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.

World War II (66)
Concentration camps (592)
Living conditions (974)

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

974 items
Woman and young men (ddr-csujad-26-82)
img Woman and young men (ddr-csujad-26-82)
A Caucasian woman and three young Japanese American men pose in front of a barracks building. From photo album of Robert Billigmeier. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: mei_05_019
View of the camp showing Castle Rock (ddr-csujad-26-102)
img View of the camp showing Castle Rock (ddr-csujad-26-102)
Photo of camp buildings and road down the middle backed by hilly landscape. Caption on back of photo reads, "View of the camp showing Castle Rock. A Nisei objected to this picture because the daisies in the corner relieve the dusty monotony of the camp." From photo album of Robert Billigmeier. See this object in the ...
Nobie Masaki (ddr-csujad-26-140)
img Nobie Masaki (ddr-csujad-26-140)
Photo of a young Japanese American woman posing in front of a barracks buildings. Handwriting on the photo reads, "Dear Mrs. Billigmeier, Always, Nobie Masaki." From photo album of Robert Billigmeier. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: mei_05_110
Chapter 2, 3, 4, 5 personality cards (ddr-csujad-26-32)
doc Chapter 2, 3, 4, 5 personality cards (ddr-csujad-26-32)
Journal entries written by high school students discussing their observations and perspectives on a variety of topics including weather, social interactions, barracks noise, the desire to leave camp, prospect of discrimination, reflections on "one year since 'evacuation,'" and the journey to camp. Each entry includes the full date and student name. The entries were part of ...
Personality cards (ddr-csujad-26-44)
doc Personality cards (ddr-csujad-26-44)
Journal entries written by high school students discussing their observations and perspectives on a variety of topics including social and cultural differences, personality conflicts, friendships, social interactions, school, dogs, memories, reflections on camp life, weather, a friend in the military visiting his parents in camp, hobbies, and opinions about other people and daily life. Each entry ...
Tule Lake scrapbook (ddr-csujad-26-53)
img Tule Lake scrapbook (ddr-csujad-26-53)
Scrapbook created in Tule Lake camp by Japanese American students. Contents include drawings, art, holiday greeting cards prints, poetry and signatures of student groups. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: mei_03_20_001
Camp buildings with dust cloud (ddr-csujad-26-69)
img Camp buildings with dust cloud (ddr-csujad-26-69)
Camp barracks buildings line a road with dust cloud. People can be seen in front of the buildings in distance. From photo album of Robert Billigmeier. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: mei_05_006
Outline of University of California study of evacuation and resettlement (ddr-csujad-26-2)
doc Outline of University of California study of evacuation and resettlement (ddr-csujad-26-2)
Outline for an academic social science study, the Japanese American Evacuation and Resettlement Study (JERS), led by the University of California of the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. Outline highlights area of administrative, social, political and personal areas to be studied by a team of researchers encamped with incarcerees. See this object in ...
Young man on tractor (ddr-csujad-26-131)
img Young man on tractor (ddr-csujad-26-131)
Photo of a young Japanese American man on a tractor. Barracks building are seen in the background. From photo album of Robert Billigmeier. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: mei_05_101
Group photo in front of barracks building (ddr-csujad-26-81)
img Group photo in front of barracks building (ddr-csujad-26-81)
Posed group photo in front of a barracks building of eighteen Japanese Americans and Caucasian adults, one baby, and one dog. From photo album of Robert Billigmeier. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: mei_05_018
Barracks row (ddr-csujad-26-86)
img Barracks row (ddr-csujad-26-86)
A man walks toward a row of barracks lining a dusty road. From photo album of Robert Billigmeier. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: mei_05_023
University of California evacuation and resettlement study: The Gila River WRA relocation center, Rivers, Pinal County, Arizona (ddr-csujad-26-27)
doc University of California evacuation and resettlement study: The Gila River WRA relocation center, Rivers, Pinal County, Arizona (ddr-csujad-26-27)
Description of the Gila River incarceration camp during the first month of occupation, including camp location, climate, landscape, barracks, issues with camp construction, poor conditions and lack of furnishings, incarcerees who were subjected to upon arrival. Camp administration, food and housing issues, camp employment, security, recreation, and social groups are described and analyzed. Report compiled as ...
Tule Lake scrapbook illustrated page (ddr-csujad-26-64)
