View the Book Trailer HERE!


Douglas Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award

The Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation presented Dr. Takashi Hoshizaki the Douglas Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award at a special event in Los Angeles, CA on April 28, 2024.

Anchor David Ono emceed the conversation with Dr. Hoshizaki, a Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation board member and resister from the Heart Mountain WWII incarceration camp. 

Shirley was proud to present her longtime friend, advisor, and board member, Dr. Hoshizaki with the award.

You can learn more on the HMWF website

From left: David Ono, Dr. Takashi Hoshizaki, Shirley Ann Higuchi, Douglas Nelson, Aura Sunada Newlin

Judge Raymond Uno Celebration of Life

Shirley met with many friends at Judge Raymond Uno's celebration of life. He will be dearly missed.

The house was packed to celebrate the life and achievements of Judge Raymond Uno in Salt Lake City.

Raymond Uno in a photo from 1950 in his military fatigues. Over the course of his life he helped create a better world for all.

2024 Conference on American History

From left: Shirley Ann Higuchi, Leona Tate, Dr. Anthea Hartig, Diana Sierra Becerra, and Sarah Adams
Top left: Shirley presents during the panel. Bottom left: Shirley and Leona Tate tour her school

The Organization of American Historians (OAH) held it's annual Conference on American History in New Orleans on April 11-14, 2024. Shirley was honored to sit on the plenary panel, Amidst and Against a Patriarchy: Women as History Makers, Advocates, and Defenders of Rights. Joined by many accomplished advocates from across the nation, they talked with OAH attendees about their roles and the intersectional nature of their work. 

Prime Minister of Japan Welcome Reception

Shirley was invited by President Biden to attend the welcome reception for the Prime Minister of Japan. She has worked on developing relationships with the Japanese government for many years.

She was pleased to bump into her old friend, Erika Moritsugu, JD, the Deputy Assistant to the President & AA and NHPI Senior Liason.

The Chair of the National Japanese American Memorial Foundation, Dana Heatherton, also connected with Shirley at the ceremony.

JACSC Advocacy Days

L to R: HMWF Operations Officer, Logan Chirstie, HMWF Board Chair, Shirley Higuchi, Wyoming Senator Cynthia Lummis, HMWF Executive Director, Aura Sunada Newlin, and HMWF Board Vice Chair Douglas Nelson

Rob Buscher, Executive Director of the Japanese American Confinement Sites Consortium, proclaimed the advocacy meetings a success! Each year advocates for the JACSC attend meetings with members of Congress in Washington, D.C.

Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation Board members and staff met with Wyoming Congressional representatives during Wyoming Wednesday to discuss the importance of continued funding for the Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program. 

Operated by the National Park Service, the program is intended "for the preservation and interpretation of incarceration sites where Japanese Americans were detained during World War II."

More than $3.4 million was awarded in 2023 to preserve the confinement sites across the nation, and the funding is critical to Heart Mountain's ability to continue to educate about the Japanese American incarceration.

Pictures of Belonging Preview Party

Pictures of Belonging: Miki Hayakawa, Hisako Hibi, and Miné Okubo opened February 24, 2024, at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts (UMFA) on the University of Utah campus. The exhibition features over 100 paintings and works on paper by three trailblazing women of Japanese descent who worked prolifically from pre-World War II through the mid-20th Century. The exhibit runs through June 30, 2024. 

Shirley Higuchi attended the Preview Party on February 23 and gave a few comments. The Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation partnered with the Utah Museum of Fine Arts to help spread the news of the exhibit opening. 

Miné Okubo Sketching Outdoors, Tanforan, San Bruno, CA, 1942. Photo credit: JANM

Norman Mineta Statue Dedication
San José Mineta International Airport

At the San José Mineta International Airport in the Terminal B baggage claim, there now stands a towering statue of Norman Y. Mineta. Representing his larger-than-life presence, the statue serves as reminder of Norm's work in the Silicon Valley and all the lives he touched. 

The dedication of the statue that was commissioned and initiated prior to his passing by Quest Valley Charities, a nonprofit headed by Rod Diridon Sr., was attended by many who held Norm in high regard

Deni Mineta attended the dedication and connected with HMWF Chair and Vice-Chair Shirley Ann Higuchi and Douglas Nelson who traveled to San Jose to participate in this commemoration. 

