All Americans of Japanese Descent Must Report to Relocation Centers
In Response to Executive Order 9066
by Dwight Okita
All Americans of Japanese Descent Must Report
to Relocation Centers
Of course I'll come. I've packed my galoshes
and three packets of tomato seeds. Denise calls them
love apples. My father says where we're going
they won't grow.
I am a fourteen-year-old girl with bad spelling
and a messy room. If it helps any, I will tell you
I have always felt funny using chopsticks
and my favorite food is hot dogs.
My best friend is a white girl named Denisewe look at boys together. She sat in front of me
all through grade school because of our names:
O'Connor, Ozawa. I know the back of Denise's head very well.
I tell her she's going bald. She tells me I copy on tests.
We're best friends.
I saw Denise today in Geography class.
She was sitting on the other side of the room.
"You're trying to start a war," she said, "giving secrets
away to the Enemy. Why can't you keep your big
I didn't know what to say.
I gave her a packet of tomato seeds
and asked her to plant them for me, told her
when the first tomato ripened
she'd miss me.
In February 1943, after the internment of
Japanese Americans from the West Coast had
been completed, the War Department and the
War Relocation Authority required all internees
17 years of age and older to answer a
questionnaire. This questionnaire presumably
tested their “loyalty” to the United States. Two
questions proved to be particularly vexing.
Imagine you are a 17-year-old who has been
interned for a year. How would you answer the
following two questions?
Are you willing to serve in the armed services
of the United States on combat duty,
Will you swear unqualified allegiance to the
United States of America and faithfully defend
the United States from any and all attack by
foreign or domestic forces, and forswear any
form of allegiance to the Japanese Emperor or
any other foreign government, power, or
Response to this questionnaire was mixed. Out of this confusion
emerged three noteworthy groups of individuals: those who
answered “yes-yes” and served in the armed forces, those who
answered “yes-yes” (or provided qualified responses) but refused
to serve in the military from concentration camps, and those who
answered “no-no.” Japanese Americans served in the military in
Europe (100th Infantry Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat
Team) and in the Pacific War (primarily in the Military Intelligence
Service as translators and interrogators of Japanese prisoners of
war), but many also answered “no-no” and became known as “draft
resisters of conscience.” The “draft resisters of conscience” refused
to serve in the military until their rights as U.S. citizens were
restored. Most of those who answered “no-no” were segregated at
Tule Lake concentration camp; many “resisters” were sent to prison
from the camps.
No-No Boy by John Okada
Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson
LIFE magazine, March 20, 1944 issue, Vol. 16, No. 12
These five Japs are among 155 trouble makers imprisoned in the stockade within the Tule
Lake Segregation Center. Here they are answering roll call.