Living conditions

All of the camps were constructed according to the War Department's specifications, which included barbed-wire fences, guard towers, and armed guards around the perimeter. The camps were organized in "blocks" consisting of twelve to fourteen barracks, a mess hall, communal showers and toilets, laundry facilities, and a recreation hall. Each barracks was divided into four or six rooms with each room housing one family, no matter how large, and there was no running water. The furnishings that Japanese Americans found on their arrival were canvas cots, a potbellied stove, and a single bare light bulb. The thin walls offered little protection from the harsh weather, which ranged from 110 degrees in the summer to 25 degrees below zero on winter nights. The flimsy construction allowed no privacy and made normal family life difficult. Camp inmates improved their own living conditions by creating interior walls and partitions, constructing furniture from scrap lumber, and planting gardens.

Living conditions (957)

Related articles from the Densho Encyclopedia :
Arts and crafts in camp, Community analysts, Manzanar Children's Village

950 items
Nisei machinist preparing a truck axle in machine shop at Heart Mountain incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-11)
img Nisei machinist preparing a truck axle in machine shop at Heart Mountain incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-11)
Nisei machinist preparing a truck axle in machine shop at Heart Mountain incarceration camp. January 9, 1943. Photo by Tom Parker. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: HMLSC_TOMO_011
Ninomiya family in their barracks room at Granada incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-3)
img Ninomiya family in their barracks room at Granada incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-3)
Ninomiya family in their barracks room at Granada incarceration camp. Tosh Ninomiya was responsible for documenting the history of the Granada center. December 9, 1942. Photo by Tom Parker. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: HMLSC_TOMO_003
Evening view of Heart Mountain incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-8)
img Evening view of Heart Mountain incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-8)
Evening view of Heart Mountain incarceration camp, September 19, 1942. Photo by Tom Parker. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: HMLSC_TOMO_008
An oral history with Ira Iwata (ddr-csujad-30-8)
av An oral history with Ira Iwata (ddr-csujad-30-8)
An oral interview with Ira Iwata, an incarceree at the Children's Village orphanage. The interview was conducted for the Children's Village at the Manzanar Oral History Project by California State University, Fullerton. The transcript is found in item: csufccop_cvm_0120. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: 3775_T01
An oral history with Togo Tanaka (ddr-csujad-29-61)
vh An oral history with Togo Tanaka (ddr-csujad-29-61)
An oral interview with Togo Tanaka, newspaper editor, documentary historian, and businessman who was incarcerated at the Manzanar camp. The interview was conducted for the Japanese American Oral History Project by California State University, Fullerton. Transcription is found in the item: csufccop_jaoh_0102. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: 1271.1_T01
An oral history with Alpharetta Matthews (ddr-csujad-29-48)
av An oral history with Alpharetta Matthews (ddr-csujad-29-48)
An oral interview with Alpharetta Matthews, a child civilian at the Tule Lake incarceration camp. The interview was conducted for the Japanese American Oral History Project by California State University, Fullerton. Transcript is found in item: csufccop_jaoh_0152. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: 2656_T01
An oral history with Takatow Matsuno (ddr-csujad-30-12)
av An oral history with Takatow Matsuno (ddr-csujad-30-12)
An oral interview with Takatow [Takato] Matsuno, an incarceree at the Children's Village orphanage. The interview was conducted for the Children's Village at the Manzanar Oral History Project by California State University, Fullerton. Transcript is found in item: csufccop_cvm_0128. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: 2339_T01
An oral history with Robert Yamashita (ddr-csujad-30-15)
av An oral history with Robert Yamashita (ddr-csujad-30-15)
An oral interview with Robert Yamashita, an incarceree at the Children's Village orphanage. The interview was conducted for the Children's Village at the Manzanar Oral History Project by California State University, Fullerton. Transcript is found in item: csufccop_cvm_0134. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: 3502_T01
An oral history with Mitsuru Yamasaki (ddr-csujad-30-16)
av An oral history with Mitsuru Yamasaki (ddr-csujad-30-16)
An oral interview with Mitsuru Yamasaki, an incarceree at the Children's Village orphanage. The interview was conducted for the Children's Village at the Manzanar Oral History Project by California State University, Fullerton. Transcript is found in item: csufccop_cvm_0136. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: 3592_T01
Man and boy at Manzanar (ddr-densho-359-1448)
img Man and boy at Manzanar (ddr-densho-359-1448)
A man and boy pose for a photograph next to a sprinkler at Manzanar Concentration Camp in California.
Letter from Phil Okano to Alice Okano (ddr-densho-359-1213)
doc Letter from Phil Okano to Alice Okano (ddr-densho-359-1213)
Phil writes to his wife, Alice Okano, concerning his travel from Amanche Concentration camp to Denver. He couldn't convince his father to leave Amanche. Phil writes that many people were biding their time in the camp to see how the war in the Pacific would pan out before making any decisions about leaving camp. Phil is ...
George Hanada Interview Segment 6 (ddr-jamsj-2-5-6)
vh George Hanada Interview Segment 6 (ddr-jamsj-2-5-6)
Memories of concentration camp: desolation, break-up of family structure

This interview was conducted by the Japanese American Museum of San Jose, and is part of a project entitled "Lasting Stories: The Resettlement of San Jose Japantown," a collaborative project between the Japanese American Museum of San Jose and Densho.

Tokio Yamane Interview Segment 22 (ddr-densho-1000-432-22)
vh Tokio Yamane Interview Segment 22 (ddr-densho-1000-432-22)
Living conditions in the Jerome concentration camp (Japanese language)

This interview was conducted in Japanese. The transcript is a translation of the original interview. 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 ...

At Heart Mountain (ddr-densho-252-136)
img At Heart Mountain (ddr-densho-252-136)
(Left to right) Unknown, Tsumoru Okura. Caption on Post-it: "Tsumoru Okura & wife at Heart Mountain, October 1944 (bro. of Masaji Okura)."
Issei couple sitting on barracks porch (ddr-densho-24-20)
img Issei couple sitting on barracks porch (ddr-densho-24-20)
Sawano (left), and Bunshiro Tazuma in front of their barrack. The Tazumas were originally from Seattle, Washington, and owned the Tazuma Ten-Cent Store on Jackson Street before World War II.
Three children behind barracks (ddr-densho-34-118)
img Three children behind barracks (ddr-densho-34-118)
Left to right: Frank, Lilly, and Jane Kitamoto behind their barracks at the Minidoka concentration camp.
Mother and her children in front of their barracks (ddr-densho-34-111)
img Mother and her children in front of their barracks (ddr-densho-34-111)
Shigeko Kitamoto and her children (left to right): Frances, Jane, Frank, and Lilly Kitamoto.
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