Densho eNews - July

From the Director: Tom Ikeda

I am a proud University of Washington alumnus and so it was with deep disappointment when I opened page six of the June UW Alumni magazine, Columns, and saw that the editors highlighted a misinformed letter trying to justify the incarceration of Japanese American during World War II because of the threat of the Japanese military. The editors not only chose to include this letter, but took an excerpt from the letter and made it the most prominent feature on the two-page spread by using a large bold font. The headline excerpt included, "Perhaps it could have been handled differently. It wasn't. Get over it."

The letter also stated, "Over the years, a popular myth has developed in which an entirely innocent Japanese-American population was tossed into 'concentration camps in a fit of racist paranoia.'" This is not a myth. 110,000 Japanese Americans, two-thirds U.S. citizens and half under the age of 18, were placed in concentration camps because of their Japanese ancestry and were not given trials. This action was taken even though no Japanese American was convicted or found guilty of spying or sabotage during WWII.

So contrary to what the letter in Columns suggests, it is important that we don't just "get over it." Keeping this story alive helps us value our freedoms and should remind us of the words of philosopher George Santayana: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

>> Read the issue of Columns

Archive Spotlight

Shosuke Sasaki: "Escape" from Camp

Shosuke Sasaki was incarcerated at the Minidoka concentration camp, Idaho, during World War II. In this clip, he remembers a humorous incident in which he cut through the camp's barbed wire fence. Shosuke Sasaki's full interview is available in the Densho Digital Archive.

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

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Densho News

From Densho's Encyclopedia: Loni Ding Films

We recently published two articles in the Densho Encyclopedia on the subject of acclaimed filmmaker Loni Ding and her two landmark films on Japanese Americans in the military, Nisei Soldier: Standard Bearer for an Exiled People (1983) and The Color of Honor: The Japanese American Soldier in World War II (1987). Though there are many films that explore aspects of this story today, it was a different story when Ding began work on these films 30+ years ago, and her films set the template for later treatment of the topic and were both inspired by and contributed to the ongoing movement for redress and reparations. See Densho Content Director Brian Niiya's blog post on the significance of these films.

Funding for the encyclopedia was provided, in part, by a grant from the Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program. The encyclopedia will expand to over 1,000 articles when completed in the fall of this year.

>> View blog post: Loni Ding Collection
>> Read the Densho Encyclopedia article on Nisei Soldier
>> Read the Densho Encyclopedia article on The Color of Honor

2013 Densho Annual Report is Available Online

Our 2013 annual report is available online for viewing. The report reviews the highlights of 2013 and also provides a glimpse back at the years to 1996. The report also lists our 1300+ donors from 2013, an increase of 19% in the number of donors from 2011. Send your mailing address to [email protected] if you would like to receive a printed copy of the annual report.

>> For more information or to donate

Early Bird Tickets Available for October 1st Sushi & Sake Fest

Buy your tickets early and save! Densho's Sushi & Sake Fest will be held on Wednesday, October 1, 2014, at MOHAI at South Lake Union. This popular reception-style event is a fun way to enjoy great food and drink while seeing old friends and meeting new ones. Early-bird tickets for the first 250 ticket buyers will be sold for $100 each. When these tickets are gone, the price of a ticket will go to $150.

>> For more information
>> To buy tickets

Densho Issues RFP for Repository Storage

Densho has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for an enterprise network attached storage system to be used in conjunction with the enhanced Densho Digital Repository. Proposal submissions will be accepted via email until July 9, 2014, at 5pm PDT. Please see the RFP posted at Densho's website for additional information.

>> View the RFP

Support Densho during a Two Week Online Campaign

Donate $125 and receive the new award-winning film, Honor and Sacrifice, about the life of American hero Ranger Roy Matsumoto who used courage, his Japanese language skills and quick mind to save hundreds of American soldiers in the jungles of Burma during World War II. Or donate $20 and receive five custom-made first class postage stamps of a photograph from the Amache concentration camp. This online campaign ends on July 18th.

>> For more information or to donate

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Community News and Events

Art of Gaman Opening at Bellevue Arts Museum

The Art of Gaman showcases more than 120 artifacts made by Japanese Americans while incarcerated in camps during World War II. It explores creativity and ingenuity, as well as the Japanese concept of gaman, "to endure the seemingly unbearable with patience and dignity." Works, ranging from tools, everyday objects, woodcarvings, paintings, furniture, toys, and more, are presented with historical context through photographs, documents, and films. The exhibit is on display from July 3 - October 12, 2014.

>> For more information

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