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Grant Will Provide for Digitization of Historic Japanese American Newspaper

The Marriott Library has recently been selected for a $16,343 grant from the Department of Heritage and Arts (DHA) to digitize the historic Japanese American newspaper, The Utah Nippo.

Spanning 78 years from 1914 to 1991, The Utah Nippo tells the story of its first-generation Japanese American settlers, along with the history of the great west as population and industry took flight.

One of only three Japanese language newspapers in the United States at the time, The Utah Nippo provided news to the Japanese communities in Utah, Idaho, Western Wyoming, and Eastern Nevada. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, the United States government forbade the circulation of all Japanese language newspapers. However, not long after this ban, the government then granted approval for The Utah Nippo to resume circulation, as Japanese Americans needed to be informed of official policies regarding relocation, curfews, and other wartime news. Because of this, The Utah Nippo circulation reached its peak during the World War II years and was a highly valued newspaper for the Japanese American people of the Intermountain area.


The Utah Nippo was founded by Salt Lake City resident Uneo Terasawa and, upon his death in 1939, his wife Kuniko Muramatsu Terasawa took over the publishing. Over the course of 52 years, Kuniko served as reporter, editor, typesetter, and publisher, and became a distinguished newspaperwoman. When Kuniko passed away in August of 1991 at the age of 95, the publishing of The Utah Nippo came to a close. At the same time, her death marked the end of the Issei Era in Utah (the first-generation of Japanese Americans).

After Kuniko’s death, her daughters, Kazuko Terasawa  and Haruko Terasawa Moriyasu, donated the full run of The Utah Nippo to the Marriott Library. With the DHA grant, the 46,550 pages of The Utah Nippo will be digitized for the use of all, on a global level. Spanning September of 2016 through June of 2017, this project will satisfy many needs by placing The Utah Nippo online for the world, granting convenient and long lasting public access, as well as preserving the content in digital form. Additionally, the library’s Preservation Department will be taking measures to preserve and re-house the original newspapers.

“The requested funding will enable the Marriott Library to digitize the entire run of The Utah Nippo newspaper collection and add it to our renowned library of digital newspapers,” explains Kinza Masood, Assistant Head of Digital Operations. “We are extremely excited about this contribution and what it means for access to this incredible resource.”

CORRECTION: Earlier version of this article about the Utah Nippo’s grant funding incorrectly stated that the award amount listed has been made possible through LSTA funds.  The Department of Heritage and Arts (DHA) has elected to fund this grant project  from their own budget. This version has been modified to reflect the correct funding agency for this award.



  • Jen jenkins
    Posted at 00:09h, 28 July Reply


  • Gina Strack
    Posted at 16:43h, 08 August Reply

    I stumbled across some early Japanese immigrants to Utah while working on birth certificates, chronicled at I’ve wondered since then if these births were some of the first of Japanese descent born in Utah. The cursory research I did points to the family leaving prior to 1914, but I might still take a look at this incredible project!

  • Raymond Takashi Swenson
    Posted at 19:28h, 14 September Reply

    My mother was a subscriber to the Utah Nippo all the years I was growing up. In addition to its Japanese language content it also carried English language stories of interest to the Japanese American community. Because Utah was far enough inland that it was not covered by the evacuation requirement of Executive Order 1066, it became the center of the Japanese American Citizens League which was one of the few organized voices for Japanese Americans during World War II, including testifying in Congress about the loyalty of the Japanese Nisei (second generation, born in the USA), which led to the formation of the 442 Regimental Combat Team of Japanese Americans from Hawaii and the mainland, which became one of the most decorated Army units in the European theater, fighting in Italy and France.

  • Raymond Takashi Swenson
    Posted at 19:39h, 14 September Reply

    Digitizing the Utah Nippo is important because trying to translate all of its content into English in order to preserve it in an normal alphabetical file would be way too difficult. I assume that some basic translation or transcription of titles will be done to make it more searchable, but Japanese language Optical Character Reading software will be able to a lot of basic transcription, which can then be translated with software. Digitizing the kanji characters has to be the first step.

    This project should help us remember how difficult it was to put together a printed publication in Japanese before the age of computers. Rather than simply upper and lower case alphabets of 26 letters, a typical Japanese language newspaper reader needs to now about 2,000 separate ideograms. You can imagine the extra labor involved in assembling the Japanese type for this weekly publication.

  • Pingback:Utah Digital Newspapers Reaches 2 Million Pages - Newsletter
    Posted at 21:15h, 06 June Reply

    […] The digitization of the Springville Herald was made possible through grants from the Utah State Historical Records Advisory Bureau (USHRAB), the Springville Arts Commission, and the Springville Historical Society. In addition to the project for the Springville Herald, we are also currently adding more content in UDN for the Daily Herald, Park Record, Pleasant Grove Review, Vernal Express, Orem Geneva Times, Hilltop Times, American Fork Citizen, and the Utah Nippo. […]

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