Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Return to the U.S.

A GI's Fantasy of Tokyo Rose

Toguri thought that her troubles were over. She and Felipe made plans for their trip back to the States. But U.S. newspapers would not let go of the Tokyo Rose story. “Iva Toguri d’Aquino, one of four bedroom -voiced girl broadcasters the Allied soldiers called ‘Tokyo Rose,’ wants eventually to return to her native country, she said today,” warned the August 1, 1947, Long Beach Press Telegram. The November 6,1947, Cumberland Ohio Evening Times stated, “Tokyo Rose, the wartime radio broadcaster who sank more fleets that America built, wants to go home to the U.S.”

    Meanwhile, Toguri continued to be stymied in her attempt to get a U.S. passport. She was trapped in a revolving bureaucratic paradox. First, despite Tokko harassment, she refused to give up her American citizenship. Then American authorities imprisoned her for a year on suspicion of treason as a U.S. citizen—but Toguri’s passport application was rebuffed because she could not prove her U.S. citizenship. There seemed no end to this nightmare merry-go-round. Desperate, Toguri wrote a letter to the syndicated columnist Walter Winchell. She asked him to help with her passport application. When Winchell did not reply, Toguri believed she had run into another dead end. What she didn’t know was that Winchell was hell-bent on getting Toguri returned to the States, but not in the way she imagined.

    In 1947 Walter Winchell was one of the most powerful men in America. His newspaper columns, “On Broadway” and “Man About Town,” mixed right-wing political opinion with entertainment-world gossip. His Sunday evening radio show, which opened with the incessant tapping of a telegraph key and his trademark introduction, “Good evening, Mr. and Mrs. America, and all the ships at sea,” had an audience of nearly twenty million. He was feared by politicians and admired by gangsters. President Roosevelt tried to stay on his good side. FBI director J. Edgar Hoover was one of his best friends. Winchell’s favorite targets were liberals and communists, but what he loved best was a good crusade. After he read Toguri’s letter, Winchell launched a mission of righteous indignation. Winchell wanted Iva Toguri d’Aquino to return to the United States, but not to join her family. He wanted “Tokyo Rose” to stand trial for treason.

     On April 14, 1948, Winchell published an open letter to Tokyo Rose from Captain Frank Farrell, a veteran who had served in the Pacific with the 1st Marine Division. Saturated with sarcasm, the letter accused Tokyo Rose of convincing Marines that the atabrine tablets they took to prevent malaria made them sterile. Many Marines died of malaria, said Farrell, because of Tokyo Rose. The political pressure to prosecute Toguri gained steam when, in a public statement, James F. O’Neil, commander of the American Legion, demanded that the Justice Department prosecute Iva Toguri d’Aquino for treason. On June 9, 1948, Winchell claimed that Clark Lee had in his possession an eighteen-page document in which Iva Toguri confessed to being Tokyo Rose. In later years the journalist Bill Kurtis described the campaign to prosecute Iva Toguri d’Aquino as the persecution of a person in order to exact revenge on a myth. (Encyclopedia of World Biography).

    As far as the U.S. Department of Justice was concerned, the myth Tokyo Rose and the person Iva Toguri d’Aquino were one and the same. On August 26, 1948, Toguri was once again arrested for treason. Under military guard she was put aboard the U.S.S. General Hodges and transported to the United States to stand trial. Iva Toguri d’Aquino was finally going home. Three weeks later, her odyssey complete, Toguri set foot on American soil. Instead of the homecoming with family and friends that she had yearned for, she was whisked to the San Francisco jail, where she was incarcerated until the end of her trial

To be continued

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Sugamo Prison

Behind Bars

Brundidge contacted his editor at Cosmopolitan. He told her he was writing a 5,000-word story about Tokyo Rose. Then he asked for the $2,000 to pay Toguri. His editor refused.  She wasn’t interested in the story. Stuck with a deal he couldn’t keep, Brundidge needed a way out.  He contacted Eighth Army intelligence and told the commanding officer that he had the signed confession of the traitor Tokyo Rose. The next day Toguri was arrested. Lacking hard evidence of treason, the army released her, but as the media spread the news of her interview, political pressure to prosecute Tokyo Rose increased. On October 18,1945, the U.S. Justice Department ordered General MacArthur to take Toguri into custody on suspicion of treason. She was arrested and taken to Yokohama Prison. Six weeks later she was transferred to the notorious Sugamo Prison.

