Densho eNews - March

From the Director: Tom Ikeda

I am looking forward to my visit later this month to the Manzanar National Historic Site where I will be giving an interviewer training workshop with the National Park Service. This will be my first visit to Manzanar and I anticipate that it will be emotional, similar to my pilgrimages to Tule Lake and Minidoka. There is something very powerful about walking in the same place where so many Japanese Americans were confined during the war. The stories just seem more meaningful when you feel the wind chill your spine and whip dust across your face.

This month's feature article highlights a collection of letters written by an issei leader who was incarcerated in U.S. Army and Department of Justice internment camps. The excellent article was written by Densho staff member Megan Asaka. This is Megan's last article for us as she has accepted a position to work with a renewable energy company. Thank you Megan for your great work, and good luck with your new job!

From the Archive

The Genji Mihara Letters

"Thank GOD I am very well... No one knows how long we stay here. Also we don't know nothing about outside" (December 12, 1941).
"The war trouble brewing in many different way. You are fragile but please be bright and lively. You know I praying morning and nights. Please good care yourself" (March 18, 1942).

Densho recently digitized over one hundred letters written by an issei (Japanese immigrant) man, Genji Mihara, to his wife during the World War II incarceration. Genji, an accomplished poet and leader of the Japanese American community, was arrested immediately following the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 and imprisoned in various detention sites around the country. Separated from his family for years, Genji's eloquent words often reflect a sense of longing for home and family, bringing to life a forgotten voice of the incarceration experience.

>> Read more of this article

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Densho News

Washington Social Studies Leadership Retreat

Densho will present two sessions to teachers at the upcoming Social Studies Leadership Retreat at Lake Chelan, Washington on March 9-11, 2007. The first session is "Constitutional Issues: Civil Liberties during War" a town meeting simulation. The second session is "Digging Deeper: Exploring the War Relocation Authority Camps through Photographs and Newspapers." This three-day retreat is designed to help social studies educators in the state of Washington.

>> More information from the WSCSS

Presentation in Los Angeles

Tom Ikeda will demonstrate Densho's innovative website in Los Angeles on Tuesday, March 13, 2007 at 1pm and 7 pm at the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy. He will describe how Densho was started and how it has thrived the last ten years. He will also demonstrate Densho's website where you can read every edition of the 10 War Relocation Authority camp newspapers, view thousands of photographs taken in the camps, and watch hundreds of videotaped interviews of people who were incarcerated in the camps. This free event is open to the public and is co-hosted by Densho and the Japanese American National Museum.

>> More information from the NCPD

Interviewer Training at Manzanar

Tom Ikeda will conduct a free interviewer training workshop at the Manzanar National Historic Site on March 15-16, 2007. This workshop will go through the Densho method of interviewing and is designed for individuals who want to conduct videotaped interviews. For more information and to register for the workshop, contact Alisa Lynch at [email protected]

>> More information from Manzanar

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Donor Spotlight

Roger Daniels Collection

Professor Roger Daniels, renowned historian and scholar of Asian American history, recently donated 481 books, government publications, journals and videos to Densho. Included in this impressive collection are rare out-of-print titles, first edition classics and many modern books and journals covering a wide range of topics in Asian American studies.

>> See the contents of the collection at LibraryThing

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