Shirley Higuchi, Deni Mineta, and Douglas Nelson reunited and posed for a photo in front of the newly unveiled bronze statue of Norman Mineta on January 25, 2024.

Norm was the mayor of San Jose for four years and a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for 20 years. He is missed dearly on a daily basis. 

Omoiyari: A Song Film By Kishi Bashi
Park City, UT Screening

Hosted by Park City Film and held at the Jim Santy Auditorium, Shirley Higuchi spoke on a panel during the screening of Omoiyari: A Song Film by Kishi Bashi on November 19, 2024. 

Educating more Communities

Higuchi appeared with director Justin Taylor Smith, producer J.J. Gerber, and Lisa Barr, and spoke to the premiere guests about the World War II Japanese American incarceration.

Reaching More Individuals

Shirley autographs Setsuko's Secret, her book about the incarceration story of her parents and others at Heart Mountain for attendees after the premiere.

"Violinist and songwriter Kaoru Ishibashi travels on a musical journey to understand WWII era Japanese Incarceration, assimilation, and what it means to be a minority in America today," the film's website described. Much of the footage was filmed at Heart Mountain Interpretive Center and in Wyoming. Kishi Bashi visited multiple incarceration sites and created new music for this motion picture feat.

U.S. Japan Council (USJC) Conference Panel

Why is the Japanese American Incarceration Story Important to the Japanese?

USJC Conference Attendees await the beginning of the panel discussion on November 8, 2023. 

Shirley helped organize a group of noteworthy stakeholders for a panel discussion at the USJC Conference about why the Japanese American incarceration holds lessons that are important for Japanese people.

From a Heart Mountain incarceree, to the Deputy Chief of Mission for the Embassy of Japan and a Japan-based news organization journalist, the panel provided a wide range of viewpoints with attendees. 

The well-attended session educated on the incarceration, provided perspective from Japanese people on the importance, and was expertly moderated by the Smithsonian National Museum of American History's Museum Specialist. 

Attendees posed excellent questions, and Shirley and Sam Mihara's (former incarceree) books were the focal points following the session.

We extend our deepest gratitude to the U.S. Japan Council conference organizers for including the panel in their extensive program. 

We look forward to seeing you next year!

Japanese American Legacy Lawyers-AALDEF 

Shirley was honored to be one of four award recipients to receive this year's Asian American American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) award. Hosted by Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) Koichi Ai of the Japanese Embassy, the JACL DC Chapter, Embassy of Japan, and the AALDEF co-sponsored the event. Shirley is grateful to be recognized among these giants in her field and will continue to fight for the rights of Asian Americans and all Americans in her work. 

The Japanese American Legacy Lawyers is a program that pays homage to past and present attorneys of Japanese heritage who have contributed to bettering the lives of Japanese Americans and all Americans.

L to R: Deputy Chief of Mission Koichi Ai, Stuart Ishimaru, Erika Moritsugu, Shirley Higuchi,
and AALDEF Co-President Phil Nash 

2023 Heart Mountain Pilgrimage

(Above) Shirley is interviewed with Heart Mountain in the background

(Below) Shirley and Former Senator Al Simpson

The Heart Mountain Wyoming Leadership pose for a group photo on stage at the 2023 Pilgrimage. 

(Back row) Bacon Sakatani, David Ono, Darrell Kunitomi, Claudia Wade, Kathy Yuille, Kris Horiuchi, Prentiss Uchida, Marc Sugiyama, Julia Ishiyama, Eric Sandeen

(Front row) Tamlyn Tomita, Aura Sunada Newlin, David Mineta, Shirley Ann Higuchi, Senator Al Simpson, Doug Nelson

In July, Shirley made her annual trek to Heart Mountain for the once-a-year Pilgrimage. The event drew nearly 300 attendees this year from across the country who came to learn more about the history of incarceration of Japanese Americans at Heart Mountain and connect with former incarcerees and their descendants. 

Shirley was featured in the Authors of Incarceration Panel with Frank Abe, Doug Nelson, and Eric Muller to discuss her book Setsuko’s Secret. The Pilgrimage also drew noteworthy community members including former Senator Alan Simpson whose friendship with Norman Mineta helped inspire the Mineta-Simpson Institute dedicated to fostering empathy and cooperation between leaders. 

Shirley’s goal of building a memorial on the site of the incarceration camp, which was inspired by her mother’s wishes, continues to florish. 

