Beyond Loyalty: The Story of a Kibei

Beyond Loyalty: The Story of a Kibei

Beyond Loyalty: The Story of a Kibei

Beyond Loyalty: The Story of a Kibei


Beyond Loyalty is the powerful and inspiring story of a young man whose life and education were rudely disrupted by the U.S. government's imprisonment of Japanese Americans during World War II. A high school student when interned in 1942, Minoru Kiyota was so infuriated by his treatment during an FBI interrogation and by the denial of his request to leave the camp to pursue his education that he refused to affirm his loyalty as required of all internees. For this he was sent to Tule Lake Segregation Center in northern California - a holding pen for "dangerous" and "disloyal" individuals. While imprisoned there under deplorable conditions, Kiyota learned of a new law offering Japanese Americans the "opportunity" to renounce their U.S. citizenship. Although barely old enough to do so, Kiyota took this drastic step. Throughout his four long years of incarceration, he refused to resign himself to the injustices he witnessed and experienced. His story shares the fury and frustration aroused by gross violations of his rights as a U.S. citizen and shows how the painful years of internment determined the course of his life.


D ecember 7, 1941. San Francisco's blue sky was cloudless that Sunday morning, although the heavy, mournful horn echoing over the peaceful port city suggested that fog still shrouded the harbor. entrance.

I put on a new white shirt and tie with my good suit and set out at a leisurely pace toward the Presbyterian church on the northeast side of Japan Town. On my way I passed two black men staggering along the sidewalk, apparently still feeling the effects of their Saturday night drinking bout. The Japanese-run stores on Post Street were not yet open, but at the shoeshine stand next to the drugstore a black man was hard at work polishing the shoes of a white man, briskly moving his cloth to the rhythm of a jazz tune he whistled.

I followed Post Street up to Octavia, where the church stood on the north side of the intersection. Some other young churchgoers were already gathered in front, joking among themselves. I cast a shy but appreciative glance toward the young girls in the group, all dressed up for Sunday morning.

This church was originally founded by the missionary Dr. Ernest A. Sturge to serve a small group of first-generation Japanese immigrants -- the issei. Dr. Sturge's sermons, later collected in a book entitled Arrows from My Quiver, often highlighted the qualities of discipline and austerity that he saw as characterizing both traditional Protestant Christianity and bushidō, the code of the . . .

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