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 (94)
Living conditions (312)

312 items
Akiko Okuno Interview Segment 20 (ddr-manz-1-133-20)
vh Akiko Okuno Interview Segment 20 (ddr-manz-1-133-20)
First impressions of camp: typhoid inoculation, lack of privacy
Victor Ikeda Interview Segment 30 (ddr-manz-1-23-30)
vh Victor Ikeda Interview Segment 30 (ddr-manz-1-23-30)
First impressions of Puyallup: living under the roller coaster
Victor Ikeda Interview Segment 31 (ddr-manz-1-23-31)
vh Victor Ikeda Interview Segment 31 (ddr-manz-1-23-31)
Passing the time in camp: volunteering for the dishwashing crew
Bob Fuchigami Interview Segment 15 (ddr-manz-1-28-15)
vh Bob Fuchigami Interview Segment 15 (ddr-manz-1-28-15)
Adjusting to confinement as a child: contemplating sneaking out of camp
Cherry Kinoshita Segment 8 (ddr-densho-1000-34-8)
vh Cherry Kinoshita Segment 8 (ddr-densho-1000-34-8)
Early memories of Puyallup Assembly Center: poor meals, primitive latrines, and guard towers
Frank Yamasaki Interview I Segment 15 (ddr-densho-1000-107-15)
vh Frank Yamasaki Interview I Segment 15 (ddr-densho-1000-107-15)
Former teacher visits camp: loss of "happy-go-lucky" adolescence in Puyallup
Mary Hirata Segment 14 (ddr-densho-1000-22-14)
vh Mary Hirata Segment 14 (ddr-densho-1000-22-14)
Trying to pass the time in the Puyallup Assembly Center
Shigeko Sese Uno Segment 17 (ddr-densho-1000-98-17)
vh Shigeko Sese Uno Segment 17 (ddr-densho-1000-98-17)
Fellow camp inmate describes losing child during the curfew, too afraid to go to a hospital
Shigeko Sese Uno Segment 15 (ddr-densho-1000-98-15)
vh Shigeko Sese Uno Segment 15 (ddr-densho-1000-98-15)
Caring for a newborn baby in Puyallup Assembly Center, Washington
Mits Koshiyama Interview Segment 7 (ddr-densho-1000-130-7)
vh Mits Koshiyama Interview Segment 7 (ddr-densho-1000-130-7)
Santa Anita Assembly Center: making camouflage nets, observing loss of family ties
Min Tonai Interview II Segment 6 (ddr-densho-1000-302-6)
vh Min Tonai Interview II Segment 6 (ddr-densho-1000-302-6)
Coping with difficult conditions 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.

Roy H. Matsumoto Interview Segment 41 (ddr-densho-1000-153-41)
vh Roy H. Matsumoto Interview Segment 41 (ddr-densho-1000-153-41)
Memories of mass removal: traveling to the Santa Anita Assembly Center, becoming head of the "vegetable department" at Santa Anita

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 …

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