Iva Toguri D'Aquino

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Iva Toguri D'Aquino
戸栗郁子 アイバ
Iva Toguri mug shot.jpg
Iva Toguri mug shot, Sugamo Prison - March 7, 1946
Born Iva Toguri
(1916-07-04)July 4, 1916
Los Angeles, California
Died September 26, 2006(2006-09-26) (aged 90)
Chicago, Illinois
Cause of death Natural causes
Resting place Montrose Cemetery, Chicago, Illinois
Nationality American
Other names Tokyo Rose
Orphan Anne
Education Compton Junior College, University of California, Los Angeles
Occupation typist and broadcaster, merchant
Employer Japanese central government's news agency and Radio Tokyo
Known for Announcing propaganda on Japanese radio during World War II
Spouse(s) Felipe D'Aquino
(m.1945-1980; divorced)
Parent(s) Jun and Fumi Toguri

Iva Ikuko Toguri D'Aquino (July 4, 1916 – September 26, 2006) was an American who participated in English-language propaganda broadcast transmitted by Radio Tokyo to Allied soldiers in the South Pacific during World War II on The Zero Hour radio show. Toguri called herself "Orphan Ann," but she quickly became identified with the name "Tokyo Rose", a name that was coined by Allied soldiers and that predated her broadcasts.[not verified in body] After the Japanese defeat, Toguri was detained for a year by the United States military before being released for lack of evidence. Department of Justice officials agreed that her broadcasts were "innocuous". But when Toguri tried to return to the US, a popular uproar ensued, prompting the Federal Bureau of Investigation to renew its investigation of Toguri's wartime activities. She was subsequently charged by the United States Attorney's Office with eight counts of treason. Her 1949 trial resulted in a conviction on one count, making her the seventh American to be convicted on that charge, for which she spent more than six years out of a ten-year sentence in prison. Journalistic and governmental investigators years later pieced together the history of irregularities with the indictment, trial, and conviction, including the allegation that key witnesses had perjured themselves at the various stages of their testimonies. Toguri received a pardon in 1977 from U.S. President Gerald Ford.

Early life[edit]

Iva Ikuko Toguri (戸栗郁子 アイバ Toguri Ikuko Aiba?) was born in Los Angeles, a daughter of Japanese immigrants.[citation needed] Her father, Jun Toguri, had come to the U.S. in 1899, and her mother, Fumi, in 1913.[citation needed] Iva was a Girl Scout as a child, and was raised as a Methodist.[citation needed] She began grammar schools in Mexico and San Diego before returning with her family to complete it in Los Angeles, where she also attended high school.[citation needed] Toguri graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles,[when?] with a degree in zoology.[1] She then went to work in her parents' shop.[clarification needed][citation needed] As a registered Republican,[citation needed] she voted for Wendell Wilkie in the 1940 presidential election.[citation needed]

On July 5, 1941, Toguri sailed for Japan from the San Pedro, Los Angeles area, to visit an ailing relative and to possibly study medicine.[citation needed] The U.S. State Department issued her a Certificate of Identification; she did not have a passport.[citation needed] In September, Toguri applied to the U.S. Vice Consul in Japan for a passport, stating she wished to return to her home in the U.S.[citation needed] Her request was forwarded to the State Department, but the answer had not returned by the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor (December 7, 1941), and so she was stranded in Japan.[citation needed]

The Zero Hour[edit]

Toguri in December 1944 at Radio Tokyo

Toguri was pressured to renounce her United States citizenship by the Japanese central government under Hideki Tojo with the beginning of American involvement in the Pacific War, like a number of other Americans in Japanese territory. She refused to do so, and was subsequently declared an enemy alien and was refused a war ration card.[2][page needed] To support herself, she found work as a typist at a Japanese news agency and eventually worked in a similar capacity for Radio Tokyo.[citation needed]

In November 1943, Allied prisoners of war were forced to broadcast propaganda, and they selected her to host portions of the one-hour radio show The Zero Hour.[citation needed] Her producer was Australian Army Major Charles Cousens who had pre-war broadcast experience and had been captured at the fall of Singapore.[citation needed] Cousens had been tortured and coerced to work on radio broadcasts,[2][page needed] as had his assistants U.S. Army Captain Wallace Ince and Philippine Army Lieutenant Normando Ildefonso "Norman" Reyes.[citation needed] Toguri had previously risked her life smuggling food into the nearby prisoner of war (POW) camp where Cousens and Ince were held, gaining the inmates' trust.[2][page needed]

Toguri refused to broadcast anti-American propaganda, but she was assured by Major Cousens and Captain Ince that they would not write scripts having her say anything against the United States.[2][page needed] True to their word, no such propaganda was found in her broadcasts.[2][page needed] Toguri hosted a total of 340 broadcasts of The Zero Hour[2][page needed] under the stage names "Ann" (for "Announcer") and later "Orphan Annie"[2][page needed] and possibly "Your Favorite Enemy, Annie",[citation needed] reportedly in reference to the comic strip character Little Orphan Annie.

