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Japanese Internment

            While stuck in internment camps after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Japanese Americans did the best they could to retain an active lifestyle and pass the time. While locked up in these camps Japanese Americans, 70% of whom were American citizens, were subject to strict rules and regulations, harsh living conditions, and limited civil liberties. To help get them through this ordeal internees at many camps either worked or set up recreation committees. .
             The internment camps used to house Japanese Americans during World War II were crummy looking, make shift buildings which were built in a rush to detain the evacuees. Once in the camps, all class distinctions were blurred. People lived in the same shabby quarters, ate the same meals together in mess hall. The houses were separated only by narrow allies used for fire escape routes. The Camp Harmony Exhibit page in the online archive of the University of Washington gives insight into how demeaning the camps were to the incarcerated internees during this time and how such civil rights were denied. Armed guards patrolled the grounds surrounding each of the barracks and along the barbed wire fences enclosing the camps. In some cases the Japanese Americans were prohibited from being within ten feet of the fence. Visitation rights were limited to only a few hours a day in a monitored area. Everyday life was altered drastically by petty regulations which the internees had to abide by. Roll call was taken daily, twice, not only to account for all "Japs- but also just to interrupt the daily activities of the camps. Radios and lights had to be turned off by 10:30 P.M. and remain off until sunset. Internees had to be in their own living quarters between 10:00 P.M. and 6:00 A.M. Exceptions to such rules were bathroom trips, caring for the ill, and a few other circumstances accepted by authorities. .
             Other means of keeping civil rights in check were curfew and lights out times.

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