Japanese American Relocation Center Newsletters

This introduction written by Dr. Catherine Collins, Professor of Rhetoric, Willamette University, 27 December 2017.

120,000 individuals of Japanese heritage were forcibly removed from the West Coast of the United States and incarcerated in one of ten concentration camps established in isolated areas of the country for the duration of World War Two. Not knowing where they were being sent or for how long, they arrived to camps not yet completed, to crowded conditions with few amenities, and little privacy. Life as they knew it changed radically for Japanese Americans and their Issei parents.

Each Relocation Center was expected to create its own civic organization that would bring order to the new residents, provide necessary services, and communicate expectations of civil behavior among residents and with camp administration and guards. Schools, hospitals, police, recreation, stores, and other basic units of a community were organized and staffed.

Newspapers were central to creating a community that would become as close to normal as was possible under the circumstances. Each internment camp published its own newspaper to provide information on work opportunities, social activities, sports, births, marriages and deaths. The newspapers explained restrictions and opportunities afforded the internees, tried to explain policies imposed on them, and sought to prove that the internees were as American in their values, ambitions, and actions as any other American community.

This collection contains examples from nine of the ten relocation centers. The runs of the newsletters are not complete, but they offer a sense of this form of communication in each camp.

For further information on the newspapers printed in the ten relocation centers and in the assembly centers in which Japanese Americans were temporarily incarcerated as the relocation centers were completed, please refer to the following:

Friedlander, J. (1985). Journalism behind barbed wire, 1942-44: An Arkansas Relocation Center newspaper. Journalism Quarterly, 62.2, 243-271.

Kessler, L. (1988). Fettered freedoms: The journalism of World War II Japanese internment camps. Journalism History, 15.2-3, 70-79.

Luther, C.A. (2003). Reflections of cultural identities in conflict: Japanese American internment camp newspapers during World War II. Journalism History, 29.2, 69-81.

Mizuno, T. (2003). Journalism under military guards and searchlights. Journalism History 29.3, 98-106.

Stevens, J. D. (1971). From behind barbed wire: Freedom of the press in World War II Japanese centers. Journalism Quarterly, 48, 279-287.

Newsletter Descriptions

Denson Tribune (Denson, Arkansas) 1943-1944

The Denson Tribune and the Denson Jiho (Jerome, Arkansas) was published from March 2, 1943 through June 6, 1944. WOU Archives' collection includes two editions of the Denson Tribune and two editions of the Denson Jiho, the Japanese language newspaper. The newspaper was earlier called the Denson Communiqué and served the camp in Jerome, Arkansas.

Gila News Courier (Gila River, Arizona) 1942-1945

The Gila News Courier (Gila River, Arizona) was published from 9/12/42 until 9/5/45. WOU Archives' collection includes three editions in English and a supplement and 13 Japanese language sections of the paper. WOU Archives also has one edition of the Relocator News, a weekly publication that began in 1943 as part of the Gila News Courier. The collection also includes three editions of the Desert Sentinel, a publication of the high school journalism class in the Gila River internment camp. (Desert Sentinel and High School News)

Granada Pioneer (Amache, Colorado) 1942-1945

The Granada Pioneer (Amache [Granada], Colorado) was in print from 10/28/42 until 9/15/45. The May 5, 1943 edition includes an editorial, “Buckle Down,” on page two that reminds internees, “Life in Amache must go on. With the exodus of workers from the center, the burden of its maintenance fall increasingly on the shoulders of us who still remain. The indecisions within us must be worked out individually. But whatever conclusions we may reach, we must remember that there are jobs that must be done—regardless of pay or conditions. Buckle down and carry your load.” WOU Archives' collection includes three issues of the newspaper.

Heart Mountain Sentinel (Heart Mountain, Wyoming) 1942-1945

The Heart Mountain Sentinel (Heart Mountain, Wyoming) was published from 10/24/42 through 7/28/45. WOU Archives has one issue of the English edition and one issue of the Japanese edition. Journalism historian John Stevens (1971) says the Heart Mountain Sentinel, broke from the other camp newspapers by being printed from its first issue, rather than mimeographed.

Manzanar Free Press (Manzanar, California) 1942-1945

The Manzanar Free Press (Manzanar, California) was in print from 6/2/42 until 9/8/45. Although this newspaper was in print longer than the others, WOU Archives' collection only has one issue plus a special Pictorial Edition. Regular issues of this newspaper, unlike most of the others, include small drawings throughout that illustrate the stories reported.

Poston Chronicle (Poston, Arizona) 1942-1945

The Poston Chronicle (Poston, Arizona) was published from 12/22/42 until 10/23/45. WOU Archives' collection includes one copy of the paper in English and four editions of the Japanese supplement.

Resettlement Bulletin

In addition to the relocation center newspapers, the collection includes two editions of the Resettlement Bulletin, a monthly newspaper published by the Committee on Resettlement of Japanese Americans and sponsored by the Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America and the Home Missions Council of North America.

Rohwer Outpost (Rohwer, Arkansas) 1942-1945

The Rohwer Outpost (Rohwer, Arkansas) was published from 10/24/42 until 7/21/45. WOU Archives' collection includes two editions of the newspaper, one of which is the Christmas edition for 1943.

Topaz Times (Topaz, Utah) 1942-1945

The Topaz Times (Topaz, Utah) was published from the first pre-issue in 9/17/42 until 8/31/45. WOU Archives’ collection includes 167 editions from the first pre-issue through 6/24/43. A drawing above the masthead changes with each issue and reflects the content of the lead story. There is also a cartoon, “Jankee,” which appears frequently.

Tulean Dispatch (Tule Lake, California) 1942-1943

The Tulean Dispatch (Tule Lake, California) was published from June 15, 1942 through October 1943. During a four-month period at the end of 1943 the camp was under martial law following the transfer of trouble-makers from the other camps to Tule Lake. During this period, the newspaper became the Center Information Bulletin, a temporary publication, and then the Newell Star, which continued until February 15, 1946. WOU Archives' collection includes 30 editions, dating between August 5, 1942 and June 8, 1943.

Browse Items in the Collection

Full Text PDF Japanese American Relocation Center Newsletters
Newsletters from nine of the ten concentration camps ("relocation centers") set up by the US government to forcibly relocate and incarcerate Japanese Americans during World War II.