Photo of Tokyo Rose

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo of authorities arrest Mrs. D' Aquino

 
 
Toyko Rose		

During World War II, a young Japanese American woman gained notoriety as "Tokyo Rose" for her broadcasts of Japanese propaganda beamed over Radio Tokyo to American troops in the South Pacific.

Tokyo Rose was born Ikuko Toguri in Los Angeles on July 4, 1916. Her father, Jun Toguri, had come to the United States from Japan in 1899. Her mother followed in 1913, and the family moved to Los Angeles. During her school years, Ikuko Toguri used the first name of Iva. She attended grammar schools in Calexico and San Diego, California before returning with her family to Los Angeles where she finished grammar school, and went on to high school and junior college.

Iva Toguri enrolled in the University of California at Los Angeles and graduated in January, 1940, with a degree in zoology. She did graduate work there until June of that year. During her school years, Toguri was a popular student and was considered to be a loyal American. Her favorite pastimes were sports, hiking, and swing music. From June 1940, until July 1941, Toguri assisted her father in his business. When she decided to travel to Japan, members of an honorary fraternity group to which she belonged gave her a farewell party shortly before her departure.

On July 5, 1941, Toguri sailed for Japan from San Pedro, California, without a United States passport. She reportedly gave two reasons for her trip: to visit a sick aunt and to study medicine. In September of that year, Toguri appeared before the United States Vice Consul in Japan to obtain a United States passport, stating she wished to return to the United States for permanent residence. Inasmuch as she had left the United States without a passport, her application was forwarded to the United States Department of State for consideration. Before arrangements were completed for issuing a passport, the United States was at war with Japan, and no further action was taken by United States authorities with regard to her request.

After the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, Toguri applied for repatriation to the United States through the Swiss Legation in Japan, but later withdrew the application, indicating she would voluntarily remain in Japan for the duration. Meanwhile, she had enrolled in a Japanese language and culture school. From mid-1942, until late 1943, Toguri worked as a typist for the Domei News Agency; in August, 1943, she obtained a second job as a typist for Radio Tokyo.

In November 1943, Toguri began her career as a broadcaster for Radio Tokyo that was to bring her notoriety and eventually result in her conviction for treason in the United States. Her program, known as the Zero Hour, became part of Japanese psychological warfare designed to lower the morale of the United States Armed Forces. Zero Hour was broadcast daily, except Sunday, from 6 p.m. until 7:15 p.m., Tokyo time.

The Zero Hour

Toguri was introduced on the program, which usually began with band music, as "Orphan Ann," "Orphan Annie," "Your favorite enemy Ann," or "Your favorite playmate and enemy, Ann." Following are comments reportedly made by Toguri for a program broadcast in October 1944: "Hello, boneheads. This is your favorite enemy, Ann. How are all you orphans of the Pacific? Are you enjoying yourselves while your wives and sweethearts are running around with the 4F's in the States? How do you feel now when all your ships have been sunk by the Japanese Navy? How will you get home? Here's another record to remind you of home."

Toguri's average time on each program was about twenty minutes, duing which she made comments similar to the above, and introduced popular records of the day, such as "Speak to Me of Love," "In a Little Gypsy Tea Room," and "Love's Old Sweet Song." The remainder of the program was devoted chiefly to news items from America and general news commentaries by other members of the broadcasting staff. Toguri's salary at Radio Tokyo reportedly amounted to some 150 yen per month – about $7.

Photo of Rose and Felipe D' AquinoThere is no indication that Toguri ever used the nickname Tokyo Rose on the Zero Hour. It was not until early 1944 that she became aware that United States troops had given her that title. Actually, the name Tokyo Rose was applied by United States Armed Forces personnel in the South Pacific area to any of a number of English-speaking Japanese women broadcasting over Radio Tokyo between 1943 and 1945. Toguri was the only American born person given that nickname; as far as is known, the others were Japanese citizens. Reportedly, Toguri was proud of the nickname Tokyo Rose. On one occasion while she was confined in a Japanese prison after the war, Toguri autographed a Japanese yen note as Tokyo Rose for a United States military guard.

On April 19, 1945, Iva Toguri married Felipe D'Aquino, a Portuguese citizen of Japanese-Portuguese ancestry. The marriage was registered with the Portuguese Consulate in Tokyo; however, Mrs. D'Aquino did not renounce her American citizenship. She continued her Zero Hour broadcast until the cessation of hostilities despite reported warnings by her husband to discontinue her role in the program.

After The War

After Japan's surrender in August 1945, United States Army authorities arrested Mrs. D'Aquino as a security risk, and she was kept in various Japanese prisons until her release in 1945. She was again arrested by Army authorities in September 1948, and brought under military escort to the United States, arriving in San Francisco on September 25, 1948. There, she was immediately arrested by Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Agents acting on authority of a warrant charging her with the crime of treason for adhering to, and giving aid and comfort to, the Imperial Government of Japan during World War II.

The FBI's investigation of Mrs. D'Aquino's activities covered a period of some five years. During the course of the investigation, hundreds of former members of the United States Armed Forces who had served in the South Pacific during World War II were interviewed; forgotten Japanese documents were unearthed; and recordings of Mrs. D'Aquino's broadcasts believed to have been destroyed were discovered by the FBI.
 

The Trial

Mrs. D'Aquino's trial began on July 5, 1949, the day after her 33rd birthday. Sixty-one days later,on September 29, 1949, the jury brought in a verdict of guilty of the count in the indictment which read, 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." Mrs. D'Aquino, who had gained notoriety as Tokyo Rose, had become the seventh person to be convicted of treason in the history of the United States.

It is estimated that the trial cost the Government $500,000; the transcript of the proceedings contained over a million words. Sixteen of the Government's 46 witnesses who appeared at the trial were brought from Japan where they originally had been interviewed by the FBI. Twenty-six witnesses appeared for the defense.

On October 6, 1949, Mrs. D'Aquino was sentenced in the San Francisco courtroom to ten years of imprisonment and fined $100,000 for the crime of treason.

On January 28, 1956, D'Aquino was released from the Federal Reformatory for Women at Alderson, West Virginia, where she had served six years and two months of her sentence. She successfully fought government efforts to deport her.

In November 1976, Mrs. D'Aquino filed another petition for Presidential Pardon; she previously had applied unsuccessfully for pardon in 1954 and 1968. On January 19, 1977, President Gerald Ford issued a pardon to her.

Mrs. D'Aquino was last known to be living in the Chicago, Illinois, area.

 

 

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