On-line Book
Book Cover
Cover Page


Table of Contents





Brief History

Gila River


Heart Mountain







Tule Lake

Isolation Centers

Add'l Facilities

Assembly Centers

DoJ and US Army Facilities



Appendix A

Appendix B

Appendix C

Confinement and Ethnicity:
Barbed wire divider
An Overview of World War II
Japanese American Relocation Sites

by J. Burton, M. Farrell, F. Lord, and R. Lord

clip art

Chapter 13 (continued)
Tule Lake Relocation Center

Security Features

Watch tower foundation blocks at Tule Lake
Figure 13.45. Watch tower foundation blocks at Tule Lake.
Around the edge of the central area there are pulled foundation blocks of a few of the large watch towers built in 1942 (Figures 13.45 and 13.46). No intact watch tower foundations are present around the central area. However, at least one intact 1943 watch tower foundation is present at the hog farm (see Outlying Areas below). The perimeter patrol road on the north and east sides of the central area is still used. Also along the northern perimeter is one of the most poignant features at the site: standing sections of the six-foot- high "man-proof" fence of chain link and barbed wire (Figures 13.47-13.48). The entrance road on the east end of the central area is still in use, and the concrete foundation slabs of the inner and outer sentry buildings and remnants of rock work near the outer sentry post are still present (Figures 13.49-13.51).

World War II-era buildings remaining in the military police compound
Figure 13.54. World War II-era buildings remaining in the military police compound.
(click image for larger size (~84K) )

Thirty-three World War II-era buildings in the military police compound are currently used for homes or outbuildings (Figures 13.52-13.54). Many of the buildings have been modified, but others apparently have had very little work done on them since the 1940s. The original functions of these houses and outbuildings include 13 barracks, five recreation buildings, three officers' quarters, three supply buildings, two mess halls, two classroom buildings, half of the administration building, the cold storage building, the fire station, and the post exchange (Figures 13.55-13.60). There is a concrete slab foundation at the theater/chapel location and one additional standing building to the south in the military police motor pool area. The original paved roads of the military police compound are all still used.

East of the military police compound the jail still stands, abandoned. The jail, within a Caltrans maintenance yard and surrounded by a fence with a locked gate, was documented in 1989 by the Historic American Building Survey (HABS Number CA-2279). No remains of the adjacent stockade are apparent.

The one-story concrete jail is made of steel-reinforced concrete walls and a similar flat concrete roof (Figures 13.61 and 13.62). There are six identical cells in the building, four against the northwest wall and two against the southeast wall. Each cell had six bunks, a toilet and a wash basin (Figure 13.63). There is no evidence of electricity in each cell, but the building was wired. Apparently a single cast-iron coal burning stove in the entrance room heated the entire building (Figure 13.64).

There are numerous pencilled inscriptions on the jail cell walls. Many are simply doodles, but others include names, dates, and political statements. Some are in Japanese and some are in English (Table 13.2; Figures 13.65-13.66, cover art). It is apparent that in some cases the writer was lying on his bunk since the writing is 90 degrees from the horizontal.

Table 13.2. Selected Pencilled Inscriptions on the Walls of the Stockade Jail.

Japanese "The Great Japanese Empire" (dai nippon teikoku) and the word "window" Figure 13.65
Japanese "Down with the United States" cover art
Japanese "Yoshida" (surname)
Japanese Three times the ideogram for "tadashii;" this is a Japanese/Chinese, way of counting off, as Americans use 1111 and then a diagonal line; the character has five strokes, so a complete character (all of these are complete) counts off "5"
Japanese Right portion of left set reads: "Kaishaku wo tanomu, meaning "Please he a second when I commit Harakiri."
Left portion of left set reads: "Mondai no kaishaku," meaning "Interpretation of problem."
Both portions use the word "kaishaku," though they have different meanings. A Chinese translator translated the right portion as "Today was wrongfully accused of disorder problem" and the left portion as "The explanation of the problem."
Upper right character not clearly written but seems to be the male first name Akira; other characters in that set are illegible.
cover art
Japanese Left column: (indistinct) Yamaguchi Terasu (a male name, Terasu Yamaguchi) Iwakuni City (in Japan), the last character is "vehicle "which does not seem to fit, or if badly written, "east")
Middle column: Kono (or Kawano) Toshisen (a male name, Toshisen Kono or Kawano) 1919 (one more character, illegible)
Right column: September 29, 1945
Figure 13.66
Japanese Graffiti with parts of names and words in hiragana (one of the Japanese phonetic systems); legible characters include "center," "loyalty," and "useful lecture" (story, information)
English When the golden sun has sunk beyound the desert horizon and darkness followed, under a dim light casting my lonesome heart
English Show me the way to go to home cover art
English Large "5"
20 years old 4315 C-DMAMORU Yoshinota 5/24/45-- 180 days-- KU..AMATA
18 years old 1406-4-HAMOYOKOI 6/17/45-- 270-- NA..Ta
3.. years old 580-BMASAKI NISHU 5/24/45-- 180-- KOMA...TO
19 years old 1806-BMASHHAIU YOS...IA-- 180-- HUS...U..

English H.T.
cover art

Photo Album

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Last Modified: Fri, Sep 1 2000 07:08:48 pm PDT

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