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Densho Dinner

Tom Ikeda, founder and executive director of Densho making a welcome speech

By Misa Murohashi,

This year, Densho’s beloved “Sushi & Sake Fest” was reorganized as a sitdown dinner and live auction at Seattle Design Center. Hundreds of attendees joined the new “Densho Dinner” on November 18th, enjoying the annual fundraising celebration of Densho’s engagement preserving and communicating the Japanese American stories from World War II.

On stage, Emmy-winning filmmaker Tani Ikeda shared her childhood stories listening to Japanese American experiences at the family dinner table from her father Tom Ikeda, founder and executive director of Densho. She shared a birthday wish to her grandfather, who was incarcerated at Minidoka. She touchigly told people her fond memories of spending time with him and what she learned from him. These included bittersweet reminders to guests as to what their country ignorantly did to someone she admires and loves.

Keynote speaker was Megan Ming Francis, Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Washington. Francis was raised by a Chinese mother who immigrated to Seattle as a refugee. She shared stories of people in Afghanistan who missed opportunities immigrating to the United States after Trump’s Muslim ban. Francis recalled this year’s Densho dinner theme “Never Again.”

Densho successfully raised about $129,000 with the dinner. The Oki foundation with Scott Oki and his family matched every dollar raised for the evening.