Densho eNews - December

From the Director: Tom Ikeda

A week ago I was in Boston conducting a Densho teacher training workshop at a national Social Studies conference. I really like doing workshops in other parts of the country because participants generally don't know very much about the story of the World War II incarceration and there is often freshness in the ideas and connections that come up in discussions. And when you are surrounded all day with master teachers, you can't help but think of interesting, provocative questions like, "How are the events in Ferguson, Missouri, similar to the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II?"

To answer this question, I use the findings of a U.S. Congressional commission in the 1980s that concluded that fear, racism, and failure of leadership were the causes of the unjust incarceration of 120,000 innocent Japanese Americans during the war. What is striking is that a similar environment exists today in Ferguson and across the country with the target of fear and ignorance being the African American community, coupled with a strong dose of failed leadership in our inability to address the institutional racism in many law enforcement agencies. Fear and racism exists today, and without strong, thoughtful leadership and meaningful conversation, the mistakes of our past will be repeated.

Archive Spotlight

Joseph Frisino: Personal Reaction to the Bombing of Pearl Harbor

Joseph Frisino was serving in the U.S. Army when Pearl Harbor was bombed. He had grown up on the East Coast and, in 1941, struggled with not being able to differentiate between Japanese Americans and the Japanese soldiers who had done the bombing. Joseph Frisino's full interview is available in the Densho Digital Archive.

>> View the interview excerpt
>> Register for the free Densho Digital Archive

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Densho News

Online Giving Challenge Match for December

Earlier this year, Densho received the Vox Populi (Voice of the People) Award from the Oral History Association for its online 800+ oral history collection. Following the announcement of this prestigious national award, the National Park Service approved a $210,000 matching grant for an innovative project to make it easier for teachers and students to download and use Densho's video interviews in the classroom to make documentaries. What this means is that for every dollar you donate, the NPS will contribute two dollars to us. As a thank you, if you donate in December you'll receive a set of five custom first-class postage stamps with an image of the Tule Lake concentration camp. And if you donate $125 or more, you receive your choice of the DVDs, Conscience and the Constitution or The Legacy of Heart Mountain. If you donate $200, you receive both.

>> For more information about the Challenge Match and to donate

Henry Miyatake Memorial - December 6, 2014

There will be a community memorial event for redress activist Henry Miyatake on Saturday, December 6, 2014, at NVC Memorial Hall, 1212 S King Street, Seattle, WA 98144. A pre-event social, with light refreshments, will begin at 1:00 PM. The memorial program will be from 2:00-3:00 PM. Henry passed away in September in Auburn, Washington. The community memorial event is open to the public and is an opportunity for people who knew Henry or who were involved with redress to come together and celebrate Henry's life. In this 1999 interview with Densho, Henry describes the impact on the community of the first Day of Remembrance in 1978.

>> Watch the video clip of Henry Miyatake
>> Read Densho's encyclopedia article about Henry Miyatake

New Articles in Densho's Encyclopedia

New to the encyclopedia this month are articles on museum exhibitions about the wartime exclusion and incarceration, landmark legal cases involving challenges to the so-called alien land laws, and other topics.

Funding for the encyclopedia was provided, in part, by a grant from the Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program. The encyclopedia will expand to over 1,000 articles when completed.

>> View blog post: New Densho Encyclopedia Articles, November 2014

Thank You 4Culture!

In 2014 Densho received three 4Culture grant awards for projects totaling $31,500. 4Culture is the cultural services agency for King County, Washington. The 4Culture grant projects include a Heritage Projects grant to create a web-series of five short educational videos about the Japanese American incarceration, a Heritage Cultural Facilities Equipment grant to assist with the upgrade of Densho's online collection of 800 Japanese American video recorded interviews about life before, during, and after World War II, and a Heritage Sustained Support grant for general operations.

>> For more information about 4Culture

Support Densho by Shopping at AmazonSmile!

When you shop at AmazonSmile this holiday season, Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to Densho. Visit, sign in using your account, and designate Densho as your nonprofit.

>> Visit AmazonSmile

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