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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 (54)
Concentration camps (556)
Social and recreational activities (642)

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

642 items
Japanese Americans at Shoshone Falls (ddr-densho-15-67)
img Japanese Americans at Shoshone Falls (ddr-densho-15-67)
Left to right: Norio Mitsuoka, Tom (last name unknown), and Robert Ikeda at Shoshone Falls, near the Minidoka concentration camp.
Japanese Americans playing horseshoes (ddr-densho-15-54)
img Japanese Americans playing horseshoes (ddr-densho-15-54)
Norio Mitsuoka (left) and (first name unknown) Hikida playing a game of horseshoes.
Japanese Americans at Shoshone Falls (ddr-densho-15-66)
img Japanese Americans at Shoshone Falls (ddr-densho-15-66)
These Japanese Americans enjoying a day at Shoshone Falls near the Minidoka concentration camp were allowed to leave the camp on an approved day pass. Left to right: Tom (last name unknown), Ted Kamada, Yoneko Tanaka, unidentified, Norio Mitsuoka, and Kiyoko (last name unknown).
Elementary school princesses (ddr-densho-20-3)
img Elementary school princesses (ddr-densho-20-3)
Elementary school princesses. Left to right: Unidentified, unidentified, Miyuki Hasegawa, Julie Hikida, Marianne Okawa, Haruko Nishimura, Kazuko Noji, Frank Sato, unidentified, Harumi Iwakiri.
Envelope and letter to Dr. Keizaburo
doc Envelope and letter to Dr. Keizaburo "Kei" Koyama from Eva Koyama (ddr-one-5-67)
Envelope addressed to Dr. Keizaburo Koyama in Santa Fe Detention Center. The envelope is postmarked August 30, 1943. Written in red pencil along the top of the envelope is “9/8-43.” On the left side of the envelope is a cartoon drawing of a yellow train with the words “United Nations” in blue on the side the ...
Letter to Dr. Keizaburo
doc Letter to Dr. Keizaburo "Kei" Koyama from William Koyama (ddr-one-5-21)
The letter is written on thin paper and possibly missing pages, dated July 21, 1942. William writes to his father about his current classes, describing his Boy Scout troop and his changing weight. He asks after his father's health and the entertainment as his camp.
Minidoka Classmates (ddr-one-5-68)
img Minidoka Classmates (ddr-one-5-68)
Black and white photographic print of 11 girls standing outside a barrack at Minidoka posing for a picture. Three girls in the foreground are holding books.
Letter to Dr. Keizaburo
doc Letter to Dr. Keizaburo "Kei" Koyama from his daughter Miriam Kiyo Koyama (ddr-one-5-16)
Letter dated June 21, 1942, from Miriam Kiyo Koyama to her father Kei Koyama. She wishes him a happy Father's Day, tells him that she joined 4H, and hopes that next year they will be together for Father's Day.
Japanese American carpenter building furniture (ddr-densho-37-358)
img Japanese American carpenter building furniture (ddr-densho-37-358)
Original WRA caption: Tule Lake Relocation Center, Newell, California. Shinkichi Kiyono, 56, carpenter-evacuee from Longview, Washington, is shown using a carpenter's plane which he won as first prize in a furniture contest conducted among the evacuees of Japanese descent at this War Relocation Authority center.
Japanese American ice skating (ddr-densho-37-677)
img Japanese American ice skating (ddr-densho-37-677)
Original WRA caption: Girl skating on a frozen pond in the center.
Japanese Americans climbing Castle Rock (ddr-densho-37-178)
img Japanese Americans climbing Castle Rock (ddr-densho-37-178)
Original WRA caption: Tule Lake Relocation Center, Newell, California. A pleasant Sunday afternoon's recreation is spent by evacuee winter sports enthusiasts, on the slopes of Castle Mountain. Homemade sleds and various other homemade pieces of equipment were used by these young people.
Japanese Americans swimming in irrigation canal (ddr-densho-37-326)
img Japanese Americans swimming in irrigation canal (ddr-densho-37-326)
Original WRA caption: Swimming hole located south of warehouse area adjacent to the North Side Irrigation Canal which may be seen at upper right. Water flows from canal into pool and out again. The average depth of the pool is 6 feet.
Queen of Hunt High School (ddr-densho-37-4)
img Queen of Hunt High School (ddr-densho-37-4)
Original WRA caption: Queen of Hunt High School May Day Festival being crowned by Richard A. Pomeroy, Supt. of Education, is shown with her attendants. The court was chosen by popular vote in a contest sponsored by the student body. Left to right: Pri[n]ce Victor Fujioka, Princess Dorothy Sugawara, Mr. Pomeroy, Queen Betty Aoki, Princess Sue ...
Japanese American making jewelry (ddr-densho-37-547)
img Japanese American making jewelry (ddr-densho-37-547)
Original WRA caption: Rohwer Relocation Center, McGehee, Arkansas. Among the unusual hobbies to be found in the relocation center, whose residents are former west coast persons of Japanese ancestry, is this former Californian's semi-precious stone cutting. He has prepared much interesting jewelry from bits of unusual stone picked up on the center grounds.
Art class (ddr-densho-37-509)
img Art class (ddr-densho-37-509)
Original WRA caption: Granada Relocation Center, Amache, Colorado. An adult art class under the direction of Tokio Ueyama, working in pencil sketch charcoals and oils. Adult art classes are extremely popular at the Amache Center.
Boy Scout Headquarters (ddr-densho-37-773)
img Boy Scout Headquarters (ddr-densho-37-773)
Original WRA caption: Granada Relocation Center, Amache, Colorado. "Amache District Headquarters, Boy Scouts of America, Granada Relocation Center."
Camp band performance (ddr-densho-37-681)
img Camp band performance (ddr-densho-37-681)
Original WRA caption: Norakuro band. This is called a harmonica band although harmonicas are augmented by an equal number of other instruments. The organization including the name is patterned after Borrah Minnevitch's Harmonica Rascals. The band plays for center dances and is very popular. They play both American and Japanese music, often putting Japanese lyrics to ...
Japanese Americans climbing Castle Rock (ddr-densho-37-177)
img Japanese Americans climbing Castle Rock (ddr-densho-37-177)
Original WRA caption: A pleasant Sunday afternoon's recreation is spent by evacuee winter sports enthusiasts, on the slopes of Castle Mountain. Home made sleds and various other home made pieces of equipment were used by these young people.
Sweetheart of Minidoka and attendants (ddr-densho-37-674)
img Sweetheart of Minidoka and attendants (ddr-densho-37-674)
Original WRA caption: Sweetheart of Minidoka and her attendants chosen by popular vote in St. Valentine's Day contest sponsored by the Minidoka Irrigator, center newspaper. Standing left to right: Kiyoka Kumagai, Amy Hidaka, Mona Saito, Chickie Ishihara. Seated left to right: Misao Hayashida, Ise Inozuka, Mary Jane Kinoshita.
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