10/04/06 - tokyo rose

In today's excerpt - Los Angeles-born Japanese-American Iva Toguri (1916-2006) is wrongly convicted as a traitor—the despicable 'Tokyo Rose' who taunted American soldiers over the radio throughout World War II—and sentenced to ten years in prison:

"One morning in 1941, Iva's mother received news that her sister had fallen seriously ill in Tokyo. As her mother suffered from diabetes and could not easily travel, it fell to Iva, then 25, to make the long journey to Japan to be at her aunt's bedside. ...

"But while she was paying her visit on December 7, 1941, aircraft of the Imperial Japanese Navy attacked the U.S. base at Pearl Harbor. ... [T]here was no way for her to make her way back to Los Angeles. ...

"There were, at the time, a number of English-speaking Japanese women broadcasters who specialised in playing up Japanese military victories and pouring scorn on their enemies, especially the Americans. They were chosen for their sexy-sounding voices and their presumed ability to undermine the morale of their target audience. GIs took to calling these women by the generic name Tokyo Rose. But Iva Toguri was not one of these. Her broadcasts ... were bland and almost factual. She used the money she earned to help feed and clothe Allied prisoners ...

"At the Japanese surrender, tabloid reporters combed the country in the search for 'Tokyo Rose', and eventually through bribes secured the name of Iva Toguri. ... Her [U.S.] trial was a sensation. The evidence was either scant or false. Witnesses said whatever they thought was expected of them. ...

"There was the need in the post-war period for traitors to be seen to pay for their crimes ... and the intense desire of an unprincipled group of American reporters to secure the scoop of a lifetime.

"After serving six years of her ten-year sentence, Toguri, a model prisoner, was freed. ... Toguri was pardoned by President Ford ... in 1977. ... Toguri's husband was never allowed to join her in the U.S. ..."


Iva Toguri




The London Times


September 28, 2006


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