Social and recreational activities

Japanese Americans found ways to fill the long days created by the enforced idleness of camp life. They made jewelry from shells found in the desert, built furniture for their rooms using scrap lumber and renovated the exteriors of their barracks. People also played cards, chess, checkers, mahjongg, and the Japanese games 'go' and 'shogi.' Camp inmates held dances, concerts, plays, and arts and crafts exhibitions. In Minidoka concentration camp, Idaho, they even held a beauty contest to select the "Sweetheart of Minidoka."

World War II (34)
Concentration camps (167)
Social and recreational activities (515)

Related articles from the Densho Encyclopedia :
Arts and crafts in camp, Music in camp

515 items
Eiko Shibayama Interview Segment 11 (ddr-densho-1001-14-11)
vh Eiko Shibayama Interview Segment 11 (ddr-densho-1001-14-11)
Recreational activities in camp: swimming, movies, birthday parties
Marjorie Matsushita Sperling Interview Segment 18 (ddr-densho-1000-273-18)
vh Marjorie Matsushita Sperling Interview Segment 18 (ddr-densho-1000-273-18)
Working for the recreation department, planning activities for kids

This material is based upon work assisted by a grant from the Department of the Interior, National Park Service. Any opinions, finding, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of ...

Japanese Americans playing cards (ddr-densho-188-17)
img Japanese Americans playing cards (ddr-densho-188-17)
Playing cards: Joe Ishida, Hank Yamashiro, Jack Hirose, Morgan Yamanaka, Tom Maruyama, Mike Yoshimine. Sleeping: Sam Kinoshita.
Japanese Americans playing cards at the fire station (ddr-densho-15-59)
img Japanese Americans playing cards at the fire station (ddr-densho-15-59)
This is the interior of Fire Station Number 1. Left to right: (first name unknown) Hikida, unidentified, Yoshio Akada, and Mr. Sano. The fire station was one of the few buildings with a refrigerator. Mr. Sano owned the bathhouse underneath the Panama Hotel in Seattle, Washington, before World War II.
Japanese Americans at a picnic (ddr-densho-15-78)
img Japanese Americans at a picnic (ddr-densho-15-78)
Left to right: Tak Hori, unidentified, and Robert Ikeda.
Japanese Americans playing go (ddr-densho-151-398)
img Japanese Americans playing go (ddr-densho-151-398)
Original caption: Manzanar Relocation Center, Manzanar, California. Playing the Japanese game Goh in the Relocation Hall at this War Relocation Authority center for evacuees of Japanese ancestry.
Young Japanese Americans playing in creek (ddr-densho-151-400)
img Young Japanese Americans playing in creek (ddr-densho-151-400)
Original caption: Manzanar Relocation Center, Manzanar, California. Evacuee children enjoying a hot summer afternoon in the mountain creek which flows through the desert on the border of this War Relocation Authority center.
Block 26 garden and pond (ddr-densho-2-68)
img Block 26 garden and pond (ddr-densho-2-68)
Japanese Americans from Block 26 fashioned this garden and pond.
Shells used for jewelry making (ddr-densho-2-51)
img Shells used for jewelry making (ddr-densho-2-51)
Japanese Americans at the Tule Lake concentration camp enjoyed making jewelry from shells, such as the ones shown here, which were found within the confines of the camp. These shells have not yet been bleached. Tule Lake was drained in the early 1900s. The camp was located on the old lake bed, where people found shells ...
Japanese American making shell jewelry (ddr-densho-2-58)
img Japanese American making shell jewelry (ddr-densho-2-58)
Peggie Yorita making jewelry from shells found within the confines of the Tule Lake concentration camp. Making jewelry was a popular pastime for the Japanese Americans. Tule Lake was drained in the early 1900s. The camp was located on the old lake bed. As a result, shells were available for people to fashion into jewelry for ...
Letter from Ishi Morishita to Mrs. Charles Gates (ddr-densho-211-8)
doc Letter from Ishi Morishita to Mrs. Charles Gates (ddr-densho-211-8)
Letter from the Morishitas telling about their Christmas in Minidoka.
The Newell Star, Vol. I, No. 16 (June 15, 1944) (ddr-densho-284-23)
doc The Newell Star, Vol. I, No. 16 (June 15, 1944) (ddr-densho-284-23)
Selected article titles: "Graduation for 120 Seniors on Friday" (p. 1), "Repatriation Requests in Transit to Japan" (PP. 1-2), and "All Meetings, Entertainments Must Be Registered with Police" (p. 2).
Children playing flutes (ddr-densho-39-30)
img Children playing flutes (ddr-densho-39-30)
Original museum description: Photograph taken at Minidoka internment camp, black and white glossy, shows a group of Japanese American girls playing the flute, girls are wearing coats, some have on scarves, barrack is in the background. (Info from original museum description)
Japanese Americans swimming in the irrigation canal (ddr-densho-39-31)
img Japanese Americans swimming in the irrigation canal (ddr-densho-39-31)
Japanese Americans swim in the irrigation canal that ran along the perimeter of the Minidoka concentration camp.
Japanese American at baton practice (ddr-densho-93-10)
img Japanese American at baton practice (ddr-densho-93-10)
Original Ansel Adams caption: Baton practice, Florence Kuwata, Manzanar Relocation Center / photograph by Ansel Adams.
Bruce T. Kaji Interview I Segment 13 (ddr-densho-1000-289-13)
vh Bruce T. Kaji Interview I Segment 13 (ddr-densho-1000-289-13)
Remembering music in camp with Louis Frizzell

This material is based upon work assisted by a grant from the Department of the Interior, National Park Service. Any opinions, finding, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of the Interior.

Nancy K. Araki Interview Segment 18 (ddr-densho-1000-305-18)
vh Nancy K. Araki Interview Segment 18 (ddr-densho-1000-305-18)
Recreational activities in camp

This material is based upon work assisted by a grant from the Department of the Interior, National Park Service. Any opinions, finding, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of the Interior.

George Yoshida Interview Segment 29 (ddr-densho-1000-132-29)
vh George Yoshida Interview Segment 29 (ddr-densho-1000-132-29)
Helping to organize a dance band in camp, rehearsing evenings and weekends
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