From the Director: Tom Ikeda
As a life-long learner of Japanese American history I am continually surprised and intrigued by the many ways the World War II experiences of Japanese Americans remain relevant to current issues. For example, Professor Greg Robinson recently wrote an excellent article about how there was a movement during World War II to take away the birthright citizenship of the Nisei (second-generation Japanese Americans.) The Native Sons of the Golden West acted soon after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and brought a lawsuit challenging the voting rights and U.S. citizenship of Nisei.
Fortunately the JACL, ACLU, and the NAACP challenged the lawsuit and stopped this action. This unprecedented collaborative effort came about to counter a racist argument. In the brief submitted by the Native Sons' lawyer, he stated: "Dishonesty, deceit and hypocrisy are racial characteristics [of all Japanese]" while making the case that the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were written entirely "by and for white people." The ACLU and NAACP recognized that although the lawsuit was targeted at Japanese Americans, the intent was to do the same with other Asian Americans, Native Americans, and African Americans. This threat to our country's democratic principles helped bring the ACLU, NAACP, and JACL together on this effort.
Today, I believe our country is again threatened by lies, hate, and distortion of fact. For examples, see this article written by Timothy Egan of the New York Times. It is time to step up efforts for knowledge and understanding. Let me know at [email protected] how we can work together to make this happen.
Fundraiser help: At Densho we have only one annual fundraising event. Please contact me if you will be a table captain at the November 10th Sushi & Sake Gala (see below). The role of Table captains is to reach out to friends, family, and colleagues to help fill a table or half-table. Thank you for your support!
From the Archive
Real Friends: Standing by the Japanese Americans
"Everywhere there is community feeling to be mended, vicious legislation to be defeated, many urgent jobs calling for attention from real friends of the real America."
-- Letter from Friends of the American Way
Whether through principle or personal attachment, true friends of Japanese Americans did not abandon them after the attack on Pearl Harbor, when in public perception they were suddenly equated with the enemy. Interviews and documents preserved in the Densho digital archive give poignant testimony to the consolation that Japanese Americans felt when schoolmates, neighbors, and customers stood by them in spring 1942 and during their years of incarceration. Less cheering are the stories of long-time acquaintances turning their backs on Japanese American families when they most needed moral and financial support. While there is ample documentation of opportunistic Caucasians taking advantage of a population forced to "evacuate" at a week's notice, Nisei interviewees also remember incidents of selflessness that help offset stories of self-interest.
>> Read more of this article
Love and Caring: Fred Hoshiyama, YMCA Leader
Fred Hoshiyama was born in 1914 in Livingston, California, where his parents helped to establish a farming community called the Yamato Colony. At the age of eight, he lost his father and had to help his mother on their "dirt farm." He was attending University of California, Berkeley, when Pearl Harbor was bombed. At the Tanforan Assembly Center, California, and the Topaz incarceration camp, Utah, Fred organized YMCA programs for the young people. His work in camp was a prelude to a lifetime career with the YMCA. Most notably, he developed NYPUM (National Youth Program Using Mini-Bikes), a program aimed at engaging high-risk youth in productive activities. In his interview excerpt, Fred describes how social differences were equalized in the incarceration camps. This interview was funded in part by a grant from the Department of Interior, National Park Service.
>> View the interview excerpt
>> See other Archive Spotlights
>> Register for the free Densho Digital Archive
To apply for the job opening listed below, please send your resume (Word, PDF, or Plain Text) and a cover letter describing your interest to [email protected] by Wednesday, September 15. All applications will be held in confidence. All submissions and questions should be sent via email - please no phone inquiries.
Fund Development Specialist
We are looking for an organized, tech-savvy individual to manage Densho's contacts database and cultivate donors. This detail-oriented individual will maintain and increase the size and quality of mailing and email lists, assess the impact of Densho's direct appeal mailings and email newsletters, manage general mailings, coordinate community outreach and fundraising events, and work with community volunteers. The ideal candidate will be comfortable learning new computer applications, work well under deadline, and is good with details and people. Must have experience working with databases and mail-merge programs as well as a working knowledge of Excel and other Office applications. Experience using Salesforce CRM software a plus. This is a part-time position.
>> For more information about Densho visit our website
Author Event: Photography and the Japanese American Incarceration
On Thursday, September 23, at 6:00 p.m., at Seattle's Elliott Bay Book Company, Jasmine Alinder will speak about her book Moving Images: Photography and the Japanese American Incarceration. Moving Images examines the work of Dorothea Lange, hired by the government to document the forced removal and "assembly centers"; Manzanar inmate Toyo Miyatake, who covertly constructed his own camera to document camp life; Ansel Adams, who attempted to counter negative war propaganda through his photographs of Manzanar; and contemporary artists Patrick Nagatani and Masumi Hayashi, who revisit the former camps to help bridge intergenerational divides. Alinder investigates why the photographs were made, how they were meant to function, and how they have been reproduced and interpreted subsequently by the popular press and museums in constructing versions of public history. Jasmine Alinder is an assistant professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The event is free and open to the public. The event will conclude with book sales and signing.
>> Read more about the event
>> Read about the book
>> Visit the Elliott Bay Book Company website
Collaboration with Brian Niiya and the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii
Densho is pleased to announce a new collaboration with the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii (JCCH), Honolulu. For the next two years, Brian Niiya, Director of Program & Development for the JCCH, will work on a half-time basis so that he can also serve as the editor of Densho's new online encyclopedia, a project funded by a federal grant from the Japanese American Confinement Sites program. Brian brings a wealth of knowledge and experience as the editor of the Encyclopedia of Japanese American History published by Facts On File, under the auspices of the Japanese American National Museum. We are excited about this collaboration with our friends at the JCCH and having Brian join the Densho team!
>> Learn about the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii
Sushi & Sake Gala-Last Chance for Early Bird Price!
Densho's popular annual fundraising event will be held on Wednesday, November 10, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., at a new location: the Seattle Sheraton Hotel. Please mark your calendar and join us for a festive evening featuring a sushi and sake reception, live music, and a silent auction. And for the first time, this year guests will enjoy a sit-down benefit dinner during which they can visit with friends and hear about Densho's mission. Tickets are available online, by phone, or by mail. September is the last chance to take advantage of the early bird price of $100. The price goes up to $150 after September 30. Talk to your family and friends to reserve 10 seats at a private table. Proceeds from the event will help Densho's education work, more important now than ever. Please visit the Sushi & Sake Gala website for more details. We look forward to welcoming you to the redesigned and expanded event!
>> Learn more about the Sushi & Sake Gala