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Seventy five years ago, Executive Order 9066 led to the uprooting and imprisonment of 120,000 people for the sole “crime” of their Japanese ancestry. Densho Executive Director, Tom Ikeda, discusses how Executive Order 9066 impacted Seattle-area Japanese Americans and the work Densho does to preserve that history. In light of the current political environment, Ikeda touches upon World War II incarceration and what Japanese Americans are doing to ensure the injustices they suffered in the past are never repeated.
Tom Ikeda is the founding Executive Director of Densho. He is a sansei (third generation Japanese American) who was born and raised in Seattle. Tom’s parents and grandparents were incarcerated during World War II at Minidoka, Idaho. In addition to leading the organization over the last 15 years, Tom has conducted over 200 video-recorded, oral history interviews with Japanese Americans. Prior to working at Densho, Tom was a General Manager at Microsoft Corporation in the Multimedia Publishing Group. Tom also worked as a research engineer developing hemodializers (artificial kidneys) with Cordis Dow Corporation and as a financial analyst at the Weyerhaeuser Company. He graduated from the University of Washington with a BS in Chemical Engineering, BA in Chemistry, and an MBA. He has received numerous awards for his historical contributions, including the Humanities Washington Award for outstanding achievement in the public humanities, the National JACL Japanese American of the Biennium award for Education, and the Microsoft Alumni Fellows Award.