HomeAsian AmericansJapanese Americans take pilgrimage to Topaz

Japanese Americans take pilgrimage to Topaz

A group of Japanese Americans recently made a journey from Delta, Utah, to visit Topaz, an incarceration camp for Japanese Americans during World War II.

According to ABC 4, the pilgrimage was in honor of James Hatsuaki Wakasa, who was shot and killed by a guard while imprisoned at Topaz. This April marked the 80th anniversary of his murder.

Researcher Nancy Ukai spoke about the pilgrimage recently at a memorial for Wakasa in San Francisco’s Japantown on April 11. She said advocates had asked to touch the Wakasa memorial stone that friends of Wakasa had buried 78 years ago after being asked by the government to destroy it.

“In the words of the poet Yonsei poet, Brandon Shimoda: ‘This act of touching the Wakasa stone will be our hands touching however lightly, however, briefly, hands of the Issei,’” Ukai said, according to AsAmNews.

ABC 4 reports that the group did visit the stone, but it is unclear if they were allowed to touch it.

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