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[OBITUARIES] D’Aquino, Convicted as Tokyo Rose, Dies at 90

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  • chiayuan25
    D Aquino, Convicted as Tokyo Rose, Dies at 90 By RICHARD GOLDSTEIN The New Hor Times Published: September 27, 2006 Iva Toguri D Aquino, the Japanese-American
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 27, 2006
      D'Aquino, Convicted as Tokyo Rose, Dies at 90
      The New Hor Times
      Published: September 27, 2006

      Iva Toguri D'Aquino, the Japanese-American convicted of treason in
      1949 for broadcasting propaganda from Japan to United States
      servicemen during World War II as the seductive but sinister Tokyo
      Rose, died Tuesday in Chicago. She was 90.

      Her death, at a Chicago hospital, was confirmed by a nephew,
      William Toguri, who said only that Mrs. D'Aquino 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 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 war's end
      for her entertainment value.

      But the identity of Tokyo Rose became attached to Mrs. D'Aquino, 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 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, and her citizenship was restored.

      "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 Japan's Domei news agency,
      monitoring American military broadcasts, and late in 1943 she became
      an announcer and disc jockey for Radio Tokyo's propaganda
      broadcasts, playing American musical recordings on the "Zero Hour"
      program beamed to American servicemen. She called herself "Ann"
      or "Orphan Ann," short for announcer and a play on the Orphan Annie

      While continuing to work for Radio Tokyo in 1945, she married Felipe
      D'Aquino, a Domei news agency employee with Portuguese citizenship
      but Japanese ancestry.

      When the war ended, several American reporters learned of Mrs.
      D'Aquino's 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. D'Aquino 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 didn't
      think I was doing anything disloyal to America."

      In the fall of 1946, Mrs. D'Aquino 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. D'Aquino.

      Mrs. D'Aquino, 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 war" against the United States or giving "aid
      and comfort" to 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. D'Aquino 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. D'Aquino had engaged in "nefarious propagandistic
      broadcasts" without 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. D'Aquino's voice.

      Testifying at the 12-week trial, Mrs. D'Aquino 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 programs'
      effectiveness as propaganda by inserting double meanings in some of
      her broadcasts.

      Mrs. D'Aquino 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

      After serving her sentence at the federal penitentiary for women in
      Alderson, W. Va., Mrs. D'Aquino fought government efforts to deport
      her. She ran an Asian grocery store and gift shop on Chicago's 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. D'Aquino 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. D'Aquino said on receiving word of
      President Ford's action. "But I have always maintained my innocence —
      this pardon is a measure of vindication."

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