Living conditions

The "assembly centers" were hastily erected quarters located throughout the West Coast at fairgrounds, racetracks and other similar facilities. Conditions at these locations were appalling. People were housed in animal stalls and barracks with communal bathrooms and mess halls. Privacy was next to nonexistent. Most families lived in a 20-by-20-foot room separated from the next "apartment" by wood partitions that did not reach the ceiling. Shortages of food and deplorable sanitation were common. Overcrowding, uncertainty, and stress created tension in the "assembly centers," even as the demoralized camp inmates tried to improve living conditions.

World War II (218)
Temporary Assembly Centers (177)
Living conditions (371)

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371 items
Mutsu Homma Segment 23 (ddr-densho-1000-24-23)
vh Mutsu Homma Segment 23 (ddr-densho-1000-24-23)
Description of assembly center: "Santa Anita is a horse place"
Bob Utsumi Interview Segment 11 (ddr-densho-1013-8-11)
vh Bob Utsumi Interview Segment 11 (ddr-densho-1013-8-11)
Arrival in the Tanforan Assembly Center: recalling mother's display of emotion
Gene Akutsu Interview Segment 2 (ddr-densho-1016-4-2)
vh Gene Akutsu Interview Segment 2 (ddr-densho-1016-4-2)
Preparing for mass removal

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 Department of the Interior.

Chizuko Iyama - Ernie Iyama Interview Segment 2 (ddr-densho-1012-5-2)
vh Chizuko Iyama - Ernie Iyama Interview Segment 2 (ddr-densho-1012-5-2)
First impressions of camp: "the camps were certainly not good for families" (audio only)

This interview is audio-only. It contains raw footage used by Steven Okazaki in his 1985 film Unfinished Business.

This material is based upon work assisted by a grant from the Department of the Interior, National Park Service. Any opinions, finding, and …

George S. Matsui Segment 6 (ddr-densho-1008-2-6)
vh George S. Matsui Segment 6 (ddr-densho-1008-2-6)
Impressions of Santa Anita Assembly Center

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

George S. Matsui Segment 7 (ddr-densho-1008-2-7)
vh George S. Matsui Segment 7 (ddr-densho-1008-2-7)
Bad food in camp

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

Frank Miyamoto Interview III Segment 12 (ddr-densho-1000-52-12)
vh Frank Miyamoto Interview III Segment 12 (ddr-densho-1000-52-12)
Comparing conditions in Wartime Civil Control Administration assembly centers to War Relocation Authority concentration camps
Francis Mas Fukuhara Segment 11 (ddr-densho-1000-9-11)
vh Francis Mas Fukuhara Segment 11 (ddr-densho-1000-9-11)
Description of Puyallup Assembly Center: "really kind of horrifying"
Fumiko Uyeda Groves Segment 18 (ddr-densho-1000-10-18)
vh Fumiko Uyeda Groves Segment 18 (ddr-densho-1000-10-18)
Frightened by the sight of soldiers with rifles at the Puyallup Assembly Center
Bob Y. Sakata Interview Segment 9 (ddr-densho-1000-216-9)
vh Bob Y. Sakata Interview Segment 9 (ddr-densho-1000-216-9)
Temporary living conditions in Tanforan: "it was sort of a lonely feeling"
Marion Tsutakawa Kanemoto Interview Segment 23 (ddr-densho-1000-148-23)
vh Marion Tsutakawa Kanemoto Interview Segment 23 (ddr-densho-1000-148-23)
Dealing with the difficulties of living in the Puyallup Assembly Center, new responsibilities as the oldest child at age fourteen
Kazue Yamamoto Interview Segment 9 (ddr-densho-1000-197-9)
vh Kazue Yamamoto Interview Segment 9 (ddr-densho-1000-197-9)
Memories of Portland Assembly Center

This interview was conducted as part of a project to capture stories of the Japanese American community of Spokane, Washington. Densho worked in collaboration with the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture.

May Y. Namba Interview Segment 15 (ddr-densho-1000-171-15)
vh May Y. Namba Interview Segment 15 (ddr-densho-1000-171-15)
Spending twentieth birthday in camp: receiving a birthday cake from a military police officer
May Y. Namba Interview Segment 16 (ddr-densho-1000-171-16)
vh May Y. Namba Interview Segment 16 (ddr-densho-1000-171-16)
Memories of Puyallup Assembly Center: meeting people from Alaska
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