Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Loni Ding Collection

We are very pleased to have recently received a collection from the family of acclaimed filmmaker Loni Ding of the raw materials used to make her influential documentaries Nisei Soldier: Standard Bearer for an Exiled People (1983) and The Color of Honor: The Japanese American Soldier in WW II (1987). The large collection includes 738 pieces of media and will be processed over time and added to the Densho Digital Repository.

These two films are among the earliest, most decorated, and most influential cinematic accounts of the Japanese American World War II experience. A sociologist, television producer, and independent filmmaker based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Ding was inspired to do the film after attending the hearings of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC) in 1981. Supported by grants from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the California Public Broadcasting Commission, California Council for the Humanities, Washington Council for the Humanities, and National Endowment for the Humanities, Ding embarked on what would become a five plus year project.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Yuri Kochiyama: Changing Perspectives on Racism and Prejudice

Civil rights activist Yuri Kochiyama was working for a USO office in Mississippi in 1944. Later, while working at a restaurant in New York, she talked to her black co-workers and became more aware of the racist climate facing African Americans. Yuri Kochiyama's full interview is available in the Densho Digital Archive.

View the Archive Spotlight interview excerpt

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

New Densho Encyclopedia Articles, May 17 to June 2

One of the often repeated stories that Sansei who grew up the '50s and '60s tell is of learning about the wartime removal and incarceration of their families during World War II in college or through reading a book or seeing a documentary film—and not by hearing about it from parents or other family members. Perhaps as a result, many of us have redoubled efforts to tell this story to children, whether our own or to groups of children in schools or on field trips. One of the tools we have to do this are books for children and young adults. Once few in number, we have seen a tremendous upsurge in titles on the incarceration, such that even those of us who pay attention to this subject can lose track.

Over the past year or so, Jan Kamiya, a young adult librarian here in Honolulu, has been reading the dozens of new and old children's books on some aspect of the incarceration story and has produced an excellent encyclopedia article on these books: Children's and young adults' books on incarceration. In addition to the narrative overview in the article, she has also worked to create as comprehensive a list of children's/young adult books as possible, divided into several categories. (There is one category of books that is missing, at least for now: the many that are published outside of mainstream publishing houses, a group Jan is calling the independent/e-book/self-published category. We'll be adding list of these books to the article later on.)

If you are at all interested in these books, take a look at the article and list. Are there any other books you know about that are missing? Jan will be adding separate articles that include more information on many of these books in the weeks to come.

Other newly added articles address other legacies of the camps, starting with one of the most popular fictional accounts of the incarceration, Jamie Ford's novel The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. The Nisei Student Relocation Commemorative Fund is an organization formed by Nisei who were able to leave camp and go to college with the help of many good samaritans and who have chosen to honor their benefactors by helping young people today. Adding to his contributions on key postwar legal cases, Greg Robinson writes about Oyama v. California, the Supreme Court case that effectively ended the power of the alien land laws. Finally, we've added two new articles by UC Berkeley Ph.D. student Jeffrey Yamashita on Fort Snelling, the second home of the Military Intelligence Service Language School, and on Frank "Foo" Fujita, a Nisei soldier who was a prisoner of war of the Japanese Imperial Army.