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IMAGES OF MANZANAR



See USE NOTICE on Home Page.

All Manzanar photographs are from the National Archives Registry unless otherwise noted. Copies of these pictures can be obtained directly from the National Archives.

These images are some of my favorite. There nearly 500 Manzanar internment images in the National Archives files. I encourage you to visit the archives and peruse the many photographs. Once you click on the icon above and are taken to the archives, type in "Manzanar" and then press "Display Results" and the images will be displayed in sets of nine.
You might observe, as I did, that the internees appear rather unnaturally joyous in these pictures. I don't think that having been dislocated from their homes and businesses, forced to live in a harsh desert environment and confined to barracks with no insulation would have made them this happy. But as Jeanne Wakatsuki points out in her book, Farewell to Manzanar, Japanese Americans told each other very quietly to "Shikata ga nai" ("It must be done", or, as my Japanese friend says, "Suck it up [and get on with life]." Perhaps this is what encouraged them to put a smile on their face.

The photographer for the majority of these photographs was Dorthea Lange.

Text excerpts followed by a "JWH" are from Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston & James D. Houston's book "Farewell to Manzanar"



 Japanese Americans Arriving at Manzanar

Leaving Los Angeles
Japanese Americans leaving Los Angeles for Manzanar.

Leaving Los Angeles
Last call to pick up suits and gowns before this "Little Tokyo" shop is closed.

Disembarking
Soon-to-be Japanese American internees disembarking at Lone Pine.


"The name Manzanar meant nothing to us when we left Boyle Heights. We didn't know where it was or what it was. We went because the government ordered us to. And, in the case of my older brothers and sisters, we went with a certain amount of relief. They had all heard stories of Japanese homes being attached, of beatings in the streets of California towns. They were as frightened of the Caucasians as Caucasians were of us. Moving, under what appeared to be government protection, to an area less directly threatened by the war seemed not such a bad idea at all. For some it actually sounded like a fine adventure." (JWH)

On the train
Japanese Americans on the train to Manzanar just north of Lone Pine.

Arriving by bus
Japanese Americans arriving by bus in Lone Pine for transportation to Manzanar.

Disembarking
Disembarking at Lone Pine.

 On the train
Japanese Americans on the train to Manzanar just north of Lone Pine.

 On the train
Japanese Americans on the train to Manzanar just north of Lone Pine.

 Disembarking
Japanese Americans disembarking at Lone Pine.


 "I had never been outside Los Angeles County, never traveled more than ten miles from the coast, had never even ridden on a bus. I was full of excitement, the way any kid would be, and wanted to look out the window. But for the first few hours the shades were drawn. Around me other people played cards, read magazines, dozed, waiting. I settled back, waiting too, and finally fell asleep. The bus felt very secure to me. Almost half its passengers were immediate relatives. Mama and my older brothers had succeeded in keeping most of us together, on the same bus, headed for the same camp. I didn't realize until much later what a job that was. The strategy had been, first,to have everyone living in the same district when the evacuation began, and then to get all of us included under the same family number, even though names had been changed by marriage. Many families weren't as luck as ours ad suffered months of anguish while trying to arrange transfers from one camp to another." (JWH)

Disembarking
Disembarking at Lone Pine and boarding the bus for Manzanar.

Disembarking
Disembarking at Lone Pine and boarding the bus for Manzanar.

Registration
Registration being explained to Japanese American men by Lt. Eugene Bogard .

  Arriving by train
Young Japanese American women arriving by train at Lone Pine for bus transportation to Manzanar.


 "We woke up early, shivering and coated with dust that had blown up through the knotholes and in through the slits around the doorway. During the night Mama had unpacked all our clothes and heaped them on our beds for warmth. Now our cubicle looked as if a great laundry bag had exploded and then been sprayed with fine dust. A skin of sand covered the floor. " (JWH)




Ligaya Wada of San Diego, California writes.

 On the train
Japanese Americans on the train to Manzanar just north of Lone Pine.
(Richard Osamu Wada, child; Kimiyo Wada, grandmother)

wall
Stone wall work built at Manzanar in 1942 by Ligaya Wada's grandfather.

wall
Stone wall work built at Manzanar in 1942 by Ligaya Wada's grandfather.

Dear Ray,

I just wanted to thank you for sharing your website to everyone. The two pictures [just to the right of the NARA photo, above] were taken by my father's [the young boy in the picture above] good friend when he visited Manzanar last summer (2001). I forwarded the pictures to my Uncle (my father's older brother) and he stated that my grandfather was a foreman of a garden crew which made the stoneware pictured. My Uncle was never aware of this stoneware until about 20 or so years ago when there was an article in the Oakland Tribune about Manzanar. I was so touched to know that MY grandfather left his name behind with history.

My father's (the young boy in the above picture) name is Richard Osamu Wada. My grandmother's (pictured above) name is Kimiyo Wada. Her maiden name was Uyenoyama (which means mountain). She was married to Bunyomon Wada at the time of the internment.

That's when I started surfing the internet to learn more about Manzanar. If it wasn't for your website, I would have never found the picture of my father (when he was two years old) and my grandmother [pictured above left]. Thanks to your information I was able to order a handful of the pictures and give them as gifts to my mother, uncle,sister and brother.
ligaya
I received the pictures the other day (Sept. 2002) and I was in tears when I was looking at them. I wish my father and grandmother were still alive to see the beautiful picture of them. My father came from a poor family, so they didn't have a camera while he was growing up. So it's been especially touching, since I know now what my father looked like as a toddler.

I hope I'm not the only one you have touched so deeply. Thank you so much again for sharing your beautiful website. If it wasn't for your website, I don't think I would have ever known this picture existed. May God bless your soul. I will forever be grateful.

Ligaya Wada
 

Ligaya Wada

Wada Family (1975)
Wada Family
L to R: Richard Wada (Ligaya's father), Florence Lida, George Wada,
Grandma, Roy Wada, and Mary Yoshioka.

[photos courtesy of Ligaya and George Wada]

Ligaya Wada


Education at Manzanar

3rd grade
3rd grad Japanese American children in class at Manzanar.

In class
Japanese American children in class at Manzanar.

In class
Japanese American children in class at Manzanar.

 
 "My days spent in classrooms are largely a blur now, as one merges into another. What I see clearly is the face of my fourth-grade teacher - a pleasant face, but completely invulnerable, it seemed to me at the time, with sharp, commanding eyes. She came from Kentucky. She wore wedgies, loose slacks, and sweaters that were too short in the sleeves. A tall, heavyset spinster, about forty years old, she always wore a scarf on her head, tied beneath the chin, even during class, and she spoke with a slow, careful Appalachian accent. She was probably the best teacher I've ever had - strict, fair-minded, dedicated to her job. Because of her, when we finally returned to the outside world I was, academically at least, more than prepared to keep up with my peers" (JWH)

Preschool kids
Pre-school children on their way to class at Manzanar.

Elementary kids
Elementary school children at Manzanar.

Issei and Kibei
Issei and Kibei evacuees studying the American Citizenship and the English language.

Penmanship class
A class in penmanship with Miss Doris Nakagawa, 25, as instructor.

Youngsters at play
Youngsters playing in the field of a nursery school.

patriotic bar

 
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 27 August 2017