Archives On The Air 48: Best Sumo Wrestling In Wyoming—Bill Manbo Papers

Aug 23, 2018

Swimming holes and sumo wrestling are not usually associated with barbed wire and guards, but all of these existed together at the Heart Mountain Relocation Center.

Despite the miserable conditions, the people at Heart Mountain did what they could to make life as normal as possible.

Bill Manbo was a Japanese American teenager held in Heart Mountain. Manbo took photos that show us what daily life was like. They are a chilling juxtaposition between freedom and incarceration.

Manbo's photos show fences being erected and a fire at the mess hall.

His photos also show that ice skating was extremely popular. Internees ordered skates from Sears Roebuck and Montgomery Ward catalogs

Manbo also photographed prisoners sumo wrestling.

Manbo’s photos are both inspiring and revealing of the nature of human persistence in the wake of confinement. 

UW's American Heritage Center has made Manbo’s photos of life at Heart Mountain available for viewing on its digital collections page.