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
Painting of Japanese Americans making improvements to barracks (ddr-manz-2-62)
img Painting of Japanese Americans making improvements to barracks (ddr-manz-2-62)
Caption: "Residents installed plaster boards inside barracks. This was the room of Mr. and Mrs. Kurahashi."
Letter to a Nisei man from his brother (ddr-densho-153-37)
doc Letter to a Nisei man from his brother (ddr-densho-153-37)
Excerpt: "Well, here it is my usual friday spending an hour or so with you." Sent from Manzanar concentration camp, California, to Chicago, Illinois.
Letter to a Nisei man from his sister (ddr-densho-153-58)
doc Letter to a Nisei man from his sister (ddr-densho-153-58)
Excerpt: "How are you? We are all in good health." Sent from Manzanar concentration camp, California, to Chicago, Illinois.
Letter to a Nisei man from his sister (ddr-densho-153-73)
doc Letter to a Nisei man from his sister (ddr-densho-153-73)
Excerpt: "Thank you for the post cards that come continuously." Sent from Manzanar concentration camp, California, to Chicago, Illinois.
Letter to a Nisei man from his brother (ddr-densho-153-31)
doc Letter to a Nisei man from his brother (ddr-densho-153-31)
Excerpt: "We got your letter two days ago and were relieved to know that the glasses weren't broken in the mail." Sent from Manzanar concentration camp, California, to Chicago, Illinois.
Nobu Shimokochi Interview Segment 4 (ddr-densho-1011-7-4)
vh Nobu Shimokochi Interview Segment 4 (ddr-densho-1011-7-4)
Adjusting to living conditions in Heart Mountain

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 of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of the Interior.

Kazuo Shiroyama Interview Segment 4 (ddr-densho-1011-6-4)
vh Kazuo Shiroyama Interview Segment 4 (ddr-densho-1011-6-4)
First experience with snow in Heart Mountain

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 of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of the Interior.

Hiroshi Kashiwagi Interview Segment 13 (ddr-densho-1002-4-13)
vh Hiroshi Kashiwagi Interview Segment 13 (ddr-densho-1002-4-13)
Memories of camp: curfew, gardens, and feeling isolated

This interview was conducted by sisters Emiko and Chizuko Omori for their 1999 documentary, Rabbit in the Moon, about the Japanese American resisters of conscience in the World War II incarceration camps. As a result, the interviews in this collection are typically not life histories, instead primarily focusing ...

Lilly Kodama Interview Segment 6 (ddr-densho-1001-19-6)
vh Lilly Kodama Interview Segment 6 (ddr-densho-1001-19-6)
A child's memories of conditions in camp: dust, sports, food
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