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 (66)
Concentration camps (592)
Social and recreational activities (687)

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

687 items
Japanese American building a model ship (ddr-densho-37-597)
img Japanese American building a model ship (ddr-densho-37-597)
Original WRA caption: Gila River Relocation Center, Rivers, Arizona. Wataru Ichinotsubo, former produce market employee form Los Angeles, California, is shown sandpapering the hull of a model into final shape in the model ship factory here. These ships are carefully constructed for the Navy by the Japanese-American craftsmen.
Lifeguards (ddr-densho-37-6)
img Lifeguards (ddr-densho-37-6)
Original WRA caption: Volunteer lifeguards at outdoor swimming hol[e] constructed close to north side irrigation canal. At left is Willard Jeager, Hunt High School teacher and volunteer Red Cross life-saving instructor. At right is Walter Kipp, community activities supervisor.
Camp high school brass band (ddr-densho-37-533)
img Camp high school brass band (ddr-densho-37-533)
Original WRA caption: Rohwer Relocation Center, McGehee, Arkansas. A part of the brass section of the High School Band, at the Rohwer Center. The students learning to play instruments for the band are former Californians, who, with their parents, were evacuated from stratiegic west coast areas.
Camp Boy Scouts (ddr-densho-37-427)
img Camp Boy Scouts (ddr-densho-37-427)
Original WRA caption: Heart Mountain Relocation Center, Heart Mountain, Wyoming. Boy Scouts conducting a morning flag raising ceremony at the Heart Mountain Relocation Center. Where persons of Japanese ancestry, evacuated from West Coast defennse areas, now reside.
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.
Norakuro Harmonica Band (ddr-densho-39-45)
img Norakuro Harmonica Band (ddr-densho-39-45)
The Norakuro Harmonica Band played instruments in addition to the harmonica. At camp dances the group performed both American and Japanese music as well as American music with Japanese lyrics. Many of its members were Kibei, Nisei who were born in the United States but educated in Japan.
Camp arts and crafts exhibit (ddr-densho-39-14)
img Camp arts and crafts exhibit (ddr-densho-39-14)
Original museum description: Photograph, black and white glossy of an arts and crafts exhibit in an auditorium at the Minidoka internment camp. Rows of tables are seen with arts and crafts displays. Hanging upright are scrolls, embroidery, paintings and drawings. In the foreground are a model of a water tower on the left and a desk ...
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 preparing for a performance (ddr-densho-39-53)
img Japanese Americans preparing for a performance (ddr-densho-39-53)
Japanese Americans from the Minidoka concentration camp prepare for a Japanese dance or theater performance.
Play staged in an internment camp (ddr-densho-64-1)
img Play staged in an internment camp (ddr-densho-64-1)
The play being performed is comic relief for a nine series adult drama. Mako Nakagawa is on the far right.
Cast of a stage play (ddr-densho-64-2)
img Cast of a stage play (ddr-densho-64-2)
Mako Nakagawa is in the front row on the far right.
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.
Calisthenics class (ddr-densho-93-48)
img Calisthenics class (ddr-densho-93-48)
Original Ansel Adams caption: Calesthenics [sic] / photograph by Ansel Adams.
Band concert (ddr-densho-93-38)
img Band concert (ddr-densho-93-38)
Original Ansel Adams caption: Band concert (close), Manzanar Relocation Center / photograph by Ansel Adams.
Written piece:
doc Written piece: "Halloween Dance" (ddr-densho-102-29)
This piece was written by Kara Kondo, and is part of a series titled "Sketches from Evacuation."
Recreation department staff (ddr-densho-111-3)
img Recreation department staff (ddr-densho-111-3)
Staff of Tule Lake concentration camp's recreation department. They are sitting on a stage platform which was built in a firebreak, and used for various performances. Second row from front, ninth from left is Harry Mayeda, the Recreation Department Director. Elaine Ishikawa Hayes is in the third row, sixth from left.
Manzanar queen and her court (ddr-manz-10-18)
img Manzanar queen and her court (ddr-manz-10-18)
Original caption: "Her Majesty Haru Ogawa. Attendants: Kiyo Nishi, Riyo Yano, Virgie Kikuta, Yuri Yamazaki." Handwritten note on front: "Dearest Gracie, With love, Yuri."
Modernaires Club (ddr-manz-10-137)
img Modernaires Club (ddr-manz-10-137)
Back row: Junko Hatae, Alice Araki, Shizuko Uno, Mary Kageyama, Chicki Hiraoka, Fumi Matsuzawa, Teruko Kuwata. Row Two: Reiko Ando, Yuki Inohara, Grace Maruki, Akiko Sakamoto (Advisors), Kazie Nishimoto, Michiko Kamachi. Row One: Yoshiko Kusunoki, Rosie Maruki, Kiyo Tanioka, Toshiko Morishita, Itoyo Hashimoto.
Three men on stage (ddr-manz-10-52)
img Three men on stage (ddr-manz-10-52)
Original caption: "Auctioneer Kow Maruki pays Joseph Yonai man with heaviest beard."
Modernaires (ddr-manz-10-61)
img Modernaires (ddr-manz-10-61)
Original caption: "Standing: Rosie Maruki, Reiko Ando, Tosh Morishita, Terry Arita, Tak Ando, Kaz Nishimoto, Tosh Nakadaira, Kiyo Tanuki, Lucy Aoki, Suzanne Anzai, Iris Akiyama. Seated: Chickie Hiraoka, Fumi Matsuzawa, Duchess Takeuchi, Advisor Misuko Nakamura, Mary Kageyama, Irene Kusayanagi."
Group of women in front of a car (ddr-manz-10-1)
img Group of women in front of a car (ddr-manz-10-1)
Original caption: "Gazelles 1942. Teruko Kuwata, Kimi Okubo, Pee Wee Kusunoki, Fujiko Takahashi, Grace. Front - Nellie Lujan, Florence Nemoto, Rosie Maruki, Heme Hashimoto."