Densho eNews - February

From the Director: Tom Ikeda

Volunteers play a crucial role at Densho. As a small staff, we are able to take on large, complex projects only with the support of talented and dedicated volunteers. The Seattle Post Intelligencer recently featured the unique volunteer effort behind Densho's camp newspaper digitization project.

>> Read the article

This month's feature article on the Dorothea Lange photographs is written by volunteer (and former Densho staff member) Patricia Kiyono, a talented writer who is Manager of Foundation Relations at Seattle Arts and Lectures.

Please email me at [email protected] if you have a service or skill that you would like to offer Densho. We will put you on the volunteer list for future projects. Areas include professional services in computer consulting, graphics design, video production, accounting, curriculum development, event management, legal services and writing.

From the Archive

Controlling the Historical Record: Photographs of the Japanese American Incarceration

Recent clandestine photographs from war in Iraq prove a long-known fact: images of soldiers in battle, prisoners of war, and civilians caught in the conflict have the power to provoke outrage, sorrow, patriotic fervor, and myriad other emotions. If a government is to manage the public's perceptions of a war, it must control the photographs that appear in today's newspapers and tomorrow's history books.

Decades before instantaneous digital images, the U.S. government could more easily manage the dissemination of wartime photographs. To document the round-up and incarceration of Japanese Americans after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the War Relocation Authority (WRA) hired Dorothea Lange, best known for her wrenching photos of Dust Bowl farm workers taken for the Farm Security Administration. Lange was an odd choice, given her leftist politics and strong sympathy for victims of racial discrimination. Appalled by the forced exile, she confided to a Quaker protestor that she was guilt stricken to be working for a federal government that could treat its citizens so unjustly. Her reason for taking the assignment was a desire to accurately record what the Japanese Americans were undergoing. Apart from a few photos that reached the public, she was thwarted in that attempt. >> more

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Densho News

Fundraising Update

In November an anonymous nisei couple pledged $50,000 as a challenge match to help expand Densho's interviewing efforts. We are happy to say that by December 31st we met this challenge! We received $57,545 from 403 individuals. Donations ranged in size from $5 to $2,500, averaging just over $140. Perhaps most exciting, we received donations from 25 states (Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Maine, Missouri, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin) and 3 countries (U.S., Canada and Japan). Thank you for your tremendous support!

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Community Events

For Teachers: Electronic Field Trip to Manzanar

Join the National Park Service for an electronic visit to the Manzanar National Historic Site. On February 13, 2007 at 8am and 10am PST there will be a live TV broadcast and a live online forum to discuss the experience of Japanese Americans incarcerated during World War II, as well as the plight of countless nationalities who face discrimination and intolerance still today. For more information go to

Day of Remembrance Film Screening and Discussion, 2/20

Take part in the development of an exciting new documentary film, In Search of No-No Boy. The film is an approximately half-hour work-in-progress that investigates the life and times of Seattle native John Okada, author of the first novel by a Japanese American. Join producers Frank Abe and Shannon Gee for a screening of an incomplete rough cut of In Search of No-No Boy. Professors Stephen Sumida and Shawn Wong will follow with a discussion of the film project as well as Okada's novel, No-No Boy. This event will take place on Tuesday, February 20, 2007 at 7 p.m. at the University of Washington, Smith Hall 120. For more information, please call 206-543-5401.

Sponsors of this event include: UW Department of American Ethnic Studies, UW Nikkei Student Association, and the Japanese American Citizens League, Seattle and Lake Washington chapters.

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