Framework

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March 21, 1942: The first Manzanar-bound contingent of 86 Japanese waits to board three buses and a truck at Maryknoll School playground at 3rd and Hewitt Streets in Los Angeles. About 200 additional friends and family came to say goodbye. This photo was published on the front page of the Mar. 22, 1942, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times

March 23, 1942: A Japanese man says goodby before a train leaves for Manzanar Internment Camp. Many of the first group sent to Manzanar - on this train - had construction backgrounds and helped build the camp. This photo was published in the March 24, 1942, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Hugh Arnott / Los Angeles Times

March 23, 1942: Family members say goodbye to single men who volunteered to be the first to go to Manzanar and help build the internment facility. Train left from the old Santa Fe depot in Los Angeles.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Andrew Hugh Arnott / Los Angeles Times

Mar. 23, 1942: Family members say goodbye to single men who volunteered to be the first to go to Manzanar and help build the internment facility.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Andrew Hugh Arnott / Los Angeles Times

March 23, 1942: A train car of Japanese headed to Manzanar from Los Angeles. This photo published in the March 24, 1942, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Andrew Hugh Arnott / Los Angeles Times

March 23, 1942: Japanese, with possessions bundled, wait at the old Santa Fe depot to board a special train that carried them to Manzanar. About 1,000 alien and American-born Japanese left Los Angeles to the new Owens Valley center. This photo was published in the March 24, 1942, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Andrew Hugh Arnott / Los Angeles Times

March 19, 1942: First building going up at Manzanar War Relocation Center labeled by sign Block 1, Building 1. This photo published in the March 20, 1942, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Gordon Wallace / Los Angeles Times

March 19, 1942: Piles of signs at Manzanar construction site are examined by "press correspondents" as reported in this photo's caption in the March 20, 1942, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Gordon Wallace / Los Angeles Times

March 19, 1942: Construction of Manzanar camp in the Owens Valley. This image published in the March 20, 1942, Los AngelesTimes.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Gordon Wallace / Los Angeles Times

March 19, 1942: Workmen construct walls for housing at Manzanar in Owens Valley for Japanese aliens and American-born Japanese. Photo published in the March 20, 1942, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Gordon Wallace / Los Angeles Times

Mar. 19, 1942: Stacks of materials wait for workmen at Manzanar. Photo published in Mar. 20, 1942 LA Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Gordon Wallace / Los Angeles Times

March 19, 1942: Temporary tents set up during construction of Manzanar War Relocation Center in the Owens Valley.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Gordon Wallace / Los Angeles Times

April 3, 1942: Japanese relocation center at Manzanar in Owens Valley. Original photo believed to be taken from a guard tower.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times

April 1, 1942: Japanese prepare to leave by train to Manzanar.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Andrew Hugh Arnott / Los Angeles Times

April 1, 1942: Michiko Tatsui, 5, holds a doll before boarding a train to Manzanar. This photo was published in the April 2, 1942, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Andrew Hugh Arnott / Los Angeles Times

April 1, 1942: Soldiers watch as Japanese put baggage on a train headed to Manzanar. This photo was published in the April 2, 1942, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Andrew Hugh Arnott / Los Angeles Times

April 1, 1942: A group of 420 Japanese prepares to leave for Manzanar by train. This photo was published in the April 2, 1942, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Andrew Hugh Arnott / Los Angeles Times

April 1, 1942: A Japanese girl waits with family luggage before a train departs for Manzanar.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Andrew Hugh Arnott / Los Angeles Times

April 1, 1942: Lt. Carl Bosecker helps Sachiko Kurokawa put luggage aboard a train bound for Manzanar.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Andrew Hugh Arnott / Los Angeles Times

April 1, 1942: Mr. and Mrs. Henry Kano and son Donald, 11 months, leaving for Manzanar.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Andrew Hugh Arnott / Los Angeles Times

March 23, 1942: Led by a military jeep, a four-mile convoy of autos and trucks carries part of the 1,000 alien and American-born Japanese to Manzanar in the Owens Valley from Los Angeles. This photo was published in the March 24, 1942, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Al Humphreys / Los Angeles Times

March 23, 1942: Gardener Tatsumi Miyajima lashed his rocker to the back of a car in the caravan to Manzanar War Relocation Center. This photo published in the March 24, 1942, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Al Humphreys / Los Angeles Times

