The Abhorrent and Racist U.S. “Loyalty Examination” of World War II Designed for Japanese Immigrants and Japanese American Citizens

U.S.-Japanese-loyalty-examination

The U.S. War Relocation Authority created a supposed “loyalty examination” which was provided to young Nisei Japanese males of draftable age. The term “Nisei” means “second generation” in Japanese. Question 27 asked “are you willing to serve in the armed forces of the United States on combat duty wherever ordered?” and Question 28 asked “will you swear unqualified allegiance to the United States of America and faithfully defend the United States from any or all attack by foreign or domestic forces, and forswear any form of allegiance or obedience to the Japanese emperor, or any other foreign government, power, or organization?”. These questions were met with confusion and resentment within the population of Japanese and Japanese American internment prisoners of war. A yes answer was designed to prove unwavering loyalty whilst answering no was designed to entrap and prove malintent towards the U.S.. Some detainees answered no to both questions which lead to the term the “no-no boys”, a slanderous term designed to segregate Japanese and Japanese American citizens from their American counterparts. Question 27 was at its most fundamental roots designed to ask if a person was willing to serve in the U.S. military and Question 28 was designed to ask whether a person swore allegiance to Japan or not. Many prisoners did not know how to answer these questions, including both immigrants and American born citizens of Japanese descent. Those who were unsure and answered “I don’t know” or something similar to this with a cross out and the answer yes written in afterwards, were denied early clearance from detention and were subject to possibly being relocated. Those who passed were often permitted to leave detention upon the promise and agreement that they would not return to the west coast

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