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Introduction
1)
Title
Topaz: Japanese American Monument I
2)
Town, State
Delta, UT
3)
ID #
364
4)
Compilation Date (Initial)
January 21, 2002
5)
Compilation Date (Latest)
September 13, 2010
6)
Site Worked Last
July 01, 2015
Description
The memorial recalls a prison camp called Topaz and honors the 11,212 people known to have been locked inside this camp between 1942 and 1945. These men, women and children were some of the more than 110,000 persons of Japanese ancestry who were herded onto trains in early 1942 and forcibly removed to inland U. S. reservations like Topaz. Situated in Delta, Utah, some nine miles from its namesake, Topaz Mountain, what happened at Topaz -- mass incarceration within a hastily and shabbily constructed barbed-wired and guarded city following nonnegotiable government executive orders and proclamations -- America would later come to apologize for and make reparations. Some 65% of prisoners at Topaz were U.S. citizens, while many others had been living productively in the U.S. for decades. Known formally as the Central Utah Relocation Center, one of 10 such government-created, emergency prisons, Topaz contained against their wills mostly San Francisco Bay residents of Japanese ancestry. They were stripped of their freedoms, jobs, homes and business properties as well as their dignity. While anti-Asian sentiment was not new to the U.S., the jailing at this time of certain American residents based on what they looked like, and not because they had done anything illegal, followed Japan’s bombing of Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941, setting off World War II in the Pacific. Topaz site opened September 11, 1942, and closed October 31, 1945.

• The memorial consists of two, side-by-side stone bases with attached images and text that share stories of the Topaz internment camp and its detainees. On a site about an acre in size, this remembrance is positioned at the former prison’s current entrance, estimated to be 10750 West 4500 North, about 16 miles northwest of downtown Delta, Utah. (The site itself, in Millard County, is remote; see the Demographic section, below, for further information.) The monument area is but a small part of the almost-20,000 acre camp at Topaz. This part of Utah, in which Japanese Americans lived for more than three years, is high-desert -- isolated, barren, windy, reaching extreme temperatures in both summer (106˚F) and winter (-30˚F).

• A monument was first dedicated in a ceremony at the site on October 9, 1976, before some 200 people, including Utah public officials and Japanese Americans who had suffered incarceration at Topaz -- some were born there. Mrs. Alice S. Kasai, coordinator, Japanese American Citizen League (JACL), the memorial’s sponsor as well as owner of the one-acre memorial site, spoke to the assembled. The JACL developed this initial monument as part of a U.S. Bicentennial project in conjunction with Millard County officials. Speaking at the dedication also was Utah’s first lady, Mrs. Calvin L. Rampton, and Mr. Wasuo Abolp, editor of the San Francisco paper Nichi Bei Times. The 1976 memorial, based on images and available information, was made of metal set upright on a concrete slab, which was surrounded by decorative stone; images were set into the concrete base. This monument design was apparently a good target as over the years it was hit by gunfire several times, to the point where its inscriptions became almost unreadable. The current memorial design, unveiled in 2002, includes two concrete bases, side-by-side and with a more horizontal, lower profile. Images of the prison and its occupants are mounted to the bases. (In a site survey under state of Utah auspices dated May 10, 1995, the original 1976 design was in place. If there were a first monument updating, as suggested in one available writing, it would need to have occurred between 1995 and 2002.) Currently, the Topaz Museum, in Delta, supports memorial maintenance and promotes the Japanese American narrative of the site. To help achieve and sustain these preservation and protective goals the Museum, with the support of many individuals, private groups, companies and organizations, has over time acquired almost the entire 640 acres of the original land on which the prison was situated, less the one-acre JACL monument site.

• Between 1976 and 1980, steps toward resolution of the “Japanese American internment issue” were undertaken with the encouragement of President Gerald Ford and the prodding of the Japanese American Citizens League, so that the following issues, among a number, could begin to be spoken to: apologies from the U.S. government, a form of redress and a commitment to establish centers of teaching for the children of those Japanese Americans. In 1983, a congressional committee that was established in 1980 issued its report, called "Personal Justice Denied," noting the internments as “unjust and motivated by racism rather than real military necessity.” Presidents Ronald Regan in 1988 and George H. W. Bush in 1992 signed civil liberties acts and amendments related to the Japanese American internments, which continued to address wrongs with rights. In the government’s fiscal planning during 2001, provisions were made to preserve the 10 internment camps as historical landmarks within the National Park Service Historic Landmark Program, if and when a camp might apply for such designation. Topaz did apply and was granted designation on March 29, 2007. Another recognition in this database of the Topaz experience can be found at ID #1884.


