Glenn broadcasts with Tokyo Rose’s microphone to tell incredible forgotten story of American history

Last week, Glenn purchased the microphone of Iva Toguri – aka Tokyo Rose – used during her World War II radio broadcasts. And this morning on radio, Glenn decided to broadcast with the mic, which had not been used in nearly 70 years.

Get Glenn Live! On TheBlaze TV

In the aftermath of the war, Toguri was labeled a traitor and went to prison. It was not until Glenn began working on new book that he realized who she really was and the profound impact her career had on the soldiers stationed in the South Pacific during World War II.

“Tokyo Rose is a woman that is synonymous with the word ‘traitor.’ Tokyo Rose was an American citizen. She was probably the most listened‑to disc jockey in the history of the world,” Glenn explained. “Her name is Iva Toguri. She was born here in the United States. And then she went over to Japan. And then the war happened. And she wanted to come back to the United States but couldn’t.”

Because Toguri spoke fluent English, she was forced to give broadcast that’s were transmitted by Radio Tokyo to Allied soldiers stationed in the South Pacific during World War II.

“I think there were five different Tokyo Roses. She was Orphan Ann. And she refused. She said, ‘I’ll play music, but I will not do the demoralizing messages.’ What Tokyo didn’t know is that she was actually going to visit our soldiers who were kept in prison camps and when they found out, they thought she was there doing work [for the Japanese],” Glenn said. “They didn’t trust her, the prisoners didn’t trust he… and Tokyo didn’t really trust her either because she was an American citizen. So she was without a country and without friends.”

Over time, however, Toguri was able to convice the Allied soldiers that she was on their side. She brought them medicine and supplied that in many cases saved lives. “She risked her life to save ours,” Glenn said.

“In fact, this didn’t come out until much, much later, Robert White, one of the aerial gunners, said he used to listen to Tokyo Rose. And he would listen to her and she would always start the Zero Hour, that was hers, and she would start and she would say, ‘Hi, boys, this is our old friend, Orphan Annie. I’ve got some swell records just from in the States. You better listen to them while you can because late tonight our flyers are coming over to bomb the 43rd group when you’re all asleep. So listen while you’re still alive,’” Glenn explained. “And the guys in Tokyo couldn’t really understand. And they thought that she was demoralizing. What she was doing was she was telling, ‘Tonight we’re going to go bomb the 43rd group.’ She saved lives!”

A Navy officer, who had come to burn the radio station to the ground, ultimately brought her microphone back to the U.S. When the war was over, investigators from the U.S. government spoke to many of the prisoners of war she had helped through her actions and non-demoralizing broadcasts. The government let her go initially, but once she tried to return to American everything changed. She was tried and put in prison.

“But when she was coming over back to America, her home where she was born, what happened? A radio broadcaster, Walter Winchell, found out about it and thought this was awful that she could even come here,” Glenn explained. “And so he started to gin up the American people and start to spread lies, and the government, because they needed to be popular and do the popular thing, they went over and they started to get people to perjure themselves and lie about her. She went to prison as a traitor to her country. It was a lie.”

Her microphone that Glenn now owns has not been used since the 1940s, but it remains in remarkably good shape.

“We believe this is the first time it’s ever been plugged in because we had to actually open up the plate last night and put new wires in because they had just been cut and so we put new wires in the base of it, but this is all the original – everything is original,” Glenn explained.

Glenn felt it was important to not test the microphone ahead of time, for, if it worked, it would be an important moment that should be shared with as many people as possible. So Glenn turned off his state-of-the-art microphone to broadcast with the microphone of Tokyo Rose. Glenn admitted he had given a lot of thought to what he would say if the mic actually did work.

