Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Tale of Tokyo Rose

Tokyo Rose” was a name coined by American Forces fighting in the South Pacific during the second world war. The name applied to approximately 12 English-speaking Japanese women who broadcasted pro-Japan propaganda over the radio. The goal of the broadcasts was to destroy American morale. American servicemen listened to the broadcasts to better understand Japan's motivations and to learn their 'code speak' in an effort to improve their tactics against the Empire.

On the homefront, rumors spread that “Tokyo Rose” was shockingly knowledgeable in naming specific American outfits and units and also naming individual servicemen. However, those claims were never founded.

The name "Tokyo Rose" is most strongly associated with Iva Toguri D'Aquino. She used the moniker "Orphan Ann" during “ The Zero Hour” on Radio Tokyo or NHK. The program featured skits and pro-Japanese news reports along with popular music. Toguri's supporters have suggested that other announcers like American Ruth Hayakawa and Canadian June Suyama were possibly the real Tokyo Rose. Despite the fact that other women seemed to better fit the description of the famed Tokyo Rose, journalists and officials from the US Foreign Broadcast Information Service stated that "Orphan Ann" was as the woman "servicemen refer to when they speak of Tokyo Rose." Regardless of their findings, the Information Service stated that the name Toyko Rose represented an anti-American, underground movement as a whole and not one person.

After the Japanese surrdender in 1945, Toguri was held for a year by the American military before she was let go due to the lack of evidence. Officials from the Department of Justice released a statement that regarded Toguri's broadcasts as “innocuous." However, the Federal Bureal of Investigation renewed its case against her and she was charged with eight counts of treason in 1949. At the conclusion of Toguri's trial, she was convicted on one count. In 1974, a group of journalists discovered that key witnesses had lied during the trial and Toguri was given a Presidential Pardon by President Ford in 1977.


  1. Very interesting! I love a good spy tale, full of mystery and intrigue!

  2. Nicole,

    Until I did my research, I had no real idea who Tokyo Rose or what the name represented! I knew it was a radio personality that was propaganda tool but that is all I knew! I also love a good spy story. Speaking of, did you know that famed TV chef Julia Child was a member of the OSS during the war?! Again, who knew!?