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How 'Tokyo Rose' Became WWII’s Most Notorious Propagandist

How 'Tokyo Rose' Became WWII’s Most Notorious Propagandist


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During World War II, American servicemen regularly huddled around radios to listen to the “Zero Hour,” an English-language news and music program that was produced in Japan and beamed out over the Pacific. The Japanese intended for the show to serve as morale-sapping propaganda, but most G.I.s considered it a welcome distraction from the monotony of their duties. They developed a particular fascination with the show’s husky-voiced female host, who dished out taunts and jokes in between spinning pop records.

“Greetings, everybody!” she said during one broadcast in 1944. “This is your little playmate—I mean your bitter enemy—Ann, with a program of dangerous and wicked propaganda for my victims in Australia and the South Pacific. Stand by, you unlucky creatures, here I go!”

American G.I.s concocted a range of exotic backstories for the woman they called “Tokyo Rose,” but few were stranger than the truth. Her real name was Iva Toguri, and rather than being an enemy agent, she was an American citizen who had found her way onto the radio almost by accident. Most fascinating of all, she would later allege that she had remained loyal to her country by actively working to undermine the message of her propaganda programs.

Born on July 4, 1916, Iva Toguri was the daughter of Japanese immigrants who owned a small import business in Los Angeles. She had spent her youth serving in the Girl Scouts and playing on her school’s tennis team, and later graduated from UCLA with a zoology degree. In 1941, her parents sent her on a trip to Japan to help care for an ailing aunt. The 25-year-old Toguri had never been abroad before and quickly grew homesick, but her problems only mounted that December, when a paperwork problem saw her denied a place on a ship home. Only a few days later, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.

With the United States and Japan at war, Toguri found herself trapped in a country that she barely knew. Japanese military police tried to persuade her to renounce her U.S. citizenship and swear allegiance to Japan—a route many other Americans in Japan took—but she refused. As a result, she was classified as an enemy alien and closely monitored. Toguri spent the next several months living with her relatives, but frequent harassment by neighbors and military police eventually led her to move to Tokyo, where she took a secretarial job. By August 1943, she was working as a typist at the broadcasting organization Radio Tokyo.

It was at Radio Tokyo that Toguri met Major Charles Cousens, an Australian military officer who had been captured in Singapore. Cousens had been a successful radio announcer before the war, and he was now being forced to produce the propaganda show the “Zero Hour” for the Japanese. In defiance of their captors, he and his fellow POWs had been working to sabotage the program by making its message as laughable and harmless as possible.

After befriending Toguri, who occasionally smuggled supplies to him, Cousens hatched a plan to use her on air as a radio announcer. “With the idea that I had in mind of making a complete burlesque of the program, her voice was just what I wanted,” he later said. “It was rough, almost masculine, nothing of a femininely seductive voice. It was the comedy voice that I needed for this particular job.”

While she was initially hesitant to get behind the microphone, Toguri eventually became a key participant in Cousens’ scheme. Starting in November 1943, her “gin-fog” voice was a recurring feature on the “Zero Hour” broadcasts. Toguri adopted the radio handle “Orphan Ann” and grew adept at reading Cousens’ scripts in a joking manner, sometimes even warning her listeners that the show was propaganda.

“So be on your guard, and mind the children don’t hear!” went one introduction. “All set? Okay! Here’s the first blow at your morale—the Boston Pops playing ‘Strike Up the Band!’” In another broadcast, Toguri called her listeners “my favorite family of boneheads, the fighting G.I.s in the blue Pacific.”

The surviving recordings and transcripts of Toguri’s programs indicate that she never threatened her listeners with bombings or taunted them about their wives being unfaithful—two favorite strategies of wartime propagandists—but she wasn’t Japan’s only lady announcer. There were dozens of other English-speaking women who read propaganda, and at least some of them adopted a more sinister tone.

As the war dragged on, American servicemen began referring to the different female voices by a single, infamous nickname: Tokyo Rose. None of the announcers—Toguri included—had ever used the moniker, yet the character became legendary. “Hers was so persuasive a myth that for most Americans she was as famous a Japanese as Emperor Hirohito,” journalist John Leggett later wrote in the New York Times.

Toguri performed her “Orphan Ann” character on the “Zero Hour” for roughly a year and a half, but she appeared with less frequency in the lead-up to the Japanese surrender in August 1945. By then, she had married a Portuguese-Japanese man named Filipe D’Aquino and was looking to return home. She remained in dire financial straits, however, so when two American reporters arrived in Japan and offered $2,000 for an interview with the famous “Tokyo Rose,” she naively stepped forward to recount her story. It would prove to be a disastrous decision.

Once her identity became public, Toguri was made into the poster child for Japan’s wartime propaganda and was arrested on suspicion of treason. She would remain in custody for over a year until a government investigation concluded that her broadcasts had been nothing more than “innocuous” entertainment.

Toguri made an attempt to return home after her release, yet anti-Japanese sentiment in the United States remained high. Several influential figures—among them the legendary radio commentator Walter Winchell—began lobbying the government to reopen the case against her. The campaign worked, and in 1948 Toguri was rearrested and charged with eight counts of treason.

At her trial in San Francisco, Toguri stressed that she had remained loyal to the United States by working to make a farce of her broadcasts. Charles Cousens even came to the United States to testify on her behalf, but the prosecution produced a series of Japanese witnesses who claimed to have heard her make incendiary statements on the air. Much of the case centered on a single broadcast that occurred after the Battle of Leyte Gulf, when she was alleged to have said, “Orphans of the Pacific, you are really orphans now. How will you get home now that your ships are sunk?” The remark, which didn’t appear in any of her show transcripts, proved to be a deciding factor in the case. In October 1949, a jury found her guilty of one count of treason. She was stripped of her American citizenship, given a $10,000 fine and sentenced to 10 years behind bars.

