About the Project

Manzanar CloseUp is an extension of Sites of Shame, a map-based visualization of the various sites in which Japanese Americans were incarcerated during World War II. First launched in 2005, Sites of Shame has been one of the most visited sections of Densho's website and was relaunched in a new version in 2021. Funding for Manzanar CloseUp was provided by 2022 grants from the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program and the Kip Tokuda Memorial Washington Civil Liberties Public Education Program, and it debuted in 2023.

About the Data

The location data for the project was created using a variety of geodata mapping tools including satellite imagery and archival materials such as historical maps and photographs, some of which was provided by the Manzanar National Historic Site.

Statistical data including inmate barrack addresses comes from various official sources. Key data included that compiled by Manzanar's Statistical Section, particularly from Form WRA-26, censuses conducted in February 1943, March 1944 and December 1944, and a Final Accountability Roster (FAR) produced upon the camp's closing at the end of 1945. The WRA's official statistical compilation, The Evacuated People, published in 1946 was another key source.

In addition to the Statistical Section data, additional information was gleaned from segregation train lists that provided barrack address data on the over 2,000 Manzanar prisoners who transferred to Tule Lake in October 1943 and February 1944. These lists, along with much of the Statistical Section data, comes from the collection of WRA documents at the Bancroft Library, University of California Berkeley

Since Manzanar began as the "Owens Valley Reception Center" administered by the Wartime Civil Control Administration, additional data on initial barrack assignments comes from WCCA records found at the San Bruno branch of the National Archives.

Because these various data sources, particularly the census reports and rosters, contained different kinds of information and covered different time periods, the process of combining them was a complicated task. While the Form WRA-26 and FAR already existed in data form, other sources – such as the October 1943 and February 1944 census instruments – had not been transcribed. With the assistance of Doxie.ai, an archival data consultant, much of the data was automatically extracted from the original document images using a computer-vision and machine-learning pipeline. Densho staff then employed a set of data science tools and methodologies to clean and aggregate the datasets, and finally, identify and match the records about individual people and their families across the rosters.

Copies of the Manzanar Free Press come from Densho Digital Repository, https://ddr.densho.org/ddr-densho-125/.

Licensing and Use

Densho hopes that the research conducted by Sites of Shame: Manazanar CloseUp will contribute to future scholarship and overall knowledge about the incarceration period. We would like to see the data used by others in novel ways that promote awareness of the Japanese American experience in the context of the history of the United States.

The geolocation and descriptive metadata in the Sites of Shame project is offered under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 license.

The articles linked in the Densho Encyclopedia are offered under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Unported License. See more information here.

The thumbnail images of the sites may be subject to copyright for other uses. Please use the links in the individual photo credit lines for further information.

The map tiles and associated imagery are licensed by OpenStreetMap and Mapbox.

Acknowledgments and Funding

Special thanks to Stamen for their development and design work on Manzanar CloseUp as well as the original Sites of Shame project. Thank you as well to Doxie.ai, for assisting in the automated data extraction of much of the roster data using their machine-learning expertise. Finally, we are grateful for the countless members of the open-source software community who create many of the tools that make this work possible.

We would also like to acknowledge The Bancroft Library at the University of California Berkeley for digitizing and making accessible many of the original WRA documents that contain the source data for the project. The rich trove of digital archival materials was invaluable in researching the project.

Major support for Manzanar CloseUp was provided by the California State Civil Liberties Program through the California State Library. Additional funding came through the Kip Tokuda Washington Civil Liberties Public Education Program provided by the Washington State Legislature (RCW 28A.300.410, through the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI).

Privacy Information and Contact

This site uses cookies to monitor the traffic in order to keep track of which pages are most frequently visited, and to help optimize the site experience.

Densho does not sell, rent, swap or otherwise disclose any personal information to third parties. If Densho is required to disclose information collected from our members in response to any legal process issued by a court, Densho will comply with the legal process after giving notice to any members affected by it unless a court order prohibits such notice. For more information on Densho's privacy policy and full terms of use, please visit our main website.

We are interested in hearing your comments, suggestions and questions! You may contact us at: [email protected], or our mailing address at:

1416 South Jackson St.
Seattle, WA 98144