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 (216)
Temporary Assembly Centers (177)
Living conditions (367)

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367 items
Yae Aihara Interview Segment 8 (ddr-densho-1000-221-8)
vh Yae Aihara Interview Segment 8 (ddr-densho-1000-221-8)
First impressions of Puyallup Assembly Center, having a graduation ceremony
Rudy Tokiwa Interview II Segment 16 (ddr-densho-1000-92-16)
vh Rudy Tokiwa Interview II Segment 16 (ddr-densho-1000-92-16)
Learning to cook in the Salinas Assembly Center, California

This interview was conducted at the 1998 Americans of Japanese Ancestry Veterans National Convention, held in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Frank S. Fujii Segment 11 (ddr-densho-1000-8-11)
vh Frank S. Fujii Segment 11 (ddr-densho-1000-8-11)
Impressions of Puyallup Assembly Center: physical discomforts, meeting new people

This interview was conducted over two days due to electrical problems. The majority of the interview was completed on the second day, September 5.

Robert Mizukami Interview Segment 10 (ddr-densho-1000-114-10)
vh Robert Mizukami Interview Segment 10 (ddr-densho-1000-114-10)
Forced into "Camp Harmony," Puyallup Assembly Center, Washington

This is the first in a series of interviews conducted by the Puyallup Valley Japanese American Citizen League in collaboration with Densho.

Toru Sakahara - Kiyo Sakahara Interview II Segment 4 (ddr-densho-1000-77-4)
vh Toru Sakahara - Kiyo Sakahara Interview II Segment 4 (ddr-densho-1000-77-4)
Gambling in the Puyallup Assembly Center

This interview was conducted over two days at the Sakaharas' home.

Toru Sakahara - Kiyo Sakahara Interview II Segment 5 (ddr-densho-1000-77-5)
vh Toru Sakahara - Kiyo Sakahara Interview II Segment 5 (ddr-densho-1000-77-5)
Working in the judge advocate's office at Puyallup Assembly Center

This interview was conducted over two days at the Sakaharas' home.

May K. Sasaki Segment 15 (ddr-densho-1000-79-15)
vh May K. Sasaki Segment 15 (ddr-densho-1000-79-15)
Feeling like a "caged animal" in Puyallup Assembly Center
May K. Sasaki Segment 14 (ddr-densho-1000-79-14)
vh May K. Sasaki Segment 14 (ddr-densho-1000-79-14)
Animal smells and painful inoculations: childhood memories of Puyallup Assembly Center
Shosuke Sasaki Segment 14 (ddr-densho-1000-78-14)
vh Shosuke Sasaki Segment 14 (ddr-densho-1000-78-14)
Memories of Puyallup Assembly Center: a "sea of mud" and a sobbing woman
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
Yosh Nakagawa Interview Segment 17 (ddr-densho-1000-172-17)
vh Yosh Nakagawa Interview Segment 17 (ddr-densho-1000-172-17)
Memories of Puyallup Assembly Center as a child: having fun, selling newspapers
Hank Shozo Umemoto Interview Segment 17 (ddr-densho-1000-294-17)
vh Hank Shozo Umemoto Interview Segment 17 (ddr-densho-1000-294-17)
Living conditions in camp: better than farm at home

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 …

Harry Kawahara Interview Segment 5 (ddr-densho-1000-368-5)
vh Harry Kawahara Interview Segment 5 (ddr-densho-1000-368-5)
Vivid memories of camp at age ten: "that made an impact"

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 …

Sue Takimoto Okabe Segment 5 (ddr-densho-1000-74-5)
vh Sue Takimoto Okabe Segment 5 (ddr-densho-1000-74-5)
Puyallup Assembly Center, mother struggles to adjust, and teenagers learn the latest dances
Marian Asao Kurosu Interview Segment 50 (ddr-densho-1000-118-50)
vh Marian Asao Kurosu Interview Segment 50 (ddr-densho-1000-118-50)
Trip to Pinedale Assembly Center, California; heat and dehydration

During this interview, Mrs. Kurosu alternately speaks in both English and Japanese. As a result, the English translation of the transcript contains [Jpn.] and [Eng.], which indicate whether the original dialogue was spoken in Japanese or English.

Rae Takekawa Segment 20 (ddr-densho-1000-89-20)
vh Rae Takekawa Segment 20 (ddr-densho-1000-89-20)
Organized activities for youth at Pinedale Assembly Center, California
Rae Takekawa Segment 21 (ddr-densho-1000-89-21)
vh Rae Takekawa Segment 21 (ddr-densho-1000-89-21)
"An aimless type of existence": Pinedale Assembly Center
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