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 (215)
Temporary Assembly Centers (175)
Living conditions (364)

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364 items
Fumiko Hayashida Segment 21 (ddr-densho-1000-15-21)
vh Fumiko Hayashida Segment 21 (ddr-densho-1000-15-21)
Arrival at Manzanar concentration camp, stuffing mattresses
Mutsu Homma Segment 22 (ddr-densho-1000-24-22)
vh Mutsu Homma Segment 22 (ddr-densho-1000-24-22)
Husband uses own money to buy equipment after being assigned as an official dentist of Santa Anita Assembly Center
Shig Yabu Interview Segment 10 (ddr-densho-1000-272-10)
vh Shig Yabu Interview Segment 10 (ddr-densho-1000-272-10)
Living conditions at the Pomona Assembly Center

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.

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
Peggie Nishimura Bain Interview Segment 30 (ddr-densho-1000-170-30)
vh Peggie Nishimura Bain Interview Segment 30 (ddr-densho-1000-170-30)
The train ride to Pinedale Assembly Center: "we were being treated as enemies"
May Ota Higa Interview Segment 18 (ddr-densho-1000-174-18)
vh May Ota Higa Interview Segment 18 (ddr-densho-1000-174-18)
Restrictions after the bombing of Pearl Harbor; first impressions of Puyallup Assembly Center
Mitsu Fukui Interview Segment 22 (ddr-densho-1000-140-22)
vh Mitsu Fukui Interview Segment 22 (ddr-densho-1000-140-22)
Feelings about dealing with hardships in the assembly center: "I thought that was really cruel. Being a citizen and to be put into a place like that."
Ruby Inouye Interview Segment 20 (ddr-densho-1000-143-20)
vh Ruby Inouye Interview Segment 20 (ddr-densho-1000-143-20)
First impressions of Puyallup Assembly Center; resourcefulness of the camp inmates
Ruby Inouye Interview Segment 22 (ddr-densho-1000-143-22)
vh Ruby Inouye Interview Segment 22 (ddr-densho-1000-143-22)
Life at the Puyallup Assembly Center: poor food, playing cards, and wondering about the future
Betty Morita Shibayama Interview Segment 17 (ddr-densho-1000-152-17)
vh Betty Morita Shibayama Interview Segment 17 (ddr-densho-1000-152-17)
First impressions of the Pinedale Assembly Center: becoming sick from the heat
Roy H. Matsumoto Interview Segment 42 (ddr-densho-1000-153-42)
vh Roy H. Matsumoto Interview Segment 42 (ddr-densho-1000-153-42)
Feeling angry about conditions in Santa Anita Assembly Center, California

Although Mr. Matsumoto does not identify himself as a Kibei (American-born person of Japanese ancestry sent to Japan for formal education and socialization when young and later returned to the U.S.), some of his life experiences are similar to those who do identify themselves as such.

Roy H. Matsumoto Interview Segment 41 (ddr-densho-1000-153-41)
vh Roy H. Matsumoto Interview Segment 41 (ddr-densho-1000-153-41)
Memories of mass removal: traveling to the Santa Anita Assembly Center, becoming head of the "vegetable department" at Santa Anita

Although Mr. Matsumoto does not identify himself as a Kibei (American-born person of Japanese ancestry sent to Japan for formal education and socialization when young and later returned to the U.S.), some of his life experiences …

Roy H. Matsumoto Interview Segment 44 (ddr-densho-1000-153-44)
vh Roy H. Matsumoto Interview Segment 44 (ddr-densho-1000-153-44)
Keeping busy to pass the time in assembly center, trying not to feel too angry

Although Mr. Matsumoto does not identify himself as a Kibei (American-born person of Japanese ancestry sent to Japan for formal education and socialization when young and later returned to the U.S.), some of his life experiences are similar to those who …

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
Mae Kanazawa Hara Interview Segment 12 (ddr-densho-1000-168-12)
vh Mae Kanazawa Hara Interview Segment 12 (ddr-densho-1000-168-12)
Memories of Puyallup Assembly Center: deciding to "make the most of it and make it as pleasant as we know how"
Joe Yamakido Interview Segment 5 (ddr-densho-1000-167-5)
vh Joe Yamakido Interview Segment 5 (ddr-densho-1000-167-5)
Unpleasant memories of Santa Anita Assembly Center, California, working as a trashman
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