From the archive, originally posted by: [ spectre ]

Tokyo Rose (aka Orphan Ann) Dies at 90 / September 27, 2006

Iva Ikuko Toguri was probably the most infamous female disc jockey in
American history. Born in Los Angeles in 1916, Toguri was forced to
broadcast propaganda for Japan during World War II after the U.S.
abandoned her there just days before the Pearl Harbor attack.

In 1941, Toguri made an untimely trip to Japan to visit an ill
relative, leaving the U.S. without a passport. Her attempt to return
home without documentation was stymied: she applied for a passport from
the U.S. Vice Consul in Japan, but the paperwork was still being
processed when war was declared. Physically and culturally stuck,
Toguri learned Japanese and held typist positions with various news
agencies during the war.

Chosen out of the NHK/Radio Tokyo typing pool to be a disc jockey on
The Zero Hour program by the very Allied POWs being beaten and starved
into writing her shows, Toguri became adept at sabotaging her own
broadcasts. Though employed to broadcast pro-Japanese propaganda,
Toguri’s outspoken support of the Allies off-mic (while cleverly
concealing it within her message and delivery on-air) resulted in
numerous arguments, fisticuffs, and sometimes daily 3 am harassments
thanks to the Kempeitai Thought Police. She helped keep American
soldiers alive (at mortal personal risk) with food, medicine, clothing,
and hope during her almost daily visits to their cells.

As an American unwilling to denounce her citizenship, Toguri was not to
be trusted by the Japanese, and as an American woman of Japanese
extraction broadcasting for the Japanese, she was considered a traitor
in her own country.

Iva kept her position at Radio Tokyo until the war ended, meanwhile the
U.S. caught wind of the fact that American citizens were employed by
the Japanese propaganda machine. The myth of “Tokyo Rose” (a general
term applied to all English-speaking female broadcasters in Japan at
the time) spread, and when American reporters arrived in Japan, they
were eager to snag an interview with the Tokyo Rose. Led to Toguri by
bribing a coworker at Radio Tokyo, a reporter from Cosmopolitan coaxed
Iva into holding a press conference. She told her story, imagining that
her 15 minutes of fame had finally arrived. Little did she know that
her admission to broadcasting for the enemy would lead to an arrest for
treason when she later attempted to return to California.

In spite of Iva’s commitment to her American citizenship and the help
she offered Allied POWs while employed by Radio Tokyo, Toguri was to be
only person ever tried or sent to prison for Japanese WWII broadcasts.
Her trial, based wholly upon perjured evidence that U.S. authorities
fabricated by threatening two NHK workers, was the most expensive trial
in American history up until that time. All of this for being an
entirely mythical non-existent figure, for neither she nor anyone else
had ever broadcast for the Japanese under the name “Tokyo Rose”,
although tales of such a “Tokyo Rose” that arose from the imaginations
of Allied soldiers in the Pacific resulted in Iva Toguri paying the
price as a scapegoat.

Long since pardoned by President Ford, himself a veteran of the Pacific
War and survivor of many kamikaze attacks, controversy over Toguri’s
supposed guilt continues even to this day. Of her own broadcasts,
during which she actually used the name “Orphan Ann,” all that remains
are a smattering of scripts, and a precious few recordings that can
barely be counted on two hands.

{Thanks to J. C. Kaelin of the radio propaganda site EarthStation, who
wrote parts of this obit.}

Iva Toguri biography

– The FBI’s version of Toguri’s story

– More history

– NY Times obit
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