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
Gene Akutsu Segment 11 (ddr-densho-1000-1-11)
vh Gene Akutsu Segment 11 (ddr-densho-1000-1-11)
Minidoka concentration camp: armed MPs, housing and camp layout; finishing school, drafted for military service, and mail censoring
Marion Tsutakawa Kanemoto Interview Segment 24 (ddr-densho-1000-148-24)
vh Marion Tsutakawa Kanemoto Interview Segment 24 (ddr-densho-1000-148-24)
Moving to the Minidoka concentration camp, Idaho: MPs with guns, crowded conditions, dust
Jim M. Tanimoto Interview Segment 14 (ddr-densho-1000-270-14)
vh Jim M. Tanimoto Interview Segment 14 (ddr-densho-1000-270-14)
Watching people take lumber at nighttime to improve their barracks
Bill Nishimura Interview Segment 5 (ddr-densho-1000-119-5)
vh Bill Nishimura Interview Segment 5 (ddr-densho-1000-119-5)
Daily activities at Poston concentration camp, Arizona

This interview took place at the 2000 Tule Lake Pilgrimage in Klamath Falls, Oregon.

Yasu Koyamatsu Momii Interview Segment 18 (ddr-densho-1000-374-18)
vh Yasu Koyamatsu Momii Interview Segment 18 (ddr-densho-1000-374-18)
Coping with camp conditions: hot weather, lack of privacy

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 ...

Report on incarcerees stealing plasterboard (ddr-csujad-2-51)
doc Report on incarcerees stealing plasterboard (ddr-csujad-2-51)
Report on three incarcerees accused of stealing plasterboard at Tule Lake Incarceration Camp in order to make closets in their apartments. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: sjs_sch_0051
Memo from Co-ordinating Committee to W. [Willard E.] Schmidt, [1944] (ddr-csujad-2-98)
doc Memo from Co-ordinating Committee to W. [Willard E.] Schmidt, [1944] (ddr-csujad-2-98)
List of names, addresses, family numbers, and start dates of active fielders (in subject line, the job title is spelled "fiedlers" but is elsewhere spelled correctly); start dates of the 32 fielders range from January 13, 1944 to February 4, 1944. Names: Hamada, Isao; Nakanishi, Yoichi; Iwohara, Tsugio; Okamoto, Chiyoko; Keiunji, Masaru; Sakai, Masayoshi; Oda, Yoshitsugu ...
Tule Lake panoramic landscape (ddr-csujad-3-9)
img Tule Lake panoramic landscape (ddr-csujad-3-9)
Photograph of Tule Lake camp showing expanse of camp including buildings, barracks, watch towers, and railways within the basin landscape. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: tos_01_001_010
Deserted Senses [spoof title for Desert Sentinel], Vol. I, No. 9, April 1, 1943 (ddr-csujad-17-3)
doc Deserted Senses [spoof title for Desert Sentinel], Vol. I, No. 9, April 1, 1943 (ddr-csujad-17-3)
School newspaper published at the Gila River incarceration camp; this is an April Fools' Day issue with articles and illustrations making fun of life at camp. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: JARC_04-01_03
Desert Sentinel, Vol. I. No. 15, June 21, 1943 (ddr-csujad-17-1)
doc Desert Sentinel, Vol. I. No. 15, June 21, 1943 (ddr-csujad-17-1)
School newspaper published at the Gila River incarceration camp. According to an announcement on the back page, publication seeks to make known the War Relocation Authority's "plans and policies," the results of Community Council deliberations, and various regulations and news about life at the Gila River Incarceration Camp. Issue features articles about and by the ...
Granada Pioneer, Vol. I, No.5, November 11, 1942 (ddr-csujad-17-6)
doc Granada Pioneer, Vol. I, No.5, November 11, 1942 (ddr-csujad-17-6)
Newspaper published at the Granada incarceration camp. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: JARC_02-01_06
Oral history of Morris and Cherry Abe (ddr-csujad-28-3)
av Oral history of Morris and Cherry Abe (ddr-csujad-28-3)
Oral history Interview of Morris and Cherry Abe. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: csuci_vcc-jic_0005
Toshiye Hirose interview (ddr-csujad-6-7)
doc Toshiye Hirose interview (ddr-csujad-6-7)
Oral history interview with Toshiye Hirose. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: SCRC_HIROSE_TOSHIYE
Shim Hiraoka interview (ddr-csujad-6-5)
doc Shim Hiraoka interview (ddr-csujad-6-5)
Oral history interview with Shim Hiraoka. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: SCRC_HIRAOKA_SHIM
George Baba and Tokiji Umeda overhauling a truck loader in motor pool repair section at Rohwer incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-24)
img George Baba and Tokiji Umeda overhauling a truck loader in motor pool repair section at Rohwer incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-24)
George Baba and Tokiji Umeda overhauling a truck loader in motor pool repair section at Rohwer incarceration camp. March 10, 1943. Photo by Tom Parker. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: HMLSC_TOMO_024
In the Engineering and Operation Division of Jerome incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-13)
img In the Engineering and Operation Division of Jerome incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-13)
In the Engineering and Operation Division of Jerome incarceration camp, Yoshiyuki Murata, graduate engineer, prepares plans for center construction. March 10, 1943. Photo by Tom Parker. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: HMLSC_TOMO_013
Young artist completing a poster in poster shop at Heart Mountain incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-9)
img Young artist completing a poster in poster shop at Heart Mountain incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-9)
Young artist completing a poster in poster shop at Heart Mountain incarceration camp. January 8, 1943. Photo by Tom Parker. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: HMLSC_TOMO_009
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