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
Desert Sentinel, Vol. I No. 12, May 14, 1943 (ddr-csujad-17-2)
doc Desert Sentinel, Vol. I No. 12, May 14, 1943 (ddr-csujad-17-2)
School newspaper published at the Gila River incarceration camp. Features and items include a report on a bond drive and on a "Kampus Karnival"; news about the debate team and about a talent show, as well as about goings-on at Topaz, Utah; Manzanar, California; Echoes, Wyoming; Hunt, Idaho; and Amache, Colorado; and illustrations. See this object ...
An oral history with Dennis Tojo Bambauer - Segment 1 (ddr-csujad-30-17-1)
vh An oral history with Dennis Tojo Bambauer - Segment 1 (ddr-csujad-30-17-1)
An oral interview with Dennis Tojo Bambauer, an incarceree at the Children's Village. The interview was conducted for the Children's Village at Manzanar Oral History Project by California State University, Fullerton. The audio file is found in item: csufccop_cvm_0105. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: 2335_F01
An oral history with Lillian Matsumoto and Taeko Nagayama (ddr-csujad-30-14)
av An oral history with Lillian Matsumoto and Taeko Nagayama (ddr-csujad-30-14)
An oral interview with Lillian Matsumoto and Taeko Nagayama, incarcerees 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_0132. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: 2494.2_T01
An oral history with Celeste Teodor (ddr-csujad-30-19)
vh An oral history with Celeste Teodor (ddr-csujad-30-19)
An oral interview with Celeste Teodor, 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_0138. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: 3776_T01
Letter from Phil Okano to Alice Okano (ddr-densho-359-1212)
doc Letter from Phil Okano to Alice Okano (ddr-densho-359-1212)
Phil writes to his wife, Alice Okano, concerning life in the Amanche Concentration Camp including activities at the high school and social gatherings. He also mentions an upcoming trip to Denver and trying to convince other families to leave the camp.
Housing Barracks (ddr-csujad-13-19)
img Housing Barracks (ddr-csujad-13-19)
A distant view of housing barracks inside Tulelake with a handwritten caption at the bottom of the photograph that reads, "Jap quarters Tulelake." See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: tul_01_01_014
View of Buildings at Tule Lake Incarceration Camp (ddr-csujad-13-15)
img View of Buildings at Tule Lake Incarceration Camp (ddr-csujad-13-15)
A row of barracks or some other structures at the Tule Lake incarceration camp are photographed from inside a vehicle. Caption on back of photograph reads, "Cruising along streets of Camp Tulelake during Jap disturbance in Nov. 43." See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: tul_01_01_010
Victim of the Japanese Evacuation and Resettlement Study (JERS) (ddr-csujad-26-31)
doc Victim of the Japanese Evacuation and Resettlement Study (JERS) (ddr-csujad-26-31)
An affidavit written to invalidate purported distortions and false accusations made against the author in two books published using research material collected by Rosalie Hankey Wax during de Cristoforo's incarceration at Tule Lake. The books are "Doing Fieldwork: Warnings and Advice" by Rosalie H. Wax and "The Spoilage" by Dorothy Swaine Thomas and Richard S. Nishimoto ...
Young women (ddr-csujad-26-142)
img Young women (ddr-csujad-26-142)
Four young Japanese American women pose with a Caucasian woman in front of an automobile. Barracks building is in the background. From photo album of Robert Billigmeier. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: mei_05_112
Women pose in front of building (ddr-csujad-26-84)
img Women pose in front of building (ddr-csujad-26-84)
A group of young women pose in front of what may be the side of a barracks building. From photo album of Robert Billigmeier. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: mei_05_021
Tomiye Terasaki Interview Segment 10 (ddr-densho-1000-122-10)
vh Tomiye Terasaki Interview Segment 10 (ddr-densho-1000-122-10)
First impressions of Tule Lake concentration camp, finding ways to pass the time (Japanese language)

This interview was conducted in Japanese. It was translated so as to convey Mrs. Terasaki's way of speaking as closely as possible. For example, there are instances in which she makes some grammatical errors. These mistakes are conveyed through similar grammatical ...

