TOKYO ROSE: Orphan of the Pacific by Masayo Duus
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TOKYO ROSE: Orphan of the Pacific

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No one knows who invented the name, when it was first used, or even why a Japanese broadcaster should be dubbed 'Rose'""--but two of the first American reporters in Occupied Japan, bent on finding ""Tokyo Rose"" at any cost, elicited the name of one of the women disk-jockeys on the popular Zero Hour program, Iva Toguri d'Aquino, and she foolishly, unfearingly let herself be styled ""the one and only Tokyo Rose."" After all, weren't the GIs her fans? It's a startling story that Masayo Duus has uncovered almost by accident: Iva waited on her at the Toguri family store in Chicago in 1967, and the plain person didn't fit the sensational image. UCLA-graduate Iva, she learned, had gone to Japan reluctantly in 1941 on family business. Red tape and dwindling funds prevented her from leaving, and an Australian journalist POW recruited her for the radio program--which he saw as un-serious and even potentially anti-Axis: Ira, the friendly new typist, had ""a gin fog voice,"" ""a comedy voice."" And she stubbornly clung to her U.S. citizenship when the other nisei she knew recanted--else she could not have been tried for treason. As Duus explains what befell Iva after the war, she was tried as a sop to jingoist sentiment (and proof, perhaps, that all Japanese Americans weren't loyal); the very attorney who prosecuted her had expressed doubts about the case; and it was conducted so as to give every advantage to the accusers--who held out the lure of glamorous and lucrative U.S. trips to former co-workers who would testify against Iva. (One was the official who'd casually identified her--and later wished, at the onset of her fame, that he'd named his announcer-wife instead.) Convicted, she received a sentence almost as harsh as that of the confessed mudslinger ""Axis Sally,"" and her half-Portuguese husband was banished from the U.S. Duus, with ample evidence, calls the affair a frame-up. But it's more than a miscarriage of justice belatedly mitigated (Iva received a pardon from President Ford), it's a warning--episode by episode--against giving credence to a myth.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1979
Publisher: Kodansha--dist. by Harper & Row