March 23, 1942: Military police stand by their jeep during a halt of a convoy of Japanese internees. One thousand Japanese internees traveling in 200 cars and trucks were stopped somewhere in the Mojave Desert while en route to the new Manzanar camp. This photo was published in the March 24, 1942, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Al Humphreys / Los Angeles Times

March 23, 1943: Army mechanics and a wrecker lend a hand to a troublesome auto in the Mojave Desert during a caravan headed to Manzanar. This photo published in the March 24, 1943, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Al Humphreys / Los Angeles Times

Apriil 2, 1942: Japanese rush past soldiers to catch a train departing for Manzanar.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Andrew Hugh Arnott / Los Angeles Times

April 2, 1942: A Japanese child waves goodbye from a train bound for Manzanar from Los Angeles.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Andrew Hugh Arnott / Los Angeles Times

April 2, 1942: Part of a group of more than 800 Japanese says goodby from a train bound for Manzanar. This photo was published in the April 3, 1942, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Andrew Hugh Arnott / Los Angeles Times

April 2, 1942: A Los Angeles Times newsboy sells papers to Japanese on a train headed to Manzanar.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Andrew Hugh Arnott / Los Angeles Times

April 2, 1942: A Japanese woman and child run to catch a train to Manzanar.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Andrew Hugh Arnott / Los Angeles Times

March 24, 1942: Military Policeman Harry Cameron stands guard at the newly opened Manzanar War Relocation Center. This photo was published in the April 5, 1942, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Al Humphreys / Los Angeles Times

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Japanese Internment: Manzanar

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Japanese Internment: Manzanar

In 1942, all resident Japanese aliens and Japanese American citizens – nearly 120,000 – were interned for the duration of World War II. The Manzanar War Relocation Center was one of 10 camps set up.

The U.S. Army leased the 6,200 acres from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. The DWP who had acquired the land years earlier for the Los Angeles Aqueduct.

Construction began in March 1942. Many Japanese volunteered to move to Manzanar and help build the camp.

A good description of the camp is found at the National Park Service Manzanar website. From the NPS site:

The 500-acre housing section was surrounded by barbed wire and eight guard towers with searchlights and patrolled by military police. Outside the fence, military police housing, a reservoir, a sewage treatment plant and agricultural fields occupied the remaining 5,500 acres. By September 1942 more than 10,000 Japanese Americans were crowded into 504 barracks organized into 36 blocks. There was little or no privacy in the barracks—and not much outside. The 200 to 400 people living in each block, consisting of 14 barracks each divided into four rooms, shared men’s and women’s toilets and showers, a laundry room, and a mess hall. Any combination of eight individuals was allotted a 20-by-25-foot room. An oil stove, a single hanging light bulb, cots, blankets, and mattresses filled with straw were the only furnishings provided.

At its peak, just over 10,000 Japanese were kept at Manzanar. Ninety percent of the prisoners were from the Los Angeles Area.

Manzanar War Relocation Center was closed on Nov. 21, 1945.

On March 3, 1992, President Bush signed House Resolution 543 into law establishing the Manzanar National Historic Site operated by the National Park Service.

The images for this gallery were taken in March and April 1942. Most of the photos, taken by staff photographers Andrew Hugh Arnott, Gordon Wallace and Alfred Humphreys, document the construction and relocation of Japanese from Los Angeles to Manzanar. Very few photos of life at Manzanar are in the Los Angeles Times archives.

In 1943, Times staff photographer George Watson spent a full day at Poston War Relocation Camp. These images will be posted in a future From the Archive post.

Previous posts in this Japanese World War II Internment series are:

Alien Registration Act of 1940 [updated].

Executive Order 9066: Japanese American internment in World War II. 

Japanese evicted from Terminal Island.

Japanese Internment: Santa Anita Assembly Center

2 Comments

  1. April 27, 2012, 7:07 am

    The Manzanar Pilgramage is this weekend and a new film, The Manzanar Fishing Club, continues screening in LA and starts next weekend in the San Francisco Bay Area.

  2. May 13, 2012, 2:13 pm

    I was only 10 y/o and don't remember the trama. My family never said too much about the whole thing so I didn't learn to be amazed that a people could be herded like cattle into a camp. I lived in Amache, CO. for the duration. My family's name is in Merced in their black wall. Janet Nagai Tanaka, Fresno CA.

    By: jjanajanetta

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