An aged World War II veteran, Sam Kimura, has been estranged from his family for 60 years. News arrives in a mysterious envelope that revives many memories and regrets.
In 1941, Sammy is a newly elected class president who dreams of "Going Places", like college and high political office. His father, Tatsuo, and wise old grandfather, Ojii-san, own a farm in Salinas, California. Sammy adores his older sister Kei, who has postponed her own dreams to help the family. After the Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor in December, nearly all of the Japanese-Americans in the Western US are incarcerated in internment camps. Sammy's family is taken from their beautiful farm and sent to the bleak Heart Mountain Relocation Center in Wyoming.
Against his father's wishes, Sammy joins with Mike Masaoka, head of the Japanese American Citizens League, which cooperates with the authorities to identify "disloyal" Japanese. He has a relationship with Hannah, a white Quaker volunteer nurse at the camp, causing additional tensions: an interracial marriage with Hannah would be illegal. Sammy's father is not inclined to cooperate. He is sent to a brutal prison for refusing to swear his allegiance by answering "yes" on an unjustly-worded loyalty questionnaire. Sammy's sister Kei falls in love with a draft resistance leader, Frankie Suzuki, and she also joins the resisters advocating for the rights of her people.
The loving family is torn apart by the tragedy of the internment, and each member is profoundly changed by living with the consequences. Eager to prove his loyalty, Sammy enlists in the Masaoka-organized 442nd Regimental Combat Team, a US Army unit consisting of American-born sons of Japanese immigrants, and he fights bravely in Europe. Meanwhile, Kei and Frankie help lead the resistance. Eventually, Frankie's scuffles with a military policeman lead to Hannah's accidental and fatal shooting. Hearing of this, Sammy is enraged at Kei and Frankie, blaming them for Hannah's death. After the war, Sammy and his family attempt to reconcile, but their actions and the hurtful words that followed from their differing responses to the internment and loyalty questionnaire cause them to separate for many decades.
In the present day, Sam opens the envelope and finds that he has a chance to forgive and to share in the love and compassion of his family.
Check back soon when libretto and/or lyrics for Allegiance becomes available.