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 (714)

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

714 items
Unloading beds (ddr-densho-37-474)
img Unloading beds (ddr-densho-37-474)
Original WRA caption: Poston, Arizona. Apache Indians assist in the unloading of beds for evacuees of Japanese ancestry at this War Relocation Authority center which is located on the Colorado River Indian Reservation.
Flooded conditions (ddr-densho-37-689)
img Flooded conditions (ddr-densho-37-689)
Original WRA caption: Flooded area between barracks in Block 3.
View from guard tower (ddr-densho-93-9)
img View from guard tower (ddr-densho-93-9)
Original Ansel Adams caption: Manzanar from Guard Tower, view west, (Sierra Nevada in Background) Manzanar Relocation Center, California.
Japanese American walking on camp road (ddr-densho-93-15)
img Japanese American walking on camp road (ddr-densho-93-15)
Original Ansel Adams caption: People walking, Manzanar Relocation Center / photograph by Ansel Adams.
The Newell Star, Vol. I, No. 2 (March 16, 1944) (ddr-densho-284-7)
doc The Newell Star, Vol. I, No. 2 (March 16, 1944) (ddr-densho-284-7)
Selected article titles: "Mar. 20 Life Mag. to Have Center Story" (p. 1), "Farm Program Drafted-Jarret: Two Unit Farm Plan Covers 1252 Acres" (p. 2), "3 Day Event Slated: Centerwide Program to Be at Auditorium" (p. 3), and "Spain Counsul Does Not Act for Nisei" (p. 3).
Co-Op News, Vol II. No. 1 (September 2, 1943) (ddr-densho-288-12)
doc Co-Op News, Vol II. No. 1 (September 2, 1943) (ddr-densho-288-12)
Selected article titles: "V.P. to Act as Chairman" (p. 1), "Rate of Rebate Set 15.14% for 2nd Quarter" (p. 1), "Wool Yarns Expected Soon at Dry Goods Store" (p. 1).
Co-Op News, Vol I. No. 3 (June 10, 1943) (ddr-densho-288-3)
doc Co-Op News, Vol I. No. 3 (June 10, 1943) (ddr-densho-288-3)
Selected article titles: "$1,000 Fund for Topaz School Children" (p. 1), "Questions and Answers" (p. 1), "Merchandise is Scarce - Reports Tatsuno from Chicago" (p. 1).
Group of Issei and Nisei in front of barrack (ddr-densho-310-2)
img Group of Issei and Nisei in front of barrack (ddr-densho-310-2)
Ichikawa family in front of their barrack at Minidoka concentration camp. Also pictured are family friends, Yahachi Suzuki and Mr. Hino. (Front Row, left to right) Akira Ichikawa, Hiroko Ichikawa (Back Row, left to right) Satoru Ichikawa, Mr. Hino, Etsuko Ichikawa, Yasashi Ichikawa, Shinya Ichikawa (In Yasahi's arms), Kazuya Ichikawa, Noriko Ichikawa, Yahachi Suzuki
Guard tower with a tank in the foreground (ddr-densho-350-19)
img Guard tower with a tank in the foreground (ddr-densho-350-19)
Caption on reverse: "Guard tower - guard by TFA (Task forces alfa [sic])."
The Oiye Family at Tule Lake (ddr-densho-350-20)
img The Oiye Family at Tule Lake (ddr-densho-350-20)
Left to right: Mary Shizuko Oiye, Shoji Oiye, unknown, Misa Mihara. Caption on reverse: "Jan, 1946."
Christmas Party (ddr-hmwf-1-472)
img Christmas Party (ddr-hmwf-1-472)
"Christmas Party 29-30 Mess Hall, Dec 25-1943" as described on back, Santa Claus handing out gifts
Christmas Exercise (ddr-hmwf-1-474)
img Christmas Exercise (ddr-hmwf-1-474)
"Christmas Exercise 22-25 Rec Hall, Dec 22-1943" as described on back, children performing
Portrait (ddr-hmwf-1-628)
img Portrait (ddr-hmwf-1-628)
Man sitting on steps holding Japanese Red Cross Society package
Administration (ddr-hmwf-1-205)
img Administration (ddr-hmwf-1-205)
"Heart Mt. Ad. Buildings, Dec 27 1944" as described on back, l22 f19 1/50 K2 Verichrome D76 50'
Portrait (ddr-hmwf-1-617)
img Portrait (ddr-hmwf-1-617)
Young woman's portrait on steps to barracks
Letter (with envelope) to Mollie Wilson from Mary Murakami (December 25, 1942) (ddr-janm-1-32)
doc Letter (with envelope) to Mollie Wilson from Mary Murakami (December 25, 1942) (ddr-janm-1-32)
Handwritten letter to Mollie Wilson from Mary Murakami (December 25, 1942). Envelope is postmarked December 20, 1942 from the Poston (Colorado River) Incarceration Camp in Parker, Arizona.
Letter (with envelope) to Mollie Wilson from Violet Saito (August 25, 1943) (ddr-janm-1-76)
doc Letter (with envelope) to Mollie Wilson from Violet Saito (August 25, 1943) (ddr-janm-1-76)
Handwritten letter to Mollie Wilson from Violet Saito (August 25, 1943). Envelope is postmarked August 26, 1943 from the Granada (Amache) Incarceration Camp in Amache, Colorado.
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