Densho eNews - June

From the Director: Tom Ikeda

Keeping the World War II Japanese American incarceration story alive is important to the Japanese American community because it documents a disruptive event that still affects the community 70 years later. A couple of months ago the New York Times ran an article looking at the importance of knowing your family history. This article became the most emailed article for several days. In the article it said:

"The more children knew about their family's history, the stronger their sense of control over their lives, the higher their self-esteem and the more successfully they believed their families functioned. [Knowing about family history] turned out to be the best single predictor of children's emotional health and happiness."

--The Stories that Bind Us, NYT 3/15/2013

For many Japanese American families, their history is deeply intertwined with the mass removal and incarceration during World War II. The stories of the struggle of the Issei, the emerging success of the community, the setback of World War II, and the perseverance during resettlement and redress are powerful stories that give the Japanese American community a strong, unique identity. Densho's mission is to preserve and keep these stories alive for future generations.

From the Blog

Controlling the Historical Record: Photographs of the Japanese American Incarceration

This blog post examines photographs taken during World War II, and compares the work of photographers Dorothea Lange and Ansel Adams.

>> Read Densho's blog

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Archive Spotlight

Mo Nishida: A Frightening Encounter in Camp

Mo Nishida describes a childhood memory in the Santa Anita Assembly Center, California, which led to his mother's nervous breakdown. Mo Nishida's full interview is available in the Densho Digital Archive.

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

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Densho News

Teaching the Teachers in Portland

On Saturday, May 18th in Portland, Oregon, Densho and the Oregon Nikkei Endowment (O.N.E.) trained over 40 enthusiastic teachers. A special treat during this workshop was a lunch presentation by Homer Yasui, the brother of Min Yasui, who challenged the curfew for Japanese Americans during World War II. Funding for the workshop was provided, in part, by a grant from the Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program, administered by the National Park Service, and the Teaching with Primary Sources Program of the Library of Congress. Densho's next teacher training workshop is scheduled for September 14, 2013, in Honolulu in partnership with the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai'i.

>> For more information or to register for the Honolulu workshop

Densho Hosts Digitization Workshop

On May 20th, Densho, in partnership with 4Culture, conducted a digitization workshop for heritage organizations. Representatives from 11 different King County organizations spent the day at Densho learning how Densho scans, catalogues, and displays historic photographs and documents.

Thank you for GiveBIG

Last month, over $5,000 was donated online to Densho during the Seattle Foundation's GiveBIG campaign. We anticipate another $480, or about 9% of the amount raised, will be received from the Seattle Foundation as part of their match. Thank you for the support!

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Community News and Events

Tule Lake Planning Meetings

Starting in June, the National Park Service will host public meetings in California, Oregon, Washington, and online to help the NPS create a general management plan for the Tule Lake concentration camp. As a new unit, there is no comprehensive plan for Tule Lake, and the National Park Service faces many issues and challenges for its future management. The most overarching issues are how to interpret what occurred at Tule Lake and how to ensure that visitors have meaningful experiences at Tule Lake tied to its history.

>> For more information

Kickstarter Campaign for May Namba Documentary

Artist Emily Momohara is creating a film documentary about May Namba's life when she was forced to resign from her job as a clerk in the Seattle School District because of her Japanese ancestry during World War II. Parents at the school believed that May might poison the students in loyalty to Japan. In the 1980s, May became a spokesperson for the group of Seattle clerks who were forced to resign. She and others demanded and successfully received an apology and redress from the Seattle Public Schools.

>> View the Kickstarter page

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