Toguri performed in comedy sketches and introduced recorded music, but never participated in any actual newscasts, with on-air speaking time of generally about 20 minutes.[citation needed] She earned only 150 yen per month, or about $7, but she used some of her earnings to feed POWs, smuggling food in as she did before.[3]

Toguri aimed most of her comments toward her fellow Americans ("my fellow orphans"), using American slang and playing American music. She routinely referred to American and allied troops in the Pacific theater as "boneheads".[citation needed] In one of the few surviving recordings of her show, she refers to herself as "your 'Number One' enemy."[citation needed] At no time did Toguri call herself "Tokyo Rose" during the war, and in fact there was no evidence that any other broadcaster had done so.[citation needed] The name was a catch-all used by Allied forces for all of the women who were heard on Japanese propaganda radio.[citation needed]

Postwar arrest and trial[edit]


Toguri being interviewed by the press in September 1945

After Japan's unconditional surrender (August 15, 1945), reporters Harry T. Brundidge of Cosmopolitan Magazine and Clark Lee of Hearst's International News Service (INS) offered $2,000 (the equivalent of a year's wages in Occupied Japan) for an exclusive interview with "Tokyo Rose".[4]

Toguri was in need of money and was still trying to get home, so she stepped forward to accept the offer—but instead she found herself arrested on September 5, 1945 in Yokohama.[citation needed] Brundidge reneged on the interview payment and tried to sell his transcript of the interview as Toguri's "confession".[citation needed] She was released after a year in prison when neither the FBI nor General Douglas MacArthur's staff found any evidence that she had aided the Japanese Axis forces.[3] The American and Australian prisoners of war who wrote her scripts told her and the Allied headquarters that she had committed no wrongdoing.[5]

The case history at the FBI's website states, "The FBI's investigation of Aquino's activities had covered a period of some five years. During the course of that investigation, the FBI had interviewed hundreds of former members of the U.S. Armed Forces who had served in the South Pacific during World War II, unearthed forgotten Japanese documents, and turned up recordings of Aquino's broadcasts."[this quote needs a citation] Investigating with the U.S. Army's Counterintelligence Corps, they "conducted an extensive investigation to determine whether Aquino had committed crimes against the U.S. By the following October, authorities decided that the evidence then known did not merit prosecution, and she was released."[6]

She requested to return to the United States to have her child born on American soil,[2][page needed] but influential gossip columnist and radio host Walter Winchell lobbied against her.[citation needed] Her baby was born in Japan but died shortly after.[2][page needed] Following her child's death, D'Aquino was rearrested by the U.S. military authorities and transported to San Francisco on September 25, 1948 where she was charged by federal prosecutors with the crime of treason for "adhering to, and giving aid and comfort to, the Imperial Government of Japan during World War II."[this quote needs a citation]

Treason trial[edit]

FBI synopsis of trial

Her trial on eight "overt acts" of treason began on July 5, 1949 at the Federal District Court in San Francisco.[citation needed] It was the costliest and longest trial in American history at the time,[1] totaling more than half a million dollars ($4.97 million in today's dollars).[7][citation needed] The prosecution presented 46 witnesses, including two of Toguri's former supervisors at Radio Tokyo.[citation needed] Soldiers who testified stated that they could not distinguish between what they had heard on radio broadcasts and what they had heard by way of rumor.[citation needed] Boxes of tapes were brought by prosecutors to the courthouse and rested near the prosecution table, though none were entered into evidence and played for the jury.[citation needed]

Toguri was defended by a team of attorneys led by Wayne Mortimer Collins, a prominent advocate of Japanese-American rights.[8] Collins enlisted the help of Theodore Tamba, who became one of Toguri's closest friends, a relationship which continued until his death in the 1970s.[citation needed]

During the trial, the former supervisor at Radio Tokyo testified that:[citation needed]

I said to Toguri I had a release from the Imperial General Headquarters giving out results of American ship losses in one of the Leyte Gulf battles, and I asked that she allude to this announcement, make reference to the losses of American ships in her part of the broadcast, and she said she would do so.[this quote needs a citation]

