When I was an undergraduate at Cal Berkeley in 1966, I had a good friend who was born in one of the Japanese internment camps that were established in the United States during World War 2. She never spoke of it much (at least to me); and since I believe she was born in 1945, she probably didn't remember much of anything personally. Of course, her parents experienced the hardship the most, and I do not know if it was discussed much in her family. I didn't think about it much then, but I recognized later and now that it certainly was one of the major disgraces in America's history, especially since the great majority of those imprisoned were American citizens.
If you are interested, the National Archives has quite a bit of information in a web page entitled Japanese Relocation and Internment During World War II. There also is an abundance of online and other resources if you happen to have ancestors or relatives who were imprisoned or were employed at the camps. Another great source is the Densho Digital Archive. It has the newspapers online, a large variety of documents and photos, and life stories and many family collections are available. This site is a gold mine.
If you are a frequent reader of this website, you know that its main focus is historic newspaper research. What has that to do with the Interment Camps you ask? Well guess what - the camps had a daily or weekly newspaper! And there was tons of info about the internees as well as those employed. It was used as a means to disseminate information and also a way for the residents to share information about events, hobbies, sports, etc.
Here are the main links to the newspapers published at each of the ten camps (from the Densho Archives), which were in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Utah and Wyoming:
(Updated December, 2020)
- Minidoka Irrigator
- Tulean Dispatch
- Heart Mountain Sentinel
- Manzanar Free Press
- Denson Tribune (Jerome)
- Gila News-Courier
- Granada Pioneer
- Poston Chronicle
- Rohwer Outpost
- Topaz Times
- Newell Star
Did you know that prior to movement of internees to these more permanent camps, there were first "Temporary Assembly Centers", where internees "lived" for several months and where the conditions were deplorable. From Densho: "In spring 1942, the Wartime Civil Control Administration (WCCA) hastily prepared temporary "assembly centers" to house the individuals of Japanese ancestry who were removed from their homes after the signing of Executive Order 9066. The centers were surrounded by barbed-wire fences and patrolled by armed military police. People were housed in animal stalls and barracks with communal bathrooms and mess halls. After spending up to six months in the "assembly centers," Japanese Americans were moved inland to permanent concentration camps."
These Temporary Assembly Centers also had newspapers. Here's a list of those that have been digitized:
- North Portland Evacuazette
- Santa Anita Pacemaker
- Tanforan Totalizer
- Fresno Grapevine
- Pinedale Logger
- Pomona Center News
- Salinas Village Crier
- Stockton El Joaquin
- Tulare News
- Turlock TAC
- Walerga Wasp
- Puyallup Camp Harmony News-Letter
And here are all the online Interment Camp newspapers from the Library of Congress, the Temporary Assembly Centers, and other digital archives, all presented by state:
- Arkansas - Communiqué.
- Arkansas - Denson Tribune
- Arkansas - Rohwer relocator.
- Arkansas - Rohwer Outpost
- Arizona - Poston Chronicle (Poston, Ariz.) 1942 to 1945
- Arizona - Gila News-Courier (Rivers, Arizona) 1942 to 1945
- Arizona - Press Bulletin (Poston, Ariz.) 1942 to 1942
- Arizona - Official Daily Press Bulletin (Poston, Ariz.) 1942 to 1942
- Arizona - Official Information Bulletin (Poston, Ariz.) 1942 to 1942
- Arizona - Gila Bulletin ([Rivers, Ariz.]) 1945 to 1945
- Arizona - Gila Co-Op News ([Rivers, Ariz.]) 1943 to 1945
- Arizona - Relocator News Week ([Rivers, Ariz.]) 1943-194?
- Arizona - Poston Christian Church (Poston, Ariz.) 1942 to 1945
- Arizona - Gila News-Courier
- Arizona - Poston Chronicle
- Arizona - Gila River Relocation Center: Gila Co-Op News 1943-1945
- Arizona - Gila River Relocation Center: Gila News-Courier 1943-1945
- Arizona - Gila River Relocation Center: Relocator News Week 1943-1944
- Arizona - Gila River War Relocation Center: Gila Bulletin 1943-1945
- Arizona - Poston War Relocation Center: Poston Chronicle 1942-1945
- Arizona - Poston War Relocation Center: Press Bulletin 1942-1945
- California - Arbo-Gram (4)
- California - Fresno Grapevine (45)
- California - Manzanar Free Press (Manzanar, Calif.) 1942 to 1945
- California - Manzanar Free Press (409)
- California - Mercedian (21)
- California - Newell Star (110
- California - Newell - The Tulean dispatch
- California - Newell - Daily Tulean dispatch
- California - Newell - The Tulean Dispatch
- California - Newell - Tulean Dispatch daily
- California - Pinedale Logger (9)
- California - Pomona Center News (24)
- California - Salinas Village Crier (8)
- California - Santa Anita Pacemaker (Santa Anita, Calif)
- California - Santa Anita Pacemaker (105)
- California - Stockton El Joaquin (34)
- California - Tanforan Totalizer ([San Bruno, Calif.]) 1942 to 1942
- California - Tanforan Totalizer (20)
- California - The Daily Tulean Dispatch (Newell, Calif.) 1942 to 1943
- California - The Newell Star (Newell, Calif.) 1944 to 1946
- California - The Tule Lake Wra Center Information Bulletin (Newell, Calif.) 1944 to 1944
- California - The Tulean Dispatch (Newell, Calif.) 1943 to 1943
- California - The Tulean Dispatch (Tule Lake, Calif.) 1942 to 1942
- California - Tulare News (30)
- California - Tulean Dispatch Daily (Newell, Calif.) 1943 to 1943
- California - Tulean Dispatch (430)
- California - Turlock TAC (7)
- California - Walerga Wasp (10)
- Colorado - Amache Hi It
- Colorado - Granada Christian Church News
- Colorado - Granada Pioneer
- Colorado - Junior Pioneer
- Colorado - Pulse
- Colorado - Kakushu jiji = Colorado times.
- Colorado - Rokkī shimpō = Rocky shimpo.
- Colorado - Granada Pioneer
- Colorado - Bulletin.
- Idaho - Minidoka Irrigator
- Oregon - North Portland Evacuazette
- Utah - Topaz Times
- Utah - Topaz Times (Topaz, Utah) 1942 to 1945
- Utah - Trek ([Topaz, Utah]) 1942 to 1943
- Utah - All Aboard (Topaz, Utah) 194?-194?
- Utah - Bussei Life (Topaz, Utah) 1943 to 1943
- Utah - Topaz Times
- Washington - Puyallup Camp Harmony News-Letter
- Wyoming - Heart Mountain Sentinel
- Wyoming - Heart Mountain Sentinel 1942 to 1945
- Wyoming - Hāto Maunten senchineru : Japanese edition of Heart Mountain sentinel.
Another excellent resource for these newspapers and other information is the Japanese American Relocation Digital Archives, provided by the University of California.
So if you have ancestors or relatives who resided or worked in the camps, it would be worth your time to search/research these resources, and you might just find out how they lived while imprisoned there.
Good Luck and Happy Hunting!