Statement from the Topaz Museum Board

September 17, 2021 In April 1943, James Wakasa was shot and killed by a military guard as he walked his dog inside the fence of the Topaz concentration camp. The guard was found not guilty in a court-martial-trial. Topaz prisoners erected a stone monument to memorialize Mr. Wakasa but it was subsequently ordered removed by […]

JACS grant update and request for help

The Japanese American Confinement Sites (JACS) grant program (Public Law 109-441) was established to preserve and interpret the United States confinement sites where Japanese Americans were incarcerated during World War II (WWII). The grants have helped to educate the public about how and why those confinement sites were established. As we approach the end of […]

Public statement by the Japantown community regarding the proposed purchase of the Hotel Buchanan by the City and County of San Francisco

This statement is a demand that the Hotel Buchanan be removed from further consideration of City acquisition. Many have tried to paint this as a Japantown vs. the unhoused issue, or just another not-in-my-backyard reaction. It is an age-old tactic to pit vulnerable communities against one another. We will not be used. San Franciscans pride […]

Wakasa monument unearthing a ‘slap in the face’

To All Concerned, Despite the personal request of a decades long financial supporter of the Topaz Museum to fund a ceremonious, archivally professional excavation of the long buried stone monument, Jane Beckwith (Museum Director), the very next business day, hired her trash haulers to dig up and move it to her private museum. That personal request […]

Wakasa Memorial Committee ‘stunned’ by Topaz Museum Board’s ‘crude and unprofessional’ unearthing of monument

Sept. 7, 2021 Dear Topaz Museum Board President Jane Beckwith and Board Members Lance Atkinson, Scott Bassett, Lorelei Draper, Rick Okabe, Hisashi Bill Sugaya, and Teresa Thompson: The U.S. Department of the Interior has designated the Topaz Relocation Center (“Topaz”) as a National Historic Landmark (NHL), the nation’s highest and most coveted historic status. Topaz […]

Tribute to Jan Mirikitani

Jan died on my birthday. She called me while I was still in the hospital. “How ya doing?” I poured my heart out. (I’d been there nearly a month!) For over an hour she listened, comforted. You know how she is. Then she said, “Bren, I have some bad news … I know how much […]

A declaration for peace

The atomic bombs detonated over Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9, 1945, were small and rudimentary nuclear weapons, only 10 and 12 kilotons respectively. Yet they reduced these once beautiful cities to complete ashes and caused unspeakable human suffering, killing nearly a quarter of a million people instantly and leaving those who survived […]

Why Tule Lake matters

In this post-Trump, post-Stephen Miller era where social media has brought to the fore the systemic racism that permeates U.S. society, it is time to see Tule Lake for what it was. Tule Lake had nothing to do with loyalty or disloyalty. That’s just government propaganda, perpetuated by the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL). What […]

Folding the origami crane

It is belie(ved) that if you fold 1,000 origami cranes one’s wish will come true. It takes hours to fold that many and string them on a streamer. The crane is also considered to live 1,000 years. It symbolizes good fortune, longevity and peace, and represents hope and healing … during such challenges, especially the […]

Tips for navigating Japanese learning online

Learning Japanese is hard. Unlike English there are multiple alphabets plus character sets. Online learning can make what would normally be challenging seem overwhelming. Don’t despair, a few tips gleaned from experience can reduce the stress of learning Japanese. The default technology, Zoom, is far from a friction free learning environment. Let’s start by taking […]

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