Anne Shimojima

On December 7, 1941, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, and the Japanese American community was never the same again. Eventually, over 120,000 Japanese Americans were imprisoned behind barbed wire in incarceration camps for the crime of looking like the enemy. 

In 2006, storyteller Anne Shimojima began work on a project to learn about her family’s experience of immigration and forced wartime relocation. It took months of questions and research to uncover the story of her grandparents’ journey to America, who would then lose their home and business, forced to live in assembly center horse stalls, and then behind barbed wire fences. In Hidden Memory: An American World War II Story, Anne illustrates her story with photographs from her family and the National Archives, showing a family’s journey of determination, perseverance, and strength. It is a true American story. Anne’s fee is donated to Densho, a nonprofit providing educational materials and recording oral histories of Japanese Americans during World War II.

Anne Shimojima, a retired school library media specialist, has been telling stories from her Asian heritage and around the world for forty years at festivals, schools, libraries, senior communities, museums, and lately, on Zoom. She was a New Voice Teller at the National Storytelling Festival in 2017 and has twice been a Teller-in-Residence at the International Storytelling Center in Jonesborough, TN. Other past venues include the Illinois Storytelling Festival, Timpanogos Storytelling Conference, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Chicago History Museum, and the Hans Christian Andersen Statue in Central Park. Anne’s CD, Sakura Tales: Stories from Japan, won a Storytelling World Resource Honor Award in 2019.

In 2006 Anne created Hidden Memory: An American World War II Story about her Japanese American family’s immigration to the United States and through the incarceration camps of World War II. In 2019 she was invited by the government of Japan to tell her family’s story to three Tokyo high schools and in 2022 was decorated with the Order of the Rising Sun, Silver Rays, conferred by His Majesty the Emperor of Japan, for her work in promoting Japanese culture in the United States.

For more information on Anne Shimojima, visit

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