Densho eNews - October

From the Director: Tom Ikeda

Densho has a great opportunity that needs your help. The Tateuchi Foundation has generously pledged a matching grant this fall for every dollar we raise up to $50,000 to help us capture more stories about the Japanese American World War II incarceration. This amount will then be tripled with a $2 for $1 challenge grant from the National Park Service. In other words, a $1 dollar donation from you gives Densho $6 in benefit! Please do not put this off and give now on a secure online server or mail a check: Densho, 1416 S Jackson, Seattle, WA 98144. Donations to Densho are tax deductible.

The $300,000 from this campaign will be used in the next two years to video record, transcribe and publish 140 interviews of Japanese American elders from different parts of the country. These new interviews will be added to the 438 interviews currently available from our online visual history collection - the most diverse, comprehensive collection about the World War II Japanese American experience available. We share these compelling stories for educational use through websites, TV, films, curricula, and books.

For the last 15 years Densho has worked to preserve and share what happened to the Japanese American community during World War II. The stories of our Japanese American elders move and inspire, and we are excitedly looking at the many opportunities to share these stories more widely. This would not be possible without your support. Thank you!

Featured Article

Japanese American Incarceration Reconsidered: 1941-2010 by Roger Daniels

This month's featured article is the text of a Jefferson Memorial Lecture delivered by Professor Roger Daniels at the University of California, Berkeley, on September 14, 2010. The lecture examines and analyzes the changing place of the World War II incarceration of the Japanese Americans of the West Coast in American culture. Roger Daniels, Charles Phelps Taft Professor Emeritus of History, University of Cincinnati, is a leading historian of the World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans and has written widely on immigration and issues of immigration policy. A footnoted version with be published in a forthcoming issue of the Asian American Law Journal.

>> Download a PDF of the lecture

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Archive Spotlight

Frank H. Hirata: A Nisei in the Japanese Army

Densho recently interviewed Frank H. Hirata, a Kibei-Nisei from Spokane, Washington. At the age of ten, Frank was sent to live with his grandfather in Japan. During World War II, he was conscripted into the Japanese army, and was still in training when the war ended. Despite his early life in the United States, Frank became fully indoctrinated into the Japanese educational system, at one point believing himself "brainwashed," never questioning the anti-U.S. propaganda he was exposed to in Japan. It was only after the war, during the U.S. occupation of Japan, that he began to change his view of Americans after working with U.S. soldiers. In an excerpt from his interview, Frank recalls when this change in attitude occurred for him.

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

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Densho News

Successful Three-Year Oral History Partnership with Manzanar National Historic Site

Three years ago Densho and the Manzanar National Historic Site (U.S. National Park Service) embarked on an ambitious partnership to preserve and share the stories of the World War II Japanese American experience by conducting and preserving 150 video recorded interviews, transcribing 100 interviews, and web-hosting 75 interviews. Both organizations had to stretch, learn, and collaborate in new ways for this partnership to succeed. At the end of three years, the partnership surpassed all goals with 169 new interviews, 118 transcribed interviews, and 106 web-hosted interviews. This successful partnership continues as more interviews will be conducted and all interviews will eventually be web-hosted for viewing. Thank you to the Manzanar National Historic Site and in particular to NPS staffers Alisa Lynch, Richard Potashin, and Kirk Peterson for helping to make this partnership work.

>> Learn more about the Manzanar National Historic Site

Densho and Seattle Teachers Working Together with Updated Curriculum

Over the next two months Densho will present two professional development workshops with the same 40 Seattle Public Schools teachers who will be learning and using an updated curriculum on the use of primary source materials to investigate what happened to Japanese Americans during World War II. Participating teachers will receive a teacher resource CD including lessons aligned to state standards, tips, tools and primary source materials. This professional development opportunity is provided by the Seattle Public Schools and Densho with funding from the 4Culture Heritage Education Grant and a grant from the Minidoka National Historic Site of the National Park Service.

>> Learn more about 4Culture

Japanese American History Website in Nihongo

From November 3-7, the Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS) will be airing in Japan an 11 hour, 5 day television drama about the Japanese American story. It is expected that over 10 million Japanese people will view this mini-series. Densho decided to create a new Japanese language website to help Japanese viewers of the mini-series to better understand the Japanese American experience. A beta version of this website is now available at Please take a look and forward the web address to Japanese-speaking friends. We would love to hear what you think. This website was made possible by a generous grant from the United States-Japan. Unfortunately we do not have information at this time on how to obtain copies of the actual TV program.

>> View the website
>> Learn more about the US-Japan Foundation

Sushi & Sake Gala: Volunteers Wanted

We are seeking volunteers for Densho's Sushi & Sake Gala. This year'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.

Volunteer positions include:
* setting up the event space
* helping sushi restaurants at their booths
* assisting guests at registration
* monitoring the silent auction
* assisting in the ballroom during dinner
* helping auction winners at check-out

The setup period is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (even a few hours would be greatly appreciated), and the event is from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

If you are interested in volunteering, please fill out the volunteer form and send it back to Densho via email at [email protected] or by fax at 206-320-0098.

>> Download the volunteer form
>> Learn more about the Sushi & Sake Gala

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National News and Events

Minidoka National Historic Site Threatened by Cattle Feedlot

In August, the Idaho 5th District Court ruled in favor of developers who want to build a 13,000 animal Confined Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) about a mile away from the Minidoka National Historic Site. Building this CAFO so close to the historical site will have a devastating impact on any further development. The Friends of Minidoka is raising funds to help with legal fees to challenge this ruling.

>> Visit the Friends of Minidoka website

January 30th is Fred Korematsu Day in California

California Governor Schwarzenegger signed into law last month the Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution bill. In 1942 Korematsu was arrested and convicted of defying the government's order to leave the West Coast. He appealed his case all the way to the Supreme Court, where the Supreme Court ruled against him, arguing that the exclusion orders were justified due to "military necessity." In 1983, Korematsu's conviction was vacated in the U.S. District Court because key evidence was withheld by the government from the courts during the trials in the 1940s. In 1998, Korematsu received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, for standing up not only for his own rights, but for the civil rights of all.

>> More information

Japanese Canadian Experience Conference, Toronto, November 19-21

The Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre in Toronto is hosting a conference dedicated to preserving and sharing the Japanese Canadian history during World War II. The Japanese Canadian Experience Conference: Sharing Your Stories of the War Years will be held from November 19-21, 2010.

>> More information

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