“I thought this morning, if it worked, what should be said. From the microphone used by the woman who identified herself as Orphan Ann, we called her Tokyo Rose,” he explained. “But her name was Iva Toguri. And she told the troops where the bombers were going to come so they could prepare. She hid all of her information. She disguised the words that she was using to hide them from Tokyo, not from the Americans…. So here’s what should be told:”

Get Glenn Live! On TheBlaze TV

America, tell the truth. Tell the truth, even if it means in the end it hurts you. America, don’t believe everything that your country and your government tells you. Because while many times, most times it’s true; in many critical times it’s an out‑and‑out lie. And it’s not an American problem. It is a government problem. It is a human problem. People want power, and they will do anything to keep that power or enhance that power. It’s incumbent upon you if you want to remain free, to do your own homework. And if you don’t, you will lose your freedom. And because of that, innocent people will suffer. Truth and justice is the American way. If this microphone could speak, it would tell you this: Your country told you lies. Iva Toguri was not a traitor. She was wrongly tried and wrongly imprisoned, and real justice for her is now beyond our grasp. But if this microphone could speak all that it had seen or heard, my guess is it would say, “Listen to the voices of the past. Listen to the voices of the past that now cry out. You are the last bastion of freedom in the world. You are smart enough. You as an individual are capable. But if you don’t do it, no one else will. Question the things that everyone says. Question the things that are even coming now out of this microphone, just as people questioned it 70 years ago. Find the truth because it depends on you. It’s calling to you. Don’t follow the crowd. Don’t do the easy thing. Do the right thing. Because if you still ‑‑ if you still want to believe that you should be called an American, you do the right thing because everything else is beneath you.

“That is incredible that that microphone can sound that good after all it has been through,” Glenn concluded. “History will always point us in the right direction. The Tokyo Rose story is one of twelve that I have selected to tell in a book that is coming out in a few weeks called Miracles and Massacres – the true history of America; the true stories that have been lost on who we really are. Because if you want to save the country, and you want to save freedom, you have to start telling the truth about the miracles and the massacres that this country has seen and been involved in and caused.”

  • snowleopard (cat folk gallery)

    Excellent, I was glad to hear it work for the first time in generations on todays show. Keep up the great work.

  • snowleopard (cat folk gallery)

    Understand the history of Tokyo Rose: she was demonized and then prosecuted for the gains of a president who needed political points. The same thing nearly happened to Zimmerman, and in countless others in our nations history.

    How long will it be before Obama tries to do so again? Why do we put up with innocent people being prosecuted, convicted and jailed for crimes they never committed, all to meet the needs of a uncaring president?

    • William Carson Baldwin

      actually zimmermans wife has now come forward saying that he had issues with the man he killed so maybe you need to do some fact finding again.

      • Anonymous

         This would be the same “wife” that is divorcing him and is already on record lying about him waiving a gun at her. She admitted to lying about the gun, btw. So, yeah, totally believable witness for the persecution.

      • Anonymous

        Going through a divorce — why WOULDN’T you trust every word from the “wife”?  What could POSSIBLY go wrong?!!!

      • Behning Brad

        First of all he didn’t kill a man. Z  was a blood thirsty racist killer who shot an innocent hop scotching child on his way home from buying candy. I know because I read the news and got the whole unbiased complete story from Al Sharpton and President Obama. Second, do you really believe one word from that lying bitch who is in the middle of a nasty divorce and is already on record as a liar?. 

        • Duke Williams

           Lets not go through your race baitng crap again……….though you probably are a great bater……we will call you the Great Master of Baitors!!!

        • Anonymous

          you are a moronic fool

        • Gwynn Ap Nudd

          When will men accept the Truth – women lie and lie often, anytime it’s advantageous. She sold him out for public acclaim – her 30 pieces of silver.

      • Anonymous

        A woman who perjured herself in court. How funny you would believe her.

      • Anonymous

        You trust a woman that is divorcing her man?

      • Anonymous

        And you take her word for it?  She is going to be tried for lying.

      • women99

        YOU lost as Obammy told John McCain. Take your marbles and shut p

    • Draxx

      Based on the Constitutions Freedom of Speech, she was a verbal aggressor but commited no crimes.  Al Quieda on the other hand, Are Verbal Aggressors, Tactical Aggressors, Civil Aggressors, Terrorist, and Murderers; But They Are Totally Cottled By This POTUS and His Corrupt Administration!!! 