Roger Shimomura Interview Segment 7 (ddr-densho-1000-142-7)
vh Roger Shimomura Interview Segment 7 (ddr-densho-1000-142-7)
Childhood memories of the Puyallup Assembly Center and Minidoka concentration camp: celebrating third birthday, contracting measles, "getting into a lot of mischief"
Memo from Co-ordinating Committee to Chief of Police Schmidt [Willard E. Schmidt], February 3, 1944 (ddr-csujad-2-72)
doc Memo from Co-ordinating Committee to Chief of Police Schmidt [Willard E. Schmidt], February 3, 1944 (ddr-csujad-2-72)
Calls for special meeting of the Project Director, Advisory Council, and Co-ordinating Committee to discuss Committee recommendations, and refers to four attached memoranda, each from Co-ordinating Committee 1608-A to R. [Raymond] R. Best, Project Director, dated February 2, 1944 and written by Byron Akitsuki, Executive Secretary. Subjects of the memoranda are: Receipt of Red Cross Gift ...
Memo from Harry L. Black, Advisory Committee, to Mr. [Raymond R.] Best, February 8, 1944 (ddr-csujad-2-91)
doc Memo from Harry L. Black, Advisory Committee, to Mr. [Raymond R.] Best, February 8, 1944 (ddr-csujad-2-91)
Memorandum regarding meeting with Co-ordinating Committee. Concerns meeting to discuss Committee's recommendation to release "18 additional detainees from the stockade." The memo on "Executive Office of the President, Office for Emergency Management" letterhead, also discusses employment of incarcerees from Manzanar and Tule Lake and moving incarcerees out of and into various housing blocks. See this object ...
Memo from [Willard E.] Schmidt, Chief of Administrative Police, to [Raymond R.] Best, [1944] (ddr-csujad-2-78)
doc Memo from [Willard E.] Schmidt, Chief of Administrative Police, to [Raymond R.] Best, [1944] (ddr-csujad-2-78)
Regards arming the Administrative Police Section, including reasons for using the sawed-off shotgun vs. the 45 automatic pistol for security purposes, and the potential for escalation of tensions in a "divided camp (anti and pro, status quo)." See also the related typewritten memo, Memorandum from Willard [E.] Schmidt, Chief, Administrative Police, to R. R. [Raymond R.] ...
Letter from children of Kihichi Sakamoto to Project Director [Raymond R. Best], February 14, 1944 (ddr-csujad-2-94)
doc Letter from children of Kihichi Sakamoto to Project Director [Raymond R. Best], February 14, 1944 (ddr-csujad-2-94)
Letter from three of his children, Tatsuo, Manabu, and Osamu Sakamoto, requests the release of their father, Kihichi Sakamoto, from the Army Stockade, for the sake of their mother's "health and mind" stating that she has been ill since their stay in Heart Mountain the previous year and has suffered a relapse upon her husband's imprisonment ...
[Japanese folklore about birth] (ddr-csujad-2-59)
doc [Japanese folklore about birth] (ddr-csujad-2-59)
Report on Japanese folklore and superstitions regarding the birth of a newborn. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: sjs_sch_0059
Letter from Emiko [Amy] Terada to Miss Laura Thomas, January 19, 1945 (ddr-csujad-4-22)
doc Letter from Emiko [Amy] Terada to Miss Laura Thomas, January 19, 1945 (ddr-csujad-4-22)
A letter from Emiko Amy Terada, an incarceree at the Rohwer incarceration camp, to Miss Laura Thomas in Lawndale, California. In the letter, Emiko asks Laura about the conditions in Lawndale, California, expressing her concern about housing. She also describes school in the camp. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project ...
Landscaping done by incarcerees of Camp No. 1 at Colorado River incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-61)
img Landscaping done by incarcerees of Camp No. 1 at Colorado River incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-61)
Landscaping done by incarcerees of Camp No. 1 at Colorado River incarceration camp. December 31, 1942. Photo by Francis Stewart. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: HMLSC_TOMO_f26
General view of Granada incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-7)
img General view of Granada incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-7)
General view of Granada incarceration camp. December 12, 1942. Photo by Tom Parker. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: HMLSC_TOMO_007
Shoemakers at work in shoe repair shop at Heart Mountain incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-60)
img Shoemakers at work in shoe repair shop at Heart Mountain incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-60)
Shoemakers at work in shoe repair shop at Heart Mountain incarceration camp. January 11, 1943. Photo by Tom Parker. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: HMLSC_TOMO_f25
Young Nisei girl purchasing Christmas wrappings in cooperative notion store at Granada incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-40)
img Young Nisei girl purchasing Christmas wrappings in cooperative notion store at Granada incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-40)
Young Nisei girl purchasing Christmas wrappings in cooperative notion store at Granada incarceration camp. December 10, 1942. Photo by Tom Parker. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: HMLSC_TOMO_f05
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