Tokyo Rose (alternative spelling Tokio Rose) was a generic name given by Allied troops in the South Pacific during World War II to what they believed were multiple English-speaking female broadcasters of Japanese propaganda. The broadcasts were aimed at Allied forces in the Pacific, with the intent of lowering morale.1 "American servicemen in the Pacific often listened to the propaganda broadcasts to get a sense, by reading between the lines, of the effect of their military actions."2 "She often undermined the anti-American scripts by reading them in a playful, tongue-in-cheek fashion, even going as far as to warn her listeners to expect a “subtle attack” on their morale."3
"Farther from the action, stories circulated that Tokyo Rose could be unnervingly accurate, naming units and even individual servicemen";2 though such stories have never been substantiated by documents such as scripts and recorded broadcasts, they have been reflected in popular books and films such as Flags of Our Fathers.4 Similar rumors surround the propaganda broadcasts of Lord Haw-Haw and Axis Sally.56
Iva Toguri is the most famously-linked name behind the Tokyo Rose persona. Toguri was a native to Los Angeles and was stranded in Japan because she was visiting her family when the war broke out.1 Toguri’s prominence saw her branded as one of the war’s most notorious propagandists, but evidence shows that she was not a Japanese sympathizer. Toguri’s program became conflated with more vicious propaganda,3 and she was arrested and convicted of treason after the Japanese surrender. She was released from prison in 1956, but it would take more than 20 years before she finally received an official presidential pardon for her role in the war.
More than a dozen female Japanese broadcasters were dubbed “Tokyo Rose,” but the name is arguably most strongly associated with Iva Toguri, an American citizen born to Japanese immigrants. Toguri broadcast during the 15-20 minute D.J. segment of the 75-minute program The Zero Hour on Radio Tokyo (NHK). The program consisted of propaganda-tinged skits and slanted news reports as well as of popular American music. Using the handle “Orphan Ann,”1 the smoky-voiced Toguri soon became a legend of the Pacific Theater. By late 1943, thousands of GIs regularly tuned in to “The Zero Hour,” a radio show where she played pop music in between slanted battle reports and put-downs aimed at U.S. troops.”3
After World War II ended in 1945, the U.S. military detained Toguri for a year before releasing her for lack of evidence. Department of Justice officials agreed that her broadcasts were "innocuous".7 But when Toguri tried to return to the US, a popular uproar ensued because Walter Winchell (a powerful broadcasting personality) and the American Legion lobbied relentlessly for a trial, prompting the Federal Bureau of Investigation to renew its investigation of Toguri's wartime activities. Her 1949 trial resulted in a conviction on one of eight counts of treason. In 1974, investigative journalists found that key witnesses claimed they were forced to lie during testimony. U.S. President Gerald Ford pardoned Toguri in 1977.1
The name "Tokyo Rose" in the context of these broadcasts first appeared in U.S. newspapers in 1943.8
Walter Kaner (May 5, 1920 - June 27, 2005) was a journalist and radio personality who broadcast under the name Tokyo Mose during and after World War II. Kaner aired on US Army Radio, at first to offer comic rejoinders to the propaganda broadcasts of Tokyo Rose and then as a parody to entertain U.S. troops abroad. In U.S.-occupied Japan, his “Moshi, Moshi Ano-ne” jingle, sung to the tune of “London Bridge is Falling Down", became so popular with Japanese children and GIs that the army paper called it “the Japanese occupation theme song.” In 1946 Elsa Maxwell referred to Kaner as “the breath of home to unknown thousands of our young men when they were lonely.”9
Tokyo Rose has been the subject of songs, movies and documentaries:
- 1945: Tokyo Woes, propaganda cartoon directed by Bob Clampett featuring Seaman Hook. The cartoon's titular character (voiced by an uncredited Sara Berner) is portrayed as an overly enthusiastic, buck-toothed Japanese woman speaking on a propaganda broadcast with a loud voice and an American accent.10
- 1945: Tokyo Rose "Voice of Truth", five-minute film short produced by the U.S. Treasury Department to promote public support of the 7th war loan.11
- 1946: Tokyo Rose, film drama directed by Lew Landers.12 Lotus Long played "Tokyo Rose", a "seductive jap traitress";13 Byron Barr played the G.I. protagonist, set to kidnap her.
- 1957: In the film The Bridge on the River Kwai, a Tokyo Rose broadcast is briefly heard on the demolition team's portable radio.
- 1958: In the film Run Silent, Run Deep a Tokyo Rose broadcast detailed ships and sailors lost at sea based on information gained from trash jettisoned by U.S. submarines.14
- 1959: In the film "Operation Petticoat" a Tokyo Rose broadcast warns the crew of U.S. submarine to surrender.
- 1969: The Story of "Tokyo Rose", CBS-TV and WGN radio documentary written and produced by Bill Kurtis.
