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Media Find Their Hero In Traitor “Tokyo Rose”

In the reports of Iva Toguri's death the media are vying with each other to whitewash her past and heap praise upon her heroism. It's clear they identify with her.

Here is Reuters' encomium:

Woman tried as ‘Tokyo Rose’ dies

Sept 27, 2006

CHICAGO – An American woman convicted of treason and later pardoned for being “Tokyo Rose,” one of several radio announcers Japan used during World War II to spew propaganda to undermine American morale, has died, a Chicago hospital said Wednesday.

Iva Toguri, 90, died Tuesday from undisclosed causes, a hospital spokesman said.

She was convicted of treason in 1949 based on suspect testimony that she was the legendary “seductress of the short wave” who had sought to persuade American soldiers to surrender because their cause was lost and their girlfriends were deserting them at home.

She served more than six years in prison, though many historians believe she was not one of the dozen announcers dubbed “Tokyo Rose” by American soldiers, who mostly laughed off the surrender appeals.

Toguri did work as an announcer for the “Zero Hour” program on Radio Tokyo, but mostly played jazz records and uttered facetious comments meant to bolster, not weaken, American resolve, say historians.

Stuck in Japan during war

Born July 4, 1916, in Los Angeles, the young college graduate was visiting a sick relative in Japan when she became trapped there as war broke out. Starving and sick, unable to speak Japanese, she answered an ad to become an English-language typist for Radio Tokyo.

She married another station employee, Felipe D’Aquino, a Portuguese of Japanese descent.

After the war, a pregnant Toguri sought to return to the United States but broadcaster Walter Winchell and others cited her possible role as Tokyo Rose and criticized the U.S. administration for not punishing her. Toguri eventually signed interview notes implicating herself, thinking she could speed her return home.

Later, President Gerald Ford, made aware that she had likely been made a scapegoat during the nervous climate in the early days of the Cold War, pardoned Toguri in 1977.

After her release from prison, Toguri opened a small shop in Chicago and fought for a pardon.

The only other American woman convicted of treason was Mildred Gellers, known as “Axis Sally” as a broadcaster for Germany.

Ms. Toguri was pardoned by President Gerald Ford after watching a love note to Toguri from CBS's 60 Minutes.

Of course fresh from their success in helping the US lose the war in Vietnam, CBS News was especially empathetic to "Tokyo Rose." And what should have more weight in our legal system, a trial or a popular and famously fair television program?

This Reuters article manages to work in almost all of the apologies for Toguri.

You see, most nameless (and unfindable) historians agree that there was no such thing as "Tokyo Rose." So Toguri was not "Tokyo Rose."

And even if she was "Tokyo Rose," she intentionally used a funny voice. So nobody took her taunting propaganda seriously. And besides, Toguri needed the job. Plus she helped her fellow propagandists imprisoned patriotic Americans. And she used her program to "bolster American resolve."

Furthermore there is some question whether World War II really actually happened, or whether it isn’t just another invention of rightwing McCarthyites. And even if it did happen, WWII really wasn’t so bad. A lot of people had a great time. (Unlike the Reign of Terror under McCarthy.)

She served more than six years in prison, though many historians believe she was not one of the dozen announcers dubbed “Tokyo Rose” by American soldiers, who mostly laughed off the surrender appeals.

Never mind that the fact that Toguri signed a contract and took money based on her claim that she was indeed “Tokyo Rose.”

From her fan site, Orphan Ann:

Orphan Ann” Home Page: III. The Hunt for “Tokyo Rose”

When General Douglas MacArthur’s plane set down at Atsugi on 30 August 1945, it also carried dozens of military and civilian reporters covering the historic event. Among them were Clark Lee of INS and Harry Brundidge of Cosmopolitan. These two reporters had joined forces to get the beat on the two most sought-after interviews in post-war Japan: Hideki Tojo and “Tokyo Rose.” The former was easy to find, he was under house arrest in Tokyo, but “Tokyo Rose” was a mystery.

Brundidge offered a $250 reward to anyone who could put him in touch with “Tokyo Rose” and $2,000 to “Rose” herself for an exclusive interview. The $250 reward was equal to ¥3,750 or about three year’s income. $2,000 was over ¥30,000—a fortune by either standard. Leslie Nakashima, a Nisei at Radio Tokyo, gave them Iva Toguri’s name, which Clark Lee promptly reported to the world at large.

Iva, figuring that she had as good a claim to the name and therefore the money as anyone else, signed a contract that identified her as “the one and only ‘Tokyo Rose.’

Of course it’s very understandable that our one party media would go through any contortion to convince us that there is nothing wrong with producing propaganda for the enemy during a war. It’s what they do every day.

And after all, nobody takes them seriously. And they need the jobs or they would all starve. Moreover, their Photoshopped photos and stories about Korans being flushed down toilets are meant to "bolster American resolve."

By the way, it should once again be noted that Google has assiduously cleansed the internet of just about any and all images of Ms. Toguri broadcasting for the Japanese. or any mention of the content of these broadcasts. Google could give Stalin airbrushing lessons.

The photograph at the top is from the cache of a fawning online article about the clearly harmless Zero Hour radio broadcasts. The caption they put under Toguri’s photo reads: "As American as a cheeseburger with fries!"

(Thanks to Studmuffin for the heads up.)

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, September 28th, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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