The Bar Association of D.C. visits Heart Mountain

The BADC Cohort

A group of almost 30 judges, lawyers, and legal professionals traveled to Heart Mountain to attend sessions on the legal and historical events that led to the mass incarceration of over 100,000 Japanese Americans. 

The Judges

DC Superior Court Chief Judge Josey-Herring went on the BADC trip, along with several associate judges. Here the group is pictured standing in front of Heart Mountain.

Meeting a Wyoming Legend

Wally Johnson, a fomer Assistant AG in the Nixon administration, hosted the BADC cohort at his ranch in the beautiful South fork. There, guests were suprised with a visit from from former Wyoming senator, the Hon. Al Simpson. Pictured from left to right are DCSC Chief Judge Josey-Herring, past DC Bar president Ellen Jakovic (Kirkland & Ellis), and Sen. Simpson, who still serves as an honorary advisor to Heart Mountain.

From Barbed Wire to Disney

Former Disney animator Willie Ito was held at the Topaz confinement site as a young boy. He spoke to the BADC cohort about his life and artistic journey, and concluded his presentation with a "live drawing" for DC Judge Kelly Higashi. Higashi was recently featured in Washington Lawyer (a publication of the DC Bar) in a piece about her family's own incarceration experience.

Meeting the Housel Family

On the final night of the BADC's trip to Heart Mountain, former judge John Housel invited the BADC to dinner at his come in Cody. There, he told the story of his father, whose portrait he is holding in the above photo. In the 1940s, John's father Jerry worked as a project attorney at the Heart Mountain camp. Eric Muller writes about Jerry Housel's experience in his new book, Lawyer, Jailer, Ally, Foe.

AAPI History Month at Hogan Lovells

Thank you to Hogan Lovells for hosting Shirley along with other AAPI authors and advocates for a panel about complicity and conscience in America's WWII concentration camps. The event featured a presentation by UNC Law professor Eric Muller, who recently published Lawyer, Jailer, Ally, Foe about lawyers who worked for the WRA during WWII. Pictured from left to right are Vincent Eng, Rhea Fernandes, Eric Muller, Shirley Ann Higuchi, Shannon Zheng, and Warren Maruyama.

National Consortium on Racial & Ethnic Fairness in the Courts

Authors of the Incarceration Panel

Shirley Ann Higuchi opened the panel, which featured her and fellow authors Daniel James Brown (Facing the Mountain) and Frank Abe (We Hereby Refuse). Heart Mountain Executive Director and NCREFC Board member Aura Newlin served as moderator.

The Panel with Judge Galván 

From left to right: Daniel James Brown, Shirley Ann Higuchi, Judge Veronica Galván, Aura Newlin, Frank Abe.

The 25th Annual Cherry Blossom Freedom Walk

Alongside Mr. Wade Henderson, former President and CEO of the LCCHR, Shirley spoke about the need to teach accurate history and promote civil rights. The Japanese Embassy, JAVA, NJAMF, and JACL also took part in the event.

Setsuko's Secret is Now Available in Japanese!

The Japanese edition of Setsuko's Secret

Special thank you to Nakahiro Iwata, Noriko Sanefuji, Masako Miki and JANM for their hard work on the translation.

Dr. Bill Higuchi holding the new book

Much gratitude to Drs. Miyajima and Sugibayashi, as well as all of the former graduate students of Dr.  Higuchi who helped to make this dream a reality.

Where to buy the Japanese edition

It is currently available for purchase on Amazon. Stay tuned for more news about other retail outlets!

Virginia Holocaust Museum

On March 16th, 55 teachers traveled to the Virginia Holocaust Museum to take part in a teacher workshop hosted by Heart Mountain. There, Shirley spoke on the history of Japanese American incarceration with Ray Locker and former incarceree Sam Mihara--who, at 90 years old, is still traveling across the country to speak on the subject! This photo of all the participants was taken inside the museum's synagogue, which is a replica of the choral synagogue in Kovno, Lithuania.

Cosmos Club - American History Study Group

On November 15th, Shirley discussed Setsuko's Secret with the Cosmos Club American History Study Group. The conversation started with her family history and incarceration, and ended with larger questions about American education today and the work of the Mineta-Simpson Institute. Shirley is pictured here with some of the attendees, including USJC-DC's Janet Nuzum and Minister Koichi Ai of the Japanese Embassy. Thank you to all who came out!

