Wakasa Committee asks for professional excavation where monument was unearthed

The Wakasa Memorial Committee has asked the Topaz Museum Board to carry out a professionally-led community archaeology excavation of the site where the Wakasa monument was unearthed by the museum last year using a forklift. Artifacts were left behind and the hole where the monument was dug out was covered with backfill, according to a […]

Topaz Museum seeks public input to guide preservation and future of Wakasa Monument

DELTA, Utah — The Topaz Museum Board announces the launch of the Topaz Community Outreach Project, as part of its effort to preserve and interpret a recently discovered stone monument, first erected in 1943 in honor of James Hatsuaki Wakasa. Wakasa was a Japanese American man unjustly imprisoned (along with nearly 11,000 others) during World […]

Report from Topaz

On November 30 and December 1, 2021, an expert National Park Service team was in Delta, Utah at the invitation of the Topaz Museum to conduct a condition evaluation of the Wakasa monument and site. This is a report of that evaluation and concurrent ceremonies conducted by the Wakasa Memorial Committee (WMC), as seen through the […]

Love and compassion

 As I read about the circumstances about the unearthing of the Wakasa monument, I am saddened by some of the inflammatory language of the past four months surrounding the event and the innuendo demeaning the character of Jane Beckwith and the Topaz Museum Board. For nearly four decades, these are individuals who have been the […]

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 […]

LETTERS: JA ‘offended’ by ‘desecration’ of James Wakasa’s ‘final resting place’

Editor’s Note: The following letter was sent in response to the column entitled “The ‘desecration of sacred ground’ at Topaz” that appeared in the Aug. 19, 2021 issue of the Nichi Bei Weekly. Dear Editor: I have just learned they discovered the secretly buried James H. Wakasa memorial monument. Mr. Wakasa was a neighbor of […]

LETTERS: Wakasa monument statement from the Friends of Topaz

August 30, 2021 To the Japanese American Community, We are the Friends of Topaz, a group of predominately Japanese American descendants of World War II Topaz concentration camp incarcerees, living in the San Francisco Bay Area. We exist to support the Topaz Museum because we believe in their mission to preserve Topaz stories and to […]

Let’s Talk About … Honoring the dead

Obon season is upon us. It is when our Japanese American communities gather to share an ancient Buddhist tradition to honor the spirits of our ancestors. In Japan, it is a time when families return to their ancestral family homes to visit and clean their ancestors’ graves. It is thought to be the time when […]

LETTERS: More on the Topaz (Central Utah) incarceration experience

Editor’s Note: The following was sent in response to the article entitled “Prewar Nikkei life depicted.” Dear Editor, In Greg Robinson’s July 21, 2016 book review of Toshio Mori’s  “Yokohama, California,” Robinson writes that, “Indeed, the text nowhere referred to the wartime fate of the author, confined at Topaz (Central Utah) …” Writer Toshio Mori, […]

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