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 […]

RABBIT RAMBLINGS: The ‘desecration of sacred ground’ at Topaz

I imagine many of you know the story of James Hatsuaki Wakasa, the man who a sentry killed while Wakasa was walking with his dog along the barbed wire fence surrounding the Topaz (Central Utah) incarceration camp during World War II. This happened on April 11, 1943, during the period when camp inmates were being […]

THE GREAT UNKNOWN AND THE UNKNOWN GREAT: ‘By Order of the President’ turns 20

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the publication of my book “By Order of the President: FDR and the Internment of Japanese Americans.” “By Order” was my first book. It introduced me to the public as a specialist in the history of Japanese American wartime confinement, and helped launch my career as both scholar […]

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 […]

Virtual event to remember atomic bombing victims

Aug. 6 and 9 mark the 76th anniversary of the United States’ atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, respectively. The San Francisco Bay Area-based Friends of Hibakusha and the Nichi Bei Foundation will commemorate those dates with a virtual remembrance in collaboration with the Japanese American Religious Federation of San Francisco. The second annual online […]

Graphic novel documents acts of resistance

WE HEREBY REFUSE: JAPANESE AMERICAN RESISTANCE TO WARTIME INCARCERATION By Frank Abe and Tamiko Nimura, illustrated by Ross Ishikawa  and Matt Sasaki (Seattle: Chin Music Press/ Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience,  2021, 160 pp., $19.95, paperback) The graphic novel, “We Hereby Refuse: Japanese American Resistance to Wartime Incarceration,” focuses on the real life experiences of Jim Akutsu, a Minidoka War Relocation Authority camp draft resister; Mitsuye Endo, a Topaz (Central Utah) WRA inmate who challenged the incarceration through a habeas corpus petition; and Hiroshi Kashiwagi, […]

A ‘consequential’ collection of JA history

THE UNSUNG GREAT: STORIES OF EXTRAORDINARY JAPANESE AMERICANS By Greg Robinson (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2020, 294 pp., $29.95, paperback) This is the second of two outstanding books by eminent historian and journalist Greg Robinson consisting primarily of his “The Great Unknown and the Unknown Great” columns in the San Francisco-based Nichi Bei Weekly. In reviewing for the NBW the first book, “The Great Unknown: Japanese American Sketches,” published by the University Press […]

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