Ann Arbor Book Tour (Sep 22-23, 2022)

Stop #1: the University of Michigan

Shirley's first stop was to the University of Michigan, where she visited a psychology class taught by Dr. Donna Nagata. Her course, titled “Mental Health and Culture,” grapples with multigenerational trauma, a major theme of Setsuko’s Secret. Shirley spoke with students about how that trauma affected her family’s life post-Heart Mountain. She also discussed the model minority myth and her EDI work at APA. As she is a Michigan grad herself, Shirley was excited to return to campus and have these important conversations with current students. 

Stop #2: Ann Arbor District Library

Downtown Library Author Event

The event proved to be very popular; the waiting list for the library’s copy of Setsuko’s Secret is now 20 people long!

Book Signing with Booksweet

Local bookseller Booksweet partnered with the library for a post-event book sale and signing. They have two more copies of Setsuko’s Secret left on their shelves. 

Stop #3: Huron High School

On the final day of her tour, Shirley returned to her alma mater Huron High School. There, she met with Principal Che Carter (right) and the great team of social studies and IB leaders for Huron and all Ann Arbor schools to promote the teaching of Asian American history. Shirley recalled how grateful she was for the teachers who believed in her, and felt so inspired by the current leadership of HHS. You can read more about her visit in this article by AAPS District News.

Upcoming Event: 

Setsuko's Secret comes to Ann Arbor!

On September 22nd, Ann Arbor District Library will be hosting a Setsuko's Secret book talk, which will be followed by a live Q&A and book signing. The event will be recorded for those unable to attend. For more information, please visit the library's website.

Read Shirley's interview with Pulp, the library's culture blog, here.

2022 Heart Mountain Pilgrimage

This summer, Shirley returned to Heart Mountain for the historic site's annual Pilgrimage, an event which draws hundreds of attendees from around the United States. While there, Shirley was featured in the "Authors of Incarceration" panel alongside fellow writers Susan Kamei, Frank Abe, and Alden Hayashi. 

This Pilgrimage also saw the groundbreaking of the Mineta-Simpson Institute, an expansion of the Heart Mountain Interpretive Center. Inspired by the friendship between Senator Alan Simpson and the late Secretary Norm Mineta, the Mineta-Simpson institute will be dedicated to the fostering of empathy and cooperation between leaders

National Day of Remembrance: 

80 Years of Reckoning

To mark the 80th anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066, Shirley participated in the National Day of Remembrance with the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, the Japanese American National Museum (JANM), the Japanese American Citizens League National, the Friends of Minidoka and the National Park Service. She participated on the panel titled "Racial Reckoning and Japanese American Museums" with Smithsonian Undersecretary Kevin Gover, Dr. Franklin Odo, Ann Burroughs, JANM, Hanako Wakatsuki, Honouliuli National Historic Site, and Karen Ishizuka, JANM. At the end of the panel, Ann Burroughs,chair of the Japanese American Confinement Sites Consortium, and Shirley presented Secretary Bunch with a commendation from JACSC for his Racial Reckoning Initiative. 

Secretary Bunch emphasizes the need to face our past to guide the future.

Shirley reads the JACSC Commendation for Secretary Bunch and his Racial Reckoning Initiative. 

National Day of Remembrance Opening Ceremony

Utah's first ever Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Celebration May 22, 2021

On Saturday, May 22, Utah celebrated AA & PI Heritage Month at the Coty And County Bldg. Mayor Mendenhall, City Councilman Darin Mano, State Legislators Jani Iwamoto and Karen Kwan, author Shirley Higuchi, Mike Mower the Sr Advisor to the Governor and other addressed the crowd. Several performances from various Asian cultures were enjoyed by all. Thank you to Janice Ly, Floyd Mori and Stephanie Sato Sueoka for the invitation and for organizing this amazing event. 

Red Lodge Book Club at the Heart Mountain Interpretive Center

Thank you, Red Lodge Book Club!

"We really enjoyed our book club discussion with [Shirley and Julie] today.  We learned far more than just facts about the Japanese-American internment during WWII. Shirley and Julie opened up their personal stories to us and that meant a lot!  Thank you!" 

Cathy Ritter, Red Lodge Book Club, MT

The Red Lodge Book Club read Setsuko's Secret, then came out and toured the museum and the site. The day was capped off with a Zoom session with Shirley!

