Arboga Assembly Center memorial site re-dedicated in Yuba County

MARYSVILLE, Calif. — A crowd of more than 200 people, including local officials, two survivors of the former concentration camp, and noted writer and speaker on the Japanese American wartime incarceration John Tateishi, observed the re-dedication Oct. 22 of the completed Arboga Assembly Center Memorial Site in Yuba County. Calvin Asoo, 82, of El Dorado, […]

Book, Website gives visibility to more than 125,000 former incarcerees

LOS ANGELES — As taiko drummers beat in sync, dozens of formerly-incarcerated people and their loved ones marched in formation out of the Go For Broke National Education Center and into the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles. Multiple marchers held up fence panels, each dawning the name of one of the 75 former […]

Topaz Museum board announces leadership change at town hall

The Japanese American Memorial Pilgrimages hosted a town hall discussing the Wakasa memorial stone Sept. 9 at the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California in San Francisco’s Japantown. The meeting included a statement from the Topaz Museum board announcing future plans and a leadership change for the Delta, Utah-based organization. The in-person meeting, […]

Executive director change at Densho signals new generation of JA leadership

When Tom Ikeda got together with a small group of volunteers in 1996 to start Densho, he was considered a young upstart within the Japanese American community. Now, 26 years on, he is passing on the reigns of an organization that has become one of the most authoritative resources of Japanese American wartime history. The […]

Tanforan Memorial looks to past and future

SAN BRUNO, Calif. — With a jet plane roaring over head, members of the Tanforan Assembly Center Memorial Committee, along with survivors of the World War II detention camp, unveiled the centerpiece bronze statue by sculptor Sandra Shaw in the memorial Aug. 27. The Tanforan Memorial, located between the San Bruno Bay Area Rapid Transit […]

On memorializing James Wakasa

Mr. Wakasa was shot by a guard while walking his dog along the perimeter of the fence at the Topaz, Utah concentration camp.  Other prisoners created a half-ton, five-foot high, concrete monument to honor Mr. Wakasa and commemorate his death. I assume they created the monument by making a mould in the ground and filling […]

LETTERS: A call for building trust and grieving

Dear Nichi Bei Weekly, It is heartbreaking to read of the continued hurt and controversy over Mr. Wakasa’s memorial stone. Especially painful are the continued invalidating messages that only add to the trauma. Forgiveness can only come as a consequence of healing, a conscious choice that cannot be forced, and as an expansion of compassion. […]

The Wakasa Monument belongs back home in Japantown, San Francisco

It’s not 1942 anymore; “Shikata ganai” is no longer in my vocabulary. I was four when they put me in that prison camp, Topaz. I’m 84 now. Today I shall fight the injustice/racism before me. Back then, we were apolitical, in survival mode. We were so afraid of our government. Just the labels on cushions, […]

Sansei granddaughters create incarceration artwork

Kathy Fujii-Oka’s “The Legacy of Fujii Nursery” depicts her grandfather and his brother, owners of the Fujii Nursery in the 1920s in Berkeley, Calif., behind bars in acrylic. In the background of the artwork is a photo of her grandfather and his brother surrounded by military trucks with plants headed to Fort Ord in Monterey, […]

Topaz survivors, descendants rankled by Topaz Museum Board’s outreach efforts

  While the Topaz Museum board and its supporters would love nothing more than to move forward after a haphazard excavation of what some consider one of the most significant archaeological discoveries in Japanese American history, a vocal contingent of activists, academics and survivors are continuing to demand an ongoing dialogue on their terms. The […]

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