Tokyo Rose: Orphan of the Pacific

Masayo Duus, 1979

The book begins by pointing out that "Tokyo Rose" was a myth, and that the woman arrested and convicted of being her, Iva Toguri, was basically young, rather foolish and naive and ended up being the victim of politics.

The author points out that Toguri was tried in a city with a history of anti-Japanese feeling, that the jury was all-white, and the government lacked any transmissions or broadcast transcripts.

The next chapter describes the rush of journalists into Japan after the end of the war and the nature and growth of the Tokyo Rose myth. Then it covers the meeting of the reports with Iva Toguri and how she ended up signing a contract that said she was Tokyo Rose.

The book goes into very great detail about the interviews, questions about her identity from soldiers who couldn't recognize her voice, and her ultimate arrest. The next chapter goes into her life in California and her life growing up, her trip to Japan and the difficulties she had there adjusting to the Japanese culture.

Then it goes into how she was trapped in Japan at the start of the war and had to find some kind of a job. Then the book goes into describing the program, Zero Hour, that she was involved in on Tokyo radio. The breakdown of the show is given and Toguri's portion was limited to playing music and reading a script prepared for her by someone else.

The book then talks about the Walter Winchell part of the Tokyo Rose myth and Toguri's prosecution in the U.S., then follows with the events leading up to the trial and the trial itself.

Her time in prison is discussed as are the problems she faced when she was released, including the government's effort to kick her out of the country and the Japanese-American communities effort to stay away from her. Even that changed, though, and an effort was made to get her a Presidential pardon.

To put it in proper perspective, however, it was a pardon for a crime she was convicted of that she didn't really do. It's been shown beyond any doubt that the government lied and distorted during the trial that should never have been held in the first place. It was another miscarriage of justice, just like the convictions of the Japanese-Americans who had their court cases during the internment years, and like those it took a long, long time to get straightened out.

An excellent book about one of the most popular myths of the war.

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