Tuesday, March 19, 2013



In the aftermath of Pearl Harbor Japan was a dangerous place for Americans.  Fearing for their lives many Nisei renounced their American citizenship, and applied for Japanese citizenship. Tokko keisatsu agents demanded that Toguri do the same.  Life would be easier for her.  She would not have to register as an alien at the police station. She could apply for a travel visa and a ration card.  Most important as a Japanese citizen she would be able to find a job. Toguri refused and the tokko increased the pressure. Mr. Fujiwara, a tokko agent, told her "If you keep your American citizenship there will be all kinds of trouble for you from now on, so it would be smart for you to enter your name on your family register and become a Japanese citizen."  Toguri was steadfast.  She said, "A person born and raised in the United States does not give up his citizenship for a piece of paper."

Toguri asked the agents to inter her in a POW camp with other Americans. The supercilious agents told her she was no security risk. I would cost more to feed her than she was worth.  A more apt punishment was to make her fend for herself.  Finally, out of concern for the safety of her relatives and with her financial resources dwindling Toguri moved out.  Stranded in an enemy country and hounded by tokko keisatsu agents, she was now truly alone.

For three months she searched for a job. Her best opportunity would be as an English translator, but she barely understood Japanese.  At last she found a position as a typist in the monitoring division of the Domei News Agency.  Her job required that she listen to short-wave radio broadcasts from San Francisco and to transcribe items of interest. The pay was five dollars a month, not enough to live on, but she could follow the course of the war.  The dramatic American victory at Midway in June, 1942 lifted her spirits and she believed a U.S. victory was imminent. Unable to suppress her excitement she argued with fellow employees about who was winning the war. Each heated discussion alienated her more and made her new enemies.

To be continued

Quotes: Duus Tokyo Rose, Orphan of the Pacific p. 55