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Tokyo Rose (alternative 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. However, Iva Toguri is the most famously linked name behind the Tokyo Rose. She was a native to Los Angeles and was stranded in Japan because she was visiting her family when the war broke out. The intent of these broadcasts was to disrupt the morale of Allied forces listening to the broadcast.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. 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.
Farther from the action, stories circulated that Tokyo Rose could be unnervingly accurate, naming units and even individual servicemen; 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.2 Similar rumors surround the propaganda broadcasts of Lord Haw-Haw and Axis Sally.3
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, 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.
The name "Tokyo Rose" is most strongly associated with Iva Toguri D'Aquino, an American citizen born to Japanese immigrants. D'Aquino broadcast as "Orphan Ann" 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 popular American music.
When the war ended, 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". But when Toguri tried to return to the US, a popular uproar ensued because Walter Winchell, the powerful broadcast 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. Toguri was pardoned by U.S. President Gerald Ford in 1977.
The name "Tokyo Rose" in the context of these broadcasts first appeared in U.S. newspapers in 1943.4
Toguri's advocates have long argued that other announcers better suited the legend. These include the American Ruth Hayakawa (who substituted for Iva on weekends), Canadian June Suyama ("The Nightingale of Nanking"), who also broadcast on Radio Tokyo, and Myrtle Lipton ("Little Margie") who broadcast from Japanese-controlled Radio Manila.citation needed However, during the war, journalists and officials with the US Foreign Broadcast Information Service identified Toguri's "Orphan Ann" as the woman "most servicemen seem to refer to when they speak of Tokyo Rose" but characterized the "legends" of clairvoyance that "piled up about 'Tokyo Rose'" as "apocryphal".2
Walter Kaner aired on US Army Radio during and after World War II as "Tokyo Mose", answering Tokyo Rose’s broadcasts. In Japan, his "Moshi, Moshi Ano-ne" theme song, sung to the tune of "London Bridge Is Falling Down", was so popular with Japanese children and GIs alike that Stars and Stripes, the Army newspaper, called it "the Japanese occupation theme song." Elsa Maxwell's column and radio show in 1946 referred to Kaner as "the breath of home to unknown thousands of our young men when they were lonely."
Tokyo Rose has been the subject of song, 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.5
- 1946: Tokyo Rose, film; directed by Lew Landers. Lotus Long played a heavily fictionalized "Tokyo Rose", described on the film's posters as a "seductive jap traitress";6 Byron Barr played the G.I. protagonist, set to kidnap the Japanese announcer. Blake Edwards appeared in a supporting part.
- The song "There is nothing like a dame" from South Pacific the musical composed by Richard Rodgers, with lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II and book by Hammerstein and Joshua Logan, 1949, contains the words, 'We get packages from home, We get movies, we get shows, We get speeches from our skipper And advice from Tokyo Rose.'
- 1957: The Bridge on the River Kwai, film, directed by David Lean; a Tokyo Rose broadcast is briefly heard on the demolition team's portable radio.
- 1958: Run Silent, Run Deep (Clark Gable, Burt Lancaster); depiction of Tokyo Rose broadcast relating ships and sailors lost at sea; statement that broadcast information was gained from trash jettisoned by submarines.
- 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 by Morley Safer, produced by Imrel Harvath.
- 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. 
- 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. 7
- Axis Sally
- Eastern Jewel
- Lord Haw-Haw
- Hanoi Hannah
- Pyongyang Sally
- Mitsu Yashima Considered the American equivalent of Tokyo Rose.
- Iva Toguri d’Aquino and “Tokyo Rose”, FBI website, History section.
- The Legend of Tokyo Rose by Ann Elizabeth Pfau
- Talking History radio program on "World War II Radio Propaganda: Real and Imaginary" and Ann Elizabeth Pfau and David Householder, "'Her Voice a Bullet': Imaginary Propaganda and the Legendary Broadcasters of World War II," Sound in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, eds. Susan Strasser and David Suisman, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009.
- 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...""
- Whiskey Kill - Tokyo Rose - YouTube
- The Legend of Tokyo Rose book chapter by Ann Elizabeth Pfau
- Masayo Duus, Tokyo Rose: Orphan of the Pacific (New York: Kodansha International, 1979)
- Russell Warren Howe, The Hunt for 'Tokyo Rose' (New York: Madison Books, 1990)
- EarthStation1: Orphan Ann Broadcast Audio
- Federal Bureau of Investigation: FBI History — Famous Cases: Iva Toguri d'Aquino and "Tokyo Rose"
- Ask Yahoo! (Feb. 21, 2002): "Who was Tokyo Rose?" (unbylined)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Tokyo Rose.|
- Multiple Zero Hour broadcasts
- Tokyo Woes (1945) at the Internet Movie Database
- Tokyo Rose (1946) at the Internet Movie Database
- Tokyo Rose: They Called Her a Traitor article by J. Kingston Pierce
- The Legend of Tokyo Rose book chapter by Ann Elizabeth Pfau
- Adam Carolla Interview with George Takei Extended Discussion about Tokyo Rose