      • Anonymous

        Not really, when you factor in that she used the venue to convey strategic information to benefit the allies.  More heroic, I’d say…

        • Anonymous

          There is surprisingly lots of information about her, most consistent from article to article. She was framed by our government for brownie points & popularity. In Berkeley California there were American Japanese lined up over a block and around the corner December 8th after Pearl Harbor wanting to enlist. Instead of sending them to fight in Europe, most were sent to internment camps. How disgraceful F.D.R. A few gold stars in the windows of their parents later, their loyalty wouldn’t have been an issue. American Japanese were stripped of their heritage, and language in a disgraceful manner that still embarrasses many of their descendants.

    • jdgalt

      It did happen to Zimmerman.  His soon-to-be-ex wife and the cops who keep stopping him for nothing are finishing the persecution that crooked governor began.

      They all need to be in jail, and be made to pay back the cost of defending himself at trial.

    • Anonymous

      Snowleopard, While I understand your comparison to what is going on in the present,
      Compairing what was done to a woman who had not only help our military men being held as POW’s but also supplied info on Japanese plans….. and G zimmerman’s trial in the present really has little to do with the history being discussed, This discussion has degenerated into a G. Zimmerman rant which really has no place in this discussion…. lets get back on track people…..

    • Anonymous

      I believe that First Amendment is valid while you are in the US, but once you go overseas and began broadcasting against your country, you are a TRAITOR!  There is also the Alien and Sedition Act.  Jane Fonda fits well into the category of traitor.  Had she stayed in the US and mouthed off against the war in Vietnam, no problem, although I wouldn’t  pay a nickel to see her in a movie.  But, once she went to the capital of the enemy, and tried to get the American POWs to speak out against their country, and when they refused they were tortured, she should ever have been let back into the US.  John Kerry also.  He’s a male Jane Fonda, who rubbed elbows with the North Vietnamese in Paris while Americans were being tortured. As a Vietnam Vet, I detest both of them.

      • Anonymous

        Thank you for your service, Vet.  Was sent a story about the dinner Pres. Nixon gave at the WH for the returning Nam prisoners of war in ’73.  In May of this year, the Nixon Foundation gave a dinner in CA on the 40th anniversary of the WH dinner.  Sadly, not too many of those vets were around (or could attend.)

      • Trulyfox

        Tokyo Rose or Orphan Ann was not a traitor. She helped the Vets and provided the U.S. with intel, much different than what Jane Fonda did..

  • ThorsteinVeblen2012

    What a crock of crap. 

    But it makes sense that Glenn Beck should defend a fellow traitor.

    Glenn Beck is another Tokyo Rose.He creates divisiveness when we should be working together. He claims to be religious and preaches selfishness. He wraps himself in the flag and distorts the ideals of democracy.

    • William Carson Baldwin

      you really need to look at the history books buddy she was not a traitor and neither is beck, get your head on straight and learn facts not try to spread lies

    • Jeff Beagley

      you, sir, are a moron. that is all 

    • Joe Wysocki

      you must be a democrat,always jump to conclusions instead of  just understanding the article

      • ThorsteinVeblen2012


        So “Orphan Annie” had access to the bombing targets of the Japanese military? She was briefed on which particular units of Americans were going to be attacked so that she could warn them and save their lives?

        That is such an unbelievable story as to be laughed at by anyone but drooling, slack jawed, mouth breathing moronic Beck followers who lap it up like a cat drinking spilt milk.

        I think Beck should continue using that microphone. He is Tokyo Rose’s heir.

        • Anonymous

          If you were postulating about a future event, then your argument would be one to consider.  However, since this is a documented historical fact, you are simply a moron.

        • Sam Fisher

          Learn to read the maybe you will know the facts.

