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
Marian Asao Kurosu Interview Segment 63 (ddr-densho-1000-118-63)
vh Marian Asao Kurosu Interview Segment 63 (ddr-densho-1000-118-63)
Problems at Tule Lake concentration camp, California: scorpions, ticks and sagebrush

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.

Roger Shimomura Interview Segment 7 (ddr-densho-1000-142-7)
vh Roger Shimomura Interview Segment 7 (ddr-densho-1000-142-7)
Childhood memories of the Puyallup Assembly Center and Minidoka concentration camp: celebrating third birthday, contracting measles, "getting into a lot of mischief"
Marian Asao Kurosu Interview Segment 56 (ddr-densho-1000-118-56)
vh Marian Asao Kurosu Interview Segment 56 (ddr-densho-1000-118-56)
Water and primitive facilities at Tule Lake concentration camp, California

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.

Yasu Koyamatsu Momii Interview Segment 18 (ddr-densho-1000-374-18)
vh Yasu Koyamatsu Momii Interview Segment 18 (ddr-densho-1000-374-18)
Coping with camp conditions: hot weather, lack of privacy

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 …

Bill Nishimura Interview Segment 5 (ddr-densho-1000-119-5)
vh Bill Nishimura Interview Segment 5 (ddr-densho-1000-119-5)
Daily activities at Poston concentration camp, Arizona

This interview took place at the 2000 Tule Lake Pilgrimage in Klamath Falls, Oregon.

Miyoko Kaneta Segment 6 (ddr-densho-1000-449-6)
vh Miyoko Kaneta Segment 6 (ddr-densho-1000-449-6)
Living conditions in camp: six in one room, bad food, dust
Kara Kondo Interview Segment 31 (ddr-densho-1000-139-31)
vh Kara Kondo Interview Segment 31 (ddr-densho-1000-139-31)
Description of living quarters at Heart Mountain concentration camp, Wyoming
Ruby Inouye Interview Segment 23 (ddr-densho-1000-143-23)
vh Ruby Inouye Interview Segment 23 (ddr-densho-1000-143-23)
Moving to Minidoka concentration camp, Idaho and working as a nurse's aide
Sarah Sato Segment 16 (ddr-densho-1000-81-16)
vh Sarah Sato Segment 16 (ddr-densho-1000-81-16)
Memories of barracks in Jerome concentration camp, Arkansas: building furniture and installing plasterboard
Clara S. Hattori Interview II Segment 13 (ddr-densho-1000-427-13)
vh Clara S. Hattori Interview II Segment 13 (ddr-densho-1000-427-13)
Daily life in camp: making furniture, setting up recreational activities
Masamizu Kitajima Interview Segment 20 (ddr-densho-1000-287-20)
vh Masamizu Kitajima Interview Segment 20 (ddr-densho-1000-287-20)
Unprepared for winter weather conditions in Arkansas

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.

Marian Shingu Sata Interview Segment 11 (ddr-densho-1000-262-11)
vh Marian Shingu Sata Interview Segment 11 (ddr-densho-1000-262-11)
Attending school in camp

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.

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