On September 29, 1949, the jury found Toguri guilty on a single charge: Count VI, which stated, "That on a day during October, 1944, the exact date being to the Grand Jurors unknown, said defendant, at Tokyo, Japan, in a broadcasting studio of The Broadcasting Corporation of Japan, did speak into a microphone concerning the loss of ships."[this quote needs a citation] She was fined $10,000 and given a 10-year prison sentence, with Toguri's attorney Collins lambasting the verdict as "Guilty without evidence".[2][page needed] She was sent to the Federal Reformatory for Women at Alderson, West Virginia.[citation needed] She was paroled after serving six years and two months,[citation needed] released January 28, 1956,[citation needed] and moved to Chicago, Illinois.[citation needed] The FBI's case history notes, "Neither Brundidge nor the [suborned] witness [Hiromu Yagi] testified at trial because of the taint of perjury. Nor was Brundidge prosecuted for subornation of perjury."[this quote needs a citation]

Presidential pardon[edit]

Mugshot during Toguri's first detention in Japan

The case against D'Aquino was fraught with historic difficulties. Grand jurors had been skeptical of the government's case. Tom DeWolfe, the Special Assistant Attorney General, was "a veteran of radio treason prosecutions" who complained that "it was necessary for me to practically make a fourth of July speech in order to obtain [his] indictment," leading him to urge the Department of Justice to further investigate and so "shore up" the case in Japan. The further work, however, "created new problems for DeWolfe," and soon after D'Aquino was indicted, government witness Hirom Yagi "admitted that his grand jury testimony was perjured."[9]:47

In 1976, an investigation by Chicago Tribune reporter Ron Yates discovered that Kenkichi Oki and George Mitsushio had perjured themselves, who had given the most damaging testimony at Toguri's trial. They stated that FBI and U.S. occupation police had coached them for over two months about what they were to say on the stand, and had been threatened with treason trials themselves if they didn't cooperate.[10] This was followed up by a Morley Safer report on the television news program 60 Minutes.[11]

U.S. President Gerald Ford granted a full and unconditional pardon to Iva Toguri D'Aquino in 1977 based on these and earlier issues with the indictment,[9]:44 trial, and conviction,[citation needed],[9]:47 — on January 19, his last full day in office.[citation needed] The decision was supported by a unanimous vote in both houses of the California State Legislature, by the national Japanese American Citizens League, and by S. I. Hayakawa, then a United States Senator from California. The pardon restored her U.S. citizenship, which had been abrogated as a result of her conviction.[12]

Later life[edit]

On January 15, 2006, the World War II Veterans Committee awarded Toguri its annual Edward J. Herlihy Citizenship Award, citing "her indomitable spirit, love of country, and the example of courage she has given her fellow Americans".[13] According to one biographer, Toguri found it the most memorable day of her life.[10]

Toguri died of natural causes in a Chicago hospital on September 26, 2006 at the age of 90.[14][15]


Richard Goldstein wrote in her obituary for The New York Times: "The broadcasts did nothing to dim American morale. The servicemen enjoyed the recordings of American popular music, and the United States Navy bestowed a satirical citation on Tokyo Rose at war’s end for her entertainment value."[16]

In popular culture[edit]

Movies and documentaries[edit]

Iva Toguri has been the subject of two movies and five documentaries:

  • 1946: Tokyo Rose, film; directed by Lew Landers. Lotus Long played a heavily fictionalized "Tokyo Rose", described on the film's posters as a "seductive jap traitress";[17] Byron Barr played the G.I. protagonist who kidnaps the Japanese announcer. Blake Edwards appeared in a supporting part. The film espoused the general public's view of "Tokyo Rose" at the time of Toguri's arrest. The film's character was not referred to by her actual name, but Long was made to look like Toguri.[18]
  • 1969: The Story of "Tokyo Rose", CBS-TV and WGN radio documentary written and produced by Bill Kurtis.
  • 1976: Tokyo Rose, CBS-TV documentary segment on 60 Minutes by Morley Safer, produced by Imrel Harvath.
  • 1995: U.S.A. vs. "Tokyo Rose", self-produced documentary by Antonio A. Montanari Jr., distributed by Cinema Guild.
  • 1995: Tokyo Rose: Victim of Propaganda, A&E Biography documentary hosted by Jack Perkins and featuring Toguri, Wayne Collins, Jr., Gerald Ford (archive footage), Bill Kurtis, and others.[2]
  • 1999: Tokyo Rose: Victim of Propaganda, History International, Produced by Scott Paddor, Editor Steve Pomerantz, A&E Director, Bill Harris.[citation needed]
  • In 2004, actor George Takei announced that he was working on a film titled Tokyo Rose, American Patriot about Toguri's activities during the war.[19]
  • 2008-9: Tokyo Rose, film; in development with Darkwoods Productions, the only entity granted life story rights by Iva Toguri, Frank Darabont to direct. Christopher Hampton, is the screenwriter for Tokyo Rose.
  • On 20 July 2009, History Detectives (Season 7, Episode 705) aired a 20-minute segment entitled Tokyo Rose Recording researched by Gwendolyn Wright tracing the recording of live coverage of Iva Toguri's 25 September 1948 arrival in San Francisco under military escort for trial. The investigation of the origins of this recording documents the involvement of self-serving reporter Harry T. Brundidge and his part in the fraudulent case against her.