Toguri ultimately spent six years in a women’s prison in West Virginia before being released early in 1956. She reunited with her family, settled in Chicago and began working as an employee at her father business, but her reputation as “Tokyo Rose” continued to follow her. She was forced to fight off a deportation order from the U.S. government, and received no answer from repeated presidential pardon requests.

It was nearly two decades before there was a fresh development in her case. In 1976, two of the key witnesses from her trial admitted that they had been threatened and goaded into testifying against her. “She got a raw deal,” one of them said. “She was railroaded into jail.” Around that same time, the foreman of her jury said that the judge in the case had pressed for a guilty verdict.

With public opinion turning in Toguri’s favor, groups ranging from the California legislature to the Japanese-American Citizens League all endorsed a new petition for a presidential pardon. On January 19, 1977, in one of his last acts in office, President Gerald Ford granted the request. Toguri, who was then 60 years old, was exonerated of treason and restored her American citizenship.

“It is hard to believe,” she said at the time. “But I have always maintained my innocence—this pardon is a measure of vindication.” The woman once known as “Tokyo Rose” later returned to private life in Chicago, where she died in 2006.


Iva Toguri was born on July 4, 1916, to Japanese immigrant parents. The family resided in Los Angeles, California. Growing up, Iva’s father discouraged his children from engaging in Japanese activities, wanting the family to appear as American as possible. This meant Iva wasn’t allowed to speak Japanese or attend cultural events, and her meals were often a blend of Asian and Western cuisine.

In 1941, Iva’s parents sent her to Japan to care for her ailing aunt, who was bedridden with high blood pressure and diabetes. Travel to Japan was fraught with difficulties by that time, as it and the U.S. weren’t on the best terms. As such, Japanese-Americans fell under suspicion whenever they requested travel documents.

Photo Credit: Pictorial Parade / Getty Images

Iva traveled to Japan with a Certificate of Identification, as she didn’t possess a passport. She had a hard time adjusting to life there, as she was unable to speak the language and found people to be “discourteous.”

The language barrier was her biggest hurdle, as she couldn’t read local newspapers and learn that tensions between Japan and America were reaching a boiling point.


TOYKO ROSE – MOST NOTORIOUS WWII PROPANGANDIST

During World War II, radio propaganda was running rampant, but perhaps no more prevalent than Japanese Broadcaster Iva Toguri aka Tokyo Rose. Toguri was born July 4th, 1916 in Los Angeles California and grew up in the States. Toguri attended college at UCLA and graduated with a degree in Zoology. After graduating college in 1941, her parents sent her on a trip to Japan to help take care of an ailing aunt.

Problems started for Toguri in December 1941, when a paperwork problem saw her denied her a place on the ship headed back to the States and only a few days after, Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. With the United States and Japan at war, Toguri was trapped in Japan. Japanese military police try to persuade Toguri to renounce her citizenship from the USA to Japan but Toguri refused. Toguri spend the next several months living with family and taking a secretarial job. By 1943, Toguri was working as a typist at Radio Tokyo. While working at Radio Tokyo, Toguri met Major Charles Cousens. Cousens, an Australian military officer who was captured. Before the war, Cousens was a successful radio announcer but now he was being forced to produce a propaganda show called “Zero Hour”. Cousens hatched a plan to use her on air as a radio announcer.

Toguri was initially hesitant to get behind the microphone, she eventually became a key participant in Cousens’s scheme. Starting in November 1943, her voice was a recurring feature on the “Zero Hour” broadcasts. Toguri adopted the radio handle “Orphan Ann” and sometimes even warning her listeners that the show was propaganda. “So be on your guard and mind the children don’t hear!” went one introduction. “All set? Okay! Here’s the first blow at your morale—the Boston Pops playing ‘Strike Up the Band!’” In another broadcast, Toguri called her listeners “my favorite family of boneheads, the fighting G.I.s in the blue Pacific.” Robert White, one of the aerial gunners says “he use to listen to Tokyo Rose and he would listen to her, and she would always start the “Zero Hour” and she would start out by saying “Hey Boys! This is your old friend, Orphan Ann, I have some swale records just in from the states, you better listen to them while you can, because our flyers are coming over to bomb the 43rd group while you all are asleep, so listen while you are still alive!

The surviving recordings and transcripts of Toguri’s programs indicate that she never threatened her listeners with bombings or taunted them about their wives being unfaithful—two favorite strategies of wartime propagandists. Toguri performed her “Orphan Ann” character on the “Zero Hour” for roughly a year and a half, but she appeared with less frequency in the lead-up to the Japanese surrender in August 1945. While still in Japan, two American reporters arrived in Japan and offered $2,000 for an interview with the famous “Tokyo Rose,” she naively stepped forward to recount her story. It would prove to be a disastrous decision. Once her identity became public, Toguri was made into the poster child for Japan’s wartime propaganda and was arrested on suspicion of treason. Toguri made an attempt to return home after her release, yet anti-Japanese sentiment in the United States remained high. Several influential figures—among them the legendary radio commentator Walter Winchell—began lobbying the government to reopen the case against her. The campaign worked, and in 1948 Toguri was rearrested and charged with eight counts of treason.

