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
Young child in front of Christmas tree (ddr-csujad-37-15)
img Young child in front of Christmas tree (ddr-csujad-37-15)
Photograph of a young child in front of a Christmas tree inside of the barracks building at the Heart Mountain camp, Wyoming. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: mhf_015_01
Camp barracks at Heart Mountain (ddr-csujad-37-12)
img Camp barracks at Heart Mountain (ddr-csujad-37-12)
Landscape photograph of camp barracks at the Heart Mountain incarceration camp in Wyoming. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: mhf_012
Woman standing in front of camp barrack (ddr-csujad-37-3)
img Woman standing in front of camp barrack (ddr-csujad-37-3)
Photograph of a women standing in front camp barracks at the Heart Mountain incarceration camp. A barracks building with a clothes line is seen in the behind. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: mhf_003
Block 305 (ddr-csujad-38-169)
img Block 305 (ddr-csujad-38-169)
Photographed are barracks of Block 305 or 318 at the Poston camp in Arizona. The caption reads: Block 305. Title from caption. A photo from: Mitzi Naohara photo album (csudh_nao_0200), page 2. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: nao_02_02_004
Geroge Naohara and Atsushi Ishida (ddr-csujad-38-92)
img Geroge Naohara and Atsushi Ishida (ddr-csujad-38-92)
A photograph of Atsushi Ishida (center) and George Naohara (right) posing at the entrance to a mess hall in the Jerome camp in Arkansas. A photo from "George Naohara photo album" (csudh_nao_0001), page 21. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: nao_01_21_007
Man in victory garden at the Jerome camp (ddr-csujad-38-100)
img Man in victory garden at the Jerome camp (ddr-csujad-38-100)
Photographed is a man gardening in a victory garden at the Jerome incarceration camp in Arkansas. A photo from "George Naohara photo album" (csudh_nao_0001), page 22. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: nao_01_22_005
Yokota family (ddr-csujad-38-281)
img Yokota family (ddr-csujad-38-281)
Photographed is the Yokota family, sitting in front of their barrack in the Jerome camp in Arkansas. Includes Yukie Masukawa. It was presumably taken when Yukie Masukawa, an incarceree at the Poston camp in Arizona, visited her family at the Jerome camp. The photo was sent from Sally Sakaye Sasaki at the Jerome camp to Mitzi …
Poston Arizona 1945 (ddr-csujad-38-165)
img Poston Arizona 1945 (ddr-csujad-38-165)
Photographed are incarcerees and barracks at the Poston camp in Arizona. The caption reads: Poston Arizona 1945. Title from caption. "KF476" is stamped on the backside. A photo from: Mitzi Naohara photo album (csudh_nao_0200), page 1. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: nao_02_01_002
Interior of the barracks at the Jerome camp (ddr-csujad-38-265)
img Interior of the barracks at the Jerome camp (ddr-csujad-38-265)
Photographed is the interior of the barracks at the Jerome camp in Arkansas. The photo was sent from Sally Sakaye Sasaki at the Jerome camp to Mitzi Masukawa Naohara at the Poston camp in Arizona. A photo from: Mitzi Naohara photo album (csudh_nao_0200), page 15. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization …
Inside of the barrack in the Jerome camp (ddr-csujad-38-289)
img Inside of the barrack in the Jerome camp (ddr-csujad-38-289)
Photographed is a male incarceree siting inside of the barrack at the Jerome camp in Arkansas. Photographed is Mr. Yokota. The photo was sent from Sally Sakaye Sasaki at the Jerome camp to Mitzi Masukawa Naohara at the Poston camp in Arizona. A photo from: Mitzi Naohara photo album (csudh_nao_0200), page 16. See this object in …
Cutting firewood in the Jerome camp (ddr-csujad-38-286)
img Cutting firewood in the Jerome camp (ddr-csujad-38-286)
Photographed are one female and two male incarcerees cutting firewood in the Jerome camp in Arkansas. Includes Mr. Umeda. The photo was sent from Sally Sakaye Sasaki at the Jerome camp to Mitzi Masukawa Naohara at the Poston camp in Arizona. A photo from: Mitzi Naohara photo album (csudh_nao_0200), page 16. See this object in the …