        • tobias smit

           business owner liberal , what? you got a koolaid stand?

    • Draxx

      Your head has been up your hind end way too long… You cannot see the Realities of the World That Way!!!

    • Anonymous

      Maybe doing research before you type would be beneficial to you. Because you just made a complete ass of yourself. Great going, kid.

    • Robert Patrick Moscato

      Thor the guy you’re talkin about lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue not in the Dallas Metroplex

      • ThorsteinVeblen2012

        I have no more regard for Barack Obama than I do George Bush, Bill Clinton,Glenn Beck or Alex Jones.

        • Sam Fisher

          Lies like your lie of being a Business owner. You come to his defense so many times on this web site that I believe you got your head firmly planted in his rear.

    • Peggy

      Sir, you, no doubt, have drunk Obama’s Kool-Aid.

    • Timothy Harper

       good interpretation, Herr Gobbels..

    • Anonymous

      Another liberal with zero facts but loves to name call.  How nice you come here, tell lies, show your intolerance and show what hypocrites liberals are.  Go back to your mother’s basement and wait for your gubmnt check, little boy.

    • Sam Fisher

      You know if you actually study something called history not the revised history you liberals just love but actual history moron than you will know how full of shit that statement is.

  • Anonymous

    Do you know that today is the seventh anniversary of her death?

  • Keith Bisson

    Text from my 15 year old daughter today; “my chiinese teacher said aann coulter isn’t rational and foxx news isn’t news and now I’m stuck outside the room”.
    My immediate response; “Tell the truth, even if it means in the end it hurts you” – Glenn Beck 9/26/13

    •!/zerses Moirrainefortruth

      Your daughter is living the conservative nightmare – even in school – and this plays out all over the nation damaging our children even before they can vote.

      Bullying by teachers MUST STOP.

  • William Henry Bowen

    Glenn, as an old radio engineer myself it is amazing that the microphone sounds that good after all those years. The high end is a bit “flat” compared to your RCA, but that may be it’s natural response curve.

    The mic looks like it is a Japanese copy of the RCA ribbon mics of that era, probably made by The Victor Company (the company we now know as JVC {Japan Victor Corporation}, which was the Japanese branch of RCA until 1939, when RCA was forced to sell Victor to Japanese interests by the Japanese government).

  • Timothy Harper

    Yes…They thought they were giving her information that was demoralizing…..How wrong they were…

  • Anonymous

    I say this to myself – “I open my hands and that which falls into it is mine” – you opened yours and into it fell this special microphone. 

  • Sam Fisher

    I see the liberal trolls are denying history and well documented facts again.

  • Anonymous

    “But when she was coming over back to America, her home where she was born, what happened? A radio broadcaster, Walter Winchell, found out about it and thought this was awful that she could even come here,” Glenn explained. “And so he started to gin up the American people and start to spread lies,” 

    Glenn forgot to mention that the American Legion, then a rather strong group with many millions of soldiers recently discharged from the armed forces, also led the charge to prosecute. Glenn also forgot to mention that Walter Winchell was a hack job and a huge fan of Joe McCarthy who would later prove his disservice  to the country during televised hearings. Another journalist, who the Department of Justice inexplicably allowed to travel to Japan to interview witnesses (and sought to profit off of her story–later co-opted into a so called confession), got an old acquaintance to perjure himself for the sake of the “story”.

    A chilling tale for sure. Was Harry Truman involved? Why did the government, which had aleady exonerated her, cave to a loud mouth radio personality? Or more likely, letters to congressmen from former servicemen?

     How GB connects it I wonder–to his operations? Isn’t he calling for an uprising against this Administration? He recently called for Obama’s impeachment due to his aleged treason–does he want a trial in the Senate?  Has he found anyone in the House or Senate to take up the cause? Does GB see the irony of him being one of the Walter Winchells of this era– along with the rest of the over the top talking heads?

    • Sam Fisher

      I don’t think he is calling for an upraising just for Obama to answer for the many things he has done.

