Thursday, August 27, 2009

Homecoming for Heroes: Veterans Gala in Houston

The National Japanese American Memorial Foundation asks Densho to spread the word about the "Homecoming for Heroes" gala on November 1. The event honors Nisei and Texan veterans whose lives intertwined in 1944 when the 442nd Regimental Combat Team rescued 275 men from the Texas National Guard who were trapped by the Germans. The 442nd suffered tremendous casualities in fighting to save the Lost Battalion. Read about the event here.

NJAMF extends this invitation to veterans of the famous battle:
"This year marks the 65th Anniversary of the rescuing of the Texas 141st Regiment’s “Lost Battalion” by the Nikkei 442nd Regimental Combat Team in the Vosges Mountain of France. The National Japanese American Memorial Foundation and the Host Committee of the “Homecoming for Heroes” would like to invite you and a guest to be our special honoree at a dinner on November 1 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Houston, Texas. We will also host a brunch the following morning, November 2. Each veteran and his one guest will receive complimentary tickets to the Sunday VIP Reception and dinner and Monday brunch. Our current funding allows us to provide additional travel support for up to 50 veterans and their guests on a first come first serve basis."

For more information go to or call 202-530-0015.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Summer Days

On a warm August afternoon, in the time-honored tradition of the summer rerun, we thought we'd share some of our favorite "From the Archive" articles that are available on our website. These monthly articles feature photos, documents, and interview clips from Densho's wealth of primary resources in the free Digital Archive.

One "From the Archive" article on photography by Ansel Adams and Dorothea Lange inspired a student activity in a curriculum unit we share with teachers. We hope you enjoy reading "Controlling the Historical Record: Photographs of the Japanese American Incarceration."

Friday, August 14, 2009

Tragedy and Lessons: Listen Online

Twitter told us about an excellent lecture by law professor Eric Muller called "The Constitution in Wartime: The Tragedy and the Lessons of the Japanese American Internment of World War II."

Professor Muller describes the dominant racial attitudes that permitted the mass incarceration of an immigrant group, and he points out our propensity today to equate "otherness" with danger. You can listen to a recording of the talk on, a North Carolina nonprofit. The lecture is part of a four-part series, "We the People: Democracy in America."

Densho presented an event with Eric Muller upon publication of his most recent book: American Inquisition: The Hunt for Japanese American Disloyalty in World War II. You can listen to that talk here.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Justice Watch

Judges are in the news. On the same day, we read that U.S. Federal Judge Robert Takasugi has passed away and learn that President Obama--on the heels of Sonya Sotomayor's Supreme Court appointment-- has nominated five new federal judges, including three Asian Americans to California courts.

Judge Takasugi's obituary tells how he was taken from his home in Tacoma, Washington, and sent to Tule Lake at the age of 11 (photo: Gary Miyatake/Associated Press). His father died in camp. He called his experience as a "prisoner of war imprisoned in an American-style concentration camp" an "education to be fair." Takasugi was one of the first Japanese Americans to be appointed to the federal bench. More details of his career are here. Among other notable rulings is his post 9/11 dismissal of terrorist charges against an Iranian group for lack of due process of law. The decision invalidated part of the Patriot Act.

On August 7, Obama nominated Edward Chen and Dolly Gee to be federal district judges in California. If confirmed, Gee would become the first Asian-American woman on the district court in central California and Chen would become the first Asian-American federal district court judge in the San Francisco area. On July 31, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Jacqueline H. Nguyen was nominated to the U.S. District Court of central California.

I had the honor of meeting Judge Takasugi a few years ago at a Tule Lake Pilgrimage. He impressed me as a champion of diversity and individual justice. We can be confident the latest court nominations would have pleased him.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Floating Lanterns and Folded Cranes

Today, August 6, the world remembers the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. On the north shore of Green Lake in Seattle, volunteers hold the commemorative ceremony "From Hiroshima to Hope," a hauntingly beautiful lantern-floating ritual in remembrance of the victims at Hiroshima and Nagasaki and all victims of war and violence. More information: (photo courtesy of Wing Luke Asian Museum). Come fold a crane and float a lantern for peace.