Densho eNews - October

From the Director: Tom Ikeda

There are moments when large forces propel your story or message to large audiences. This is happening now with the PBS airing of the Ken Burns series The War. As I talk to groups, small and large, I realize that millions of Americans are learning from this documentary, some for the first time, what happened to Japanese Americans during World War II. I've received thanks for Densho's work from those who visit our website ( to learn more about the mass incarceration.

Another large force recently emerging is the federal government's willingness to fund preservation and education work on the detention facilities that held Japanese Americans. The National Park Service is visiting over a dozen cities in the next three weeks to gather public comments for Congress to consider in appropriating an authorized $38 million for national grants. This planning phase is a tremendous opportunity for community organizations to learn more about the grant program, and to plan projects that will educate and inspire future generations. People who can't attend a listening session may send their comments directly through the NPS website given below. I will attend the sessions in San Jose, San Francisco, Sacramento, Los Angeles, Gardena, and San Diego. I hope to see you!

>> For more information about the NPS public meetings for the camps preservation grants

From the Archive

Lessons in Democracy: The Education of Japanese Americans

"It makes me a little teary-eyed because I think of the irony of learning the Pledge of Allegiance while being behind barbed wire fences."
   --May Sasaki

Nisei students, the U.S.-born children of Japanese immigrants, carried their parents' language and customs into the classroom but absorbed American values from lessons taught in school. Like other young Americans, they studied the principles of democracy and learned the rights of citizenship, rights denied to their Issei parents because of discriminatory laws.

>> Read more of this article

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Densho News

Sushi & Sake Fest Is Near

Take a moment now to purchase your tickets to the sixth annual Sushi & Sake Fest on October 30. This festive -- and delicious! -- event supports Densho's historical preservation and education work. Come sample a delectable array of sushi prepared by the finest sushi chefs in town, taste premium sake from various regions, and enjoy traditional and contemporary music and art while bidding on choice auction items. Please note you must be 21 years old to attend this event. Don't miss this exceptional event. We look forward to seeing you on October 30.

>> For more information and volunteer opportunities
>> Purchase tickets online

New Online Teacher Resources Offered

For elementary to high school teachers, Densho offers four innovative lessons examining constitutional issues raised by the Japanese American incarceration. Using primary sources from the Densho Digital Archive, the curricula relate this historical episode to contemporary debates over individual rights and national security. These lessons fulfill Washington State's new Classroom Based Assessments (CBAs) for social studies. Teachers may download the lessons from the Densho website or order free CDs from [email protected] Thank you to the Washington Civil Liberties Public Education Program for grants supporting these educational resources.

>> Download Densho's Civil Liberties Curriculum

Community Events

Courage Untold: Exhibit on Military Intelligence Service

The White River Valley Museum on October 10 opens the exhibit Courage Untold, telling the little-known story of the more than 6,000 Japanese American soldiers who served as interpreters in the Pacific and Europe during and after World War II. The exhibit features a re-created field interrogation site where museum visitors can hear the oral histories of MIS veterans, courtesy of Densho. On October 19, a panel of MIS veterans will discuss their military experience. The exhibit runs until January 21, 2008.

>> For more information

Art of Gaman: Detainee Creativity on Display

Art of Gaman, an exhibit of beautifully handcrafted furnishings and artworks created by Japanese Americans during World War II, is presented by the Oregon Historical Society in Portland from October 19 to January 4, 2008. The objects are selected from the publication The Art of Gaman: Arts and Crafts from the Japanese American Internment Camps, 1942-1946, by Delphine Hirasuna. These objects are imbued with the spirit of gaman, the dignified fortitude shown by Japanese Americans facing hardship and uncertainty.

>> For more information

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