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
Heart Mountain (ddr-hmwf-1-230)
img Heart Mountain (ddr-hmwf-1-230)
"Edge of camp view of Heart Mountain with guard tower and barracks"
Coal Rush (ddr-hmwf-1-78)
img Coal Rush (ddr-hmwf-1-78)
"Coal Rush 29-29, Jan 7-1944" as described on back, Super Ikonta B
Baby Boy (ddr-hmwf-1-316)
img Baby Boy (ddr-hmwf-1-316)
"Kazuo Fiyii 24-11-E, Jan 14 1944 3PM" l7 f5.6 1/10 SuperIkontaB, SuperXX Roll DK20-45' D76-20
View of Heart Mountain (ddr-hmwf-1-460)
img View of Heart Mountain (ddr-hmwf-1-460)
Sunset view of camp with Heart Mountain in background
Man & Child (ddr-hmwf-1-416)
img Man & Child (ddr-hmwf-1-416)
Man squatting with a young child looking at rocks and dirt together, Heart Mountain in the background
Gardening (ddr-hmwf-1-90)
img Gardening (ddr-hmwf-1-90)
"Aug 17, 1943, 9:55am" as described on back, woman standing in garden, l19 f16 1/50 G3, Super xx DK20 27 min
Baby (ddr-hmwf-1-306)
img Baby (ddr-hmwf-1-306)
"Chikami 24-6-F, Jan 4 1944" l5 f5.6 1/5 SuperXX Dk20-50' D76-25'
Baby Boy (ddr-hmwf-1-319)
img Baby Boy (ddr-hmwf-1-319)
"Kazn Fiyii, 24-11-E Jan 4 1944" l6 f4.5 1/10, SuperXX DK20-50' D76-25'
Apartment room (ddr-hmwf-1-238)
img Apartment room (ddr-hmwf-1-238)
"Oki apt 24-21-F, Sept 24 1943" as described on back, l7 f12.7 1/2, SuperXX D76 24 min
View of camp (ddr-hmwf-1-576)
img View of camp (ddr-hmwf-1-576)
View of camp with Heart Mountain in background
Baby (ddr-hmwf-1-297)
img Baby (ddr-hmwf-1-297)
"Isao Nakaishi 29-24-D, Aug 31 1944" as described on back, f8 1/50 Verichrome G3
Children posing (ddr-hmwf-1-303)
img Children posing (ddr-hmwf-1-303)
"Tsunenaga, 29-24-AB Aug 21 1944" as described on back, l10 f6.3 1/25 SuperpanPress D76
Woman Posing (ddr-hmwf-1-457)
img Woman Posing (ddr-hmwf-1-457)
"Michiko Yamada at depot, Dec 30-1944, f9 1/25 PlusX, DK20-47' D76-15' " as described on back
Group Picture (ddr-hmwf-1-454)
img Group Picture (ddr-hmwf-1-454)
"Oki's 24-2-F, l11 f6.3 1/25 sec., 6:30 pm, June 20-1943, SuperXX DK 20-30min" as described on back, two women and man sitting on steps outside barracks
Baby (ddr-hmwf-1-313)
img Baby (ddr-hmwf-1-313)
"Dianne Oki 24-21-E, Feb 2 1944 7:00 PM" as described on back, l6 f2.8 1/25 SuperIkontaB, SuperXX Roll DK20-50 D76-25
Mess Crew (ddr-hmwf-1-136)
img Mess Crew (ddr-hmwf-1-136)
"Mess 29-27 crew, April 9, 1944" as described on back, Flash Jim
Letter  from the Masudas to Mrs. Charles Gates (ddr-densho-211-7)
doc Letter from the Masudas to Mrs. Charles Gates (ddr-densho-211-7)
Letter on a single sheet of paper, folded into quarters, from the Masudas in Poston.
Letter to Henrietta Schoen from Kamematsu Kimoto (ddr-densho-223-75)
doc Letter to Henrietta Schoen from Kamematsu Kimoto (ddr-densho-223-75)
Letter talking about moving the Rowher and being reunited with family.
Letter to a Nisei man from his sister (ddr-densho-153-33)
doc Letter to a Nisei man from his sister (ddr-densho-153-33)
Excerpt: "What do you know, well I'm going to be a A9 next Monday & I sure am glad this semesters over & next semester im going to have to study real hard." Sent from Manzanar concentration camp, California, to Chicago, Illinois.
Letter to a Nisei man from his brother (ddr-densho-153-47)
doc Letter to a Nisei man from his brother (ddr-densho-153-47)
Excerpt: "We've been receiving yours letters steady and as you mentioned in your last letter, we will send you more letters and much steadier." Sent from Manzanar concentration camp, California, to Chicago, Illinois.
Letter to two Nisei brothers from their sister (ddr-densho-153-104)
doc Letter to two Nisei brothers from their sister (ddr-densho-153-104)
Excerpt: "Tonight I started to write because I just happened to remember that this week is "national brotherhood" week." Sent from Manzanar concentration camp, California, to Chicago, Illinois.
Letter to a Nisei man from his sister (ddr-densho-153-69)
doc Letter to a Nisei man from his sister (ddr-densho-153-69)
Excerpt: "Here it is Monday with Towru going to summer school." Sent from Manzanar concentration camp, California, to Chicago, Illinois.
Concentration camp barracks (ddr-densho-151-67)
img Concentration camp barracks (ddr-densho-151-67)
Original WRA caption: Manzanar Relocation Center, Manzanar, California. Street scene looking west between barrack blocks at this War Relocation Authority center for evacuees of Japanese ancestry.
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