Last Updated 15 Apr 2020

Tule Lake Internment Camp

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Tule Lake Internment Camp


For my concluding paper I researched and will discourse the Nipponese internment cantonment that was located in Tule lake California during World War 2. Tule lake War Relocation Center, one of 10 concentration cantonments constructed in 1942 by the United States authorities to imprison Nipponese Americans, forcibly removed from their places on the West Coast every bit good as other parts of the United States. The Tule lake internment cantonment totaled about 18700 people, two-thirds of whom were United States citizens. Executive Order 9066, issued by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in early 1942 as a response to the onslaught on Pearl Harbor, authorized set uping an Exclusion Zone on the West Coast, from which local military governments could take certain populations under wartime exigency ( ‘Oregon Responds to World War II: Behind the Fence: Life in the Internment Camp’ , n.d. ) .

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The first evacuees came from the Portland and Puyallup Assembly Centers to assist with the initial set up of the cantonment, and as the cantonment grew, more people arrived from Southwestern Oregon, Western Washington and the Sacramento country in California. The cantonment began being built in April and began to be occupied by May with the 1stof the Nipponese Americans held at the cantonment. The Nipponese American’s and their households had to pack up and travel into the internment cantonments with small of their properties. They were merely allowed two bags per individual, the older kids had to transport the properties of their younger siblings who were non strong plenty to transport their ain. This limited even more of what the households could convey with them to the cantonments. Being forced out of their communities and places the Japanese Americans lost what small ownerships they may hold acquired. When the war was over and they returned place to happen out they had lost everything and had to get down over reconstructing their lives.

Housing Conditionss for the Nipponese Americans:

The lodging conditions the Nipponese Americans were put into were hapless. The barracks that housed the internees were merely boarded up hovels with seams open to the environment. The edifices were built by the internees and have been documented to hold one built every 10 proceedingss to maintain up with the changeless inflow of geting Nipponese Americans. The barracks merely had a military fingerstall, heavy wool covers and a coal range for heat. The barracks had no pluming or running H2O for the internees. There was no furniture provided, any chairs or chest of drawerss were built by the internees from bit wood left over from the barracks. All of the internees had to wait in lines for showers and to utilize the bathrooms for hours at a clip. It was non any easier when it came to repasts, it was similar state of affairs for all in the cantonment.

Most of the wooden edifices that were the masters have fallen down or hold decayed beyond fix. For the most portion you can see the wharfs or the concrete pes print were the edifices one time stood. The concrete edifice that was the stockade is still standing every bit good as some of the original waste intervention workss but it is besides get downing to crumple.

The country is a beautiful country in the state with positions of the unfastened farming area with Mt. Shasta to the South. The beauty of the country was noted by the Japanese Americans upon reaching to the cantonment as stated by Hiroshi Kashiwagi, 2003, recalls beautiful skies that he wished he could take exposures of but cameras were non allowed in the cantonment ( ‘Tule Lake Internment – Segregation Center Videos |’ , 2003. ) .

The entire country in which the cantonment was situated was 1.0 ten 1.5 stat mis in the Tule Lake part. The cantonments were broken down into subdivisions that housed 300 to 500 people in a subdivision. The edifices were 20? ten 25? suites were intended for seven, 20? ten 20? suites were for five and 20? tens 16? suites were for four. Not really large and at times more people were in the edifices due to holding a larger household. The subdivisions had their ain bathroom country and shower country for everyone to utilize. They besides had a cardinal cafeteria for everyone to eat at. As you can conceive of there was uninterrupted long lines for utilizing the bathrooms and being able to eat ( ‘Oregon Responds to World War II: Behind the Fence: Life in the Internment Camp’ , n.d. ) .

The first twelvemonth of the cantonments the bare castanetss barracks did non hold any insularity or Sheetrock to seal out the conditions conditions. In Tule Lake being that the country is Alpine Desert the summers can be hot and dry with blowing dust storms. The winters can be cold with big sums of blowing snow. The country is unfastened with no trees or hills to interrupt up the air current and conditions. This make the conditions tough and utmost at clip during the twelvemonth. After many months of complaining by the internees in the barracks the U.S. authorities decided to let the barracks to hold sheet stone on the walls to assist with the hapless conditions of the barracks. The roof every bit good as the floor were still left unfinished but the Nipponese Americans were happy to hold a small better conditions in the barracks.

The subdivisions besides had their ain school houses for the kids who were at the cantonments. The instruction provided to the kids was basic and allowed them to non fall behind others who were non being detained by the U.S. authorities. In the internment cantonment at Tule Lake, the U.S. authorities every bit good as the local authorities took advantage of accomplishments of the Nipponese Americans being held at that place. The U.S. authorities set up builders, public-service corporation workers and its ain constabulary force overseen by the military but staffed with Nipponese Americans to make the work and supply services for the big cantonment that held 18700 Nipponese Americans.