At her trial in San Francisco, Toguri stressed that she had remained loyal to the United States by working to make a farce of her broadcasts. Charles Cousens even came to the United States to testify on her behalf, but the prosecution produced a series of Japanese witnesses who claimed to have heard her make incendiary statements on the air. In October 1949, a jury found her guilty of one count of treason. She was stripped of her American citizenship, given a $10,000 fine and sentenced to ten years behind bars. Toguri ultimately spent six years in a women’s prison in West Virginia before being released early in 1956.

It was nearly two decades before there was a fresh development in her case. In 1976, two of the key witnesses from her trial admitted that they had been threatened and goaded into testifying against her. “She got a raw deal,” one of them said. “She was railroaded into jail.” Around that same time, the foreman of her jury said that the judge in the case had pressed for a guilty verdict.

On January 19, 1977, in one of his last acts in office, President Gerald Ford granted the request. Toguri, who was then 60 years old, was exonerated of treason and restored her American citizenship. The woman once known as “Tokyo Rose” later returned to private life in Chicago, where she died in 2006.


President Ford pardons Tokyo Rose

President Gerald R. Ford pardons Tokyo Rose. Although the nickname originally referred to several Japanese women who broadcast Axis propaganda over the radio to Allied troops during World War II, it eventually became synonymous with a Japanese-American woman named Iva Toguri. On the orders of the Japanese government, Toguri and other women broadcast sentimental American music and phony announcements regarding U.S. troop losses in a vain attempt to destroy the morale of Allied soldiers.

An American citizen born in Los Angeles, Toguri was in Japan at the time the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. She graduated from UCLA in 1940 and hoped to become a doctor, but when an elderly aunt living in Japan became ill, Toguri’s family sent Toguri to take care of her. She left the United States in July 1941 carrying an identification card, but no passport. When rumblings of war between Japan and the U.S. reached a crescendo later that year, she tried to return to the U.S. but was denied because she did not have proof of citizenship.

Toguri experienced alienation in both the U.S. and Japan. Although an American citizen, she frequently encountered anti-Japanese racism while living in California. For their part, the Japanese government considered her an enemy alien and unsuccessfully tried to force her to renounce her U.S. citizenship. They also refused her request to be interned as a foreign national. Left to fend for herself in Japan, she found a job as a translator and typist for Radio Tokyo. Privately, Toguri refused to stifle her pro-American views on the war and as a result earned the trust of two Allied POWs who were forced to work at the station. The POWs were tortured until they agreed to write phony reports of Allied troop movements and casualty reports that a number of unidentified Tokyo Roses then broadcast. When the war ended, intense efforts to capture the notorious broadcasters began.

Upon her capture in 1945, Toguri insisted that she was forced into her traitorous role by the Japanese government and swore that she had never broadcast false military reports, limiting her shows to light musical fare while smuggling food and medicine to the Allied POWs. Nevertheless, Toguri was labeled a traitor for airing songs like My Resistance is Low. After a year’s imprisonment in Japan, Toguri was released and returned to the United States, only to be promptly re-arrested for treason. The judge, who later admitted having anti-Japanese prejudice, sentenced her to 10 years in prison and fined her $10,000. She was released early in 1956 for good behavior, but was immediately given an order deporting her back to Japan. Over the next 20 years, Toguri fought for a pardon from three presidential administrations with the help of family members, attorneys and the POWs she had helped at Radio Tokyo. Finally in 1977, after an episode of 60 Minutes was broadcast revealing Toguri’s true story and highlighting her ongoing fight for justice, President Gerald Ford granted her clemency just before leaving office. Toguri died in 2006.


How “Tokyo Rose” Became WWII’s Most Notorious Propagandist

PO1 William "Chip" Nagel

During World War II, American servicemen regularly huddled around radios to listen to the “Zero Hour,” an English-language news and music program that was produced in Japan and beamed out over the Pacific. The Japanese intended for the show to serve as morale-sapping propaganda, but most G.I.s considered it a welcome distraction from the monotony of their duties. They developed a particular fascination with the show’s husky-voiced female host, who dished out taunts and jokes in between spinning pop records. “Greetings, everybody!” she said during one broadcast in 1944. “This is your little playmate—I mean your bitter enemy—Ann, with a program of dangerous and wicked propaganda for my victims in Australia and the South Pacific. Stand by, you unlucky creatures, here I go!”

American G.I.s concocted a range of exotic backstories for the woman they called “Tokyo Rose,” but few were stranger than the truth. Her real name was Iva Toguri, and rather than being an enemy agent, she was an American citizen who had found her way onto the radio almost by accident. Most fascinating of all, she would later allege that she had remained loyal to her country by actively working to undermine the message of her propaganda programs.

How “Tokyo Rose” Became WWII’s Most Notorious Propagandist


The Real Story Of "Tokyo Rose"

The myth of the "Tokyo Rose" can first be traced back to American soldiers stationed in Japan during WW2. Too far from home to be able to tune into US radio, they were at the mercy of Japanese entertainment. The Japanese quickly cottoned onto this and allowed American GIs to listen to their favourite songs…at a price.

The music was introduced by the voice of a mysterious woman — she spoke English but also predicted America's fall and the imment deaths of the listening GIs. Not exactly ideal dinner guest material. This woman became known as "Tokyo Rose" and soon became a notorious and hated symbol of the war.

When the war ended, Tokyo Rose lived on, her story now told in hushed tones and with an air of bitter resentment toward this war criminal who had alluded justice. Hollywood even turned its attention to this villainess in 1946 with the aptly titled movie Tokyo Rose: the film's hero is a GI on the hunt to kill the venomous Tokyo Rose.