  •!/zerses Moirrainefortruth

    This and so many other stories show us what is true and continues to plague all humans everywhere:

    Our “leaders” do not tell US the truth. 

    Without truth no person can make a logical and correct judgment about people and events. 

    Without discernment about people and events a nation can become coarsened and degraded.

    When a people become coarsened and degraded they are ripe to fall. 

    We are putting up with willful ignorance AND illegal leadership from bottom to top.

    If the laws of the land can not be executed by those who hold the keys to the kingdom, the state or the city, the citizens of the land must stand and declare that they are now ready to lead.

    Lead or get OUT of the way!

    Tell the TRUTH in all government dealings.

    Ask that our government OFFICIALS and ALL CONTRACTING AGENCIES/PERSONNEL be subject not only to the oaths that they refuse to uphold, but also be subject to a CODE of LAWS based on the UCMJ and start putting these TOONS in PRISON WHERE THEY BELONG.

    Doctors, lawyers, contractors, politicians, businesses – all under the umbrella of “failing services” and “dishonest and lack of care and due diligence”.

    When will America get rid of the filth that has infiltrated our “leadership”?

    How many of YOU, like me, are NOT being represented?

  • Rewind Kocp-fm

    Wow.  When  I heard this on the air this morning, I was awed/amazed/breathless.  just wow.

  • Skip Bradley

    WOW! GREAT message, Mr. Beck.

    I took a ‘screen shot’ of your show, and would like to use it as my ‘cover’ photo to ‘remind’ me of your message. (Don’t know how it’ll turn out here)

  • jdgalt

    “Our” leaders do not tell us the truth most of the time.  They always lie.  It is government’s nature.

    Whenever there’s a slow news day they invent another phony emergency to scare us with.  Sometimes it’s an environmental scare, sometimes a health scare, and sometimes a security scare.  But it’s always a lie, or at least the threat it allegedly poses is always a lie.

    The moral of all this, as I see it, is to organize your life in such a way that you can protect yourself against as many potential emergencies as possible WITHOUT calling on government.  Because when government is most needed, that’s when it’s most likely to be uninterested in saving you — or even to be in bed with the bad guys.

  • Anonymous

     I find this amazing that in my 65 years on this earth that I am finally learning the truth abut her.  I have never heard this or anything about this ever.  THANK YOU for spreading the truth to us and the world.  Now if only we could get the 180 or registered members of the communist/socialist part of American out of CONGRESS.  These are the traitors along with the mudslime domestic terrorist in DC.

  • Anonymous

    I only wish my father was still alive to comment on this.  He served in the Pacific in WWII and told about some of her broadcasts.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you, Glenn, for always telling me things that I wished I had known 50 years ago.  I am able to help the young people around me to better understand our history and to, hopefully, make their future better.  May God Bless you and always keep you safe.

  • Cas Dee


  • Anonymous

    It sounds just like the other mic.

  • Duke Williams

    I would really like to know the truth behind Ethel and Julius Rosenburg story….. I think they were done the same way!!!!

  • Robert Quance

    Great Microphone and it still has the GREAT low frequency response.  These Microphones always needed a better pop filter over them. I have 2 similar ones and they are wonderful for low voices such as mine.

  • DAVEKK7702 .

    If we as Americans would communicate Truth and Not communicate words that have no foundation, then we as Americans will succeed in saving America…

  • Anonymous

    I think it’s silly to compare Zimmerman to Tokyo Rose, Zimmerman is Hispanic and she was Asian.

  • Anonymous

    Many things are not what they seem—like this PHONY potus we have now!
    When he was first running he didn’t tell us that he was a foreigner–a Muslim–a socialist–a Marxist (altho he did say he sought out Marxist professors)–a communists–an American hater and a BIG FAT LIAR did he???
    He was put back in by the machine who cheated with the IRS the NSA and the online companies who spied on the American people and especially the conservatives who doesn’t want photo state issued ID because he and the Dems. couldn’t cheat as easily!  

