Japanese Americans At The Manzanar Interment Camp During The World War II

During World War II, Japanese Americans faced racial prejudices and fear of potential sabotage and espionage by the Government of the United States. There were over 120,000 men, women, and children of Japanese ancestry dwelling in the United States. Most families in West Coast sold their belongings at a significant loss, and some rented their properties to neighbors, while many abandoned their properties. They did not know what would happen next and where they were going or for how long. Each family was assigned an identification number and loaded into cars, buses, trucks, and trains, taking only what they could carry. Japanese Americans were transported under military guard to 17 temporary assembly centers located at racetracks, fairgrounds, and similar facilities in Washington, Oregon, California, and Arizona. Manzanar, located in the Owens Valley of California between the Sierra Nevada on the west and the Inyo mountains on the east, was typical in many ways of the ten concentration camps.

In 1943, Ansel Adams (1902-1984), America’s most well-known photographer, visited these camps and documented the Manzanar War Relocation Center in California.

#1 Wooden sign at entrance to the Manzanar War Relocation Center with a car at the gatehouse in the background.

#2 Members of the Yonemitsu family in their living room.

#3 Bird’s-eye view of center grounds showing buildings, roads and mountains in background.

#4 Group of people gathered outside the front of a building with a cross on the roof.

#5 Marble monument with inscription that reads, “Monument for the Pacification of Spirits,” with mountains in the background, including Mt. Williamson.

#6 Workers pick potatoes and pack them into crates, mountains in the distance.

#7 Buildings and connecting roadways, mountain range in background.

#8 M. Ogi, S. Sugimoto, and Bunkichi Hayashi standing among shelves with boxes in warehouse.

#9 Standing on the step at the entrance of a dwelling, left to right: Louise Tami Nakamura, holding the hand of Mrs. Naguchi, and Joyce Yuki Nakamura.

#10 Rows of camp housing, covered on the outside with tarpaper, snow-covered mountains in the distance.

#13 Cattle in south farm, Manzanar Relocation Center, California.

#14 Toyo Miyatake, full-length portrait, standing in his children’s bedroom looking at his young daughter seated at a desk, drawing, while her mother stands behind her.

#15 Photo shows editor Roy Takeno reading a copy of the Manzanar Free Press in front of the newspaper office at the Manzanar War Relocation Center; with mountains in the background.

#16 Nurse standing behind man in wheelchair with young man talking to two young women in foreground.

#17 Mrs. Nakamura and her two daughters, Joyce Yuki (r) and Louise Tami (l), half-length portrait, facing front.

#18 Man and woman reading letter while sitting on wooden stairs in front of YMCA building.

#19 Farm workers harvesting crops in field, mountains in the background.

#20 Electric line repair crew at work on electric pole next to building.

#21 Family seated in combined living room and kitchen area with playpen.

#22 Richard Kobayashi, half-length portrait, standing, facing front, holding a head of cabbage in each hand.

#23 Akio Matsumoto, half-length portrait, seated at desk, facing front, painting sign.

#24 Mrs. Shimizu seated on couch with lacework, and Mr. Shimizu lying on bed, reading.

#25 Kay Fukuda, three-quarter length portrait, standing, facing front, in military uniform.

#27 Nurse Aiko Hamaguchi and friends seated around a table playing bridge.

#28 Hogs in pens being tended by a group of men, barn and mountains in the distance.

#29 People of all ages wait in a line in front of a building at midday.

#30 Roy Takeno, full-length portrait, standing behind a table, addressing a group with an American flag on the wall behind him.

#31 A tractor pulls a plow through a field, mountains in the background.

#32 Choir director, Louie Frizell, three-quarter length portrait, standing, facing right, directing choir.

#34 Players involved in a football game on a dusty field, buildings and mountains in the distance.

#35 Mrs. Yaeko Nakamura looks at puzzles with her daughters, Louise Tami Nakamura and Joyce Yuki Nakamura in a store with assistance from clerk, Fred Moriguchi.

#36 Bert K. Miura, seated on table with bundles of clothing, holding paper and pencil, with Toshiko Kadonada, folding clothing in front of him.

#37 Teenagers walking along street, most carrying books.

#38 Group of girls standing in line formation, each one reaching both of her arms straight out to the side.

#39 Birds sit on power lines above buildings, mountains and setting sun in the background.

#40 Japanese American women playing volleyball, one-story buildings and mountains in the background.

#41 Man with pipe stands on top of bus loading luggage into rack, while others gather around.

#42 People walking through relocation center in snow past hand made wood fence.

#43 Two men and a woman standing behind store counter with display of pies.

#44 Group of people standing, facing right, near the open door of an automobile, buildings in the background.

#45 Mrs. Otsuno Nakaji, three-quarter length portrait, standing against the open door of an automobile, facing left.

#46 Man stands on top of bus loading luggage while a group of people gather to say farewell, guardhouse in the background.

#47 Mori Nakashima, full-length portrait, standing, facing front, scattering chicken feed from a pail in front of a chicken coop.

#48 Service ribbons and qualification badge above pocket of military uniform worn by Corporal Jimmie Shohara.

#49 Roy Takeno (right), half-length portrait, seated at a table, next to the mayor who is reading papers, an American flag hangs on the wall behind them.

#50 Mrs. Ryie Yoshizawa, instructor, standing in front of class of women students, one woman in foreground with dressmaker’s dummy.

#53 Tsutomu Fuhunago lifts a produce crate while standing on top of a load of crates.

#54 Man and woman seated on wooden steps with nine children.

#55 Group of men gathered around a bus packed with passengers and luggage say farewell, snow on the ground.

#56 Farmer Benji Iguchi, full-length portrait, standing in a storage shed between two large stacks of squashes.

#57 Aerial view of Mori Nakashima scattering chicken feed from a pail in a chicken pen.

#58 Three men standing in field, mountains in background. According to the caption on the negative sleeve: “The Guayule Project was an important part of the Manzanar enterprise.

#59 Woman looking through window at baby being held by nurse in maternity ward.

#60 Japanese Americans observe an amateur baseball game in progress; one-story buildings and mountains in the background.

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Written by Aung Budhh

Husband + Father + librarian + Poet + Traveler + Proud Buddhist. I love you with the breath, the smiles and the tears of all my life.

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