- 1976: Tokyo Rose, CBS-TV documentary segment on 60 Minutes.
- 1976: "Harbor Lights", a hit song by Boz Scaggs on his album Silk Degrees, begins with the line " Son of a Tokyo Rose, I was bound to wander from home".
- 1985: Canadian rock band Idle Eyes had a #1 hit in their homeland with the song "Tokyo Rose" from their self-titled debut album. The song's narrator addresses his lover, saying she "tells a story like Tokyo Rose".
- 1987: American heavy metal band Shok Paris released the song Tokyo Rose on their 1987 album Steel and Starlight. It's about a lonely GI who fell in love with the propaganda broadcaster during the war, and remembers her voice many years later.15not in citation given
- 1988: Canadian singer songwriter Joni Mitchell mentions "Tokyo Rose on the radio" in her song "The Tea Leaf Prophecy (Lay Down Your Arms)" on the album Chalk Mark in a Rainstorm.
- 1989: American composer and musician, Van Dyke Parks released a concept album titled, "Tokyo Rose", on the subject of American and Japanese relations.
- 1995: Tokyo Rose: Victim of Propaganda, A&E Biography documentary, hosted by Peter Graves, available on VHS (AAE-14023).
- 2011: American country-rockabilly band Whiskey Kill, released the song "Tokyo Rose" on their debut album "Pissed Off Betty" and is the opening track for the album.16
- Eastern Jewel - Chinese woman who spied for Japan in the Second Sino-Japanese War
- Lord Haw-Haw - propagandist who broadcast from Nazi Germany during World War II
- Axis Sally - propagandist who broadcast from Nazi Germany during World War II
- Axis Sally - propagandist who broadcast from Fascist Italy during World War II
- Mitsu Yashima - the American equivalent of Tokyo Rose17
- Pyongyang Sally - propagandist who broadcast from North Korea during the Korean War
- Hanoi Hannah - propagandist who broadcast from North Vietnam during the Vietnam War
- "Iva Toguri d’Aquino and "Tokyo Rose"". Famous Cases & Criminals. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Retrieved February 4, 2015.
- "Tokyo Rose (1944)". The Public Domain Review. Open Knowledge Foundation. Retrieved December 2, 2014.
- Andrews, Evan (August 13, 2013). "6 World War II Propaganda Broadcasters". History.com. Retrieved December 2, 2014.
- Pfau, Ann Elizabeth (2008). "The Legend of Tokyo Rose". Miss Yourlovin: GIs, Gender, and Domesticity during World War II. Columbia University Press. ISBN 9780231509565.
- Pfau, Ann; Hochfelder, David (April 24, 2008). "World War II Radio Propaganda: Real and Imaginary". Talking History.
- Pfau, Ann Elizabeth; Householder, David (2009). "'Her Voice a Bullet': Imaginary Propaganda and the Legendary Broadcasters of World War II". In Strasser, Susan; Suisman, David. Sound in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. University of Pennsylvania Press.
- Pierce, J. Kingston (October 2002). "Tokyo Rose: They Called Her a Traitor". American History.
- Arnot, Charles P. (June 22, 1943). "American Submarines Have Sunk 230 Japanese Ships in Pacific". Brainerd Daily Dispatch. p. 6.
We were tuned in on Radio Tokyo when Tokyo Rose, the woman who broadcasts in English, came on the air with "Hello America ... You build 'em, we sink 'em..."
- "Walter Kaner, Gazette Columnist, Foundation Head". Queens Gazette. June 29, 2005. Retrieved April 17, 2015.
- * Tokyo Woes (1945) at the Internet Movie Database
- Tokyo Rose "Voice of Truth" on YouTube
- Tokyo Rose (1946) at the Internet Movie Database
- Tokyo Rose (Movie poster). Cleveland, Ohio: Morgan Litho. Corp. 1945.
- Beach, Edward Latimer (1955). Run Silent, Run Deep. Henry Holt and Company. pp. 245–7. Retrieved April 17, 2015.
- Steel And Starlight lyrics
- "Whiskey Kill" "Tokyo Rose"". Stay Tuned. Portsmouth, New Hampshire: WSCA 106.1FM. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
- Stone, Judy (March 18, 2007). "An unlikely heroine of World War II". SFGate (Hearst Communications Inc.).
- Duus, Masayo (1979). Tokyo Rose: Orphan of the Pacific (hardcover). New York: Kodansha International. ISBN 978-0870113543.
- Howe, Russell Warren (1990). The Hunt for 'Tokyo Rose' (paperback). New York: Madison Books. ISBN 978-1568330136.
- Kaelin, J. C., Jr. ""Orphan Ann" ("Tokyo Rose")". EarthStation1.com.
- "Iva Toguri [obituary]". The Telegraph. September 28, 2006. Archived from the original on March 11, 2007.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Tokyo Rose.|
- "Zero Hour" broadcasts archived at EarthStation1.com