About the Encyclopedia


The Densho Encyclopedia is a free and publicly accessible website that provides concise, accurate, and balanced information on many aspects of the Japanese American story during World War II. It is designed and written for a non-specialist audience that includes high school and college students and instructors, multiple generations of Nikkei community members, confinement sites preservation groups, amateur and professional historians, librarians, journalists, documentarians, and the general public.

The encyclopedia is thoroughly cross indexed and articles are linked to relevant primary and secondary materials from the Densho archives and from other websites that include still and moving images, documents, databases, and oral history interview excerpts as well as standard bibliographical sources. As much as is possible, the content of the encyclopedia is published under Creative Commons licensing to make educational reuse and sharing simple. The design is optimized for access from handheld devices that use Apple iOS and Google Android operating systems.

The editor of the encyclopedia is Brian Niiya, director of content at Densho. Niiya has previously served as the editor of the Encyclopedia of Japanese American History: An A-to-Z Reference [ link ], published in 2000. The blue ribbon advisory committee for the first phase (positions listed are as of that time) consisted of Eiichiro Azuma, the Alan Charles Kors Term Associate Professor of History and Asian American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania; Roger Daniels, Charles Phelps Taft Professor of History Emeritus in the University of Cincinnati; Lane Hirabayashi, George and Sakaye Aratani Professor in Japanese American Redress, Internment and Community and chair of the Asian American Studies Department at UCLA; Tetsuden Kashima, professor, American Ethnic Studies, University of Washington; Franklin Odo, former director of the Asian Pacific American Program at the Smithsonian Institution; and Greg Robinson, Professor of History at l'Université du Québec À Montréal, who also serves as associate editor.

This first two year phase resulted in an encyclopedia containing approximately 360 articles that went online in the fall of 2012. A second phase that brought the article count to over 1,000 went online in 2015. In 2017, the Densho Resource Guide to Media on the Japanese American Removal and Incarceration went online. Additional articles and features will continue to be added.

Using and Citing

Support and Funding

Funding for the Densho Encyclopedia is being provided by grants from the Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program , administered by the National Park Service and by the California State Library through the California Civil Liberties Public Education Fund .

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This material is based upon work assisted by a grant from the Department of the Interior, National Park Service. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of the Interior.

Funding for this article was also provided by a grant from the California State Library through the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program.

Writing and Contributing

The encyclopedia is still a work-in-progress, and we are interested in your suggestions and ideas. The initial list of entries is being developed and vetted by an expert advisory panel; however, over the coming months we will ask for your feedback on usability, content and style. Please stay tuned!

We are also currently seeking individuals who are interested in writing articles for the encyclopedia. See, For Contributors, to find more information on the format and content of the articles, and how to become a contributor.

Last updated Nov. 28, 2023, 7:07 p.m..