  • Marlin Hauer

    Glenn Beck…That …Was  BEAUTIFUL !!!

  • Anonymous

    I learned the truth about ‘Tokyo Rose’ long ago, but  Glenn Beck has done a fine service to her real truth that some did not want to know! His accompanying lesson was also as ingeniously well delivered!

  • Anonymous

    The truth never needs to be defended.  When I was in the Navy, I sat in an Officers Club outside of Yokohama.  The window I was sitting next to looked out over an old racetrack.  In the basement of that racetrack American POW’s were kept as slaves.  Now to think Tokyo Rose might have visited those prisoners brings even more chills to my spine, but good ones, than just what I was told at the time I was there.

    Iva Toguri runs circles around the guy we have in the White House right now.  She should be given the Medal of Freedom.  The guy in the White House is suppose to be such a gifted speaker, hell, he couldn’t even get the Olympics to come to Chicago

  • Anonymous


    “… the massacres that this country has seen and been involved in and caused.” ….

    Have you joined the ‘I hate America’ crowd? What’s next, a world apology tour?

    • Sam Fisher

      Because people in this country just sat back and let it happen. Just because you got a love for this country does not mean we have to hide the evil in our past in fact it shows that we came a long way to become the greatest nation in world history.

  • Dan Zimmerle

    People, much like the microphone of Tokyo Rose, have been shelved by a government that no longer wants to hear what they have to say.  It disregards their voices.  It violates the principals of representation, a government of the people, by the people, for the people.  It says, “you are no longer relevant in our nation, but just like the microphone, we are willing to sell you to the highest bidder if it will profit our cause.”

    Thank God for Glenn Beck.  Not only did he purchase the microphone and allow it a voice,  he has been used of God to inspire a generation of patriots to begin speaking out, and to the surprise and angst of the powers that be, their voices are clear and they have a message of truth.

    I am one of those voices.  Glenn has no idea, but because of his influence on my life, Phil Castillo and I began broadcasting on WTN radio in Nashville over 3 years ago.  We talk about God and country on our show, ONE NATION UNDER GOD RADIO.  Now, we broadcast 5 days a week into Boston on WROL radio, and not only do we broadcast, but we have been given  the responsibility to fill 11 hours of airtime with a message of Christ to the Boston community.  Were it not for Glenn Beck, I would still be a microphone on a shelf. 

    Thank you, Glenn Beck.

    Dan Zimmerle

  • Anonymous

    Interesting !
    Turned on a mic that had the truth spoke trough it in a horrible time of mankind.
    2+2 = 4      don’t let big gov’ insult you’re intelligence , moral of this is were the hell are we. 

  • Hannah

    Wow! I had absolutely no idea.  Thank you.

  • Anonymous

    GOD bless and you are very welcome.

  • Stephany Slater Robinson

    I loved this broadcast and fascinating history lesson on Orphan Ann/ Tokyo Rose (aka Iva Toguri)!! God Bless the friends and family of Iva. Did she have any children? What courage she had without her homeland behind her. The mic sounded amazing with the beautiful ring of truth.

    Sidenote to Glenn- Don’t follow the crowd with this negativity about Common Core (CC). Don’t buy the bull that this is a brainwashing watering down of our education under the FEDs. They play a role, but not the role you think they are playing. Please find something positive to say to our nation about this reformation. Use your voice to bring us together, not apart.
    Other than that! Loved this piece…

  • William WhatzamattaU

    I missed this on Thursday because by the time Glenn got around to it I was unable to listen to the radio, For an hour he said that the use of the Mic would be in a sec, then in a moment, then the next segment, and next, and coming up. I love Glenn Beck, always will, but I was disappointed that he teased for so long.

  • Eleanor Redmond

    The little fella who made a you tube video that almost no one saw is still in jail for Obama murdering Ty Woods, Chris Stevens, Glen Doherty and Sean Smith.

