A visit to the San Jose Japanese – American Museum.
Jimi Yamaichi takes inside a 20′ x 20′ Tule lake Internment barracks recreation at the San Jose Japanese American Museum. Construction of the camp started in mid-April 1942 and the first internees arrived a month later. At times barrack was being finished every ten minutes. Sewer, water and electric lines were quickly in place for latrines, laundry rooms, kitchens and barracks. After a year the interior walls were sheet-rocked. The ceilings remained open wood. Neighbors’ conversation on both sides were clearly heard. Sheet -rock also helped keep down the dust.
What would you bring if you could carry only two suitcases to your new world?
A 20′ x 20′ Tule lake Internment barracks had three windows and one door and would accommodate up to six people. Folks would use communal bathrooms, laundry and mess halls that could feed up to 250 people. A typical barracks block would house 275 to 300 people. People brought what they could carry.
Mail order catalogs were a way to stay in touch with America.
The government told Internees to bring sheets which many used as internal walls for privacy. Mail order catalogs, wish books: Sears & Roebucks, Montgomery Wards, Spiegels… helped the internees keep contact with the outside world. A store in camp had the basic necessities. Magazines and newspapers were available if one could afford them. Internees were greeted when entering the barracks for the first by a big black stove and a heavy duty bucket. The bucket was used for coal, laundry, water, chamber pot…
New barracks for segregation internees from Manzanar.
The Manzanar area where ten blocks of barracks were built on the southeast corner of the Tule Lake Internment – Segregation Center. It mainly housed men from Manzanar Internment Center between Lone Pine and Independence, California. Jimi visually points out the size of the camp and two Emhoff sewage tanks built at either end of the camp. He shows up concrete piers of a 120 foot long Manzanar barracks as well as where the latrines were. The Manzanar area had seperate latrines for men and women while half of the camp at single latrines for both men and women.
©2013 anders Tomlinson and Jimi Yamaichi, all rights reserved.