Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Marianne West Interview
Narrator: Marianne West
Interviewer: Alice Ito
Location: Klamath Falls, Oregon
Date: July 2, 2000
Densho ID: denshovh-wmarianne-01-0006

<Begin Segment 6>

AI: Now, in our earlier conversation, you were saying a little bit about remembering the time when the so-called "loyalty questionnaire" came out. Can you tell me what that was about?

MW: I can remember a lot of discussion in a lot of different groups, especially the "no-no" groups. They were having meetings, and they were very fanatic. And it seemed to me like the "yes-yes" groups were more or less subdued, and you didn't hear their version too much. But my father was "yes-yes," but I couldn't see that. I knew I was a citizen, and, but I felt I didn't have my rights. And so I still felt that I, my loyalty should be to the United States because I knew I didn't want to go to Japan, 'cause I knew they didn't want me there either. So I took the lesser of two evils. So I was in favor of a "yes-no."

AI: Could you tell me a little bit more about that, when you say you knew that the Japanese wouldn't want you? How did you know that, or how did you come to feel that way?

MW: Well, for one thing, I, I knew that we were American citizens and the Japanese would never consider us as Japanese. I just had that feeling that even with my parents, I didn't know whether they would be welcome in Japan or not after being away for so long. I didn't think it would be a haven to go to. And I thought, "Well, the United States, as wrong as they were, was probably the lesser of two evils."

AI: And tell me more about your thoughts about how wrong the government was, because there were quite a few people who were talking many different opinions. How did you come to your opinion?

MW: At that time, I was just thinking of the lesser of two evils. But as I think back now, I know my civil rights were denied, and I also know that if there were more of us that were outspoken instead of staying in a clannish group and associated more with the other races and the other people, that maybe this could've been avoided. But we were so humble and obedient, that we just went. And I don't believe today that this would happen. We are much more aware of our rights, and there are other people that are willing to stand up for our rights. And this is the reason why races can't stay within themselves. There has to be diversity, and there has to be cultural awareness. And evacuation was a bad thing. But after evacuation, it seemed like the Japanese did reach out more, and if this happens, it will be one good thing that did come out of this awful experience.

AI: Now, you mentioned that your father decided to sign "yes-yes."

MW: Uh-huh.

AI: What do you think made him decide that way?

MW: Well, I, I found out later that he, his loyalty was with the United States. But at that time, I believed that was his reason, and also I think he was thinking of his family. And I think he knew that there was nothing in Japan for us.

AI: Did you have any family discussion at that time about the "loyalty questionnaire"?

MW: My mother and father talked about it, but we weren't included.

AI: Uh-huh. And for yourself, in your own mind, you didn't feel "yes-yes" yourself?

MW: No. I had no desire to go to Japan, although I've been there later. But at that time, I had no desire to go to Japan.

AI: So now, at that time, there were so many families going through this decision-making about the questionnaire. Did you know anybody, have any friends or co-workers who were, made a different decision or had some difficult choices to make?

MW: No. I really didn't talk about it with other people too much. I think the ones that went "yes-yes" really didn't talk too much to other people about their decisions.

AI: Can you tell me a little bit more about what happened to the atmosphere of the camp as this went on?

MW: Well, it just seemed to be different groups that were together, and they were kind of more or less trying to push their theory onto other people. And I never went to any of the meetings, but I heard that they had different meetings in different blocks trying to influence the people. And I guess sometimes they were almost threatening.

AI: But you didn't feel that personally?

MW: Well, no. I think I was young enough that I wasn't involved in it.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 2000 Densho. All Rights Reserved.