Table of Contents
DoJ and US Army Facilities
Confinement and Ethnicity:
An Overview of World War II
Japanese American Relocation Sites
by J. Burton, M. Farrell, F. Lord, and R. Lord
Chapter 12 (continued)
Topaz Relocation Center
Figure 12.6. Irrigation ditch constructed by evacuees.
(Ray T. Woodhull photograph, Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley)
Figure 12.7. Corral at the relocation center hog farm.
(Tom Parker photograph, Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley)
Much of the 19,800-acre relocation center area was devoted to raising
food for the center (Figures 12.6-12.8). Beyond the central fenced area
were agricultural fields, irrigation ditches, a farm nursery, a chicken
farm, a turkey farm, a cattle ranch, a hog farm, a farm equipment
storage yard, and a farm workers kitchen, as well as a sanitary landfill
and sewage treatment system.
Figure 12.8. Irrigation ditches at the Topaz Relocation Center.
(click image for larger size (~100K) )
Even further afield, the CCC camp at Antelope
Springs, 90 miles west of Topaz, was converted for use as a recreation
site. Remains at the Antelope Springs camp are described in Chapter 16.
The Deer Creek and Castle Valley mines in central Utah initially
supplied coal to the relocation center. Within a short time, however, a
group of Japanese American miners was sent from Topaz to operate the Dog
Valley Mine south of Emery. Buildings from the Willow Springs CCC camp
were moved to the mine to serve as housing for the miners (Geary 1997).
The administration came up with an elaborate address
scheme for the evacuees, apparently to give the outside world the
impression that Topaz was a normal city. All roads were given names:
east-west roads were named after gem stones and north-south streets were
named after plants. Each block was then designated by a four digit
number (1100-6700) to which the barracks and apartment number was added,
which was then appended to the adjacent street. So mail to Apartment A,
Barracks 11, Block 39 would instead be addressed to 6411-A Juniper
Street, Topaz, Utah.
However, Topaz was far from being a normal city. On Sunday, April 11,
1943, 63-year-old James Hatsuaki Wakasa was fatally shot in the chest by
a military guard (Figure 12.9). Wakasa was near the perimeter fence
about 300 feet from a watch tower and was either distracted or unable to
hear or understand the guard's warnings. Guards had fired warning shots
at others on eight previous occasions. To avoid further incidents, the
administration restricted the military in their use of weapons and
access to the relocation center. Nevertheless, a guard fired at a couple
strolling too close to the fence, a little more than a month later
Figure 12.9. James Wakasa funeral.
(Russell A. Bankson photograph, Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley)