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[1][2]Iva Toguri D'Aquino mug shot, Sugamo Prison - March 7, 1946.Tokyo Rose (alternate 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. 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. 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]


[hide] *1 The Zero Hour

The Zero HourEdit

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.

Toguri was detained for a year by the U.S. military before being released 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, 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.


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. 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]

Tokyo MoseEdit

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."

In popular cultureEdit

Tokyo Rose has been the subject of song, movies and documentaries: [3][4]Iva Toguri mug shot, Sugamo Prison--March 7, 1946.*1945: Tokyo Woes, propaganda cartoon directed by Bob Clampett. 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.[4]

  • 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";[5] Byron Barr played the G.I. protagonist, set to kidnap the Japanese announcer. Blake Edwards appeared in a supporting part.
  • 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.
  • 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. [1]
  • 1995: Tokyo Rose: Victim of Propaganda, A&E Biography documentary, hosted by Peter Graves, available on VHS (AAE-14023).
  • 2008: Tokyo Rose, film; in development with Darkwoods Productions, the only entity granted life story rights by Iva Toguri,[citation needed] Frank Darabont to direct. Christopher Hampton is the screenwriter for Tokyo Rose.

In 2004, actor George Takei announced he was working on a film entitled Tokyo Rose, American Patriot, about Toguri's activities during the war.[6]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ FBI History
  2. ^ a b The Legend of Tokyo Rose by Ann Elizabeth Pfau
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ Chun, Gary C.W. "Star Trek 's Lt. Sulu plans to make his film, Tokyo Rose: American Patriot, in Hawaii",, April 12, 2004.


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