Polaris October 1999
QUEST FOR TOKYO ROSE
by Martin Schaffer (Redfin)
"Black Panthers of the deep, we have good news for you. Some 600-pounders
will be dropped on you shortly." Radioman second class, Joe Davidyok
remembers those words as he sat in the radio shack aboard SCAMP. (He later
made two war patrols aboard the US submarine REDFIN with this author). And
many other submarine sailors of World War Two heard similar words from one
who has been known as Tokyo Rose. But who was this Japanese radio announcer
who it was said tried to demoralize our silent service submarine boys in
the Pacific War? What ever happened to her?
Shortly after the war a N.Y. Times headline read, "Roster of 40 ordered
arrested as war criminals by MacArthur. Included were the names of a number
of people who made broadcasts for the Japanese" John Holland, believed to be
the same as David Tester, on Australian, who made English language
broadcasts, Mark Lewis Streeter, an American civilian who had worked at Wake
Island and later wrote propaganda script for Tojo; Australian Charles
Cousens, a radio announcer for Tokyo; and Lilly Abeg, also known as Sybille
Abe, a German who broadcast for the enemy.
Another N.Y. Times postwar article, written by Franklin Kluckholn cites
how MacArthur forces, at war's end spread a dragnet around the Japanese
prisons Omari and Bunka, the latter a former Japanese Cultural Institute.
The Bunka camp, the official propaganda section of the Empire in Tokyo, used
POWs in much of its work.
Radio was a welcome source of diversion for those Gl's on war patrol in
submarines, and catching the ear of those sailors were the words from voices
like Madam Tojo, Radio Rose, Annie of Radio Tokyo and Little Orphan Annie.
But the most popular of all was Tokyo Rose. Who was the real Tokyo Rose?
Were there others?
There was one Japanese in America who worked for our side. In 1982 the Los
Angeles Times carried an article about Taro Yashima. He wrote propaganda in
the United States during WWII. The propaganda took the form of a small book
about a homesick Japanese sailor. It was distributed by the U.S. Forces to
support our war effort. After the war, Atshushi Iwamatsu took the name, Toro
Yashima, to protect relatives and friends. He had come to America in 1939
and became an anonymous cartoonist and writer for our side.
Most of the propaganda remembered by our submarine sailors and other Gl's
is found in Masayo Duu's book, "Tokyo Rose. Orphan of the Pacific". It
revolves around Iva Toguri d' Aquino who was born in Los Angeles in 1916.
She was a first generation-or issei-child of Jun and Fumi Toguri, who were
not American citizens. Shortly thereafter, Iva's father put her name in his
family Japanese register. She was now an American, born of Japanese parents.
Time went by and in 1934 the girl who was to become known as Tokyo Rose
entered Compton Jr. College in California. Later she graduated from UCLA.
After graduation, Iva went to Japan in the middle of 1941 to visit a sick
It was the day after the fourth of July, 1941-lva's birthday-when she
sailed on the Arabia Maru for Kobe, Japan. Thoroughly American, Iva could
not read Japanese, but her uncle in Kobe was helpful. And she had other
troubles. She and some 10,000 other Japanese-Americans were stranded in
Japan when war broke out.
Iva lived with her uncle and aunt in Japan, knowing little of their
language or customs. She was warned not to be caught reading on English
newspaper. And she was hounded by security police to give up her American
citizenship. She refused. She asked instead to be interned as a foreigner.
It was felt that she was not a security risk and so was left to continue her
schooling and looking for a job. Iva finally landed one at a news agency.
That's where she met her future husband, Filipe d'Aquino.