Content
Note: click on brown link to view distribution of field selections in database
1)
Loss & perseverance
2)
Group of common citizens/persons
3)
Not Applicable
4)
Male and Female
5)
Asian-American/Asian
6)
World War II
Design
Note: click on brown link to view distribution of field selections in database
1.)
Man-made
2.)
Inscription/Text Design
Integrated
3)
Geometric w/wo pedestal
4)
Stone/rock
5)
Average (life-size)
7)
Inscribed/lettered on tablet
8)
Text available, partial
9)
Yes (see below)
9.1)
Image numbering/location
3000-335.1, 3000-335.2, 3000-335.3, 3000-335.4, 3000-335.5, 3000-335.6, 3000-335.7, 3000-335.8, 3000-335.9, 3000-335.10
10)
Design Preservation
Good
11)
Inscript. Separate from M|M
No
12)
Designers
12.1)
Designer 1
Not yet determined
13)
Fabricators/Builders
Not Yet Determined
Setting
Note: click on brown link to view distribution of field selections in database
1)
Historic Landmark/Site
3)
Appearance/Setting
Completed
3.1)
Appeal of the Item
5 Good
3.2)
Setting appears appropriate
4 Satisfactory
3.3)
Traffic near for access, distanced for appreciation
5 Good
3.4)
Visualization and panorama
5 Good
3.5)
Opportunity to view, to enjoy the item
5 Good
3.6)
Overall Averaged Score
4.8 Good (Given a 1.0 - 7.0 Range)
To calculate comparative appearance estimates, CLICK HERE
4)
Not Entered
5)
October 09, 1976
7)
Not Entered
8)
Requires travel
10)
Other Monuments on Site
11)
Satisfactory
12)
Community Group/Not For Profit
Themes
1)
MonumentsandMemorials.com Themes
No Perceived Theme Match
2)
National Historic Landmark Themes
Japanese Americans in World War II
Demography
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1)
File Number
202
2)
Town/City
Delta
3)
County
Millard
4)
District
Abraham
5)
State
UT
6)
Zip
84624
7)
Country
United States
8)
Latitude (GPS)
39.4184870000
9)
Longitude (GPS)
-112.7735320000
10)
Intersecting Street 1
West 4500 North
11)
Intersecting Street 2
North 10000 West
12)
Additional Identifier 1
13)
Additional Identifier 2
15)
Man-made
16)
16.1)
Auxiliary support group
16.2)
Community Group
17)
1914-1945
18)
Compilation Date (Initial)
January 21, 2002
20)
Compilation Date (Latest)
September 13, 2010
21)
Compilation Technique (Latest)
21.1)
Book/Pamphlet/Text
21.2)
Correspondence
21.3)
Website
22)
Source Originator
monumentsandmemorials.com
Comments and Notes
THE SITE: Historic Landmark/Site -- NPS/NHL designation date: March 29, 2007. National Register Number: 07000432
SITE MAINTENANCE: Community Group/Not For Profit -- Topaz Museum, Delta, Utah
SPONSOR: Auxiliary support group -- Japanese American Citizens League, Salt Lake City, Utah
SPONSOR: Community Group -- Topaz Museum, Delta, Utah
DEMOGRAPHY: Description of address of Topaz, Delta, Utah 84624 -- Starts at the corner of 10000 West and 4500 North, its northeastern crossroad. The site extends west one mile to 11000 West and 4500 North. These two coordinates are on the main road in front of Topaz, which extends south for a mile from these two points. The monument is situated just outside what was once the warehouse area. (The writer’s thanks go to Topaz Museum staff for the location description detail.)
SOURCES (1): American Heritage Encyclopedia of American History, s.v. “Japanese-American Internment (1942-45),” “Japanese-American Relocation Cases (1943-44)”; Topaz Museum at http://www.topazmuseum.org/ and at P.O. Box 241, Delta, Utah 84624; Wikipedia, s.v. “Japanese American Internment”
SOURCES (2): Arrington, Leonard J. The Price of Prejudice. Logan, Utah: The Faculty Association, Utah State University, 1962. Reprint, with photographs, Delta, Utah: Topaz Museum, 1997; “Former Relocation Camp Return to Site,” The Daily Herald, Provo, Utah, October 11, 1976; “Topaz Monument Inscription Reported,” Daily Herald, Provo, Utah, October 12, 1976; Warnock, Caleb. Column, Daily Herald, Provo, Utah. August 3, 2003.
COMMENT: (1): Inscription text on original monument, on two plaques, available upon request, via email.
COMMENT: (2): The ten internment prisons and their locations:
Manzanar: Manzanar, Inyo County, California
Colorado River: Poston, Yuma County, Arizona
Tule Lake: Newell, Modoc County, California
Gila River: Rivers, Pinal County, Arizona
Minidoka: Hunt, Jerome County, Idaho
Heart Mountain: Heart Mountain, Park County, Wyoming
Granada: Amache, Prowers County, Colorado
Central Utah: Topaz, Millard County, Utah
Rohwer: McGehee, Desha County, Arkansas
Jerome: Denson, Drew/Chicoat Counties, Arkansas
COMMENT 3: Another recognition in this database of the Topaz experience can be found at ID #1884.





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