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."

Social and recreational activities (526)

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

526 items
Farewell dinner at Heart Mountain concentration camp (ddr-densho-242-22)
img Farewell dinner at Heart Mountain concentration camp (ddr-densho-242-22)
Caption on front: "Tom Sashikara Aug '44." Caption by Ike Hatchimonji: "Heart Mountain Aug. 1944. Caption reads: 'Farewell dinner for Tom Sashikara leaving for Cleveland, OH. Guy Robertson, the camp director and Mrs. Pryne were there.' K. Hatchimonji is seen on left with his hand on his chin."
Minidoka Matinee Orchestra (ddr-densho-2-36)
img Minidoka Matinee Orchestra (ddr-densho-2-36)
Left to right: Joe Owaki (drums), Hiro Nishimoto (MC), Dorrie Abe (piano), Ted Shimano (orchestra conductor), Amy Iguchi (clarinet), Yosh Ogata (saxophone), George Kaku (violin), and Sally Makishima (violin). The residents of the Minidoka concentration camp formed numerous musical ensembles to pass the time. Orchestras, bands, and choirs frequently staged performances for entertainment.
Japanese American weightlifter (ddr-densho-2-66)
img Japanese American weightlifter (ddr-densho-2-66)
Kaz Tsujikawa lifts weights as his friends look on.
Japanese American making jewelry (ddr-densho-2-61)
img Japanese American making jewelry (ddr-densho-2-61)
Peggie Yorita makes jewelry from shells found at the Tule Lake concentration camp. Tule Lake was drained in the early 1900s. The camp was located on the old lake bed, where people found shells for making jewelry to sell to camp personnel. Shells were scarce, and digging became competitive. To beat the rush, some peopel got ...
Japanese Americans at Shoshone Falls (ddr-densho-15-68)
img Japanese Americans at Shoshone Falls (ddr-densho-15-68)
Shoshone Falls was an easy day trip for Japanese Americans from the Minidoka concentration camp. Camp inmates were allowed to leave Minidoka on short excursions with approval from camp administrators. Left to right: unidentified, unidentified, Ted Kamada, and Yoneko Tanaka.
Camp band performance (ddr-densho-37-681)
img Camp band performance (ddr-densho-37-681)
Original WRA caption: Norakuro band. This is called a harmonica band although harmonicas are augmented by an equal number of other instruments. The organization including the name is patterned after Borrah Minnevitch's Harmonica Rascals. The band plays for center dances and is very popular. They play both American and Japanese music, often putting Japanese lyrics ...
Japanese Americans swimming in irrigation canal (ddr-densho-37-326)
img Japanese Americans swimming in irrigation canal (ddr-densho-37-326)
Original WRA caption: Swimming hole located south of warehouse area adjacent to the North Side Irrigation Canal which may be seen at upper right. Water flows from canal into pool and out again. The average depth of the pool is 6 feet.
Camp Boy Scouts receiving badges (ddr-densho-37-554)
img Camp Boy Scouts receiving badges (ddr-densho-37-554)
Original WRA caption: Topaz, Utah. Boy Scouts hold court of Honor at Central Utah Relocation Center at Topaz. Deputy Director, James F. Hughes, presents merit badges to first class scouts.
Japanese American and handmade cabinet (ddr-densho-37-357)
img Japanese American and handmade cabinet (ddr-densho-37-357)
Original caption: Shinkichi Kiyono, 56, evacuee from Longview, Washington, exhibits the cabinet which won him first prize (a carpenter's plane) in a furniture building contest. All pieces of furniture were made from scrap lumber.
Japanese American playing a board game (ddr-densho-37-428)
img Japanese American playing a board game (ddr-densho-37-428)
Original WRA caption: Heart Mountain Relocation Center, Heart Mountain, Wyoming. An early immigrant from Japan, now residing at Heart Mountain, after evacuation from West Coast areas, reaches for a pawn in a game of Shogi, similar in characters and playing to chess. Although previously mumbling in Japanese, startled by the camera flas, the old gent let ...
Camp garden and pond (ddr-densho-37-830)
img Camp garden and pond (ddr-densho-37-830)
Original WRA caption: Poston, Arizona. Landscaping done by evacuee residents of Camp Number1.
Camp fashion show (ddr-densho-37-320)
img Camp fashion show (ddr-densho-37-320)
Original WRA caption: A fashion show was one of the many exhibits held at this relocation center on Labor Day. Great skill was shown in dressmaking and tailoring, and was thoroughly appreciated by the large audience which witnessed this display.
Children playing marbles (ddr-densho-37-831)
img Children playing marbles (ddr-densho-37-831)
Original WRA caption: Rohwer Relocation Center, McGehee, Arkansas. Three small boys compete in a staff marble game on a Sunday afternoon in Block 8.
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.
Japanese American building a model ship (ddr-densho-37-592)
img Japanese American building a model ship (ddr-densho-37-592)
Original WRA caption: Gila River Relocation Center, Rivers, Arizona. Chic Yamaguchi, former farm worker from Kingsburg, California, is shown turning a section of one of the model ships on the lathe in the model ship factory at the Gila River Relocation Center. Chic had never operated power machinery before starting work in the factory here. Prior ...
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.