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 (231)
Concentration camps (1434)
Living conditions (1750)

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

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1750 items
Interior view of store in Block 8 at Jerome incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-12)
img Interior view of store in Block 8 at Jerome incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-12)
Interior view of store in Block 8 at Jerome incarceration camp, showing grocery section. November 17, 1943. Photo by Tom Parker. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: HMLSC_TOMO_012
Chic Yamaguchi, former farm worker from Kingsburg, California (ddr-csujad-14-2)
img Chic Yamaguchi, former farm worker from Kingsburg, California (ddr-csujad-14-2)
Chic Yamaguchi, former farm worker from Kingsburg, California, turning a section from a model ship on lathe in model ship factory at Gila River incarceration camp. April 27, 1943. Photo by Francis Stewart. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: HMLSC_TOMO_002
Assembling and folding
img Assembling and folding "The sentinel," Heart Mountain incarceration camp newspaper (ddr-csujad-14-55)
Assembling and folding "The sentinel," Heart Mountain incarceration camp newspaper. January 8, 1943. Photo by Tom Parker. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: HMLSC_TOMO_f20
Three high school students with their calves at Granada incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-5)
img Three high school students with their calves at Granada incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-5)
Three high school students with their calves at Granada incarceration camp. December 11, 1942. Photo by Tom Parker. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: HMLSC_TOMO_005
Incarcerees having lunch at Granada incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-36)
img Incarcerees having lunch at Granada incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-36)
Incarcerees having lunch at Granada incarceration camp. August 20, 1942. Photo by Tom Parker. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: HMLSC_TOMO_f01
Former California biochemistry student Tom Arase (ddr-csujad-14-15)
img Former California biochemistry student Tom Arase (ddr-csujad-14-15)
Former California biochemistry student Tom Arase performs gastro analysis in hospital laboratory at Jerome incarceration camp March 3, 1943. Photo by Tom Parker. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: HMLSC_TOMO_015
Former California mechanic Chester Ishii repairing piece of farm machinery at Rohwer incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-25)
img Former California mechanic Chester Ishii repairing piece of farm machinery at Rohwer incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-25)
Former California mechanic Chester Ishii repairing piece of farm machinery at Rohwer incarceration camp. March 10, 1943. Photo by Tom Parker. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: HMLSC_TOMO_025
Mechanic honing cylinders in a truck motor at Heart Mountain incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-53)
img Mechanic honing cylinders in a truck motor at Heart Mountain incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-53)
Mechanic honing cylinders in a truck motor at Heart Mountain incarceration camp. January 2, 1943. Photo by Tom Parker. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: HMLSC_TOMO_f18
Former Californian K. Inoye operates hand saw (ddr-csujad-14-17)
img Former Californian K. Inoye operates hand saw (ddr-csujad-14-17)
Former Californian K. Inoye operates hand saw in cabinet shop at Jerome incarceration camp. March 12, 1943. Photo by Tom Parker. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: HMLSC_TOMO_017
Nisei machinist preparing a truck axle in machine shop at Heart Mountain incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-11)
img Nisei machinist preparing a truck axle in machine shop at Heart Mountain incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-11)
Nisei machinist preparing a truck axle in machine shop at Heart Mountain incarceration camp. January 9, 1943. Photo by Tom Parker. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: HMLSC_TOMO_011
Six-year-old Reiko Mastuda, convalescing from serious illness at Jerome incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-16)
img Six-year-old Reiko Mastuda, convalescing from serious illness at Jerome incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-16)
Six-year-old Reiko Matsuda, convalescing from serious illness at Jerome incarceration camp, is looked after by nurse's aid Chiyo Okata. March 11, 1943. Photo by Tom Parker. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: HMLSC_TOMO_016
Artist completing a watercolor at Granada incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-49)
img Artist completing a watercolor at Granada incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-49)
Artist completing a watercolor at Granada incarceration camp. Photo by Tom Parker. December 13, 1942. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: HMLSC_TOMO_f14
Momoyo Yamamoto, former farm worker in Fresno County (ddr-csujad-14-1)
img Momoyo Yamamoto, former farm worker in Fresno County (ddr-csujad-14-1)
Momoyo Yamamoto, former farm worker in Fresno County, harvesting spinach at Gila River incarceration camp. November 26, 1942. Photo by Francis Stewart. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: HMLSC_TOMO_001
Former California plumber Morio Higashi marking out a steel casing for welding at Rohwer incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-23)
img Former California plumber Morio Higashi marking out a steel casing for welding at Rohwer incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-23)
Former California plumber Morio Higashi marking out a steel casing for welding at Rohwer incarceration camp. March 8, 1943. Photo by Tom Parker. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: HMLSC_TOMO_023
Ninomiya family in their barracks room at Granada incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-3)
img Ninomiya family in their barracks room at Granada incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-3)
Ninomiya family in their barracks room at Granada incarceration camp. Tosh Ninomiya was responsible for documenting the history of the Granada center. December 9, 1942. Photo by Tom Parker. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: HMLSC_TOMO_003
Self-organized harikuri band, string quartet, at Jerome incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-18)
img Self-organized harikuri band, string quartet, at Jerome incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-18)
Self-organized harikuri band, a string quartet at Jerome incarceration camp. Guitar, Joe Iwasaki; first mandolin, Johnny Yamashita; violin, Seichi Ono; second mandolin, Yutaka Motsuda. March 12, 1943. Photo by Tom Parker. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: HMLSC_TOMO_018
High school students changing classes at Rohwer incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-62)
img High school students changing classes at Rohwer incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-62)
High school students changing classes at Rohwer incarceration camp. November 17, 1942. Photo by Tom Parker. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: HMLSC_TOMO_f27
Three high school agriculture students with their calves at Granada incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-46)
img Three high school agriculture students with their calves at Granada incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-46)
Three high school agriculture students with their calves at Granada incarceration camp. December 11, 1942. Photo by Tom Parker. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: HMLSC_TOMO_f11
Night school class in advanced English at Heart Mountain incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-59)
img Night school class in advanced English at Heart Mountain incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-59)
Night school class in advanced English at Heart Mountain incarceration camp. January 11, 1943. Photo by Tom Parker. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: HMLSC_TOMO_f24
Cooperative beauty salon at Granada incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-42)
img Cooperative beauty salon at Granada incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-42)
Cooperative beauty salon at Granada incarceration camp. December 11, 1942. Photo by Tom Parker. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: HMLSC_TOMO_f07
Two incarcerees learning to run a steam shovel at Granada incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-39)
img Two incarcerees learning to run a steam shovel at Granada incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-39)
Two incarcerees learning to run a steam shovel at Granada incarceration camp. December 9, 1942. Photo by Tom Parker. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: HMLSC_TOMO_f04
Boys playing basketball at Granada incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-45)
img Boys playing basketball at Granada incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-45)
Boys playing basketball at Granada incarceration camp. December 11, 1942. Photo by Tom Parker. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: HMLSC_TOMO_f10
Swing Band practice at Heart Mountain incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-51)
img Swing Band practice at Heart Mountain incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-51)
Swing Band practice at Heart Mountain incarceration camp. September 16, 1942. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: HMLSC_TOMO_f16
Evening view of Heart Mountain incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-8)
img Evening view of Heart Mountain incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-8)
Evening view of Heart Mountain incarceration camp, September 19, 1942. Photo by Tom Parker. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: HMLSC_TOMO_008
High school Junior Class dance at Granada incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-43)
img High school Junior Class dance at Granada incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-43)
High school Junior Class dance at Granada incarceration camp. December 11, 1942. Photo by Tom Parker. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: HMLSC_TOMO_f08
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