This bitch, am I right?

But here's the thing. Tokyo Rose wasn't just one woman. She was many.

The voice of "Tokyo Rose" belonged to American Japanese women who had been in the wrong place at the wrong time and were now stuck behind enemy lines and faced with a choice. The most infamous of these women is Iva Toguri D’Aquino.

Iva Toguri D’Aquino — just look at all that evil.

Ironically born on Independence Day in 1916, Iva Toguri D’Aquino would grow up to be one of America’s greatest "traitors."

Iva grew up in LA, where she was a popular but average high school student. In 1941, newly graduated from college, the now-25-year-old traveled to Japan at the request of her parents to care for her sick aunt.

Though she had never traveled outside of America, Iva hopped on a plane, keen to care for ailing aunt. But she couldn’t settle in Japan and grew desperately homesick. After a few months, Iva packed up and bought a ticket back to US soil. But her plans were scuppered when a paperwork mix-up prevented her from boarding the boat back to America. It was a setback, but Iva was determined to get another ticket, eager to return to the US.

And then Pearl Harbor happened.

well shit
Iva Toguri D’Aquino was now trapped. An American citizen in enemy waters.

But she was tough. When military police asked her to renounce her US citizenship, she refused. Even following harassment and her relatives' pleas, she refused. And so Iva was kicked out of her relatives' house.

Now homeless, branded an enemy alien and denied rations, Iva was having, by all accounts, a shit holiday. But still she didn’t give in.

Don’t let the smile fool you. She has balls of steel.

By 1943, Iva was living in Tokyo, still refusing to renounce her US citizenship. She supported herself working as a secretary for news companies, eventually securing a job at Radio Tokyo. Along with its usual output, Radio Tokyo also produced propaganda programming aimed directly at American troops who had nothing better to do but listen in. These shows were created and hosted by Allied Prisoners of War, who were forced to now work against their own side.

One of the radio program, Zero Hour, was produced by a group of POWs from America, Australia and the Philippines, with the team headed up by Australian army major Charles Cousens. Iva and Cousens already knew each other, because Iva had smuggled food to POWs on several occasions.

Upon arriving at Radio Tokyo, Cousens quickly picked out Iva, thanks to her unique husky voice, and he requested that she come and work on Zero Hour.

Now here’s something to know: Zero Hour wasn’t actually propaganda. It was meant to be, but….Cousens and his team were instead covertly working to undermine Zero Hour and fill it in jokes mocking its own propaganda.

It was a pretty ballsy move. But Cousens and his team weren’t happy with just mocking their enemy, they also wanted to produce a quality comedy program! Which is why they were interested in Iva. Cousens felt her trademark husky growl would be the final touch to tip Zero Hour into full-on farce (nice guy, that Cousens).

After a lot of persuasion, Iva joined the Zero Hour team, donning the persona of "Orphan Ann." She directed messages to her "fellow Orphans," took part in skits, and regularly introduced propaganda with more than a telling nod: "Here’s the first blow at your morale!" (Iva wasn’t known for subtle satire.)

All in all, Iva took part on several hundred broadcasts over three years. During her spell as a presenter on Zero Hour, she also met her husband, Felipe D’Aquino, who, like her, was trapped in enemy land. (D'Aquino was a Portuguese citizen with Japanese ancestry.)

Iva and Felipe tried continuously to get passage back to America, but Iva was still branded an enemy alien by the Japanese government. Iva’s financial situation was dire. Sadly, things didn’t change for Iva following the Japanese surrender to America in 1945. She remained broke and far from home.

There seemed to be little hope in sight until one day two American reporters from Cosmopolitan turned up at Iva’s doorstep offering her several thousand dollars for an interview with the real Tokyo Rose.

Now, Iva had never referred to herself on air as Tokyo Rose, but the considerable cash on offer would help get her the hell out of dodge. What harm could it really do?

You know the answer here. (It’s "a lot.")

You see, the reporter from Cosmopolitan hadn’t actually got editorial sign-off on Iva’s pretty hefty fee (whoops!). So the magazine did whatever it could to get out of its exclusive contract, eventually duping Iva into giving a press conference to other journalists — thus making her violate her exclusive Cosmo contract and lose the money.

Not only that, but in the finished article, the journalist pretty much left out any mention of Iva deliberately undermining the propaganda she delivered — effectively turning the article into Iva’s confession. And so in 1945, Iva was arrested.

And you thought the worst thing Cosmo did was constant dieting tips.

Iva was released without any charges a year later in 1946. (That's right, a year later.) She want back to life with her husband and hoped for normality. The pair tried to settle in Japan, but their hopes for starting a family were shattered when, still weakened from prison, Iva gave birth to a child who died not long after.

Meanwhile, America hadn’t forgotten Tokyo Rose. A campaign against Iva was gaining momentum, and in 1948, the American citizenship Iva had worked so hard to keep meant that she was dragged back to US soil and, under great public pressure, was promptly put on trial for treason.

In 1949, Iva went on trial. She was the seventh person in American history to be tried for treason, in what — at the time — was the most costly court case in history. The jury was all white, and no actual broadcast evidence was to be shown. It’s safe to say that things weren’t looking good for Iva.

Over the course of 13 weeks, Iva was charged with eight counts of treason. She pled her innocence throughout, with the Zero Hour crew flying out to the trial in San Francisco to give evidence on her behalf. Charles Cousens even flew from Australia to speak in her defence, outlining the farcical undercurrent of the show. But then the prosecution conjured a series of Japanese witnesses and it was game over.