Felipe was right. By passing herself off as “Tokyo Rose,” Toguri put herself squarely in the crosshairs of all those who sought retribution for  war crimes real or imagined. She gambled and lost and she never saw a dime of the promised interview payment.

Sugamo Prison was a dreary fortress of barbed wire and barracks, surrounded by concrete walls. It was spread out over twelve acres of center-city Tokyo. Built in the 1920s for political prisoners, it was untouched by Allied bombs. The U.S. Eighth Army took over the prison and incarcerated some 5,000 Japanese war criminals, including General Homma, the Japanese officer who had ordered the Bataan death march. Premier Hideko Tojo was hanged in Sugamo on December 23, 1948. In total 4,400 Sugamo prisoners were convicted of war crimes, 475 were given life sentences and 984 were hanged.
Toguri was kept in Blue Block, a special section designated for women criminals. For a year she lived in a six-by-nine-foot cell equipped with a toilet, a water basin, and a straw mat. She was allowed to bathe every three days. The army considered her a Japanese national; as a result, she could not send letters to her family in the United States. Her only luxury was the steam radiator in her cell that helped ward off the harsh Tokyo winter chill. During her incarceration, she was denied her due process rights as a U.S. citizen - she was denied legal counsel lawyer, there was no indictment, and no bail was set.

Toguri kept telling herself it was all a mistake. She stubbornly clung to the belief that her Orphan Ann version of Tokyo Rose was a popular figure among American GIs. Her inability to grasp the severity of her situation led to some stupid mistakes. She signed autographs for prison guards “Iva Toguri/Tokyo Rose,” and she was flippant with FBI interrogators. Of course, she had no way of knowing how the U.S. media was orchestrating the legend of an insidious Tokyo Rose. In the States political cartoons, movies, and newspaper editorials embellished the myth of “Tokyo Rose” as a malevolent seductress who preyed on the loneliness of American fighting men. Her interview with Lee and Brundidge had sealed Toguri’s fate. As far as the U.S. public was concerned, there was only one Tokyo Rose, and she was Iva Toguri d’Aquino.

To be continued


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Iva Toguri Becomes Tokyo Rose

Reporters Encircle "Tokyo Rose"



The cash-for-interview offer was stunning, but Felipe was dubious. He thought there was was something fishy about the offer. Why, he asked, were correspondents offering such a huge sum of money to interview a female radio broadcaster? He told his wife that the money might be a lure to snare a propaganda broadcaster. Maybe the American military did not view Tokyo Rose in the same favorable way Toguri thought of herself. Tokyo Rose was a melded personality made up of several different individuals, how could Toguri be sure that the reporters would accept her rather than June Suyama or Ruth Hayakawa? Despite Felipe’s concerns, Toguri was determined to do the interview and collect the money.  There were other female announcers who could claim the title “Tokyo Rose”.  As far as Toguri was concerned, there was no risk. She and Major Cousens had labored over scripts and her on-air delivery to mold Orphan Ann into a non-threatening buddy, who at worst teased GIs and at best boosted their morale.

