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Living conditions

All of the camps were constructed according to the War Department's specifications, which included barbed-wire fences, guard towers, and armed guards around the perimeter. The camps were organized in "blocks" consisting of twelve to fourteen barracks, a mess hall, communal showers and toilets, laundry facilities, and a recreation hall. Each barracks was divided into four or six rooms with each room housing one family, no matter how large, and there was no running water. The furnishings that Japanese Americans found on their arrival were canvas cots, a potbellied stove, and a single bare light bulb. The thin walls offered little protection from the harsh weather, which ranged from 110 degrees in the summer to 25 degrees below zero on winter nights. The flimsy construction allowed no privacy and made normal family life difficult. Camp inmates improved their own living conditions by creating interior walls and partitions, constructing furniture from scrap lumber, and planting gardens.

World War II (54)
Concentration camps (556)
Living conditions (953)

Related articles from the Densho Encyclopedia :
Arts and crafts in camp, Community analysts, Manzanar Children's Village

953 items
Japanese Americans behind homemade pond (ddr-densho-2-65)
img Japanese Americans behind homemade pond (ddr-densho-2-65)
Shown here are Japanese Americans from Block 26 in front of their handcrafted fish pond.
Woman en route to the shower (ddr-densho-2-7)
img Woman en route to the shower (ddr-densho-2-7)
Kadju Nishimura of Block 26 is on her way to take a shower. Note the Japanese clogs, called geta, that she is wearing. Geta enabled her to keep her feet clean while she walked through the dirt and mud.
Stockade wood-burning stove (ddr-densho-11-8)
img Stockade wood-burning stove (ddr-densho-11-8)
In 1943, Tule Lake concentration camp became a segregation center. A stockade was built to detain those who were considered security risks by the WRA. This wood-burning stove was used to help heat the stockade.
Memo from [Willard E.] Schmidt, Chief of Administrative Police, to [Raymond R.] Best, [1944] (ddr-csujad-2-78)
doc Memo from [Willard E.] Schmidt, Chief of Administrative Police, to [Raymond R.] Best, [1944] (ddr-csujad-2-78)
Regards arming the Administrative Police Section, including reasons for using the sawed-off shotgun vs. the 45 automatic pistol for security purposes, and the potential for escalation of tensions in a "divided camp (anti and pro, status quo)." See also the related typewritten memo, Memorandum from Willard [E.] Schmidt, Chief, Administrative Police, to R. R. [Raymond R.] ...
Memo from Co-ordinating Committee to Chief of Police Schmidt [Willard E. Schmidt], February 3, 1944 (ddr-csujad-2-72)
doc Memo from Co-ordinating Committee to Chief of Police Schmidt [Willard E. Schmidt], February 3, 1944 (ddr-csujad-2-72)
Calls for special meeting of the Project Director, Advisory Council, and Co-ordinating Committee to discuss Committee recommendations, and refers to four attached memoranda, each from Co-ordinating Committee 1608-A to R. [Raymond] R. Best, Project Director, dated February 2, 1944 and written by Byron Akitsuki, Executive Secretary. Subjects of the memoranda are: Receipt of Red Cross Gift ...
Memo from Harry L. Black, Advisory Committee, to Mr. [Raymond R.] Best, February 8, 1944 (ddr-csujad-2-91)
doc Memo from Harry L. Black, Advisory Committee, to Mr. [Raymond R.] Best, February 8, 1944 (ddr-csujad-2-91)
Memorandum regarding meeting with Co-ordinating Committee. Concerns meeting to discuss Committee's recommendation to release "18 additional detainees from the stockade." The memo on "Executive Office of the President, Office for Emergency Management" letterhead, also discusses employment of incarcerees from Manzanar and Tule Lake and moving incarcerees out of and into various housing blocks. See this object ...
Letter from children of Kihichi Sakamoto to Project Director [Raymond R. Best], February 14, 1944 (ddr-csujad-2-94)
doc Letter from children of Kihichi Sakamoto to Project Director [Raymond R. Best], February 14, 1944 (ddr-csujad-2-94)
Letter from three of his children, Tatsuo, Manabu, and Osamu Sakamoto, requests the release of their father, Kihichi Sakamoto, from the Army Stockade, for the sake of their mother's "health and mind" stating that she has been ill since their stay in Heart Mountain the previous year and has suffered a relapse upon her husband's imprisonment ...
Memo from Co-ordinating Committee to R. [Raymond] R. Best, Project Director, Kiyotake, February 5, 1944 (ddr-csujad-2-71)
doc Memo from Co-ordinating Committee to R. [Raymond] R. Best, Project Director, Kiyotake, February 5, 1944 (ddr-csujad-2-71)
Memo requesting for release of Abe. Describes the situation of Abe (Joe Kiyotake Abe), who had been in Army custody since the end of December, 1943, and whose wife was hospitalized, leaving their three children without parental care. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: sjs_sch_0071
Memo from Co-ordinating Committee to W. [Willard E.] Schmidt, [1944] (ddr-csujad-2-98)
doc Memo from Co-ordinating Committee to W. [Willard E.] Schmidt, [1944] (ddr-csujad-2-98)
