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
Kazumi Yoneyama Interview Segment 10 (ddr-densho-1000-412-10)
vh Kazumi Yoneyama Interview Segment 10 (ddr-densho-1000-412-10)
Coping with difficult living conditions in camp: fainting from the heat
Rick Sato Segment 9 (ddr-densho-1000-80-9)
vh Rick Sato Segment 9 (ddr-densho-1000-80-9)
Impressions of Heart Mountain concentration camp: "Out in the middle of nowhere"
Mary Hirata Segment 16 (ddr-densho-1000-22-16)
vh Mary Hirata Segment 16 (ddr-densho-1000-22-16)
Impressions of Minidoka concentration camp: "My God, the dust!"
Roy Nakagawa Interview Segment 25 (ddr-densho-1000-358-25)
vh Roy Nakagawa Interview Segment 25 (ddr-densho-1000-358-25)
Coping with weather extremes 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 Interior.

Mitsuko Hashiguchi Segment 49 (ddr-densho-1000-12-49)
vh Mitsuko Hashiguchi Segment 49 (ddr-densho-1000-12-49)
Daily life in Tule Lake concentration camp: housework, social visits, jobs
Mitsuko Hashiguchi Segment 44 (ddr-densho-1000-12-44)
vh Mitsuko Hashiguchi Segment 44 (ddr-densho-1000-12-44)
Description of Tule Lake concentration camp, California: an improvement from the assembly center
Sarah Sato Segment 16 (ddr-densho-1000-81-16)
vh Sarah Sato Segment 16 (ddr-densho-1000-81-16)
Memories of barracks in Jerome concentration camp, Arkansas: building furniture and installing plasterboard