Densho eNews - August

From the Director: Tom Ikeda

Over the last 15 years I've conducted 200 oral history interviews about the World War II Japanese American experience and I am continually amazed by how much I keep learning. For example, we recently interviewed several Japanese Americans who were living in Japan when World War II started. I've listened to men tell stories of being conscripted into the Japanese army, another story about a young Japanese American volunteering to be a kamikaze navy pilot, and a couple of individuals who described the horror of the atomic bomb blast in Hiroshima. Each story is unique and reinforces the complexity and diversity of the Japanese American experience. One of our goals at Densho is to capture and preserve the wide range of stories that come from the Japanese American community.

Densho will be conducting 60 more interviews in the next year. Please contact me at [email protected] if you know of someone we should interview.

Archive Spotlight

Jack Dairiki: Witnessing the atomic bombing of Hiroshima

Jack Dairiki was born in Sacramento, California, but went to Japan with his father in 1941. He was unable to return to the U.S. because of the onset of World War II, and was attending school in Hiroshima when the atomic bomb was dropped. In this clip, he describes the chaos in the city in the aftermath of the bombing.

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

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Densho News

202 Interviews Conducted with Manzanar National Historic Site

Four years ago Densho and the Manzanar National Historic Site (MANZ-National Park Service) started an important partnership to document the personal stories of the Japanese American experience. We agreed to jointly conduct and share video interviews, with Densho responsible for transcribing, web-hosting, and creating DVDs of the interviews from this partnership. During these four years, MANZ conducted 96 interviews and Densho conducted 106 interviews with a total of 156 interviews currently available on the Densho website.

>> Learn more about the Manzanar National Historic Site

Bay Area Interview Project Complete

Last month Densho web-published twenty new oral history interviews of Japanese Americans from the San Francisco Bay Area. The theme of these video-recorded, transcribed, and web-hosted interviews was "Stories Less Told." Funding for these interviews was provided by a grant from the California State Library through the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program, and by the Department of the Interior, National Park Service.

>> For more information about the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program

Education Program Update

Although school is out for the summer, Densho is working with some dedicated teachers on their break to create a training program for classroom teachers. A focus for our educational program that has emerged from these discussions is that "it is through critical thought, and meaningful deliberation that we make sound and reasoned decisions that uphold our democratic ideals, even in times of crisis." Please email Tom Ikeda at [email protected] if you have any feedback about Densho's education focus. This work is supported by a grant from the Heritage Cultural Education program of 4Culture.

>> Learn more about 4Culture

Interested in Volunteering or being a Table Captain at the Sushi & Sake Gala?

Densho will be holding an "after-work" party for Sushi & Sake Gala volunteers and table captains on Tuesday, August 23, 2011 from 5-7pm at the Densho office (1416 S Jackson Street, Seattle). Complimentary light appetizers and beverages will be provided, and for entertainment we will have a live painting performance by BOSSHIKO, a visiting guest artist from Japan who has performed at previous Sushi & Sake events. Please contact Naoko Magasis at [email protected] to RSVP for the after-work party. The Sushi & Sake Gala will be held on November 10, 2011, at the Sheraton Seattle Hotel.

>> Visit the Sushi & Sake Gala website

National News and Events

Bainbridge Island Memorial Wall Dedication

The Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial Association will be holding a public ceremony on Saturday, August 6th from 10:00 - 11:30 a.m. to celebrate the completion of the Memorial Wall. The memorial is built on the historic Eagledale Ferry Dock site where the first Japanese Americans were assembled and forcibly removed to the Manzanar concentration camp in 1942.

>> For more information

Award-winning "Conscience and the Constitution" returns as Two-Disc Collector's Edition DVD

A decade after its national debut on public television, the award-winning Conscience and the Constitution has returned as a Two-Disc Collector's Edition DVD with two hours of bonus features on the largest organized resistance to the wartime incarceration of Japanese Americans. The new DVD contains remastered outtakes from the film, and expansions of interviews with resistance leaders Frank Emi and Sam Horino, crusading journalist James Omura, wartime JACL leader Mike Masaoka, and others. The package also features the actor Mako singing the "Song of Cheyenne," Masaoka delivering a public rebuttal to his critics, and an original featurette, "The JACL Apologizes."

>> For more information

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