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Manzanar Barracks
manzanar barracks

Manzanar Barracks photo courtesy of Vic Cooper, Copyright Vic Cooper

 All Manzanar photographs from the Ansel Adams Library of Congress Archives unless otherwise noted.
Text excerpts from "Manzanar" by John Armor and Peter Wright"

japanese america

Japanese Americans: 99 Nen no Ai
This is the story of a family of Japanese immigrants who crossed over to America 99 years ago, their strugges in America pre-, during, and post WWII. It is the story of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd generation Japanese Americans from both the American and Japanese perspectives. This is a story every American should see.

Portraits of Manzanar

 A. Hamaguchi
Aiko Hamaguchi

 F. Horosawa
Frank Horosawa

 C. Yamaguchi
Catherine Yamaguchi

 Choir Rehearsal
Youth Choir Practice

Kay Kageyama


Who were the people brought to Manzanar at gunpoint?

They shared only one common characteristic: "a Japanese ancestor in any degree."

Two-thirds were first-generation American citizens. They lived in American cities, attended American schools, and thought of themselves as Americans. That belief was sorely tested when, by order of President Roosevelt -- an order carried out by General John L. DeWitt, West Coast Commander, and his subordinates -- they were removed from their homes, schools, and businesses, and brought to Manzanar and nine other camps like it. The first-generation Japanese Americans were called, in Japanese, Nisei.

A few were second-generation Americans, called Sansei. Neither they nor their parents had ever known any other life than their life in the United States.

Almost a third of the prisoners were Japanese citizens, resident aliens by definition of the U.S. immigration law. They were called Issei. All of this group had lived in the United States at least eighteen years, since American borders were closed to Japanese immigrants in 1924. All had been specifically barred from applying for American citizenship. The right to become an American citizen was not allowed to the Japanese until 1952, when quotas were introduced.

Because the Issei would have become American citizens, given the opportunity, the Issei and the Sansei are sometimes described generically as Nikkei.

 L. Nakamura
Louise Nakamura

 F. Hirosama
Frank Hirosama



Describing Manzanar and the others as "concentration camps" conjures horrible images of the ovens of Dachau under the Nazis, or the Soviet Gulag in Siberia. As bad as they were, the American concentration camps never approached the horrifying conditions of the camps in Europe. There were no gas chambers or medical "experiments" at Manzanar or the other American camps. There were no attempts to work prisoners to death.

In fact, the food and the medical care at Manzanar were better than adequate, in large measure because the Nisei were given the opportunity to provide for themselves.

There was one other difference separating the American concentration camps from the European camps. In most instances, families were kept together. The Nisei prized the institution of the family. It may be this difference, more than all others that allowed them to survive and prosper under very difficult circumstances.

patriotic bar

Manzanar Song as Sung by Tom Paxton
This is a MUST WATCH Video

By Tom Russell
(Sung by Tom Paxton)

He said, My name is Nakashimau
I am a proud American.
I came here in '27,
From my homeland of Japan.
And I picked your grapes and oranges,
Saved some money, bought a store.
Until 1942,
Pearl Harbor, and the War.

Came the relocation orders,
They took our house, the store, the car,
And they drove us through the desert,
To a place called Manzanar.
A Spanish word for apple orchards,
Though we saw no apple trees.
Just the rows of prison barracks,
With the barbed wire boundaries.


And we dream of apple blossoms
Waving free beneath the stars,
Till we wake up in the desert,
The prisoners of Manzanar,

Fifty years have all but vanished,
And now I am an old man.
But I don't regret the day
That I came here from Japan.
But on moonless winter nights,
I often wish upon a star,
That I'd forget the shame and sorrow,
That I felt at Manzanar.


tak toyoshima cartoon
Secret Asian Man Manzanar Cartoon by Tak Toyoshima
[copyright Tak Toyoshima]


id card

Manzanar Relocation Office

Manzanar "Reception" Center

luggage trunk

Luggage Trunk

Japanese Lantern

 Internment Camp Paintings by Internees

akio ujihara
Akio Ujihara Painting

akio ujihara
Akio Ujihara Painting

akio ujihara
Akio Ujihara Painting

Barracks Nameplate

kanto takamura
Kango Takamura Painting

kango takamura
Kango Takamura Painting

kango takamura
Kango Takamura Painting

kango takamura
Kango Takamura Painting

short term leave
Japanese American Citizen's Short-Term Leave Authorizatiion


Manzanar Images courtesy of Rich McCutchan
Manzanar nursing staff - 1944
Manzanar nursing staff meeting - 1943
Manzanar nursing staff meeting - 1943
Manzanar sewing machine girls - 1943
Manzanar nursing staff - April 1948
L/R: Berger, Monohaer, Andreola, George Marsiuko
Brochure by the Owens Valley Improvement Company.
Manzanar town was founded by George and Charles Chaffey in 1910.
Manzanar apple crate logo of the Klein Simpson Fruit Company - 1924
Takee Itokawa - Untitled Manzanar - 1942-1945
Manzanar - Unknown artist 1942-1945
Chineko Tanaka - Manzanar - 1942-1945
Kango Takamura - Students Going to Class at Manzanar- 1942


Ghosts of the Past 2 - Owens Valley Aqueduct & Cottonwood Sawmill  

Ghosts of the Past 3 - Bruce Morgan's '49ers  

20-Mule-Team History  

 More Manzanar Japanese Internment Camp History


 Manzanar High School Portraits & History


 More Manzanar History & Manzanar Free Press

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This page was last updated on 12 October 2018