Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Frank Isamu Kikuchi Interview
Narrator: Frank Isamu Kikuchi
Interviewer: John Allen
Date: November 6, 2002
Densho ID: denshovh-kfrank_2-01-0013

<Begin Segment 13>

JA: Tell me what you remember about the loyalty, the "loyalty questions."

FK: You know, that question I realize now is so unfair and I really don't know for sure how I answered. I had feelings that I was so mad, though, that they would dare to ask a question like that where it would tend to sort of break up a family. The government is asking, in my case, a father and a son who have different situations, the same question, and on the basis of your answer your family might be broken up. Because it, it was two questions. One was pretty forthright: "are you loyal to this country" or something on that order. And the second one was a funny one where it said, at the end of the thing it says "and you have to forswear allegiance to the Japanese emperor" or something on that order, you had to forswear allegiance to the Japanese emperor. Now, how could my father answer that question where he has to forswear allegiance to the Japanese emperor or any other foreign government? Because this country hadn't given them citizenship. He had been here most of his working life, and because of the war, he had lost everything and the government wants him to forswear allegiance to the Japanese emperor? He'd be a man without a country. And how am I going to answer it, because I can't forswear allegiance to the Japanese emperor because I never had allegiance to him. You can't forswear what you didn't have. By having the word "forswear," the government made a mistake: you can't answer the same question in the same family, like father and son. A Nisei cannot answer that. How can you forswear an allegiance you don't have in the first place? So, I wonder how I answered, I must have lied or my father must have lied because we never got shipped to Tule Lake. I really thought a lot about how should I answer that, and we among the Nisei, we used to talk about it among ourselves.

JA: What do you think the point was of asking those questions?

FK: I guess it was more of the United States government trying to separate us and ship the dissatisfied with this country types back to Japan. I do know some people that went that way, by the way. But a lot of 'em were able to come back, you know that? I don't know how many, but I know some of them were able to come back.

<End Segment 13> - Copyright © 2002 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.