What Does An American Look Like?


What does an American look like?

Anyone can recite the constitution.

Living up to it? (That’s something else.)

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the United States went to war against Japan.

But our government also imagined an enemy within.

In one stroke, 110,000 innocent Japanese Americans were incarcerated.

“Better Safe than Sorry,” replaced ‘due process under law’.

‘Military necessity’ trumped ‘equal protection’.

Our American ideals were discarded, when they were needed most.

How did it happen?

What does an American look like?

These are question for history, and for today. 

Densho is a grassroots organization dedicated to preserving, educating, and sharing the story of World War II-era incarceration of Japanese Americans in order to deepen understandings of American history and inspire action for equity.

Densho is a Japanese term meaning “to pass on to the next generation,” or to leave a legacy. The legacy we offer is an American story with ongoing relevance: during World War II, the United States government incarcerated innocent people solely because of their ancestry. Learn more at densho.org!