    Toguri was wrong, and her husband was right. To some, Tokyo Rose was a propaganda caricature. On August 7, 1945, the Navy had issued a tongue-in-cheek citation to Tokyo Rose for entertaining American troops—for consistently providing “...excellent state-side music, laughter, and news about home.” (Duus, p. 11) But for every solicitous opinion of Tokyo Rose there was a counter sinister point of view. Toguri had no way of knowing that the legend of Tokyo Rose had morphed into a bigger-than-life siren who slept with Prime Minister Tojo, predicted Allied troop movements, and broke the hearts of young GIs with stories of wayward girlfriends. American correspondents scouring Tokyo for Rose weren’t searching for a wise-cracking comedian. They wanted a sensational siren of the Pacific like Mata Hari, the exotic dancer and German World War I spy.
Never the reflective sort, Toguri saw only the wonderful opportunity for her and d’Aquino to buy passage home, and they would have money left over to start a new life in the states. Naiveté and greed are a dangerous combination. Even though Toguri believed her broadcasts were harmless, she had been broadcasting enemy propaganda. Somewhere deep inside her, a caution light had to be blinking. But the hook was well-baited, and, suppressing any inner reservations, Toguri contacted the two correspondents, Clark Lee and Harry Brundidge. A meeting was arranged for the next afternoon at the swanky Imperial Hotel.
When the slight, decidedly unglamorous Iva Toguri walked into their hotel room, Brundidge and Lee were astonished. They were expecting a honey-voiced sexpot, and instead they got a chatterbox who wore her hair in pigtails tied with red ribbon. Years later Toguri said, “It should have been Ava Gardner, but instead it was me.” Disappointed but undaunted, the correspondents were not going to allow reality to spoil a good story. This was the scoop of a lifetime. Harry Brundidge, an associate editor of Cosmopolitan, and Clark Lee, a correspondent for the International News Service, were not about to let it slip away. Brundidge repeated the offer of a $2,000 contract for an exclusive interview with Tokyo Rose. She signed and spent the afternoon dictating her story. She talked about the subversive intent of The Zero Hour, smuggling supplies to POWs, and her experiences with the Japanese secret police.    

When Toguri left Lee turned to Brundidge and said, “This story is a bunch of baloney.” Nevertheless, the next day Lee cabled a story to the Los Angles Examiner. It was titled “Traitor’s Pay—Tokyo Rose 100 Yen a Month—$6.60.” The story was a sensation. 

"Tokyo Rose" now had a face and a name - Iva Toguri

Monday, June 3, 2013

Orphan Ann Scripts

Orphan Ann Broadcasts



 Orphan Ann, Sign In and Sign Off broadcast radio samples. 

Tokyo Rose (alternate spelling Tokio Rose) was a generic name given by Allied forces in the South Pacific during World War II to any of approximately a dozen English-speaking female broadcasters of Japanese propaganda. Their intent was to disrupt the morale of Allied forces listening to the broadcast near the Japanese mainland. (source internet)

Orphan Ann (Sign In): Hello you fighting orphans in the Pacific. Hows tricks? This is 'After Her Weekend Annie back on the air strictly under union hours. Reception okay? Why, it better be, because this is All-Requests night. And I've got a pretty nice program for my favorite little family, the wandering boneheads of the Pacific Islands. The first request is made by none other than the boss. And guess what? He wants Bonnie Baker in "My Resistance is Low". My, what taste you have, sir, she says.

Tokyo Rose

(Sign Off):Thank you, thank you, thank you. That's all for now enemies, but there'll be more the same tomorrow night.Until then, this is Orphan Ann, your number one enemy, reminding you GI -- always to be good! Goodbye now. 

Orphan Ann (Sign In): Greetings, everybody! This is your No. 1 enemy, your favorite playmate, Orphan Ann on Radio Tokyo--the little sunbeam whose throat you'd like to cut! Get ready again for a vicious assault on your morale, 75 minutes of music and news for our friends--I mean, our enemies!--in Australia and in the South Pacific. [Well how are my little darlings, my little (unintelligible)... it poisons the whole system. What you need is a good day, I mean song]. Just relax, all set? Okay, here's the first blow at your morale, here's him singing and singing, "Hey, Pop, I Don't Want to Go to Work." Thanks for listening.


Orphan Ann (Sign Off):That's all for now enemies,but there'll be more the same tomorrow night.Until then, this is Orphan Ann, your number one enemy, reminding you GI -- always to be good! Goodbye now. 

This is your little playmate Orphan Annie, and by the way, wasn't that a lousy program we had last night? It was almost bad enough to be the BBC, or its little sister ABC. (Following the news section read by Ince)…Thank you, thank you, thank you. Now, let's have some real listening music - you can have your swing when I turn you over to Zero Hour. Right now my little orphans, do what mama tells you. Listen to this, Fritz Kreisler playing 'Indian Love Call'…..boy oh boy, it stirs your memories doesn't it? Or haven't you boneheads any memories to stir? You have? Well, here's music 'In a Persian Market' played especially for you by the Boston Pops Orchestra…Orphan to orphan-over'