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.

World War II (66)
Concentration camps (594)
Living conditions (986)

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

986 items
Collecting coal (ddr-hmwf-1-72)
img Collecting coal (ddr-hmwf-1-72)
"Coal 29-27, Jan 11, 1944 morning" as described on back, Super xx Super Ikonta B DK20'45' D76-20'
Baby (ddr-hmwf-1-318)
img Baby (ddr-hmwf-1-318)
"Matsushita 14-12-D June 2 1944" l8 f4.5 1/25 SuperpanPress, D76-37'
View of Heart Mountain (ddr-hmwf-1-465)
img View of Heart Mountain (ddr-hmwf-1-465)
Sunset view of camp with Heart Mountain in background
Latrines (ddr-hmwf-1-81)
img Latrines (ddr-hmwf-1-81)
"29-28 Latrine, Jan 25, 1944" as described on the back
Ice Skating (ddr-hmwf-1-480)
img Ice Skating (ddr-hmwf-1-480)
Men, women, and children ice skating with barracks in background
Post Office (ddr-hmwf-1-120)
img Post Office (ddr-hmwf-1-120)
"Harada 9/25/1943 in front of Post Office"
Flowers (ddr-hmwf-1-85)
img Flowers (ddr-hmwf-1-85)
"Man looking over flower garden- Yoshio Okumoto"
Girl Beside Garden (ddr-hmwf-1-444)
img Girl Beside Garden (ddr-hmwf-1-444)
"Yasuko Idishi, 29-6-C, Aug 6, 1943 1:45pm, l18 f9 1/50 G3, Agfa Superpan Supreme, DK20 21 min, C #2 10 AN 27-30" as described on back, young girl fixing her hair beside a barrack's garden
Portrait (ddr-hmwf-1-633)
img Portrait (ddr-hmwf-1-633)
Young man posing with Heart Mountain and barracks in the background
Girl posing (ddr-hmwf-1-283)
img Girl posing (ddr-hmwf-1-283)
"Feb 12 1944 Leica" as described on back
View of camp (ddr-hmwf-1-563)
img View of camp (ddr-hmwf-1-563)
View of camp with Heart Mountain in background
Farewell Dinner (ddr-hmwf-1-554)
img Farewell Dinner (ddr-hmwf-1-554)
"29-6-F, Jan 12 1945" as described on back, Farewell Dinner Shrimp Tempura-Abalone, Jim Yonemura, Masao Terakami, Okumoto, Ito, Harold Matsumoto, Tom Noritake, Mrs. Yoshiko Terakami
Christmas Exercise (ddr-hmwf-1-475)
img Christmas Exercise (ddr-hmwf-1-475)
"Christmas Exercise 22-25 Rec Hall, Dec 22-1943" as described on back, children performing
View of camp (ddr-hmwf-1-565)
img View of camp (ddr-hmwf-1-565)
"from 29-6-F window, XX SuperIkontaB, April 22 1944" as described on back, view of camp with Heart Mountain in background
Collecting coal (ddr-hmwf-1-67)
img Collecting coal (ddr-hmwf-1-67)
"Coal rush 29-28, Jan 11 1944, afternoon" as described on back Super xx, Super Ikonta B DK20-45' D76-70
Girls Posing (ddr-hmwf-1-525)
img Girls Posing (ddr-hmwf-1-525)
"Carrol Inouye, Sueko Horiuchi, April 9 1944, l7 f6.3 1/5, Pancho Press cut film, DK20-45' En 0 2 20-25" as described on back
View of camp (ddr-hmwf-1-573)
img View of camp (ddr-hmwf-1-573)
"Heart Mt. Block 25-29 intersection, Dec. 30-1944, l21 f16 1/10E PlusX DK20-45, 76-12" as described on back
Mess Crew (ddr-hmwf-1-139)
img Mess Crew (ddr-hmwf-1-139)
"Mess 29-27, drying crew, heart mt, wyo, april 24 1943" as described on back, 1 sec f9
Couple Posing (ddr-hmwf-1-453)
img Couple Posing (ddr-hmwf-1-453)
"July 26-1944 4:30pm" as described on back, couple posing together
Women Posing (ddr-hmwf-1-559)
img Women Posing (ddr-hmwf-1-559)
Woman and young girl posing together in barracks room
View of camp (ddr-hmwf-1-566)
img View of camp (ddr-hmwf-1-566)
View of camp with Heart Mountain in background
Coal Rush (ddr-hmwf-1-470)
img Coal Rush (ddr-hmwf-1-470)
"Coal rush, 29-28 Jan 7-1944 2:30pm, f16 1/50 SuperIkontaB SuperXX Roll, DK20-50' D76-20' "as described on back
Haircut (ddr-hmwf-1-119)
img Haircut (ddr-hmwf-1-119)
"Jan 15-1945, Isamu Sam Kihara 30-1-A" as described on back, Yoshio Okumoto, Flash f22 1/100 Super xx D76-22'
Flowers (ddr-hmwf-1-84)
img Flowers (ddr-hmwf-1-84)
"Flowers (artificial) mess 29-27 May 3, 1943, Gevaert cut" as described on back, l5 f5.6- 1sec. DK20-20min, #2 150