The witnesses testified to Iva voicing strong anti-American sentiments on the show, with the final nail in her coffin being witness evidence that following the Battle of Leyte Gulf (which saw over 2,000 Allied casualties and 12,000 Japense casualties), Iva went on air and crowed:

"Orphans of the Pacific, you are really orphans now. How will you get home now that your shisp are sunk?"

There were, of course, no transcripts or audio record to back this claim up. Nonetheless, in October 1949, Iva was found guilty of treason. She was fined $10,000, sentenced to 10 years in prison, and stripped of the American citizenship she had fought so hard for.

Iva was released for good behaviour after six years in a Virginia woman’s prison. Once again deportation loomed, but Iva battled to stay in America. Working with her husband, she successfully argued for her right to stay, citing her father's valid US citizenship. Her stay was granted. Her husband's was not. This time, the distance was too great, and the pair amicably split.

Iva went to live with her family in Chicago, where she quietly and peacefully lived out much of the rest of her life. Then, in 1976, two of the key witnesses in Iva’s trial spoke out and admitted to being forced into giving false testimony.

In 1977, Iva received a presidential pardon. By 2006, the tide had fully turned. That same year was Iva’s 80th birthday, and the World War ll Veterans Committee honored her with an award for her bravery, patriotism, and spirit. She described it as the most memorable day of her life.

This post originally appeared on F Yeah History and is reprinted here with permission.


Tokyo Rose (WWII Japanese Propaganda)

During War time Radio became an important propaganda tool. One of the most notorious efforts was Tokyo Rose.

21 old time radio show recordings
(total playtime 7 hours, 39 min)
available in the following formats:

Text on OTRCAT.com ©2001-2021 OTRCAT INC All Rights Reserved. Reproduction is prohibited.

WWII Japanese Propaganda Shows

American born, Iva Toguri D'Aquino was visiting an ill aunt in Japan during the attack on Pearl Harbor. Unable to return to the US and in need of money, she searched for work. With her husky voice and sense of humor Iva secured a job at Tokyo Radio broadcasting Japanese propaganda. American troops tuned in, enjoying her bawdy sense of humor and sultry ways. Billed as Orphan Ann, she began her shows with, "Hello boys. This is the voice you love to hate. Iva was later put on trial for being the "Tokyo Rose. After questioning of whether she was the Toyko Rose, Iva answered yes, thinking that Rose was an endearing character to the Americans. Wrong. Although there was no actual one Tokyo Rose, Iva was convicted of treason and sentenced to 10 years in jail though she was released after 6 for good behavior. In the 1970's, President Ford pardoned her thus clearing her name.

Text on OTRCAT.com ©2001-2021 OTRCAT INC All Rights Reserved. Reproduction is prohibited.

"Tokyo Rose is a name that American GIs invented during WWII to refer to a handful Japanese female voices broadcasting on Japanese radio. Although the shows were created to lower American morale, GIs positioned in the Pacific enjoyed tuning in. To make the boys homesick, these Japanese propaganda shows played American music and told stories of GIs' women cavorting with other men at home. Foumy (Madame Tojo), Saisho and Myrtle (Little Margie) Lipton, and Iva Toguri D'Aquino (Orphan Ann) were among the favorite women broadcasters.

To enjoy more WWII propaganda broadcasts, tune in to Charlie and His Orchestra, a German show broadcast for and American Forces. (Please note that many of the rare recordings in this collection may be of inferior sound quality.)

For more WWII era Axis proganda also: Lord Haw Haw , Axis Sally , and Charlie and his Orchestra .


Tokyo Rose was Orphan Ann(ie)?

So this one is an interesting twist. And, I happened to run across this by accident.

I was recently watching the 2001 movie "Pearl Harbor," which features Ben Affleck and Josh Hartnett. In the scene where the Army pilots with the Doolittle Raid are on the aircraft carrier just before they launch, you hear a slightly Japanese accented voice speaking English over the radio. She says, "This is Orphan Annie from Radio Tokyo. This is for the Army boys in the South Pacific: 'Watch out! The enemy will get you."

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Wow! I can't say that I ever remember that from this movie. Of course, the person that is being depicted on the radio is the infamous "Tokyo Rose." She was a Japanese propagandist who broadcast over the airways within range of the American forces. The broadcasts were intended to demoralize the American troops, and were used as an early method of psychological warfare.

However, this is the first time that I have heard "Tokyo Rose" refer to herself as "Orphan Annie." This is a new one for me. However, what I find most interesting is not only the name but what she says in this particular scene. Rose is CLEARLY referencing the James Whitcomb Riley "Little Orphant Annie" poem here - - NOT the Harold Gray comic strip, "Little Orphan Annie." So I find that part - fascinating. The phrase, "Watch out the enemy will get you" - is a play on Riley's popular phrase: "An' the gobblins will get you, ef you don't watch out!" Of course, we have to remember - this is a movie - and movies tend to embellish history with drama to make the story interesting - - so how much of this is based on fact.

Well I would have to listen to a lot of radio programs to find out if this exact phrase was ever used. However, I do know that in an interview with one woman who was a "Tokyo Rose" - she did in fact sign off on her programs with the following phrase: “This is your No. 1 enemy, Orphan Annie, reminding GIs, always be good.”

So this is fairly close. By "reminding GIs, alway be good" - it could still be a reference to Riley's poem. That Little Orphant Annie character charged her listeners to (paraphrased): mind your parents, and teachers fond and dear, and cherish them that love you and dry the orphan's tear, and help the poor and needy ones that cluster all about, or the gobblins will get you if you don't watch out. In essence she is saying - be good, which is the total jist of the Riley poem.

