• The First Communion class of the Catholic Church at Minidoka Relocation Center in Hunt, Idaho, 1943. Courtesy of the University of Southern California Libraries.

    More info
    Select an item:
    First Communion class, Minidoka Relocation Center
    • Date
    • 1943-09-08
    • Creator
    • War Relocation Authority
    • Description
    • Photograph of "First Communion class of Catholic Church at Minidoka Relocation Center, Hunt, Idaho with the Rev. L.H. Tibesar, Maryknoll Missionary, pastor. He worked with this group of Japanese Americans in Seattle prior to evacuation.
    • 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, P.O. Box 305, Maryknoll, N.Y. 10545-0305; http://maryknollmissionarchives.org/. Archives@maryknoll.org ; http://maryknollmissionarchives.org/?page_id=1669. less
    • Partner
    • University of Southern California Libraries
    • Contributing Institution
    • University of Southern California. Libraries

  • A Confirmation group outside of the Catholic Church at the Manzanar War Relocation Center in California, 1943. Courtesy of the University of Southern California Libraries.

    More info
    Select an item:
    Confirmation group at the Japanese Relocation Camp
    • Date
    • 1943
    • Description
    • Photograph of a large group of people posed in front of the Catholic Church in the Japanese Relocation Camp at Manzanar, California, on the occasion of a Confirmation. Seated at the center of the group are Bishop Scher of Fresno and Fr. Leo Steinbach... more
      Photograph of a large group of people posed in front of the Catholic Church in the Japanese Relocation Camp at Manzanar, California, on the occasion of a Confirmation. Seated at the center of the group are Bishop Scher of Fresno and Fr. Leo Steinbach, MM, to the Bishop's left. Maryknoll Sisters Susanna and Bernadette are also pictured, one on the left side of the group and the other at the center rear of the group. 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, P.O. Box 305, Maryknoll, N.Y. 10545-0305; http://maryknollmissionarchives.org/. Archives@maryknoll.org ; http://maryknollmissionarchives.org/?page_id=1669. less
    • Partner
    • University of Southern California Libraries
    • Contributing Institution
    • University of Southern California. Libraries

  • A Confirmation at the Catholic Church at the Manzanar War Relocation Center in California, 1944. Courtesy of the University of Southern California Libraries.

    More info
    Select an item:
    Confirmation at Japanese Relocation Camp, Manzanar
    • Date
    • 1944-05
    • Description
    • Photograph of a Confirmation in the church at the Japanese Relocation Camp, Manzanar, California. "Seventy-two people were confirmed by Bishop Scher of Fresno, California." The Bishop faces the congregation. The men are seated on the left and the wom... more
      Photograph of a Confirmation in the church at the Japanese Relocation Camp, Manzanar, California. "Seventy-two people were confirmed by Bishop Scher of Fresno, California." The Bishop faces the congregation. The men are seated on the left and the women on the right with their backs to the camera. 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, P.O. Box 305, Maryknoll, N.Y. 10545-0305; http://maryknollmissionarchives.org/. Archives@maryknoll.org ; http://maryknollmissionarchives.org/?page_id=1669. less
    • Partner
    • University of Southern California Libraries
    • Contributing Institution
    • University of Southern California. Libraries

Christian missions and organizations played a large role in the religious lives of many camp internees. Missionaries had been building relationships with Japanese immigrant communities since the first Japanese immigrants arrived on US soil. Religious schools indoctrinated Japanese American children starting in day care services and exerting influence over a student's entire primary education. During World War II, religious organizations advocated for fairer treatment of Japanese Americans, while working to Americanize them through religious indoctrination. In some instances, religious teachers followed their parishes into the camps to continue their religious instruction.

Religious identity among Japanese Americans prior to incarceration was often complicated. Some Japanese Americans identified as Christian superficially before entering the camps in response to sociocultural pressure. Others turned more fully to Christianity for other reasons, ranging from the desire to identify with the American majority to true philosophical and religious conversion.