Immediately after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the United States began detaining citizens of Japanese ancestry. The Manzanar War Relocation Center was one of ten internment camps scattered throughout the western states built to hold Japanese Americans predominantly. Manzanar detained 11,070 people between 1942 and 1945.
Though the camp was located in the arid and dusty Owens Valley, CA, incarcerees were encouraged to grow food and harvest fruit from preexisting orchards. Incarcerees also beautified their bleak tarpaper barrack surroundings with elaborate gardens. Among the incarcerees were professional gardeners expert in the arts of traditional Japanese landscape design. Among the few remnants of the internment camp surviving today are the concrete outlines of water features and some planted trees. This locust tree in Block 7 was shaped into a traditional stylistic form.