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 (939)

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

932 items
Eiichi Edward Sakauye Interview I Segment 1 (ddr-densho-1005-1-1)
vh Eiichi Edward Sakauye Interview I Segment 1 (ddr-densho-1005-1-1)
Snowy conditions in camp

Eiichi Edward Sakauye shot footage of the Heart Mountain concentration camp, Wyoming, from 1943-1945, on 8 mm film. This interview is of Mr. Sakauye providing voice-over descriptions for his original footage.

Aiko Herzig Interview Segment 8 (ddr-densho-1002-8-8)
vh Aiko Herzig Interview Segment 8 (ddr-densho-1002-8-8)
First impressions of Manzanar, California: "it was so depressing"

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 ...

Mas Okui Interview Segment 14 (ddr-densho-1003-13-14)
vh Mas Okui Interview Segment 14 (ddr-densho-1003-13-14)
Coping with the lack of privacy in camp

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 ...

Matsue Watanabe Interview Segment 8 (ddr-densho-1001-9-8)
vh Matsue Watanabe Interview Segment 8 (ddr-densho-1001-9-8)
First memories of camp: poor food, living quarters, no privacy
George Nakata Interview Segment 15 (ddr-one-7-29-15)
vh George Nakata Interview Segment 15 (ddr-one-7-29-15)
Moving to the Minidoka concentration camp, Idaho

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.

Jim Tsujimura Interview Segment 3 (ddr-one-7-23-3)
vh Jim Tsujimura Interview Segment 3 (ddr-one-7-23-3)
Living conditions in Minidoka

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.

Willie K. Ito Interview Segment 11 (ddr-manz-1-149-11)
vh Willie K. Ito Interview Segment 11 (ddr-manz-1-149-11)
Arriving in Topaz, dealing with extreme weather conditions
Dennis Bambauer Interview Segment 2 (ddr-manz-1-1-2)
vh Dennis Bambauer Interview Segment 2 (ddr-manz-1-1-2)
Daily life in Manzanar's 'Children's Village' for orphans
Yukiko Miyake Segment 28 (ddr-densho-1000-49-28)
vh Yukiko Miyake Segment 28 (ddr-densho-1000-49-28)
More gossip at Minidoka concentration camp, marital affairs
Jim Akutsu Segment 25 (ddr-densho-1000-2-25)
vh Jim Akutsu Segment 25 (ddr-densho-1000-2-25)
A growing anger over conditions in camp plants seeds of resistance

Interview was conducted over two days because of delays caused by technical difficulties.

Sue K. Embrey Segment 1 (ddr-densho-1000-6-1)
vh Sue K. Embrey Segment 1 (ddr-densho-1000-6-1)
First impressions upon arrival at Manzanar concentration camp

This interview was conducted at the Voices of Japanese American Redress Conference, held on the UCLA campus and sponsored by the UCLA Asian American Studies Center and the UCLA School of Public Policy and Social Research. Because of the full conference schedule, our interviews were limited to one ...

Bruce T. Kaji Interview I Segment 11 (ddr-densho-1000-289-11)
vh Bruce T. Kaji Interview I Segment 11 (ddr-densho-1000-289-11)
First impressions of Manzanar: "it was very primitive"

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 ...

Martha Nishitani Segment 15 (ddr-densho-1000-71-15)
vh Martha Nishitani Segment 15 (ddr-densho-1000-71-15)
First impression of Minidoka concentration camp: "No-man's land"
Chizuko Norton Segment 21 (ddr-densho-1000-73-21)
vh Chizuko Norton Segment 21 (ddr-densho-1000-73-21)
Activities, but no "community" in Tule Lake concentration camp
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