“When your mother and your father are having a fight, do you want them to kill each other? Or do you just want them to stop fighting?”

Papa’s final question to the interrogator in Chapter 7, “Fort Lincoln: An Interview,” is a striking metaphor for the difficult situation into which the war between the United States and Japan threw Japanese-American Issei. Most of the Issei, who left Japan for the greater opportunities offered in other countries, still had strong ties to their Japanese ancestry and saw Japan as their motherland. On the other hand, the United States was their adopted home, and even though they were not American citizens, they valued the opportunities that citizenship brought for their Nisei children. The war put the Issei in an impossible situation, for they could not declare loyalty to one country without jeopardizing their relationship to the other. Papa’s question illustrates the difficulty that such things as the Loyalty Oath and the accusations of a military interrogator presented to him and other Issei.