I and my family spent over three years in Tule Lake from its days as a relocation center then as a segregation center. When the U.S. Army administered the questionnaire to determine loyalty, my parents chose not to re-spond to controversial questions 27 and 28.
My father said that responding “Yes” to question 28 would result in losing his Japanese citizenship. Since at the time there were laws that forbid alien Japanese from becoming American citizens, he would become a man without a country.
I was too young to answer the questionnaire, which the Supreme Court declared after World War II that the U.S. Army had no authority to administer the questionnaire. In reality, there is no way to accurately determine loyalty by means of a questionnaire.
After WWII when a law was passed to make it possible for Japanese aliens to become citizens, my father was the first one in Stockton to apply for and be granted citizenship of the United States of America.
One other thing I wish to mention is that it takes courage to deviate from the majority. I believe many who responded “No-No” had the courage to do so.
This afternoon (July 22), it finally occurred to me that World War II has not ended with this small portion of the Nikkei Nation. They are still fighting against the National JACL’s wartime policy and recommended procedures of the Salt Lake City (December 1942) meeting, which proved enlightened and successful.
The Nikkei Nation of WWII (incarcerees and Nisei veterans) is highly respected and admired by the press, government officials, knowledgeable historians and others.
Regardless of the decision by the JACL National Council in Salt Lake City at this year’s National Convention (July 31-Aug. 4), this issue will remain.
A “no win” situation.
Watsonville-Santa Cruz JACL