Iva let her strong pro-American views be known and shared that attitude
with Filipe, who was part Japanese and part Portuguese. Filipe too was
fluent in English but could, unlike Iva, read and speak Japanese. Iva was
later to be tried in American courts as Mrs. Filipe d'Aquino, the Famed
In mid 1943 the American Division of the Japanese Overseas Bureau (NHK)
was looking for English-language broadcasters. Iva had a part-time job at
NHK as a typist to supplement her income. A number of other English-speaking
women worked there too, among them Ruth Hayakawa. And in order to gather
more English-speaking people, orders were sent out to POW camps. It was at
NHK that Iva met Major Charles H. Cousens, mentioned earlier.
The pressure was on at NHK to put out their propaganda in good English, and
Iva was chosen to be the new woman announcer on the Japanese "Zero Hour"
entertainment program. She participated but absented herself frequently.
Other girls at the radio station filled in for her, but not to the
satisfaction of her superior, Major Tsuneishi. During one such absence, Iva
married Filipe d'Aquino.
Major Tsuneishi pressed for Iva's full time broadcasting. Perhaps even he
knew it was now early 1945-as Iva and others believed, that the war's end,
in favor of the allies, was near.
When the war ended, General MacArthur's troops rounded up war criminals,
and Mrs. d'Aquino found herself in Tokyo's Sugamo prison, along with premier
Tojo and others. Questioned from time to time during her incarceration up
until 1946, Iva still was not formally accused of being the Tokyo Rose
of what some called legend, nor was it clear that she would be tried as a
war criminal. Iva was accused by one reporter to have confessed to him that
she was the Tokyo Rose. She denied that and said many other girls worked in
the same radio station, any of who could have been Tokyo Rose.
On Oct. 25, 1946, Iva was released from prison, the authorities not being
sure that she was the guilty one, nor were they sure of her citizenship-was
it American, Japanese or Portuguese. She wanted to be an American and return
home. She was born in America of Japanese parents and that's where she felt
she belonged. But others wished the contrary and wanted her tried as a war
criminal and to be denied entry to the USA.
Veterans groups, mothers, and Walter Wintchell, the famed US WWII news
commentator, all opposed that return home from Japan of this "enemy of
democracy", as Walter Wintchen called her. Even so, the State Department
Passport Division, an Oct. 20,1947, said it had no objection to issuing Iva
an American passport. Still up in the air was the decision to try her as a
traitor and to let her back in the country without protest.
Among the many newspaper correspondents covering the war were Clark Lee of
INS and Harry Brundidge of Cosmopolitan. They had been on the trail of Tokyo
Rose since the end of the war, and were instrumental in having her locked up
in the first place. And because of press reports by them and by Walter
Wintchell, the US Department of Justice on Aug. 17, 1948, had the US Army
arrest Iva, to be taken to San Francisco to face a grand jury.
The meeting at the San Francisco dock with her father, Jun, and her
sister, June, was little consolation to Iva as the many returning servicemen
were greeted with cheers and music when they disembarked ship as free men.
Mrs. d'Aquino though, was hustled off by the FBI. But her father had
brought along an attorney to defend her. On Oct. 8, 1948, Iva was formally
charged with treason.
Her trial, unlike that of European theatre of operations female radio
broadcasters, Mildred Gillars, or Axis Sally (she called herself Sally in
her broadcasts) was not clearcut. Others too could have been Tokyo Rose. Not
so for Axis Sally. She had no competitors. Nor did Italy's Roma Sally. On
March 11, 1948, Miss Gillars was found guilty of treason against the United
States. About the trial of Roma Sally this writer has no knowledge.
Attempts by Iva's principal attorney, Wayne M. Collins, to obtain
witnesses in her defense, were stymied. He did manage to get three through,
Major Cousens, Ken Parkyns and her husband. Iva's trial began on July 5,
1949. Hers was the principal trial on the west coast, while Alger Hiss was
being tried on the east coast, both attracting wide audiences. An alleged
confession that Iva was Tokyo Rose was presented, and the bribery of
witnesses against her was brought out. Much false testimony was bandered
about. Some witnesses against her were brought from oversees, more for a
sightseeing vacation of the United States that as serious witnesses.
