Historical Japanese Internment Camp Newspapers Online

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 on 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 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 historical newspaper research. What has that to do with the Internment 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 2022)

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:

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:

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!

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