Wednesday, July 4, 2012

July 4: Happy Birthday, Iva Toguri D'Aquino (Tokyo Rose)

Probably one of the most misrepresented stories out of WWII, was that of the infamous “propagandist” Tokyo Rose. Iva Toguri was born on July 4, 1916 on American soil and eventually would be penned with the moniker Tokyo Rose, although it was more of a coverall name for any woman in Japan making propaganda radio broadcasts.

Toguri was stranded in Japan after making a visit there and Pearl Harbor having come under attack. Due to mistakes by the US State Department, Toguri did not have proper credentials to return to the United States. While in Japan she was employed by Radio Tokyo.

After refusing to renounce her allegiance to the US. Miss Toguri had to settle for work as an alien in Japan. While with Radio Tokyo, She was encouraged to become the on-air voice for a program, Zero Hour, that was produced and performed by prisoners of war. Penning herself the name “Orphan Annie,” Iva Toguri performed comedy routines and played music to the servicemen that were in the Pacific. In all the broadcasts made, no form of scripting demonizing the USA was ever found, yet her time on the show made by an enemy radio station would come back to haunt her in the United States years later. Hers was a sarcastic approach to humor and she loved her birth country very much and she refused to ever speak against America.

After the war she was able to return to the United states, but events occurred that would eventually place in prison for “treason” and , later, a pardon from President Gerald Ford. One time married, her husband was never able to return to this country and they were separated the remainder of their lives. In September of 2006, Iva Toguri passed away at the age of 90.

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