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
Apartment room (ddr-hmwf-1-226)
img Apartment room (ddr-hmwf-1-226)
"Apartment room with clothes and furniture"
Hospital Complex (ddr-hmwf-1-206)
img Hospital Complex (ddr-hmwf-1-206)
"Heart Mt. Hospital Unit Dec. 27 1944" as described on back, l20 f19 1/5 K2 Verichrome D76 - 50'
Gardening (ddr-hmwf-1-88)
img Gardening (ddr-hmwf-1-88)
"July 26-1944 4:00pm" as described on back, gardening behind barracks, l19 f16 1/50 G3 Superpan Press-Super Ikonta B, D76-42'
View of camp (ddr-hmwf-1-567)
img View of camp (ddr-hmwf-1-567)
View of camp with Heart Mountain in background
Group Picture (ddr-hmwf-1-644)
img Group Picture (ddr-hmwf-1-644)
Group picture outside of barracks building
Baby (ddr-hmwf-1-315)
img Baby (ddr-hmwf-1-315)
"Matsushita 14-12-D June 2 1944" l8 f4.5 1/25 SuperpanPress, D76-37'
Haircut (ddr-hmwf-1-119)
img Haircut (ddr-hmwf-1-119)
"Jan 15-1945, Isamu Sam Kihara 30-1-A" as described on back, Yoshio Okumoto, Flash f22 1/100 Super xx D76-22'
Coal Rush (ddr-hmwf-1-469)
img Coal Rush (ddr-hmwf-1-469)
"Coal rush, 29-28 Jan 7-1944 2:30pm, f12.7 1/100 SuperIkontaB SuperXX Roll, DK20-50' D76-20' "as described on back
Collecting coal (ddr-hmwf-1-68)
img Collecting coal (ddr-hmwf-1-68)
"2 men collecting coal with baskets and wagons"
Gardening (ddr-hmwf-1-87)
img Gardening (ddr-hmwf-1-87)
"Yoshio Okumoto gardening, back yard, Aug. 17 1943 10am, (potato, green onion, radish, corn, celery, daikon, carrot, cucumber, tomato, peanut)" as described on back, l20 f19 1/50 G3, Super xx DK20-27min
Men Sitting (ddr-hmwf-1-520)
img Men Sitting (ddr-hmwf-1-520)
"Terakami, Matsumoto, 29-6-D, Nov. 27 1943, l4 f5.6 1/2, PlusX DK20-35min D76-10min, En 1 #4 30" as described on back, two men sitting on sofa in barracks room
View of camp (ddr-hmwf-1-560)
img View of camp (ddr-hmwf-1-560)
"July 29-1944, SuperpanPress SuperIkontaB, f19 1/50 G3, D76-42' " as described on back, view of camp with Heart Mountain in background
Heart Mountain (ddr-hmwf-1-229)
img Heart Mountain (ddr-hmwf-1-229)
"Edge of camp view of Heart Mountain with guard tower and barracks"
Letter (with envelope) to Molly Wilson from Yuri Shimokochi (December 28, 1942) (ddr-janm-1-57)
doc Letter (with envelope) to Molly Wilson from Yuri Shimokochi (December 28, 1942) (ddr-janm-1-57)
Handwritten letter to Molly Wilson from Yuri Shimokochi (December 28, 1942). Envelope is postmarked December 29, 1942 from the Heart Mountain Incarceration Camp in Cody, Wyoming.
Letter (with envelope) to Molly Wilson from Chiyeko Akahoshi (June 8, 1942) (ddr-janm-1-102)
doc Letter (with envelope) to Molly Wilson from Chiyeko Akahoshi (June 8, 1942) (ddr-janm-1-102)
Handwritten letter to Molly Wilson from Chiyeko Akahoshi (June 8, 1942). Envelope is postmarked June 15, 1942 from the Manzanar Incarceration Camp in Manzanar, California.
Letter (with envelope) to Molly Wilson from Mary Murakami (June 2, 1942) (ddr-janm-1-30)
doc Letter (with envelope) to Molly Wilson from Mary Murakami (June 2, 1942) (ddr-janm-1-30)
Handwritten letter to Molly Wilson from Mary Murakami (June 2, 1942). Envelope is postmarked June 4, 1942 from the Poston (Colorado River) Incarceration Camp in Parker, Arizona.
Letter to a Nisei man from his brother (ddr-densho-153-44)
doc Letter to a Nisei man from his brother (ddr-densho-153-44)
Excerpt: "I have about forty-five minutes to kill before a show so I thought I'd write you." Sent from Manzanar concentration camp, California, to Chicago, Illinois.
Letter to two Nisei brothers from their sister (ddr-densho-153-97)
doc Letter to two Nisei brothers from their sister (ddr-densho-153-97)
Excerpt: "Last night I went to see Donald O'conner in "It up comes Love" with Gloria Jean." Sent from Manzanar concentration camp, California, to Chicago, Illinois.
Letter to a Nisei man from his sister (ddr-densho-153-40)
doc Letter to a Nisei man from his sister (ddr-densho-153-40)
Excerpt: "Thanks for the letter. We just received it yesterday." Sent from Manzanar concentration camp, California, to Chicago, Illinois.
Letter to a Nisei man from his father (ddr-densho-153-38)
doc Letter to a Nisei man from his father (ddr-densho-153-38)
Excerpt: "Dear Joe I am so glad you send letters to us so many times." Sent from Manzanar concentration camp, California, to Chicago, Illinois.
Letter to a Nisei man from his sister (ddr-densho-153-65)
doc Letter to a Nisei man from his sister (ddr-densho-153-65)
Excerpt: "We received your letter this morning and also one yesterday." Sent from Manzanar concentration camp, California, to Chicago, Illinois.
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