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
Harry Ueno Interview Segment 35 (ddr-densho-1002-7-35)
vh Harry Ueno Interview Segment 35 (ddr-densho-1002-7-35)
Thoughts on poor condition of Tule Lake concentration camp, California

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, instead ...

Sam H. Ono Interview Segment 12 (ddr-densho-1003-2-12)
vh Sam H. Ono Interview Segment 12 (ddr-densho-1003-2-12)
First arriving in Manzanar; having to share barracks with another family

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 ...

Frank Emi Interview II Segment 3 (ddr-densho-122-20-3)
vh Frank Emi Interview II Segment 3 (ddr-densho-122-20-3)
Preparing for mass removal; memories of Heart Mountain concentration camp, Wyoming

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 ...

Jessie Hatsue Akiyama Okazaki Harry Interview Segment 9 (ddr-one-7-59-9)
vh Jessie Hatsue Akiyama Okazaki Harry Interview Segment 9 (ddr-one-7-59-9)
First seeing Minidoka: "Is this where I'm going to be for the rest of my life?"

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 ...

George Hanada Interview Segment 6 (ddr-jamsj-2-5-6)
vh George Hanada Interview Segment 6 (ddr-jamsj-2-5-6)
Memories of concentration camp: desolation, break-up of family structure

This interview was conducted by the Japanese American Museum of San Jose, and is part of a project entitled "Lasting Stories: The Resettlement of San Jose Japantown," a collaborative project between the Japanese American Museum of San Jose and Densho.

Frank Kitamoto Segment 16 (ddr-densho-1000-35-16)
vh Frank Kitamoto Segment 16 (ddr-densho-1000-35-16)
Childhood memories of Manzanar concentration camp: waking up covered in sand
Akiko Kurose Interview I Segment 20 (ddr-densho-1000-41-20)
vh Akiko Kurose Interview I Segment 20 (ddr-densho-1000-41-20)
Daily life at Minidoka concentration camp, Idaho, positive and negative memories
Lillian Nakano Interview Segment 9 (ddr-densho-1000-254-9)
vh Lillian Nakano Interview Segment 9 (ddr-densho-1000-254-9)
Living conditions in Jerome; relationships between Hawaiians and mainlanders
Kunio Otani Segment 11 (ddr-densho-1000-75-11)
vh Kunio Otani Segment 11 (ddr-densho-1000-75-11)
Arriving early to the Tule Lake concentration camp, California
Toru Sakahara - Kiyo Sakahara Interview II Segment 6 (ddr-densho-1000-77-6)
vh Toru Sakahara - Kiyo Sakahara Interview II Segment 6 (ddr-densho-1000-77-6)
First impressions of Minidoka

This interview was conducted over two days at the Sakaharas' home.

May K. Sasaki Segment 16 (ddr-densho-1000-79-16)
vh May K. Sasaki Segment 16 (ddr-densho-1000-79-16)
The train ride to Minidoka; memories of physical setting, windstorms
API