Other venues[edit]

The first registered rock group using the name Tokyo Rose was formed in the summer of 1980. They are most known for their video which tells the story of the war time Tokyo Rose. Tokyo Rose is also the name of an emo/pop band hailing from New Jersey. Tokyo Rose is a 1989 album by Van Dyke Parks. The album attempts to reflect an intersection between Japanese and American cultures, a common concern during the 1980s. The Canadian group Idle Eyes had a hit in 1985 in Canada with the song "Tokyo Rose" from their self-titled debut from WEA Music Canada. Vigilantes of Love scored a hit with "Tokyo Rose"[20] from their 1997 album, Slow Dark Train.

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Edward J. Herlihy 2005 Citizenship Award Recipient Iva Toguri". American Veterans Center. Archived from the original on December 2, 2008. Retrieved June 21, 2009. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Haffner, Craig & Lusitana, Donne E. [Exec. Producers], Paddor, Scott [Producer], and Coughlin, Brian [Segment Producer] (1995). Tokyo Rose: Victim of Propaganda (streaming and dvd). Biography. Hollywood, CA, USA: Greystone Communications, for A&E Home Video. Event occurs at UNKNOWN TIMES. ASIN B000FKP1T0. A&E Cat. No. AAE-14023, TV-14 (duration, 43:20). Retrieved 2 November 2015. [full citation needed]
  3. ^ a b Siemaszko, Corky. (2006) "Still not Tokyo Rose: Long free, at 90, she's imprisoned by a myth," New York Daily News (July 4), see [1], accessed 2 November 2015.
  4. ^ Clark Lee, One last look around, Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1947, p. 84 ff.
  5. ^ "Iva Toguri D'Aquino Dies at 90". NPR. 2006-09-27. Retrieved 2015-11-02. 
  6. ^ Rex B. Gunn (1977). They Called Her Tokyo Rose. Self-published. pp. 35–36. ISBN 978-0979698705. 
  7. ^ Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved November 10, 2015.
  8. ^ "Japanese Americans, the Civil Rights Movement and Beyond" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-04-10. 
  9. ^ a b c Pfau, Ann Elizabeth (2008). "The Legend of Tokyo Rose". Miss Your Lovin: GIs, Gender, and Domesticity during World War II. New York, NY, USA: Columbia University Press. p. [See superscripts following for paragraph nos.] 
  10. ^ a b "Death ends the myth of Tokyo Rose". BBC. September 28, 2006. 
  11. ^ Reported by Morley Safer (June 24, 1976). "Tokyo Rose," 60 Minutes. (Television). New York: CBS. 
  12. ^ Bernstein, Adam (September 28, 2006). "Iva Toguri, 90, branded as WWII 'Tokyo Rose'". Boston Globe. Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-07-04. 
  13. ^ "Setting the Record Straight". American Veterans Center. 2006-01-15. Retrieved 2015-11-02. 
  14. ^ "Woman tried as ‘Tokyo Rose’ dies in Chicago". Reuters. September 27, 2006. 
  15. ^ "Obituary of Iva Toguri". London: The Times. September 28, 2006. 
  16. ^ Goldstein, Richard (September 27, 2006). "D’Aquino, Convicted as Tokyo Rose, Dies at 90". The New York Times. 
  17. ^ [2][dead link]
  18. ^ "The Radio Propaganda Page - Orphan Ann ("Tokyo Rose")". EarthStation1.com. Retrieved 2015-11-02. 
  19. ^ Chun, Gary C.W. "Star Trek 's Lt. Sulu plans to make his film, Tokyo Rose: American Patriot, in Hawaii", StarBulletin.com, April 12, 2004.
  20. ^ "Music". Parting Shot. Retrieved 2015-11-02. 

See also[edit]

External links[edit]