A | More | Perfect | Union --  Japanese Americans and the U.S. Constitution
The Japanese American ExperienceReflectionsCollection SearchResourcesCredits


By the end of 1942, more than 120,000 men, women, and children of Japanese ancestry had been uprooted from their homes. Their final destinations would be one of 10 camps — "instant cities" — constructed by the War Relocation Authority in seven states. Deeply isolated from the rest of America, these "evacuees" — 65 percent of whom were American citizens — would spend up to four years imprisoned, working to rebuild their lives.

Select a Subsection

Permanent Camps

Conditions varied from the heat and dust of Manzanar, Poston and Gila River, to the rains of Jerome and Rowher... More

For many, the real trauma of internment was built around the scores of small indignities endured each day... More
Homes equal barracks

From 1942 to 1946, home for most Japanese Americans was one of 10 WRA camps, all patterned on military facilities... More

Internees were encouraged to work in camp-sponsored self-help programs. All of the relocation centers operated farms... More
Community activities

Life did continue behind the barbed wire. Though residents had been deprived of their most basic rights... More
Arts and culture

Education at the camps encompassed more than reading, writing and arithmetic. In many camps, professional artists offered art classes... More

Smithsonian - National Museum of American History - Behring Center