.

Densho is a nonprofit organization started in 1996, with the initial goal of documenting oral histories from Japanese Americans who were incarcerated during World War II. This evolved into a mission to educate, preserve, collaborate and inspire action for equity. Densho uses digital technology to preserve and make accessible primary source materials on the World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans. We present these materials and related resources for their historic value and as a means of exploring issues of democracy, intolerance, wartime hysteria, civil rights and the responsibilities of citizenship in our increasingly global society. We encourage use of these resources to expand awareness of our country's diverse history, to stimulate critical thinking, to develop ethical decision-making skills, and to help ensure that democratic principles are upheld now and in the future.


  • Stetson Kennedy Vox Populi Award of the Oral History Association
  • American Library Association Online History Award
  • Association of King County Historical Organizations Long Term Project Award
  • Humanities Washington Award
  • Japanese American Citizens League Biennium Award
  • Japanese Community Services of Seattle Award
  • Nisei Veterans Committee of Seattle Commanders Award
  • NPower Innovation Award
  • Washington State Historical Society David Douglas Award
  • Webby Design Award

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