Explore Resources:

During World War II, more than 125,000 individuals of Japanese ancestry living in the continental U.S. or Hawai`i were held without trial in a complex network of detention sites throughout the U.S. Over half of those imprisoned were U.S. citizens. Over 2,000 Japanese Latin Americans were also involuntarily brought to the U.S. and held in detention camps.

Forty years later, the U.S. government determined that the incarceration was wrong and President Ronald Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988. While many of the physical sites have faded into the landscape, their history serves as a reminder of the fragility of our democracy.

Learn more about the history of the incarceration at Densho.org

About the Project

Sites of Shame first launched in 2005 and immediately became one of the most visited sections of Densho’s website. But after a decade or so, due to both changes in the technology and new information about the sites, it became clear that the original website had become increasingly outdated. In 2017, Densho received a federal Japanese American Confinement Sites grant through the National Park Service to update the site. This was followed by grants from California Civil Liberties Public Education Program and the Kip Tokuda Memorial Washington Civil Liberties Public Education Program. This new version of Sites of Shame launched in 2021.

See the map here, and read about the project in full here.