Social and recreational activities

Japanese Americans found ways to fill the long days created by the enforced idleness of camp life. They made jewelry from shells found in the desert, built furniture for their rooms using scrap lumber and renovated the exteriors of their barracks. People also played cards, chess, checkers, mahjongg, and the Japanese games 'go' and 'shogi.' Camp inmates held dances, concerts, plays, and arts and crafts exhibitions. In Minidoka concentration camp, Idaho, they even held a beauty contest to select the "Sweetheart of Minidoka."

World War II (215)
Concentration camps (1197)
Social and recreational activities (1115)

Related articles from the Densho Encyclopedia :
Arts and crafts in camp, Music in camp

1115 items
Japanese Americans digging for shells (ddr-densho-2-47)
img Japanese Americans digging for shells (ddr-densho-2-47)
These individuals are digging for shells to make jewelry, which was a popular pastime for many Japanese Americans in camp. Left to right: Kumataro Nishimura, Kadju Nishimura, Jimmie Yorita, Neal Frost (son of one of the teachers at Tule Lake), and Patsy Yorita. Tule Lake was drained in the early 1900s. The camp was located on …
Japanese American and friend sifting for shells (ddr-densho-2-59)
img Japanese American and friend sifting for shells (ddr-densho-2-59)
Patsy Yorita (left) and Neal Frost, (son of a teacher at the Tule Lake concentration camp), sift dirt for shells. The shells were used by people in the camp to make jewelry. Tule Lake was drained in the early 1900s. The camp was located on the old lake bed, where people found shells for making jewelry …
Japanese American and friend digging for shells (ddr-densho-2-60)
img Japanese American and friend digging for shells (ddr-densho-2-60)
Jimmie Yorita (right) digs for shells used by people in camp to make jewelry. His sister, Patsy (left), and Neal Frost, son of one of the camp's teachers, sift the dirt. Tule Lake was drained in the early 1900s. The camp was located on the old lake bed, where camp inmates found shells for making jewelry …
Japanese American making shell jewelry (ddr-densho-2-58)
img Japanese American making shell jewelry (ddr-densho-2-58)
Peggie Yorita making jewelry from shells found within the confines of the Tule Lake concentration camp. Making jewelry was a popular pastime for the Japanese Americans. Tule Lake was drained in the early 1900s. The camp was located on the old lake bed. As a result, shells were available for people to fashion into jewelry for …
Jewelry made in camp (ddr-densho-2-49)
img Jewelry made in camp (ddr-densho-2-49)
This corsage pin was made by Peggie Yorita, a Japanese American at the Tule Lake concentration camp. The flowers and leaves are composed of shells found at the camp. Tule Lake was drained in the early 1900s. The camp was located on the old lake bed, where people found shells for making jewelry to sell to …
Japanese Americans preparing shells for jewelry making (ddr-densho-2-50)
img Japanese Americans preparing shells for jewelry making (ddr-densho-2-50)
Kumataro (left) and Kadju Nishimura measure and separate shells to be used in jewelry-making. The Nishimuras woke up at the crack of dawn and dug waist-deep holes to find the shells. The shells were then bleached white and later painted. Tule Lake was drained in the early 1900s. The camp was located on the old lake …
Ruth Okuye Ihara interview (ddr-csujad-6-8)
doc Ruth Okuye Ihara interview (ddr-csujad-6-8)
Oral history interview with Ruth Okuye Ihara. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: SCRC_IHARA_RUTH
Song lyrics (ddr-csujad-7-31)
doc Song lyrics (ddr-csujad-7-31)
Several pages of well known popular song lyrics from the era. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: HMLSC_Song Lyrics
Saka Tanaka (ddr-csujad-8-73)
doc Saka Tanaka (ddr-csujad-8-73)
Oral history interview with Saka Tanaka. Information on the oral history project is found in: csuf_stp_0012A; Glossary in: csuf_stp_0014. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: FCPL Tanaka, Saka
Kazuye Matsunaga (ddr-csujad-8-38)
doc Kazuye Matsunaga (ddr-csujad-8-38)
Oral history interview with Kazuye [Kazue] Matsunaga. Information on the oral history project is found in: csuf_stp_0012A; Glossary in: csuf_stp_0014. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: FCPL Matsunaga, Kazuye
Teenage incarceree spending Sunday afternoon in various activities such as ironing, playing cards, etc. at Granada incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-37)
img Teenage incarceree spending Sunday afternoon in various activities such as ironing, playing cards, etc. at Granada incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-37)
