Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: John Kanda Interview
Narrator: John Kanda
Interviewer: Ronald Magden
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: May 12, 2000
Densho ID: denshovh-kjohn-01-0004

<Begin Segment 4>

RM: When the government decided to test the loyalty of the Nisei, particularly at Tule...

JK: Yes.

RM: you remember that, that survey?

JK: I remember it quite well, 'cause there was a lot of, shall we say, anti-government type of activity that went on. I was no participant, nor were my parents or my brother, but they just said if they're doing, "What they're doing to us now is beyond belief," type of thing. And, you know there's strikes and things. Yes, it was a big, very uncomfortable feeling at that time. And I'm just a school kid, but I was a high school senior at that time, yes.

RM: You had to make the decision somewhere, whether to, on that survey, questions, what was it, twenty-six and twenty-seven?

JK: Yes. Well, my father had always told us, even before this, that he had never had intentions to go back to Japan. He was a second son, there's nothing to go back to, to start with. And she was, he was comfortable and he felt that if he never even went back to visit, he told us, "We are going to be here," and you know. So he always tried to tell us to be as good as, quote, "American citizens" that we could be. And, but that same incidence broke up a lot of families, because -- so he voted "yes" to both of the questions. Which meant he lost his...

RM: Citizenship.

JK: ...Japanese citizenship in a real sense. I mean, it wasn't official that Japan ever said that, but in a sense, he didn't have a country after that. So the rest of fam-, my brother and I voted "yes." "We will fight, we'll fight against the emperor," and...

RM: So after the survey, your father had said he was loyal to the United States. There must have been a group in Tule, then, that remained loyal to the United States.

JK: Well, initially, there were, we were there, and, but they had designated that place as the "detention center" quote/unquote, for the people that voted "no." And I always felt it was a completely wrong thing. Not about being that, voted "no," but a lot of families were close-knit family, father has always been the boss, you might say. And if the father said, "You vote 'yes,'" you know, there's some of my classmates and all, they'd vote "yes." I mean "no," I should say. [Laughs] And so they had to stay in Tule Lake, and I thought this was a very unfair, it wasn't a person-to-person thing, it happened to every, I think, male over sixteen or fifteen, I don't remember just exactly what age that you had to decide. In front of a officer and a interpreter which, we didn't need the interpreter, but, and so...

RM: The army recruiters came about the same time as the survey, or was it a little later?

JK: Yes, they did. I think it was February that both of these things took place. And they were lookin' for volunteers for combat, a unit which was the 442nd -- 100th, it wasn't called the 100th at that time, but the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.

RM: And you made a decision here?

JK: Well, I made a decision I was going to volunteer, I was going to finish my senior year first. Now, my answer was a "yes-yes" on the, on the loyalty, so-called question.

RM: Then you, and you told the recruiters you were going to finish high school before you went in?

JK: Yes, they said that, "You'll probably be getting a 1-A --

RM: Yeah.

JK: -- designation soon." And my birthday was on the tenth of July, and by golly, about the twelfth of July, it came with a -- by that, this time we were, had been sent to Minidoka center in Idaho, because Tule Lake (had become) the detention center for the "no-no" peoples. And it (was) just a couple, three, four weeks I was in the army.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 2000 Densho. All Rights Reserved.