*** World War II Pacific Theater -- Saipan interrnment camps

Saipan Internment Camps (1944-46)

Saipan internmet camp
Figure 1.--It did not take long for the Japanese children to learn tht the Americans were not a threat. In fact they had far more to fear from the Japanese soldiers. Here boys at Camp Susupe on Sipan have fun with a military camera man shortly after the fighting ended."

The civilians encountered by the Americans were interned in Camp Susupe. At these camps the military authorities could keep them away from the fighting as well as provide food, shelter, and military care. The Japanese were by far the largest group on the Island, but not the only group. After the figting was over, authorities opened schools for the children. The camps held 13,954 Japanese, 1,411 Koreans, 2,966 Chamorros and 1,025 Carolinians at the end of the War (September 1945). The Koreans are probably the survivors from labor bruigades and perhaps comfort women. Japanese civilians on Guam were transferred to Saipan. There were actually three different camps. The main camp was Susupe. This was for the Japanese civilians as well as the Okinawans and Koreans. The Chamorros and Carolinians included many brought to Saipan for forced lasbor. They were cared for at Chalan Kanoa. Many believed that at the time of the invasion, the Japanese soldiers were about to kill them. The Japanese soldiers who surrendered or wounded so badly they could not commit suiside were held separately. Conditions in the camps were at first very primitive, but basic sanitation was maintained and food was adequate--much better than before the American invasion. As soon as the fighting ended, families were allowed to leave released from Camp Susupe during the day to raise vegetables. The camp had an improvised Buddhist temple which the Japanese also used for Shinto religious ceremonies.


Trefalta, Beatrice. "After the Battle for Saipan: the Internment of Japanese Civilians at Camp Susupe, 1944-1946," Japanese Studies Volume 29, Issue 3, 2009, pp. 337-52.


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Created: 7:38 AM 5/4/2011
Last updated: 7:38 AM 5/4/2011