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
An Oral History with Sumiye Takeno, Part I (ddr-csujad-29-59)
vh An Oral History with Sumiye Takeno, Part I (ddr-csujad-29-59)
An oral history with Sumiye Takeno, a current resident of Denver, Colorado. This interview was conducted for the Japanese American Oral History Project by California State University, Fullerton. The purpose of this interview was to gather information regarding Takeno's incarceration and resettlement experience during World War II. Specifically, the interview covers her childhood in Florin, California, ...
An Oral History with Norman Y. Mineta (ddr-csujad-29-55)
vh An Oral History with Norman Y. Mineta (ddr-csujad-29-55)
Japanese American congressman, representing the Thirteenth Congressional District of California, born and raised in San Jose, California, discusses his early life, graduation from the University of California, Berkeley, and receiving a commission and serving in the armed forces from 1953-1956. Recalls the removal, "relocation," and incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II at the Heart ...
An oral history with Kin'ichi Kimbo Yoshitomi (ddr-csujad-29-28)
av An oral history with Kin'ichi Kimbo Yoshitomi (ddr-csujad-29-28)
An oral interview with Kinichi Kimbo Yoshitomi, an incarceree at the Tanforan Assembly Center and the the Topaz incarceration camp. The interview was conducted for the Japanese American Oral History Project by California State University, Fullerton. Transcription is found in the item: csufccop_jaoh_0108. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: ...
An oral history with Kuni Ishii (ddr-csujad-29-52)
av An oral history with Kuni Ishii (ddr-csujad-29-52)
An oral interview with Kuni Ishii, incarceree at 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_0160. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: 2987_T01
An oral history with Alpharetta Matthews (ddr-csujad-29-48)
av An oral history with Alpharetta Matthews (ddr-csujad-29-48)
An oral interview with Alpharetta Matthews, 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_0152. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: 2656_T01
An oral history with Mary Miya (ddr-csujad-30-6)
av An oral history with Mary Miya (ddr-csujad-30-6)
An oral history with Mary Miya, an incarceree at the Children's Village orphanage. The interview was conducted for the Children's Village at Manzanar Oral History Project by California State University, Fullerton. The transcript is found in item: csufccop_cvm_0116. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: 2489_T01
An oral history with Atsufumi Archie Miyatake (ddr-csujad-29-65)
vh An oral history with Atsufumi Archie Miyatake (ddr-csujad-29-65)
An oral interview with Archie Miyatake, the son of Toyo Miyatake. Like his father, he was a photographer who took pictures of incarcerated Japanese Americans who were forced into camps during World War II. The interview was conducted for the Japanese American Oral History Project by California State University, Fullerton. Transcript is found in item: csufccop_jaoh_0162. ...
An oral history with Sam Masami Tanaka (ddr-csujad-30-10)
av An oral history with Sam Masami Tanaka (ddr-csujad-30-10)
An oral interview with Sam Masami Tanaka, an incarceree at the Children's Village orphanage. The interview was conducted for the Children's Village at the Manzanar Oral History Project by California State University, Fullerton. Transcript is found in item: csufccop_cvm_0124. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: 2333.2_T01
An oral history with Mitsuru Yamasaki (ddr-csujad-30-16)
av An oral history with Mitsuru Yamasaki (ddr-csujad-30-16)
An oral interview with Mitsuru Yamasaki, an incarceree at the Children's Village orphanage. The interview was conducted for the Children's Village at the Manzanar Oral History Project by California State University, Fullerton. Transcript is found in item: csufccop_cvm_0136. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: 3592_T01
An oral history with Celeste Teodor (ddr-csujad-30-19)
vh An oral history with Celeste Teodor (ddr-csujad-30-19)
An oral interview with Celeste Teodor, an incarceree at the Children's Village orphanage. The interview was conducted for the Children's Village at the Manzanar Oral History Project by California State University, Fullerton. Transcript is found in item: csufccop_cvm_0138. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: 3776_T01
An oral history with Wilma Stuart (ddr-csujad-30-5)
av An oral history with Wilma Stuart (ddr-csujad-30-5)
An oral history with Wilma Stuart, a foster mother to Japanese children following their time at the Children's Village orphange. The interview was conducted for the Children's Village at Manazanar Oral History Project by California State University, Fullerton. The transcript is found in item: csufccop_cvm_0114. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization ...
