The War Relocation Authority (WRA) was the United States agency created to assume jurisdiction over Japanese Americans evacuated from California, Oregon, and Washington. During its existence from March 1942 to June 1946, the WRA controlled the administration of the relocation centers, administered the extensive resettlement program, and oversaw the details of the registration and segregation programs.
In December of 1944, President Roosevelt rescinded Executive Order 9066, and the WRA began a six-month process of releasing internees and shutting down the camps. On August 15, 1945 Imperial Japan surrendered, ending the war in the Pacific.
Alternately labeled "relocation camps," "concentration camps," or "evacuation centers," the WRA camps housed over 120,000 Japanese Americans for close to four years. The majority (over 60%) of camp inhabitants were US citizens, children and young adults. The remainder had been U.S. residents for many years. Many had lived in this country between twenty and forty years. Persons born in Japan were not allowed to become naturalized citizens until 1952.
These are the ten main concentration camps built and operated by the WRA to house the Japanese Americans forcibly removed from the West Coast by the Army in early 1942. After initial removal to "Assembly Centers," inmates were eventually transferred to these larger-scale long-term camps, which were intended to operate for the duration of the war.
Click the photo/link for each camp to see the digitized Bancroft collections from that site.
Sunrise services (Christian) were held Thanksgiving Day at this center. Photographer: Francis Stewart, 11/26/42
A quiet Sunday afternoon at the Amache Center. Photographer: Tom Parker, 12/13/42
Assistant Farm Superintendent, Eiichi Sakauye, checking the moisture for early Spring crop planting. Photographer: Hikaru Iwasaki, 3/10/44
A view of the west section of the hospital. Photographer: Tom Parker, 11/17/42
Street scene and view of quarters for evacuees of Japanese ancestry at Manzanar reception center. Photographer: Clem Albers, 4/2/42
A panorama view of the Minidoka War Relocation Authority center, taken from the top of the water tower at the east end of the center. Photographer: Francis Stewart, 8/18/42
Living quarters of evacuees as seen from the top water tower facing southwest. Photographer: Fred Clark, 6/1/42
A typical wood cutting scene in the street in the north of the Rohwer Relocation Center. The cutting is accomplished by volunteer teams selected by Block Managers, and each capable block resident contributes an equal amount of his time in sawing and chopping the logs. Photographer: Tom Parker, 11/21/42
A panorama view of the Central Utah Relocation Center, taken from the water tower. Photographer: Francis Stewart, 3/14/43
A winter time scene looking east down the main fire break. Photographer: Francis Stewart, 1/28/43