Working within the Camp:

The Nipponese Americans would besides procure their ain meat and veggies for the cantonment every bit good as for others since the land around the Tule lake country was some of most fertile dirt in the U.S. The farm land within every bit good as the husbandmans around the cantonment who took advantage of the inexpensive labour grew a assortment of veggies that included boodle, Beta vulgariss, murphies, etc. The internment cantonment besides had a big pig farm, dairy and poulet spread within the cantonment. The Nipponese detainees would work the Fieldss and pig farms, dairy and poulet spread. There was besides a processing works for the pigs where the meat was processed for the internees. The figure of Nipponese Americans employed at the cantonment included 800 undertaking farm work ; 500 building ; 400 care work forces which includes janitor and refuse disposers ; 800 repositing and other transit ; 350 cooks and cooks ' assistants ; and 410 wardens, firemen, and other Civic workers ; and at least 100 infirmary employees, a sum of 3,360 were employed out of about 13000-18700 people.

As mentioned above the Japanese Americans in the cantonment held places within the cantonment and were overseen by military every bit good as local governments in Tule Lake. The work forces and adult females would work assorted places as builders, public-service corporation worker, labours, Masons, meat processors, cooks and anyplace else needed to maintain the little metropolis running every bit smooth as possible. The workers there were paid a pay that was far less than their white counter parts who besides worked in the cantonment and environing country of Tule lake. There was a little general shop in the cantonment known as the “canteen” that toilet articless and other necessities could be bought by the internees. If they had any excess money some newspapers as magazines could be purchased but most of clip no 1 could afford to purchase them. The Nipponese Americans were allowed to order vesture from Sears’s catalogs every bit good as from Woolworths and other catalog shops.

In the cantonment the internees the professionals received $ 19 a month. Average workers were paid $ 16 and labourers toiled for $ 12 a month. For the white professionals working in the cantonment such as physicians and sawboness were having $ 400 a month for the same work. This was capable that created animus within the cantonment since the internees had higher instruction degrees than the white professionals. The Nipponese Americans had no pick but to take the work or have no income at all. This type of intervention did non settle good with the internees ( ‘Tule Lake Internment – Segregation Center Videos |’ , n.d. ) .

Meals provided at the Tule lake cantonment:

The repasts provided to the internees was the really basic necessities for them to last. A sample of a bill of fare in the cantonment:


Delta Breakfast: stewed dried fruit, farina with hot milk, French toast with sirup, chocolate, milk.

Delta Lunch: baked macaroni and cheese, steamed rice, tsukemono ( pickled veggies ) , boiled fresh veggies, boodle salad, orange, staff of life, tea.

Delta Dinner:fresh fried fish, boiled maize, steamed rice, pickled fresh Beta vulgariss, butterscotch sweet.


Delta Breakfast:half Citrus paradisi, rolled oats with milk, hot bars with sirup, chocolate, java, and milk.

Delta Lunch: boiled beef-pish manner, steamed rice, tsukemono, boodle salad, apple tea.

Delta Dinner: beef sukiyaki ( a kind of Nipponese chop suey ) , steamed rice, tsukemono, murphy salad, spice bar, tea.


Delta Breakfast: stewed dried fruit, dry cereal with milk, French toast with sirup, java, tea, and milk.

Delta Lunch: Boston baked beans, boiled fresh veggies, steamed rice, tsukemono, boodle salad, orange, staff of life, and tea.

Delta Dinner: fried fresh fish, steamed rice, tsukemono, cole slaw, fruit Jell-O, tea ( ‘Oregon Responds to World War II: Behind the Fence: Life in the Internment Camp’ , n.d. ) .

If a household had income from working they could travel to the canteen and purchase other nutrient to take back to the barracks. The nutrient they could buy was bacon, eggs, pancake mix and other meats to cook on a hot home base or on the warming range in their barracks. This was non the instance for most households since merely 45-65 % of the Nipponese Americans had employment in the cantonment. This was difficult for the little kids as they were able to smell the nutrient and would inquire their parents why they could non hold the same thing. Their parents would hold to explicate to them they could non afford to purchase those points form the canteen. It was hard for the parents and kids who could non afford to eat anything other than the repasts that were prepared in the muss hall on a day-to-day footing. The repasts many households had been accustom to before being detained were a distant memory for all of the internees.


Researching and watching pictures from early 2000’s of a few of the internees when they were invited to revisit the cantonment and have their narratives documented was saddening to watch for me. I was amazed that the Nipponese Americans would even desire to return to a topographic point they were held confined against their will for 4+ old ages as kids. Many of them had lost everything they had acquired before being detained. Visiting the site for myself I could see the beauty that surrounded them that Jimi Yamaichi has described. Though being in a unfavourable state of affairs at the cantonment due to high unemployment and hapless life conditions Jimi Yamaichi still had a smiling as radius non severely of how he was treated but about thankful to hold survived and was able to do the most of bad state of affairs that our U.S. authorities handed to the Nipponese Americans during World War 2.

Work Cited:

Oregon Responds to World War II: Behind the Fence: Life in the Internment Camp. ( n.d. ) . Retrieved 3 June 2015, from hypertext transfer protocol: //

Tule Lake Internment – Segregation Center Videos | . ( n.d. ) . Retrieved 31 May 2015, from hypertext transfer protocol: //

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