An oral history with Tamotsu Isozaki (ddr-csujad-30-1)
av An oral history with Tamotsu Isozaki (ddr-csujad-30-1)
An oral history with Tamotsu Isozaki, an incarceree at the Children's Village. The interview was conducted for the Children's Village at Manzanar Oral History Project by California State University, Fullerton. The full transcript is found in item: csufccop_cvm_0102. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: 2332_T01
An oral history with Ronald Kawamoto (ddr-csujad-30-7)
av An oral history with Ronald Kawamoto (ddr-csujad-30-7)
An oral interview with Ronald Kawamoto, an incarceree at the Children's Village orphanage. The interview was conducted for the Children's Village at the Manzanar Oral History Project by California State University, Fullerton. The transcript is found in item:csufccop_cvm_0118. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: 3591_T01
An oral history with Ira Iwata (ddr-csujad-30-8)
av An oral history with Ira Iwata (ddr-csujad-30-8)
An oral interview with Ira Iwata, an incarceree at the Children's Village orphanage. The interview was conducted for the Children's Village at the Manzanar Oral History Project by California State University, Fullerton. The transcript is found in item: csufccop_cvm_0120. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: 3775_T01
An oral history with Herbert Takashi Suyumatsu (ddr-csujad-30-11)
av An oral history with Herbert Takashi Suyumatsu (ddr-csujad-30-11)
An oral interview with Herbert Takashi Suyematsu, an incarceree at the Children's Village orphanage. The interview was conducted for the Children's Village at the Manzanar Oral History Project by California State University, Fullerton. Transcript is found in item: csufccop_cvm_0126. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: 2336_T01
An oral history with Dennis Tojo Bambauer (ddr-csujad-30-17)
vh An oral history with Dennis Tojo Bambauer (ddr-csujad-30-17)
An oral interview with Dennis Tojo Bambauer, an incarceree at the Children's Village. The interview was conducted for the Children's Village at Manzanar Oral History Project by California State University, Fullerton. The transcript is found in item csufccop_cvm_0106. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: 2335_T01
Japanese American in front of a vanity (ddr-densho-15-47)
img Japanese American in front of a vanity (ddr-densho-15-47)
Yoneko Tanaka from Seattle did her best to make her austere barrack apartment homelike. She constructed the vanity from scrap lumber.
Japanese Americans inside barracks (ddr-densho-15-123)
img Japanese Americans inside barracks (ddr-densho-15-123)
Left to right: Norio Mitsuoka, Bob Ikeda, and Tak Hori sit inside Yoneko Tanaka's barracks.
Two Japanese Americans in their barracks apartment (ddr-densho-15-58)
img Two Japanese Americans in their barracks apartment (ddr-densho-15-58)
Grandma Yorozu, who at eighty-four years of age was one of the oldest Japanese Americans at Minidoka, and Fusa Yorozu inside their barracks apartment.
Laundry room (ddr-densho-15-71)
img Laundry room (ddr-densho-15-71)
The Minidoka concentration camp was divided into thirty-six blocks, each with its own communal laundry facility, like the one shown here.
Japanese American making furniture (ddr-densho-15-63)
img Japanese American making furniture (ddr-densho-15-63)
Barracks apartments were furnished only with a coal-burning stove and a cot. Consequently, many camp inmates made furniture from scrap lumber.
Japanese Americans carrying plywood (ddr-densho-15-55)
img Japanese Americans carrying plywood (ddr-densho-15-55)
Yoneko Tanaka (left) and Norio Mitsuoka carry away lumber to make furniture.
Japanese Americans washing dishes (ddr-densho-15-74)
img Japanese Americans washing dishes (ddr-densho-15-74)
Issei washing dishes inside the camp's warehouse kitchen.
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