However, the movie doesn't have it totally correct.

The Doolittle Raid took place on April 18, 1942. But, the female Japanese Propagandist who called herself "Orphan Ann" - and sometimes "Orphan Annie" - did not start broadcasting until November 1943. That doesn't mean there wasn't a "Tokyo Rose" at that time - it just means it wasn't the "Tokyo Rose" who called herself, "Orphan Ann."

The real "Tokyo Rose" was really many different women who broadcast on Japanese radio. A History Channel article by Evan Andrews that was written about the character states: There were dozens of English-speaking women who read propaganda. As the war dragged on, American servicemen began referring to the different female voices by a single, infamous nickname: Tokyo Rose. However, none of the announcers—had ever used the moniker, yet the character became legendary.

While the Japanese intended for these radio shows to serve as morale-sapping propaganda, most G.I.s considered it a welcome distraction from the monotony of their duties. One in particular has been identified. Her name was Iva Toguri, and she was actually an American.

Iva was born to Japanese immigrants in Los Angeles on July 4, 1916. Andrews' article states: "She had spent her youth serving in the Girl Scouts and playing on her school’s tennis team, and later graduated from UCLA with a zoology degree. In 1941, her parents sent her on a trip to Japan to help care for an ailing aunt. The 25-year-old Toguri had never been abroad before and quickly grew homesick, but her problems only mounted that December, when a paperwork problem saw her denied a place on a ship home. Only a few days later, the Japanese bombed Pear Harbor."

A Biography.com article from 2018 states: "Japanese secret police came and visited her to demand that she renounce her U.S. citizenship and pledge loyalty to the Japanese emperor. She refused. She became an enemy alien and was denied a food ration card. She left her aunts and moved to a boarding house (in Tokyo). By August 1943, she was working as a typist at the broadcasting organization Radio Tokyo, and this would be where she would ultimately appear on the air as "Orphan Ann(ie)."

At Radio Tokyo she met Major Charles Cousens, an Australian military officer who had been captured in Singapore. Cousens had been a successful radio announcer before the war, and now - he was being forced to produce a propaganda show called the “Zero Hour.” However, in defiance of their captors, Cousens and his fellow POWs had been working to sabotage the program by making its message as laughable and harmless as possible. After befriending Toguri, who occasionally smuggled supplies to him, Cousens hatched a plan to use her on air as a radio announcer. “With the idea that I had in mind of making a complete burlesque of the program, her voice was just what I wanted,” he later said. “It was rough, almost masculine, nothing of a femininely seductive voice. It was the comedy voice that I needed for this particular job.”While she was initially hesitant to get behind the microphone, Toguri eventually became a key participant in Cousens’ scheme. Starting in November 1943, her “gin-fog” voice was a recurring feature on the “Zero Hour” broadcasts.

However, what is almost just as interesting was how Toguri ended up being called "Orphan Ann." According to a book by Frederick Close on Tokyo Rose, the scripts that Cousens wrote used "ANN" as the abbreviation for "Announcer." However, Toguri, who was completely inexperienced, read outloud: "ANN will read the following" the first time she broadcast. Immediately, she realized her mistake and ad libbed that this was Ann speaking. Cousens found "Ann" as a radio name "insipid and dull." However, Toguri remembered Harold Gray's "Orphan Annie," which was one of the top five American cartoon strips when she left the US. Her loneliness and isolation in Japan caused her to identify with the title character. So she decided when she broadcast on the "Zero Hour" she would refer to herself as "Orphan Ann" and to her GI listeners as "my favorite orphans." (Close, Tokyo Rose).

So in this case, we know that Tokyo's "Orphan Ann" was connecting to the Harold Gray character. We also know that she would sometimes refer to herself as "Orphan Annie." So at least we can connect Toyko Rose to the Comic Strip Annie. However, Iva Toguri's story is just beginning.

Toguri grew adept at reading Cousens’ scripts in a joking manner, sometimes even warning her listeners that the show was propaganda. “So be on your guard, and mind the children don’t hear!” went one introduction. “All set? Okay! Here’s the first blow at your morale—the Boston Pops playing ‘Strike Up the Band!’” In another broadcast, Toguri called her listeners “my favorite family of boneheads, the fighting G.I.s in the blue Pacific.” (Andrews, History Channel).

Toguri would be on the the "Zero Hour" program for a year and a half and would make 340 different broadcasts, but she desperately wanted to return to America (Biography). She would meet her journalist husband, Filipe Dɺquino, a Portugese-Japanese man, and would marry him in 1945 - just before America dropped the bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Even though she wanted to return home, she did not know what had happened to her family. She had not heard from her parents since 1942. What she didn't know was they had been rounded up and sent to an internment camp in Arizona. All she knew was all communication had stopped (Biography).

After the war, Iva and her husband were in dire financial straits. It was then that two American reporters, following the occupation army, arrived in Japan and offered $2,000 for an interview with the famous “Tokyo Rose.” Needing the money, Iva naively stepped forward to recount her story. It would prove to be a disastrous decision (Andrews, History Channel).

