Food

The eating facilities in the camps were large mess halls with long lines and crowded tables. Group living tended to erode family solidarity, as teenagers escaped parental authority by eating with friends rather than family. The quality of the food was poor and milk and fresh meat were constantly in short supply. Inexpensive foods such as wieners, dried fish, pancakes, macaroni and pickled vegetables were served often. The diets of the camp inmates improved only after they began growing some of their own food.

Food (116)

116 items
Farewell dinner at Heart Mountain concentration camp (ddr-densho-242-22)
img Farewell dinner at Heart Mountain concentration camp (ddr-densho-242-22)
Caption on front: "Tom Sashikara Aug '44." Caption by Ike Hatchimonji: "Heart Mountain Aug. 1944. Caption reads: 'Farewell dinner for Tom Sashikara leaving for Cleveland, OH. Guy Robertson, the camp director and Mrs. Pryne were there.' K. Hatchimonji is seen on left with his hand on his chin."
Japanese Americans preparing lunch (ddr-densho-37-331)
img Japanese Americans preparing lunch (ddr-densho-37-331)
Original WRA caption: Dave K. Yoshida, from Seattle, Washington former Chef for [the] Benjamin Franklin Hotel. Kitchen crew preparing lunch. Menu: Baked macaroni with Spanish sauce, spinach, pickled beets, bread-pudding, tea, bread & butter.
The Newell Star, Vol. II, No. 23 (June 8, 1945) (ddr-densho-284-72)
doc The Newell Star, Vol. II, No. 23 (June 8, 1945) (ddr-densho-284-72)
Selected article titles: "Food Committee to Be Elected" (p. 1), "Eight Violators Given Jail Terms" (p. 1), "Doubt Constitutionality of 2 Sections of New Law" (p. 2), and "Japanese in LA Hold Memorial Day Services" (p. 3).
The Newell Star, Vol. I, No. 15 (June 8, 1944) (ddr-densho-284-22)
doc The Newell Star, Vol. I, No. 15 (June 8, 1944) (ddr-densho-284-22)
Selected article titles: "Voluntary Terminations Asked in Families of Two" (p. 2) and "Hayward Assures Ample Supply of Vegetables" (p. 2).
Japanese Americans lining up for mess hall (ddr-densho-93-21)
img Japanese Americans lining up for mess hall (ddr-densho-93-21)
Original Ansel Adams caption: Mess line, noon, Manzanar Relocation Center, California / photograph by Ansel Adams.
The Newell Star, Vol. I, No. 24 (August 10, 1944) (ddr-densho-284-30)
doc The Newell Star, Vol. I, No. 24 (August 10, 1944) (ddr-densho-284-30)
Selected article titles: "Canada Gives Postwar Policy on Japanese" (p. 1), "Patrolmen: Reorganized Force Asks Residents' Cooperation" (pp. 1-2), and "WRA Announces Revision of Food Ration Quotas" (p. 2).
Tule Lake Cooperator, Vol. 2, No. 35 (November 6, 1943) (ddr-densho-289-6)
doc Tule Lake Cooperator, Vol. 2, No. 35 (November 6, 1943) (ddr-densho-289-6)
Selected article titles: "'Let's Join Co-op and Get the Benefits!'" (p. 1), "Co-op Plan to Make 'Tofu'" (p. 1), "Licensed Pharmacists Wanted" (p. 1).
The Tule Lake Cooperator, Vol. 4, No. 102 (November 10, 1945) (ddr-densho-289-9)
av The Tule Lake Cooperator, Vol. 4, No. 102 (November 10, 1945) (ddr-densho-289-9)
Selected article titles: "Special Meeting of General Assembly: Opening Address" (p. 1), "Tofu Making Discontinued Nov. 30" (p. 1), "Resolutions Adopted By General Assembly" (p. 2).
Letter (with envelope) to Molly Wilson from Chiyeko Akahoshi (November 27, 1943) (ddr-janm-1-108)
doc Letter (with envelope) to Molly Wilson from Chiyeko Akahoshi (November 27, 1943) (ddr-janm-1-108)
Handwritten letter to Molly Wilson from Chiyeko Akahoshi (November 27, 1943). Envelope is postmarked November 29, 1943 from the Manzanar Incarceration Camp in Manzanar, California.
Mitsue Matsui Segment 13 (ddr-densho-1008-3-13)
vh Mitsue Matsui Segment 13 (ddr-densho-1008-3-13)
Food in Topaz concentration camp

Members of the National Japanese American Historical Society (NJAHS) arranged for and conducted this interview in conjunction with Densho.

Kats Kunitsugu - Paul Tsuneishi Interview Segment 4 (ddr-densho-122-17-4)
vh Kats Kunitsugu - Paul Tsuneishi Interview Segment 4 (ddr-densho-122-17-4)
Description of food in concentration camps

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 focusing on issues surrounding the ...

Aiko Herzig Interview Segment 10 (ddr-densho-1002-8-10)
vh Aiko Herzig Interview Segment 10 (ddr-densho-1002-8-10)
Having a baby in camp: feeling angry because of lack of nutritious food for child

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 ...

Yukiko Miyake Segment 29 (ddr-densho-1000-49-29)
vh Yukiko Miyake Segment 29 (ddr-densho-1000-49-29)
Making traditional foods at Minidoka concentration camp, "otsukemono" in a chamber pot
Visitor's receipt for meals (ddr-densho-25-110)
doc Visitor's receipt for meals (ddr-densho-25-110)
In 1943, Mitsuo Iseri was on leave from the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. He visited Minidoka, and received this receipt for meals.
Mess hall food (ddr-densho-37-413)
img Mess hall food (ddr-densho-37-413)
Original WRA caption: Manzanar Relocation Center, Manzanar, California. Meals are being served cafeteria style at this War Relocation Authority Center.
Japanese American preparing lunch (ddr-densho-37-330)
img Japanese American preparing lunch (ddr-densho-37-330)
Original WRA caption: Dave K. Yoshida, from Seattle, Washington former Chef for Benjamin Franklin Hotel. Kitchen crew preparing lunch. Menu: Baked macaroni with Spanish sauce, spinach, pickled beets, bread-pudding, tea, bread & butter.
API