Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Loyalty Questionnaire

Manzanar Loyalty QuestionnaireManzanar Loyalty Questionnaire

Beginning in February 1943, Japanese Americans in the war relocation camps had to answer a Loyalty Questionnaire. Question 27 asked young men if they would  be willing to serve in the U. S. Army. Question 28 asked people to forswear allegiance to Japan.

These were hard questions, even for loyal Americans. For Question 27, young men had to decide if they were willing to die for a country that was not allowing them the basic freedoms they were entitled to. For the Issei (first generation immigrants), answering "yes" would leave them without a country. For the Nisei (second generation American-born U. S. citizens), the question was resented because it implied an allegiance they had never felt.

At Manzanar, those who answered "no-no" to the two questions were separated from the others and moved to a different camp. So eventually, even though a "no-no" answer was taken as disloyalty to the U. S, the answers to these questions became more about protecting the Issei and keeping families together.


  1. Thanks for sharing this. Part of another sad chapter.

    1. Frank, I think this was one of the saddest parts of what I learned. These people were in such a no-win position.


Thanks for your comments! Due to the constant spamming, we can no longer accept anonymous comments, but we hope you'll log in and let us know what you think.