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Loyalty Questionnaire

 

                                          Loyalty Questionnaire, circulated to all internees in 1943. 'A More Perfect Union'.

There were two questionnaires that all the internees had to complete. They were intended to distinguish who was 'loyal', and those who was 'disloyal'. Both questionnaires posed difficulties for those attempting to complete them. One of the questionnaires was designed for Nisei males of draught age, and the other was designed for the rest of the internees. The questionnaires frustrated internees because there were no official guidelines as to what the consequences would be for either a 'yes' or a 'no' to certain questions. The particular questions that posed such difficulties were questions twenty-seven and twenty-eight. The twenty-seventh question asked Japanese Americans to say whether they were prepared to serve in the United States army. This caused much confusion and fear among the internees. Some felt it was audacious for the US government to even ask for Japanese loyalty after interning them. Others hope they may be released, whereas more were paranoid felt that they were being tricked in to a no win situation. The latter, asked on both of the questionnaires, whether Japanese Americans felt that their loyalty was with the US or Japan. Since the Issei could not become US citizens, renouncing their Japanese heritage put them into a position of statelessness, which would be a consequence if they declared loyalty to the US. The uncertainties over what answers would be most suitable scared the internees because it was unclear that if Issei and Nisei answered differently whether they would be split up from their families.