Much of the testimony against lva was said to be second or third hand. And
much of it originated with press releases. Time zone differences added to
the confusion as to who was broadcasting what and when. Many recordings were
played and much of the wording was humorous innocent bandering. Her defense
made much of the frivolous Tokyo Rose recordings played at the trial.
Ex-Gl's spoke up in her defense now. Some said that they were not hurt by
"Orphan Ann's" remarks. Many listened only to hear music or her wit, and
for a dirty story or two that she might recite. The Army said that the
broadcasts actually bolstered morale.Some defense witnesses, however, were
said to have been visited by the FBI and encouraged not to support the
defense of Tokyo Rose.
It was brought out that another female, Ruth Konzaki, broadcast for the
Japanese on the "German Hour" while Iva was known to have spoken on the
"Zero Hour" in adjacent NHK studios. A Miss Kramer voice also was heard from
these studios. So now who was telling the truth? The name Mrytle Lipton
known as "Manila Rose" also was brought out. The latter did the "Melody
Questioning by Iva's attorney, Mr. Collins, lasted four days. Now it was
the US Federal attorney Tom deWolfe, who began questioning her for the
Four days later the prosecutor's hammering ended. What had come out of the
testimony was that no one was sure Iva was Tokyo Rose, even though the
newspapers called the whole affair the Tokyo Rose Trial. In addition, her
true citizenship was still up in the air. In her favor was the defense
attorney assertion that she should be lauded as an American citizen, working
behind enemy lines. And the judge too was said to be biased against Iva.
Late in Sept. 1949, after much questioning directed at the Judge, the jury
found "Tokyo Rose" -the world hardly knew the name Iva Toguri-guilty of
Overt Act VI: A broadcast to the US forces about how they were now stranded
after the loss of their ships at the battle of Leyte Gulf. The press
reporters at the trial couldn't believe the guilty verdict. Her attorney
said they found Iva guilty without proof. On Oct. 6 the court-Judge Roche
sentenced Iva to ten years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Iva's stay at the Federal Reformatory for Women at Alderson, W.Va., was
quiet. She was a model prisoner who worked in the infirmary On Jan. 28,
1956, her father, brother and sister greeted her on her release and they
headed for Chicago where her father lived and where, surprisingly the
authorities issued an order to have her deported. Her attorney, Wayne
Collins, in San Francisco, opposed the order. The anxiety lasted two years.
She faced a long period of trying to live down the Tokyo Rose image. Her
nisei friends-other Japanese Americans shunned her until a letter appeared
in the Feb. 1956 Newsweek magazine supporting her. And more change in public
The Associated Press on July 11, 1958 wrote that "The Immigration Service
Thursday announced it has found it necessary to temporarily cancel the
warrant of arrest for deportation of Mrs. Iva d'Aquino, 41, that Japanese
radio "Tokyo Rose" of World War Two. The respite though was temporary for
Ten years later the government reminded "Tokyo Rose" that she still owed
the fine. By 1972 paid off her debt.
When Iva was sentenced to prison, her husband, Filipe, was sentenced to
Japan. The authorities would not renew her husband's visa. He never set foot
on American soil again and Iva's marriage was destroyed.
Time went on and in 1975 Dr. Clifford Uyeda, in San Francisco, organized a
pardon movement for Iva. Support came from all quarters; politicians
Japanese-Americans, newspapers and veterans groups. Charges of purgery in
the past, coercion by the FBI and a host of questionable testimony for the
prosecution surfaced. But Iva was determined to live down her past and look
forward. The Dr. Uyeda movement changed things in Iva's favor.
Even though her attorney had since died and she no longer had a husband to
accompany her Iva looked for full American citizenship the same that was
granted to others who stood trial for treason after the war. It was Wayne
Collins, the son of her former attorney who followed through for the girl.
He petitioned Washington for a pardon, and the day before President Gerald
Ford left office on Jan. 19, 1977 he signed the papers. Iva was now a full
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