Teenage incarceree spending Sunday afternoon in various activities such as ironing, playing cards, etc. at Granada incarceration camp. August 30, 1942. Photo by Tom Parker. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: HMLSC_TOMO_f02
Young former California boy learning to ice skate at Heart Mountain incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-58)
img Young former California boy learning to ice skate at Heart Mountain incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-58)
Young former California boy learning to ice skate at Heart Mountain incarceration camp. January 10, 1943. Photo by Tom Parker. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: HMLSC_TOMO_f23
Artist completing a watercolor at Granada incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-49)
img Artist completing a watercolor at Granada incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-49)
Artist completing a watercolor at Granada incarceration camp. Photo by Tom Parker. December 13, 1942. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: HMLSC_TOMO_f14
High school Junior Class dance at Granada incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-43)
img High school Junior Class dance at Granada incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-43)
High school Junior Class dance at Granada incarceration camp. December 11, 1942. Photo by Tom Parker. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: HMLSC_TOMO_f08
Incarcerees watching outdoor musical performance at Manzanar incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-20)
img Incarcerees watching outdoor musical performance at Manzanar incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-20)
Incarcerees watching outdoor musical performance at Manzanar incarceration camp. June 5, 1942. Photo by Francis Stewart. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: HMLSC_TOMO_020
Swing Band practice at Heart Mountain incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-51)
img Swing Band practice at Heart Mountain incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-51)
Swing Band practice at Heart Mountain incarceration camp. September 16, 1942. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: HMLSC_TOMO_f16
Social groups: creative writers, Caucasian-Japanese relationship, Mr. Cook, leadership (ddr-csujad-26-12)
doc Social groups: creative writers, Caucasian-Japanese relationship, Mr. Cook, leadership (ddr-csujad-26-12)
Report on a creative writers group including establishment, membership, meetings, purpose, and leadership. The group gathered weekly to critique each other's work for submittal to the Tulean Dispatch and outside publications. Describes the involvement, influence, and eventual tension with Mr. Cook and the writers group as an example of a "Caucasian-Japanese relationship" in the camp. Report …
Recreational organization (ddr-csujad-26-10)
doc Recreational organization (ddr-csujad-26-10)
Report detailing the establishment of a recreation and community activities department including its organization, activities planning, personnel problems and conflicts, issues with structure and equipment, and a structural diagram of the community activities section. The report focuses on the place of recreation in the lives of incarcerees and the differences between Issei and Nisei leading to …
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 …
Personality cards (ddr-csujad-26-38)
doc Personality cards (ddr-csujad-26-38)
Journal entries written by high school students discussing their observations and perspectives on a variety of topics including classes, class discussions, assignments, grades, exams, homework and studying, interclass sports, graduation, dances, and a carnival fundraiser for yearbook. Each entry includes the full date and student name. The entries were part of a class assignment and collected …
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 …
Fashion show (ddr-csujad-26-127)
img Fashion show (ddr-csujad-26-127)
Two Japanese American women pose in front of an audience during a fashion show. Verso reads, "a fashion show." From photo album of Robert Billigmeier. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: mei_05_096
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 …
Chapter 11 personality cards (ddr-csujad-26-36)
doc Chapter 11 personality cards (ddr-csujad-26-36)
Journal entries written by high school students discussing their observations and perspectives on a variety of topic including a fundraising carnival, yearbooks, class subjects and discussions, sports, homework, books, and teachers. Each entry includes the full date and student name. The entries were collected as part of a class assignment and used for the Japanese American …
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