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
Aiko Herzig Interview Segment 9 (ddr-densho-1002-8-9)
vh Aiko Herzig Interview Segment 9 (ddr-densho-1002-8-9)
Life in Manzanar concentration camp, California: lack of privacy, "dreadful food"

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 ...

Gloria Kubota Interview Segment 7 (ddr-densho-122-13-7)
vh Gloria Kubota Interview Segment 7 (ddr-densho-122-13-7)
Living conditions in camp

This interview was conducted by filmmaker Frank Abe for his 2000 documentary, Conscience and the Constitution, about the World War II resisters of conscience at the Heart Mountain incarceration camp. As a result, the interviews in this collection are typically not life histories, instead primarily focusing on issues surrounding the resistance movement ...

Rose Tanaka Interview Segment 16 (ddr-manz-1-145-16)
vh Rose Tanaka Interview Segment 16 (ddr-manz-1-145-16)
Coping with conditions in Manzanar: "I felt like I went to a foreign country"
George Azumano Interview Segment 18 (ddr-one-7-32-18)
vh George Azumano Interview Segment 18 (ddr-one-7-32-18)
First impressions of Minidoka: "it was a very unwelcome arrival"

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 ...

Mary Suzuki Ichino Interview II Segment 2 (ddr-manz-1-52-2)
vh Mary Suzuki Ichino Interview II Segment 2 (ddr-manz-1-52-2)
Difficulties in camp: "it's kind of like going from a human being to an animal"
Marian Asao Kurosu Interview Segment 63 (ddr-densho-1000-118-63)
vh Marian Asao Kurosu Interview Segment 63 (ddr-densho-1000-118-63)
Problems at Tule Lake concentration camp, California: scorpions, ticks and sagebrush

During this interview, Mrs. Kurosu alternately speaks in both English and Japanese. As a result, the English translation of the transcript contains [Jpn.] and [Eng.], which indicate whether the original dialogue was spoken in Japanese or English.

Emery Brooks Andrews Interview Segment 14 (ddr-densho-1000-155-14)
vh Emery Brooks Andrews Interview Segment 14 (ddr-densho-1000-155-14)
Memories of visiting Minidoka concentration camp as a child: eating in the mess hall, picnics by the irrigation canal
Edith Watanabe Segment 15 (ddr-densho-1000-101-15)
vh Edith Watanabe Segment 15 (ddr-densho-1000-101-15)
Making life bearable in Tule Lake concentration camp, California: ordering goods from "Monkey Wards"
Ruby Inouye Interview Segment 23 (ddr-densho-1000-143-23)
vh Ruby Inouye Interview Segment 23 (ddr-densho-1000-143-23)
Moving to Minidoka concentration camp, Idaho and working as a nurse's aide
Akio Hoshino Segment 9 (ddr-densho-1000-26-9)
vh Akio Hoshino Segment 9 (ddr-densho-1000-26-9)
Minidoka concentration camp: social life, work, impact of incarceration on families
Frank Yamasaki Interview I Segment 18 (ddr-densho-1000-107-18)
vh Frank Yamasaki Interview I Segment 18 (ddr-densho-1000-107-18)
Memories of Minidoka concentration camp: sand everywhere, even in the food
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