Jerome camp (ddr-csujad-38-261)
img Jerome camp (ddr-csujad-38-261)
Photographed are barracks of the Jerome camp in Denson, Arkansas. The caption reads: Denson, Arkansas. The handwritten note on the back side reads: Block 36, 38. Hospital in back ground by smoke sta__. A photo from: Mitzi Naohara photo album (csudh_nao_0200), page 14. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: …
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 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 …
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 …
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 …
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 …
Letter from Usami Terada to Mr. Thomas, September 30, 1942 (ddr-csujad-4-13)
doc Letter from Usami Terada to Mr. Thomas, September 30, 1942 (ddr-csujad-4-13)
A letter from Usami Terada, an incarceree at the Rohwer incarceration camp, to Mr. Thomas in Lawndale, California. It details his journey from the Santa Anita temporary assembly center, California, to the Rohwer incarceration camp, Arkansas, describing the route and what he saw along the way. He also describes the conditions of the incarceration camp. See …
Letter from Emiko [Amy] Terada to Miss Laura Thomas, May 2, 1944 (ddr-csujad-4-20)
doc Letter from Emiko [Amy] Terada to Miss Laura Thomas, May 2, 1944 (ddr-csujad-4-20)
A letter from Emiko Amy Terada, an incarceree at the Rohwer incarceration camp, to Miss Laura Thomas in Lawndale, California. In the letter, Emiko describes her life in the camp, such as planting vegetables and flowers in the garden. She also tries to purchase camera film, but describes the situation that they "have hard time to …
Letter from Emiko [Amy] Terada to Miss Laura Thomas, August 30, 1942 (ddr-csujad-4-12)
doc Letter from Emiko [Amy] Terada to Miss Laura Thomas, August 30, 1942 (ddr-csujad-4-12)
A letter from Emiko [Amy] Terada, an incarceree at the Rohwer incarceration camp, to Miss Laura Thomas. The letter contains basic correspondence between the two individuals, talking about family members, the weather, and school. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: nis_06_013
War ration book four, OPA form R-145, Fumio Takano (ddr-csujad-42-125)
doc War ration book four, OPA form R-145, Fumio Takano (ddr-csujad-42-125)
A ration book issued to Fumio Fred Takano incarcerated at the Gila River camp in Arizona. Includes the instructions for use. Unused stamps remain. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: tak_01_67_007
Letter from Tsuruno Meguro to Fumio Fred and Yoneko Takano, August 17-20, 1942, typescript (ddr-csujad-42-73)
doc Letter from Tsuruno Meguro to Fumio Fred and Yoneko Takano, August 17-20, 1942, typescript (ddr-csujad-42-73)
Japanese typescript of the letter: csudh_tak_0071. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: tak_01_35_001_jpn
Letter from Tsuruno Meguro to Fumio Fred and Yoneko Takano, August 17-20, 1942 (ddr-csujad-42-71)
doc Letter from Tsuruno Meguro to Fumio Fred and Yoneko Takano, August 17-20, 1942 (ddr-csujad-42-71)
A letter from Tsuruno Meguro to her son-in-law and daughter, Fumio Fred and Yoneko Takano in the Santa Anita Assembly Center. She writes during the train trip to the Heart Mountain incarceration camp and also in the camp after the arrival. The train passes through Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado. She describes the train trip, including …
War ration book four, OPA form R-145, Yoneko Takano (ddr-csujad-42-126)
doc War ration book four, OPA form R-145, Yoneko Takano (ddr-csujad-42-126)
A ration book issued to Yoneko Takano incarcerated at the Gila River camp in Arizona. Includes the instructions for use. Unused stamps remain. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: tak_01_67_008
Gila River incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-42-222)
img Gila River incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-42-222)
A photograph of the Gila River incarceration camp. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: tak_02_06_004
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