Wednesday, September 27, 2006

R.I.P. Tokyo Rose

Dies September 27, 2006
A fascinating story
"Iva Ikuko Toguri was probably the most infamous female disc jockey in American history. Born in Los Angeles in 1916, Toguri was forced to broadcast propaganda for Japan during World War II after the U.S. abandoned her there just days before the Pearl Harbor attack.
In 1941, Toguri made an untimely trip to Japan to visit an ill relative, leaving the U.S. without a passport. Her attempt to return home without documentation was stymied: she applied for a passport from the U.S. Vice Consul in Japan, but the paperwork was still being processed when war was declared. Physically and culturally stuck, Toguri learned Japanese and held typist positions with various news agencies during the war.
Chosen out of the NHK/Radio Tokyo typing pool to be a disc jockey on The Zero Hour program by the very Allied POWs being beaten and starved into writing her shows, Toguri became adept at sabotaging her own broadcasts. Though employed to broadcast pro-Japanese propaganda, Toguri's outspoken support of the Allies off-mic (while cleverly concealing it within her message and delivery on-air) resulted in numerous arguments, fisticuffs, and sometimes daily 3 am harassments thanks to the Kempeitai Thought Police. She helped keep American soldiers alive (at mortal personal risk) with food, medicine, clothing, and hope during her almost daily visits to their cells.
As an American unwilling to denounce her citizenship, Toguri was not to be trusted by the Japanese, and as an American woman of Japanese extraction broadcasting for the Japanese, she was considered a traitor in her own country."

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