Living conditions

The "assembly centers" were hastily erected quarters located throughout the West Coast at fairgrounds, racetracks and other similar facilities. Conditions at these locations were appalling. People were housed in animal stalls and barracks with communal bathrooms and mess halls. Privacy was next to nonexistent. Most families lived in a 20-by-20-foot room separated from the next "apartment" by wood partitions that did not reach the ceiling. Shortages of food and deplorable sanitation were common. Overcrowding, uncertainty, and stress created tension in the "assembly centers," even as the demoralized camp inmates tried to improve living conditions.

World War II (66)
Temporary Assembly Centers (97)
Living conditions (334)

334 items
Roy H. Matsumoto Interview Segment 44 (ddr-densho-1000-153-44)
vh Roy H. Matsumoto Interview Segment 44 (ddr-densho-1000-153-44)
Keeping busy to pass the time in assembly center, trying not to feel too angry

Although Mr. Matsumoto does not identify himself as a Kibei (American-born person of Japanese ancestry sent to Japan for formal education and socialization when young and later returned to the U.S.), some of his life experiences are similar to those who …

Kanji Sahara Segment 8 (ddr-densho-1000-448-8)
vh Kanji Sahara Segment 8 (ddr-densho-1000-448-8)
Living in Santa Anita near families from the same prewar area
Tom Matsuoka Segment 25 (ddr-densho-1000-47-25)
vh Tom Matsuoka Segment 25 (ddr-densho-1000-47-25)
Joining family at the Pinedale Assembly Center, California: "So doggone hot..."
Tosh Yasutake Interview Segment 4 (ddr-densho-1000-138-4)
vh Tosh Yasutake Interview Segment 4 (ddr-densho-1000-138-4)
First impressions of the Puyallup Assembly Center: "it was like going to an army camp"

William Toshio Yasutake was interviewed together with his sister Mitsuye (Yasutake) Yamada and surviving brother, Joseph Yasutake, in group sessions on October 8-9, 2002. He was interviewed individually on November 14, 2002.

Before being contacted by Densho, the Yasutake siblings had …

May Ota Higa Interview Segment 18 (ddr-densho-1000-174-18)
vh May Ota Higa Interview Segment 18 (ddr-densho-1000-174-18)
Restrictions after the bombing of Pearl Harbor; first impressions of Puyallup Assembly Center
Ike Hatchimonji Interview Segment 9 (ddr-densho-1000-381-9)
vh Ike Hatchimonji Interview Segment 9 (ddr-densho-1000-381-9)
First impressions of camp: "it was quite a disappointment"

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 …

Yae Aihara Interview Segment 8 (ddr-densho-1000-221-8)
vh Yae Aihara Interview Segment 8 (ddr-densho-1000-221-8)
First impressions of Puyallup Assembly Center, having a graduation ceremony
Frank S. Fujii Segment 11 (ddr-densho-1000-8-11)
vh Frank S. Fujii Segment 11 (ddr-densho-1000-8-11)
Impressions of Puyallup Assembly Center: physical discomforts, meeting new people

This interview was conducted over two days due to electrical problems. The majority of the interview was completed on the second day, September 5.

Robert Mizukami Interview Segment 10 (ddr-densho-1000-114-10)
vh Robert Mizukami Interview Segment 10 (ddr-densho-1000-114-10)
Forced into "Camp Harmony," Puyallup Assembly Center, Washington

This is the first in a series of interviews conducted by the Puyallup Valley Japanese American Citizen League in collaboration with Densho.

Toru Sakahara - Kiyo Sakahara Interview II Segment 4 (ddr-densho-1000-77-4)
vh Toru Sakahara - Kiyo Sakahara Interview II Segment 4 (ddr-densho-1000-77-4)
Gambling in the Puyallup Assembly Center

This interview was conducted over two days at the Sakaharas' home.

May K. Sasaki Segment 15 (ddr-densho-1000-79-15)
vh May K. Sasaki Segment 15 (ddr-densho-1000-79-15)
Feeling like a "caged animal" in Puyallup Assembly Center
Toru Sakahara - Kiyo Sakahara Interview II Segment 5 (ddr-densho-1000-77-5)
vh Toru Sakahara - Kiyo Sakahara Interview II Segment 5 (ddr-densho-1000-77-5)
Working in the judge advocate's office at Puyallup Assembly Center

This interview was conducted over two days at the Sakaharas' home.

May K. Sasaki Segment 14 (ddr-densho-1000-79-14)
vh May K. Sasaki Segment 14 (ddr-densho-1000-79-14)
Animal smells and painful inoculations: childhood memories of Puyallup Assembly Center
Rudy Tokiwa Interview II Segment 16 (ddr-densho-1000-92-16)
vh Rudy Tokiwa Interview II Segment 16 (ddr-densho-1000-92-16)
Learning to cook in the Salinas Assembly Center, California

This interview was conducted at the 1998 Americans of Japanese Ancestry Veterans National Convention, held in Honolulu, Hawaii.

API