List of names, addresses, family numbers, and start dates of active fielders (in subject line, the job title is spelled "fiedlers" but is elsewhere spelled correctly); start dates of the 32 fielders range from January 13, 1944 to February 4, 1944. Names: Hamada, Isao; Nakanishi, Yoichi; Iwohara, Tsugio; Okamoto, Chiyoko; Keiunji, Masaru; Sakai, Masayoshi; Oda, Yoshitsugu; ...
[Japanese folklore about birth] (ddr-csujad-2-59)
doc [Japanese folklore about birth] (ddr-csujad-2-59)
Report on Japanese folklore and superstitions regarding the birth of a newborn. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: sjs_sch_0059
Tule Lake nighttime panorama (ddr-csujad-3-6)
img Tule Lake nighttime panorama (ddr-csujad-3-6)
High vantage point panoramic nighttime photograph of Tule Lake camp with the lights from the buildings inside camp on. The photograph shows the expanse of the camp against the darkened landscape. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: tos_01_001_006
Tule Lake landscape panoramic photograph (ddr-csujad-3-5)
img Tule Lake landscape panoramic photograph (ddr-csujad-3-5)
High vantage point panoramic photograph of Tule Lake camp showing expanse of camp including buildings, railroad, roadways, and the basin landscape. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: tos_01_001_005
Tule Lake rooftops (ddr-csujad-3-4)
img Tule Lake rooftops (ddr-csujad-3-4)
Photograph looking across rooftops of buildings at Tule Lake towards hills in the distance. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: tos_01_001_004
Letter from Usami Terada to Mr. and Mrs. A.W. Thomas, October 29, 1942 (ddr-csujad-4-15)
doc Letter from Usami Terada to Mr. and Mrs. A.W. Thomas, October 29, 1942 (ddr-csujad-4-15)
A letter from Usami Terada, an incarceree at the Rohwer incarceration camp, to Mr. and Mrs. A.W. Thomas in Lawndale, California. In the letter, he describes his life and the conditions of the Rohwer incarceration camp. He also describes the Japanese American soldiers visiting the camp: among the soldiers, he finds Sam Kita, one of his ...
Letter from Emiko [Amy] Terada to Miss Laura Thomas, January 19, 1945 (ddr-csujad-4-22)
doc Letter from Emiko [Amy] Terada to Miss Laura Thomas, January 19, 1945 (ddr-csujad-4-22)
A letter from Emiko Amy Terada, an incarceree at the Rohwer incarceration camp, to Miss Laura Thomas in Lawndale, California. In the letter, Emiko asks Laura about the conditions in Lawndale, California, expressing her concern about housing. She also describes school in the camp. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project ...
Tsuyoshi Terada (ddr-csujad-4-6)
img Tsuyoshi Terada (ddr-csujad-4-6)
A photograph of Tsuyoshi Terada around age 11. The photograph is taken at the Rohwer incarceration camp. It depicts Tsuyoshi Terada standing in front of one of the barracks in the camp. The inscription on the backside reads: Tsuyoshi Terada, March 1943, Rohwer Relocation Center, McGeehee, Arkansas. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese ...
Usami Terada (ddr-csujad-4-7)
img Usami Terada (ddr-csujad-4-7)
A photograph of Usami Terada around age 21. It is taken at the Rohwer incarceration camp in McGehee, Arkansas. It depicts Usami Terada standing in front of one of the barracks in the camp. The inscription on the backside reads: Usami Terada, March 1944, Rohwer Relocation Center, McGehee, Arkansas. See this object in the California State ...
Letter from Emiko [Amy] Terada to Miss Laura Thomas, October 11, 1944 (ddr-csujad-4-21)
doc Letter from Emiko [Amy] Terada to Miss Laura Thomas, October 11, 1944 (ddr-csujad-4-21)
A letter from Emiko Amy Terada, an incarceree at the Rohwer incarceration camp, to Miss Laura Thomas in Lawndale, California. In the letter, Emiko expresses her feelings, missing her family's farm in Lawndale, California. She tries to get camera film, but describes the situation that "this year it look so hard to get it." See this ...
Johnny and Yo Niizawa interview (ddr-csujad-6-25)
doc Johnny and Yo Niizawa interview (ddr-csujad-6-25)
Oral history interview with Johnny and Yo Niizawa. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: SCRC_NIIZAWA_JOHNNY_AND_YO
Toshiye Hirose interview (ddr-csujad-6-7)
doc Toshiye Hirose interview (ddr-csujad-6-7)
Oral history interview with Toshiye Hirose. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: SCRC_HIROSE_TOSHIYE
Fude Tanioka interview (ddr-csujad-6-32)
doc Fude Tanioka interview (ddr-csujad-6-32)
Oral history interview with Fude Tanioka. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: SCRC_TANIOKA_FUDE
Ordinance no. 2 (ddr-csujad-7-29)
doc Ordinance no. 2 (ddr-csujad-7-29)
An ordinance regulating traffic laws for public streets within the Granada incarceration camp. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: HMLSC_Ordinance_NO2
Manzanar incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-7-12)
img Manzanar incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-7-12)
Manzanar incarceration camp, July 1942. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: HMLSC_JA_f12
Bessie Ezaki (ddr-csujad-8-11)
doc Bessie Ezaki (ddr-csujad-8-11)
Oral history interview with Aiko Bessie Ezaki. 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 Ezaki, Bessie
Masao Araki (ddr-csujad-8-4)
doc Masao Araki (ddr-csujad-8-4)
Oral history interview with Masao Araki. 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 Araki, Masao
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