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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
was last known to be living in the Chicago, Illinois, area.