Once her identity became public, Toguri was made into the poster child for Japan’s wartime propaganda, and she was immediately arrested on suspicion of treason. She would remain in custody for over a year until a government investigation concluded that her broadcasts had been nothing more than “innocuous” entertainment. (Andrews, History Channel)


Born Mildred Elizabeth Sisk in Portland, Maine, she took the surname Gillars in 1911 after her mother remarried. [3] [4] Her family resided in Bellevue, Ohio where her father was a dentist. At 16, she moved to Conneaut, Ohio, with her family. [4] In 1918, she enrolled at Ohio Wesleyan University to study dramatic arts, but left without graduating. [3]

She then moved to Greenwich Village, New York City, where she worked in various low-skilled jobs to finance drama lessons. She toured with stock companies and appeared in vaudeville but she was unable to establish a theatrical career. [5] She also worked as an artist's model for sculptor Mario Korbel, but was unable to find regular employment, so in 1929, she moved to France and lived in Paris for six months. [6]

In 1933, she left the United States again, residing first in Algiers, where she found work as a dressmaker's assistant. [7] [8] In 1934, she moved to Dresden, Germany, to study music, and was later employed as a teacher of English at the Berlitz School of Languages in Berlin.

In 1940, she obtained work as an announcer with the Reichs-Rundfunk-Gesellschaft (RRG), German State Radio.

By 1941, the US State Department was advising American nationals to leave Germany and German controlled territories. However, Gillars chose to remain because her fiancé, Paul Karlson, a naturalized German citizen, said he would never marry her if she returned to the United States. Shortly afterwards, Karlson was sent to aid the German war effort in the Eastern Front, where he was killed in action. [9]

Gillars' broadcasts initially were largely apolitical. This changed in 1942 when Max Otto Koischwitz, the program director in the USA Zone at the RRG, cast Gillars in a new show called Home Sweet Home. She soon acquired several names amongst her GI audience, including the "Bitch of Berlin," [2] Berlin Babe, Olga, and Sally, but the one most common was "Axis Sally". This name probably came when, asked on air to describe herself, Gillars said she was "the Irish type… a real Sally." [9]

In 1943, an Italian-American woman, Rita Zucca, also began broadcasting to American forces from Rome, using the name "Sally". The two often were confused with each other and even thought by many to be one and the same though Gillars was annoyed another woman was broadcasting under her name. [9]

Gillars' main programs from Berlin were:

  • Home Sweet Home Hour, from December 24, 1942, until 1945, [10] a regular propaganda program aimed at making U.S. forces in Europe feel homesick. A running theme of these broadcasts was the infidelity of soldiers' wives and sweethearts while the listeners were stationed in Europe and North Africa. She questioned whether the women would remain faithful, "especially if you boys get all mutilated and do not return in one piece". [11] Opening with the sound of a train whistle, Home Sweet Home attempted to exploit the fears of American soldiers about the home front. The broadcasts were designed to make soldiers feel doubt about their mission, their leaders, and their prospects after the war. [12]
  • Midge at the Mike, [2] broadcast from March to late fall 1943, [10] in which she played American songs interspersed with defeatist propaganda, anti-Semitic rhetoric and attacks on Franklin D. Roosevelt. [8]
  • GI's Letter-box and Medical Reports (1944), [10] directed at the U.S. home audience in which Gillars used information on wounded and captured U.S. airmen to cause fear and worry in their families. After D-Day (June 6, 1944), Gillars and Koischwitz worked for a time from Chartres and Paris for this purpose, visiting hospitals and interviewing POWs, [13] falsely claiming to be a representative of the International Red Cross. [14] In 1943, they had toured POW camps in Germany, interviewing captured Americans and recording their messages for their families in the US. The interviews were then edited for broadcast as though the speakers were well-treated or sympathetic to the Nazi cause.

Gillars made her most famous broadcast on May 11, 1944, a few weeks prior to the D-Day invasion of Normandy, France, in a radio play written by Koischwitz, Vision of Invasion. She played Evelyn, an Ohio mother, who dreams that her son had died a horrific death on a ship in the English Channel during an attempted invasion of Occupied Europe. [5]

Koischwitz died in August 1944 and Gillars' broadcasts became lackluster and repetitive without his creative energy. She remained in Berlin until the end of the war. Her last broadcast was on May 6, 1945, just two days before the Nazi surrender. [15]

The US attorney general dispatched prosecutor Victor C. Woerheide to Berlin to find and arrest Gillars. He and Counterintelligence Corps special agent Hans Winzen had only one solid lead: Raymond Kurtz, a B-17 pilot shot down by the Germans, recalled that a woman who had visited his prison camp seeking interviews was the broadcaster who called herself "Midge at the Mike". According to Kurtz, the woman had used the alias Barbara Mome. Woerheide organised wanted posters with Gillars' picture to put up in Berlin, but the breakthrough came when he was informed that a woman calling herself "Barbara Mome" was selling her furniture at second-hand markets around the city. A shop owner who was found selling a table belonging to Gillars was detained, and under "intensive interrogation" [ citation needed ] revealed Gillars' address. When she was arrested on March 15, 1946, Gillars only asked to take with her a picture of Koischwitz. [9]

She was then held by the Counterintelligence Corps at Camp King, Oberursel, along with collaborators Herbert John Burgman and Donald S. Day, until she was conditionally released from custody on December 24, 1946. However, she declined to leave military detention. [16] She was abruptly re-arrested on January 22, 1947 after being offered conditional release by America [17] at the request of the Justice Department and was eventually flown to America to await trial on charges of aiding the German troops on August 21, 1948. [18]

