Loyalty Indicators of Relocated Alien Families
Starting February 6, 1943, internees were given a loyalty questionnaire
to determine how to encourage their integration back into society.
Two questions were aimed at draft aged men. Twenty two percent of the 21,000 Japanese eligible to register answered "No" to both questions.
Question 27 "Are you willing to service in the armed forces of the
United States on combat duty and serve wherever assigned?"
Question 28. "Will you swear unqualified allegiance to the United States of America and faithfully defend the United States from any and all attack by foreign or domestic forces, and forswear any form of allegiance or obedience to the Japanese emperor."
Males between the ages of seventeen and thirty-eight answered "No."
"The following figures speak for themselves, showing as they do that
about one out of four Nisei in the relocation centers admitted their
loyalty was to Japan, and that only six out of every one
hundred of them considered themselves to be Americans by volunteering
for service in the United States Army."
"no" to Number of
Relocation Number loyalty Volunteers
Center Registered question Army
Central Utah 2,420 806 116
Colorado River 3,356 671 238
Gila River 2,488 547 119
Granada 1,117 117 121
Heart Mountain 1,881 451 47
Jerome 1,341 110 33
Manzanar 1,826 913 101
Minidoka 1,607 32 310
Robwer 1,585 300 37
Tule Lake 2,342 836 59
TOTAL 19,963 4,783 1,181
Average (percent) .... 24% 6% (2)
1. "Double Victory: A Multicultural History of America in World War II"
by Takaki, Ronald
2. "Betrayal from the East" by Alan Hynd
These statistics are understandable once we
realize that most of these were Japanese people working in the
United States as a place of employment with no commitment
to the American Way of Life. Their children born in the U.S.
held dual citizenship -- Japanese through their parents and American
by way of birth location.
There were Americans living in areas occupied by
the Imperial Army, in the Philippines for example, who were captured
with no loyalty to Japan. These civilians owned businesses,
worked for foreign corporations, were military dependents, or who
merely enjoyed the Filipino lifestyle. However, contrast the
treatment of American civilians interned by the Japanese.
"We were put in different internment camps (16 year old girl separated
from her store manager parents) and we were able to exist in a very
primitive way. We lived on practically nothing. We had to buy our
own food because the Japanese kept telling us we were only in
protective custody. They had no reason to feed us and they did not
have to follow the Geneva Convention rules." -- Margaret Gillooly
"It was terrible to watch the children as the starvation process proceeded.
They became like little old men and women. They would sit on the
sidewalk and have absolutely no energy to accomplish anything. ...
When Manila was recaptured, they found tons of Red Cross supplies
stored in Manila that the Japanese had not released to us." -- Hattie Brantley,
nurse in the same camp.
Contrast this with 4,300 youths from Tule Lake Relocation
Center alone that were sent to college on scholarships. Or, that Japanese
citizens visiting the United States trapped by the war were awarded
$20,000 (1978) for their inconvenience,
including the 3,500 returned in a civilian exchange early in the war.
The period of forced relocation was the same period where civilian rationing brought charges of coddling of Japanese and of POWs who were feed balanced diets while Americans scrimped.
By December 1943, most camps had relocated people working
outside the camp as day laborers and farm workers, the work many had
done in the prewar period. Their West Coast jobs were taken by
Mexican workers imported to take the place of Japanese field workers.
In December 1944, the West Coast was declared to be no longer a war zone -- those relocated could return to their homes if they wished. Many did not return until after the war for fear of their lives. The camps remained open for their convenience.
You can estimate the orientation of a speaker by
noting if they say that "peaceful Japanese-Americans and their parents were imprisoned" or if it is said that "enemy aliens and their children were relocated from a war zone."
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Last updated on June 4, 2003 -- add notes