Densho eNews - October

From the Director: Tom Ikeda

Last month we reached a big milestone on our website. We now have over 700 video interviews and their full text transcripts accessible from our digital archives. These testimonies from Japanese American elders provide rich life lessons to learn from. For example, four years ago in Denver, Bob Sakata shared how he picked himself up after the dual challenge of the tragic death of his father in an auto accident while Bob was driving and then a debilitating farm accident that left Bob hospitalized with burns for over a year.

Bob's story is just one of the struggles the Nisei faced before, during, and after World War II. But when I listen to these stories of struggle, what I also hear is the strength of the Japanese American community. It is a strength that sometimes divides the Japanese American community, but this strength from struggle also binds the community.

More than a hundred years ago tens of thousands of Japanese came to Hawai'i and the West Coast to face the harsh life of being an immigrant in America. These individuals faced language barriers and discrimination as they eked out a living and established families and growing communities. World War II devastated the Japanese American community as members were put under a hostile watch in Hawai'i and on the West Coast they were removed from their homes and incarcerated. From these struggles came strength in the 1980s to work together to fight against this injustice as many challenged themselves to engage the courts, Congress, the President, and most importantly, public opinion by sharing their painful personal stories so that the truth would be known, leading to the redress movement and Civil Liberties Act of 1988.

Densho has a YouTube channel with dozens of highlighted video clips for you to browse. Take a look and let me know what you think at [email protected].

Archive Spotlight

Kara Kondo: Singing Christmas Carols to a Camp Guard

Kara Kondo recalls Christmas in the Heart Mountain concentration camp and singing carols underneath a guard tower. Kara's full interview is available in the Densho Digital Archive, and this clip is also featured in the article on Heart Mountain in Densho's new online encyclopedia of the Japanese American experience.

>> View the interview excerpt
>> Register for the free Densho Digital Archive
>> Read the Densho Encyclopedia article on Heart Mountain

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Densho News

Teacher Training Workshops in Los Angeles and Seattle

Densho is presenting a teacher training workshop in Los Angeles on Saturday, October 27th and another workshop in Seattle on Thursday, November 15th. These workshops will use materials about the World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans to examine how to use primary sources in the classroom. The workshops will be led by Executive Director Tom Ikeda and Education Consultant Janet Hayakawa. Participants will receive a $100 stipend upon successful completion of the workshop. You can get more information online about the workshops and how to register. Funding for these workshops is provided in part by the Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program, administered by the National Park Service.

>> For more information

Sushi & Sake Gala Hiatus

Densho is taking a one-year break from hosting its annual Sushi & Sake Gala. We are going to miss seeing hundreds of familiar faces during this fun friendraising event, but with a very busy fall schedule creating new online products (encyclopedia, new digital repository, new teacher resources, etc.) we decided we had a little too much on our plate. We look forward to seeing you next year at this event!

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