Setsuko's Secret with the National World War II Museum will air on C-SPAN Saturday, March 27 4:55pm Eastern Time. 

The program will be available at this link after it's televised.


Choose your favorite regional independent bookseller: 

Praise for Setsuko's Secret

“An encyclopedic narrative on the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans during WWII and its haunting sway still on the conscience of the nation. Interwoven throughout is a moving personal family history of pain, loss, and resilience. This is an essential American story.”

—George Takei, Actor 


“As a former incarceree of Heart Mountain, reading this was tremendously gratifying. In this deeply researched and compellingly written history, Higuchi captures the tragedy and triumph of the Japanese American experience and incarceration.”

—Norman Mineta, former U.S. Secretary of Commerce and Transportation

“Only Shirley Ann Higuchi could tell so powerfully a story so needed to be told. This is the culmination of her vision and mission—to honestly share the deep passion of a proud family heritage forged in the saddest of times.”  

—Alan Simpson,  U.S. Senator, Wyoming, ret.

“Poignant. How the power of an untold secret can affect how one lives and, with its revelation, can spark others to tell their own. With a good story, we can change ourselves, our country, our world for the better. Setsuko’s Secret is one of the good stories.” 

Tamlyn Tomita, Actress

Higuchi captures the essence of the Nisei generation's reluctance to discuss the trauma and tragedy that shaped their lives and those of their children. This is the book I wish I had written about my own family's experience with the wrongful incarceration of the Japanese American community during WWII."

Lance Ito, former L.A. County Superior Court Judge

“A rich and original story. Shirley Higuchi captures the sweeping narrative of incarceration through the lens of a single camp and ties it to our present reality. Her resolve as a daughter of the camps is Setsuko's real legacy.”

—Frank Abe, director of Conscience and the Constitution



"What my 20-year-old self could have used at that time is Shirley Ann Higuchi’s recently published book, Setsuko’s Secret: Heart Mountain and the Legacy of the Japanese American Incarceration. Exhaustively researched while remaining personal and frank, Setsuko’s Secret is both an informative summary of Japanese American history and an autobiography. One rough comparison is if you had merged Michi Nishiura Weglyn’s groundbreaking Years of Infamy: The Untold Story of America’s Concentration Camps with Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston’s landmark Farewell to Manzanar, two pillars of Japanese American history from the 1970s." ---Chris Komai, Discover Nikkei

"There are stories we choose to pass on to our children, and there are stories we can only share with our peers—whether because we doubt our children’s capacity for empathy, or fear it. What is a family secret, but a space where a family may gather? Sometimes, when we say, “You don’t know what it was like,” it is only wishful thinking."--- Vince Schleitwiler, The International Examiner

Read the full review here.

"...[A] well-informed and deeply moving study of the long-term effects of a dark chapter in American history." ---Publisher's Weekly

“Setsuko’s Secret is an intense, personal chronicle of the unconscionable internment of Japanese Americans during World War II…

Setsuko Higuchi may have kept her internment memories private, but her unique spirit inspired the founding of the Heart Mountain Interpretive Center and this extraordinary testament to a sorrowful episode in American history.” 

---Foreword Reviews. 

View the Setsuko's Secret Playlist on YouTube here. Shirley reads excerpts from her book.

View the Josai International University video here.

Missed Out? See Past Events Here! 

Click on the image

September 26

Host: Heart Mountain Interpretive Center

Cody, WY

October 7


Washington, DC

November 4 

Host: Tattered Cover, Denver, CO

November 5

Host: History Camp

November 12

Host: Boswell Book Company

November 22

Host: Seattle Public Library 

December 5

Host: JACL National 

February 5, 2021


February 13, 2021

Host:  Japanese American Museum of San Jose

February 19, 2021
Host: The National World War II Museum

May 19, 2021

Host: the Japanese American Citizens League

May 20, 2021


Host: the Bar Association of the District of Columbia

May 27,  2021

Host:  US Japan Council

June 12, 2021


August 26, 2021

Host: JH Center for the Arts

August 31, 2021

Host: Tadaima! Japanese American Memorial Pilgrimages

UDC Law School Dean Renee Hutchins interviews Shirley, November 23, 2021

Tokyo Institute of Technology Global Leadership Cafe, December 3, 2021 

Japanese American Legacy Lawyers-AALDEF