img Tule Lake scrapbook illustrated page (ddr-csujad-26-64)
Scrapbook page features a pastel drawing of women showering and in various states of undress in camp barracks. Illustration is accompanied by a poem "Barrack room ballads" about the lack of both privacy and comfort of women using camp barracks showers and toilets. Tule Lake scrapbook (ucsb_mei_0053), page 31. See this object in the California State ...
Young Japanese couple (ddr-csujad-26-119)
img Young Japanese couple (ddr-csujad-26-119)
Photo of a young Japanese American couple seated on a bench in front of barracks buildings. From photo album of Robert Billigmeier. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: mei_05_088
Evacuation and resettlement study, structural report, section II: the first six months at Tule Lake: social changes and a chronology of events (ddr-csujad-26-4)
doc Evacuation and resettlement study, structural report, section II: the first six months at Tule Lake: social changes and a chronology of events (ddr-csujad-26-4)
Report chronicling the first six months Tule Lake camp including the establishment of community activities, employment, schools, and barracks infrastructure. Describes challenges of adjusting to life in camp often using direct quotations from incarcerees to express struggles amid social and cultural groups as well as conflicts and strikes. Several events are also described including a description ...
Three boys playing (ddr-csujad-26-103)
img Three boys playing (ddr-csujad-26-103)
Three Japanese American boys sit and play in the dirt in front of a basketball hoop. Barracks buildings are in the background. From photo album of Robert Billigmeier. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: mei_05_040
Women pose in front of building (ddr-csujad-26-84)
img Women pose in front of building (ddr-csujad-26-84)
A group of young women pose in front of what may be the side of a barracks building. From photo album of Robert Billigmeier. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: mei_05_021
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
Oral history of Marilyn Fordney (ddr-csujad-28-1)
av Oral history of Marilyn Fordney (ddr-csujad-28-1)
Oral history interview of Marilyn Fordney. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: csuci_vcc-jic_0001
An oral history with Ken Hayashi (ddr-csujad-29-26)
av An oral history with Ken Hayashi (ddr-csujad-29-26)
An oral interview with Ken Hayashi, an incarceree at the Pinedale Assembly Center and the Tule Lake incarceration camp. The interview was conducted for the Japanese American Oral History Project by California State University, Fullerton. Transcript is found in item: csufccop_jaoh_0100. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: 1323.1_T01
An oral history with Mitsuyo N. Nakai (ddr-csujad-29-45)
av An oral history with Mitsuyo N. Nakai (ddr-csujad-29-45)
An oral interview with Mitsuyo N. Nakai, incarceree at the Manzanar incarceration camp. The interview was conducted for the Japanese American Oral History Project by California State University, Fullerton. Transcript is found in item: csufccop_jaoh_0146. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: 2546_T01
An oral history with Elva Wallace (ddr-csujad-29-46)
av An oral history with Elva Wallace (ddr-csujad-29-46)
An oral interview with Elva Wallace, a child civilian at the Tule Lake incarceration camp. The interview was conducted for the Japanese American Oral History Project by California State University, Fullerton. Transcript is found in item: csufccop_jaoh_0148. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: 2654_T01
An Oral History with Margaret Masuoka (ddr-csujad-29-25)
av An Oral History with Margaret Masuoka (ddr-csujad-29-25)
An interview with Margaret Masuoka, a volunteer at the Japanese American National Museum (JANM), conducted for the Japanese American Project at California State Fullerton's Center for Oral and Public History. Specifically, this interview provides insight to Masuoka's personal history dealing with the prejudice that she and her family faced due their Japanese ancestry; her family's settlement ...
An oral history with Victor
av An oral history with Victor "Ferrell" Kambe (ddr-csujad-29-34)
An oral interview with Victor "Ferrell" Kambe, an incarceree at the Puyallup Assembly Center. The interview was conducted for the Japanese American Oral History Project by California State University, Fullerton. Transcription is found in the item: csufccop_jaoh_0120. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: 2268_T01
An oral history with Joe Yamakido (ddr-csujad-29-67)
vh An oral history with Joe Yamakido (ddr-csujad-29-67)
An oral interview with Joe Yamakido, an incarceree at the Santa Anita Assembly Center and the Jerome incarceration camp. The interview was conducted for the Japanese American Oral History Project by California State University, Fullerton. Transcript is found in item: csufccop_jaoh_0168. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: 3733_T01
API