• Science and math teachers at the Central Utah Relocation Center, 1943. Courtesy of the Topaz Museum via Mountain West Digital Library. 

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    Science and Math Teachers, 1943
    • Date
    • 1942-1945
    • Description
    • Back row left to right: Mr. Johnson, Miss Watanabe, Mr. Leon Westover, Mr. Bando, Dr. Joe Goodman. Front row: Mr. John Shinkai, Miss Eiko Hosoi, Miss Ishida, Mr. Muneno, Mr. Yoshida, Mr. Kawaguchi.
    • Rights
    • Digital image copyright 2002, Topaz Museum
    • Partner
    • Mountain West Digital Library
    • Contributing Institution
    • Topaz Museum (Delta, UT)

  • Elementary school girls studying biology at the Tule Lake Relocation Center in California, 1942. Courtesy of the University of Utah J. Willard Marriott Library via the Mountain West Digital Library. 

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    Girls in grammar school studying biology
    • Date
    • 1942-11-04
    • Creator
    • Francis Stewart
    • Description
    • Photo of elementary school evacuee girls studying biology at the Tule Lake Relocation Center in California during World War II
    • Rights
    • This material may be protected by copyright. Permission required for use in any form. For further information please contact the Multimedia Archivist, Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah.
    • Partner
    • Mountain West Digital Library
    • Contributing Institution
    • University of Utah - J. Willard Marriott Library

  • An Ikebana class at the Jerome Relocation Center, 1943. Courtesy of the University of Southern California Libraries.

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    Ikebana class, Jerome Relocation Center, Denson,
    • Date
    • 1943-03-12
    • Creator
    • Tom Parker
    • Description
    • Photograph of an Ikebana class. "Former California residents of Japanese ancestry, who now reside at the Jerome Center, show great interest in adult education classes, particularly in the decorative arts. Here, Masao Hatano, instructor of 'Ikebana' (... more
      Photograph of an Ikebana class. "Former California residents of Japanese ancestry, who now reside at the Jerome Center, show great interest in adult education classes, particularly in the decorative arts. Here, Masao Hatano, instructor of 'Ikebana' (plant arrangement) conducts an afternoon class. The art of Ikebana, or plant arrangement, combines story telling and decoration. The arrangement of the plants involves family history and standing with artistic arrangement. less
    • Rights
    • Http://maryknollmissionarchives.org/?page_id=1917 ; Maryknoll Mission and Diakonia Archives, VID Specialized University. Http://maryknollmissionarchives.org/?page_id=17. Maryknoll Mission and Diakonia Archives, VID Specialized University. Maryknoll M... more
      Http://maryknollmissionarchives.org/?page_id=1917 ; Maryknoll Mission and Diakonia Archives, VID Specialized University. Http://maryknollmissionarchives.org/?page_id=17. Maryknoll Mission and Diakonia Archives, VID Specialized University. Maryknoll Mission Archives, PO Box 305, Maryknoll, N.Y. 10545-0305. Archives@maryknoll.org ; http://maryknollmissionarchives.org/?page_id=1669. less
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    • University of Southern California Libraries
    • Contributing Institution
    • University of Southern California. Libraries

With few supplies and poorly maintained equipment, a skeleton crew of teachers ran camp schools, prepared handwritten instructional materials, and often held classes outside because of overcrowding and lack of school building ventilation. It was not unusual for schools to be staffed by both Japanese and Caucasian teachers. Caucasian teachers were expected to live year-round in the camps and work a longer week to accommodate a larger class size.

Japanese American instructors also staffed primary and secondary schools, which gave them the freedom to design their own curricula in math, science, English, and social studies—within limits. The War Relocation Authority requested that Americanization classes be a part of the camp schooling. These classes focused on indoctrinating the younger generation of Japanese Americans with “American” values that would ensure their loyalty and best prepare them for an assimilated life after the war.

Learning and respecting teachers were integral parts of Japanese culture. Students wore clean uniforms despite their living situations. The community school philosophy was designed to benefit each student as well as the community because education was perceived as a tool with which to improve a student’s quality of life. In camp schools, students gained specific skills for future employment, as well as an understanding of traditional academic concepts like the scientific method and newly emphasized democratic principles.