September 27, 2006
DAquino, Linked to Tokyo Rose Broadcasts, DiesBy RICHARD GOLDSTEIN
Iva Toguri DAquino, the Japanese-American convicted of treason in 1949 for broadcasting propaganda from Japan to United States servicemen in World War II as the seductive but sinister Tokyo Rose, died Tuesday in Chicago. Mrs. DAquino, who served more than six years in prison but steadfastly denied disloyalty and received a presidential pardon in 1977, was 90.
Her death, at a Chicago hospital, was confirmed by a nephew, William Toguri, who said only that Mrs. DAquino had died of natural causes, The Associated Press reported.
Tokyo Rose was a mythical figure. The persona, its origin murky, had been bestowed by American servicemen collectively on a dozen or so women who, seductive but sinister, broadcast for Radio Tokyo, telling soldiers, sailors and marines in the Pacific that their cause was lost and that their sweethearts back home were betraying them.
The broadcasts did nothing to dim American morale. The servicemen enjoyed the recordings of American popular music, and the United States Navy bestowed a satirical citation on Tokyo Rose at wars end for her entertainment value.
But the identity of Tokyo Rose became attached to Mrs. DAquino, a native of Southern California and the only woman broadcasting for Radio Tokyo known to be an American citizen. She emerged as an infamous figure in a rare treason trial.
Convicted in 1949 by a federal jury in San Francisco on one of eight vaguely worded counts, she was sentenced to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. She served 6 years and 2 months, then lived quietly in Chicago, running a family gift shop. On Jan. 19, 1977, she was pardoned, without comment, by President Gerald R. Ford on his last full day in office, restoring her citizenship.
A mere wartime myth, Tokyo Rose was to become a disgrace to American justice," Edwin O. Reischauer, the American Ambassador to Japan from 1961 to 1966 and a scholar at Harvard specializing in East Asian affairs, wrote in his introduction to Tokyo Rose: Orphan of the Pacific,by Masayo Duus (Kodansha International, 1979).
The treason charges, Mr. Reischauer wrote, were egged on by a public still much under the influence of traditional racial prejudices and far from free of the anti-Japanese hatreds of the recent war."
Iva Ikuko Toguri was born in Los Angeles on the Fourth of July 1916, a daughter of Japanese immigrants who owned a grocery store. She graduated from U.C.L.A. in 1940 with a degree in zoology, hoping to become a physician.
In the summer of 1941, she visited an ailing aunt in Tokyo at the request of her mother. When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, she was stranded in Tokyo, knowing virtually no Japanese, deprived of a food ration card by the authorities after refusing to become a Japanese citizen and hard-pressed to find work.
In 1942, she obtained a job with Japans Domei news agency, monitoring American military broadcasts, and late in 1943 she became an announcer and disc jockey for Radio Tokyos propaganda broadcasts, playing American musical recordings on the Zero Hourprogram beamed to American servicemen. She called herself Annor Orphan Ann,short for announcer and a play on the Orphan Annie character.
While continuing to work for Radio Tokyo in 1945, she married Felipe DAquino, a Domei news agency employee with Portuguese citizenship and Japanese ancestry.
When the war ended, several American reporters learned of Mrs. DAquinos broadcasts and interviewed her in Japan. She said that she was Tokyo Rose, evidently presuming that no great notoriety would be attached to that and perhaps hoping to embellish an intriguing story for American readers, having been paid for her account in a magazine article. She subsequently denied ever having called herself Tokyo Rose in her broadcasts, and no evidence was produced to the contrary.
As an outgrowth of the publicity, Mrs. DAquino was arrested and questioned by American military occupation authorities and the F.B.I. The United Press quoted her at the time as saying, I didnt think I was doing anything disloyal to America.
In the fall of 1946, Mrs. DAquino was released from custody in Japan after the Army and the Justice Department concluded that there were no grounds for prosecuting her. But the Justice Department reopened the case in 1948. Loyalty issues were becoming a national political flashpoint, although mainly in the context of the cold war, and the American Legion and the powerful columnist and broadcaster Walter Winchell had spoken out against Mrs. DAquino.
Mrs. DAquino, who had unsuccessfully sought permission from American authorities to return to California, was arrested on charges of treason, transported to San Francisco, held in a county jail for a year, then put on trial in 1949.
Treason, the only crime outlined in detail in the Constitution, is defined as levying waragainst the United States or giving aid and comfortto its enemies. A defendant may be convicted only on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.
Up to the end of World War II, there had only been some 30 treason cases in United States history. When Mrs. DAquino went on trial, five Americans had been convicted of treason for actions in the war, four having broadcast for Nazi Germany, most notably Millard Gillars, known as Axis Sally.
Tom DeWolfe, a special assistant attorney general, told the jury that Mrs. DAquino had engaged in nefarious propagandistic broadcastswithout being under duress. Former supervisors for Radio Tokyo testified that she had made propaganda broadcasts willingly, and a few broadcast tapes were played for the jury, though none were identified as containing Mrs. DAquinos voice.
Testifying at the 12-week trial, Mrs. DAquino denied that she had ever made any disloyal statements on Radio Tokyo. She was supported in testimony from former Allied prisoners of war who had worked in the Japanese broadcasting operation. In a statement that she had given to the F.B.I. in Japan and that was entered in the court record, she said that she had sought to reduce the programseffectiveness as propaganda by inserting double meanings in some of her broadcasts.
Mrs. DAquino was convicted on a single count of treason, relating to a broadcast she was alleged to have made to American servicemen in October 1944, referring to the loss of their ships. According to prosecution testimony, she said: Orphans of the Pacific, you really are orphans now. How will you get home now that all your ships are lost?
After serving her sentence at the federal penitentiary for women in Alderson, W. Va., Mrs. DAquino fought government efforts to deport her. She ran an Asian grocery store and gift shop on Chicagos North Side that family members had opened after their release from a wartime internment camp in Arizona. Her husband returned to Japan after her trial, and she never saw him again.
President Ford pardoned Mrs. DAquino after she had appealed to him in writing. The decision was supported by a unanimous vote of the California state legislature, the national Japanese-American Citizens League, and S.I. Hayakawa, then a United States Senator-elect from California.
It is hard to believe,Mrs. DAquino said on receiving word of President Fords action. But I have always maintained my innocence this pardon is a measure of vindication.