Gillars was thereafter indicted on September 10, 1948, and charged with ten counts of treason, but only eight were proceeded with at her trial, which began on January 25, 1949. The prosecution relied on the large number of her programs recorded by the Federal Communications Commission, stationed in Silver Hill, Maryland, to show her active participation in propaganda activities directed at the United States. It was also shown that she had taken an oath of allegiance to the Führer Adolf Hitler. [19] The defense stated that her broadcasts stated unpopular opinions but did not amount to treasonable conduct. It was also argued that she was under the hypnotic influence of Koischwitz and therefore not fully responsible for her actions until after his death. [20] On March 10, 1949, the jury convicted Gillars on just one count of treason, [21] that of making the Vision of Invasion broadcast. She was sentenced to 10 to 30 years in prison, [22] [23] and a $10,000 fine. In 1950, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia upheld the conviction. [24]

Gillars served her sentence at the Federal Reformatory for Women in Alderson, West Virginia. She became eligible for parole in 1959, but did not apply until 1961. [25] She was released on June 10, 1961. [26] [27]

Having converted to Roman Catholicism while in prison, Gillars went to live at the Our Lady of Bethlehem Convent in Columbus, Ohio, and taught German, French, and music at St. Joseph Academy, Columbus. [28]

In 1973, she returned to Ohio Wesleyan University to complete her degree, a Bachelor of Arts in speech. [29]

Gillars died of colon cancer at Grant Medical Center in Columbus on June 25, 1988. [3] [9]

Gillars' postwar trial is the subject of the 2021 legal drama American Traitor: The Trial of Axis Sally. [ citation needed ]


Tokyo Rose – The Traitor From Tokyo – Convicted AND Pardoned

Who is Tokyo Rose? Was she just an engrossing DJ working from a radio booth or was she a dangerous propagandist who undermined the morale of the US troops during the bitter years of the Second World War?

It can be remembered that Iva Toguri d’Aquino, known as Tokyo Rose, was convicted of treason way back in 1949 for her radio work which many believed at that time to be leaning towards Japanese propaganda. She was freed from imprisonment in 1956 then, on January 19, 1977, she received the official pardon clearing her out from her vicious role during WWII as the case of treason against her appeared to be less clear-cut.

Even until now, historians are divided over Tokyo Rose — was she a nefarious propagandist or just an innocent radio host?

Knowing Tokyo Rose

Iva Toguri d’Aquino or Tokyo Rose, as she was infamously known

Iva Toguri d’Aquino may have been a full-bloodied Japanese but she was born and raised in the US and grew up devotedly patriotic to the country. She earned her zoology degree from UCLA in and was doing graduate work in the said institution when her life took an unexpected turn.

She went to Japan for a visit, either to study medicine or visit a sick relative depending on whose account you believe – the government’s or hers, when she got stuck in the country as the Second World War broke out.

Then and there, the troubles started.

Iva took a job as a disc jockey for Radio Tokyo and, like any other radio programs, she played entertaining yet mushy American songs. The difference was, in between these songs were the DJ’s banters — chitchats that were either just teasingly entertaining to deliberate attempts at sabotaging the morale of the US soldiers listening to the program. Iva had taken the DJ name Orphan Ann but became more popularly known and referred to as Tokyo Rose.

The United States Army’s own investigation into the the program of Tokyo Rose came to the conclusion that it never hurt the morale of the soldiers. As a matter of fact, according to the FBI, it could have been one of the factors which bolstered their spirits up during the war.

However, when WWII ended and Iva sought permission to return to America, she was met with a very strong public outcry with so many US soldiers coming out and damning her and the statements which she had uttered on air as Tokyo Rose. Because of this, she was tried of treason and found guilty on one count — for “[speaking] into a microphone concerning the loss of ships,” as stated by the FBI.

Tokyo Rose arrest and trial after WWII

Iva was sentenced to ten years imprisonment she served six years of that said sentence.

According to Ann Elizabeth Pfau, author of the book Miss Yourlovin: GIs, Gender and Domesticity during World War II, the main problem of the treason case against Miss d’Aquino was the fact that arguably, the air name Tokyo Rose may have signified someone or something else other than the woman put under trial herself — Iva.

Miss Pfau pointed out that Tokyo Rose may have been a fusion of several English-speaking women speaking in Japanese radio with some being more subversive compared to the others. The author also asserted that there was also the possibility that the American servicemen may have entirely invented the whole “Tokyo Rose” thing as they channeled their fears and anger towards the discarnate voices they heard over their radios during those times.

As what Miss Pfau pointed out in her writing:

“Like all legends, Tokyo Rose has basis in historical fact. Toguri’s “Orphan Ann” segments were sandwiched between propaganda-tinged news, skits, and commentary. However, the bare facts of Japanese broadcasts do not account for the radio personality so many servicemen talked about, wrote about, and still remember. Rather, this legend was born of emotions, like anger, alienation, and anxiety — feelings about the war, the military, and American civilians that soldiers were otherwise unable or unwilling to acknowledge.”

While it was true that one veteran did testify that d’Aquino in her Tokyo Rose told the American troops on air that the island of Saipan was heavily mined and if that they wouldn’t leave the place, they would all be “blown sky high”, the recordings and transcripts of her broadcasts revealed that the worst threats Tokyo Rose shared on air were “creeping up and annihilating them [the soldiers] with [her] nail file” all the while lulling them from their senses by playing the Victor Herbert waltz’s Kiss Me Again.

So, was Tokyo Rose really guilty of treason during the war years?


Watch the video: Donald Duck Nazi Episode with Prologue Speech der Fuehrers Face 1943 (June 2022).


Comments:

  1. Kral

    You are not right. I'm sure. I invite you to discuss.

  2. Moran

    and how in such a case it is necessary to enter?

  3. Owen

    Without intelligence ...

  4. Quenton

    Anything!



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