  • Socialism is Organized Evil

    At the end of the proverbial day, preserving liberty is up to each of us:

  • women99

    I usually stand with Glenn but I need proof to  believe this. I know that many soldiers listened
    to her post. Need proofGlenn

  • Anonymous

    If she was tried and convicted for treason why oh why wasn’t jane fonda

  • Patrick-Katie Ockander

    Way to go Bro Beck. You tell it like it is. You did honor to this woman’s sacrifice. I know somewhere in the eternities she’s smiling at you…as are so many others…

    Keep it up Bro Beck. 

    Bro Ockander

  • Ronald E. Yates


    I don’t know if you will see this, but I wrote a series of stories for Chicago Tribune back in 1976 that helped get Iva Toguri a presidential pardon. I knew Iva personally we talked often. We were going to write book together giving, once and for all, her story in her own words. Sadly, Iva died in 2006 before our project got off the ground. Here is an overview of Iva’s story.

    Ron Yates,
    Dean Emeritus, College of Media, University of Illinois
    Former Foreign Correspondent, Chicago Tribune



    During a 27-year career with the Chicago
    Tribune, much of it as a foreign
    correspondent in Asia and Latin
    America, I encountered my share of remarkable and
    unforgettable stories.

    Some came out of the horrendous suffering
    I witnessed while covering the wars in Vietnam and Cambodia.
    Others were generated by the bloody revolutions in Guatemala and El Salvador.
    Still others sprang from the wrenching political upheavals I reported on in
    places like The Philippines,
    and South Korea.

    But there is one story in my
    journalistic career that I treasure above all the others. That is the story of
    a Japanese-American woman named Iva
    Toguri. You probably don’t
    recognize the name and if you don’t, that is perfectly understandable.

    You and millions of other
    Americans know her by another name: “Tokyo

    That’s right, “Tokyo Rose.” The so-called “Siren of the
    Pacific” who sat before a microphone in Tokyo and told GIs on a 25-minute show
    called “The Zero Hour” that their homes, their girl friends and even apple pie
    weren’t worth fighting for. Tokyo Rose, the legendary “seductress of the short
    wave,” whose broadcasts between 1943 and 1945 for Radio Tokyo were meant to
    demoralize the American fighting man and undermine his will to fight.

    Remember all those World War II
    era movies with GIs gathered around short wave radios listening to a sultry “Tokyo Rose” intone such phrases as: “Come on boys, give up.
    You haven’t got a chance against the Imperial Japanese Army. Why throw your
    lives away?”

    There’s just one problem. There
    was no “Tokyo Rose.” Nor were there ever any treasonous broadcasts
    like the ones described above. At least not by Iva Toguri.

    What follows is her remarkable
    and poignant story. (Ronald E. Yates)

    By Ronald E.

    It was the
    summer of 1941 and for a young California
    woman named Iva
    Toguri it was a time filled with promise and endless

    The previous June Iva
    had graduated from UCLA with a bachelor’s degree in zoology, she had a shiny Chrysler, and she was planning on attending graduate school
    in the fall so she could begin a career as a medical researcher or perhaps even
    a doctor.

    The daughter of hardworking Japanese
    immigrants, Iva had been brought up to
    be a confident, optimistic American. And why not? After all, she was born in Los Angeles on the 4th of
    July–and you can’t get more American than that.

    But in the summer of 1941 the world was
    not a place that could easily match the hopes and expectations of a 25-year-old
    UCLA graduate.

    In Europe,
    a war was raging and the forces of Adolf Hitler’s
    Third Reich occupied or controlled most of the continent. In Asia,
    Imperial Japan, under the leadership of a clique of hardcore militarists, was
    in control of China,
    the Korean Peninsula, Taiwan and a segment of the South Seas ceded to it after World War I.

    Conflict and discord were the prevailing
    truths of the day, and as Iva
    Toguri stood on the brink of her
    future an ominous cloud of world war hung in the warm summer air.

    Thus it was not without some trepidation
    that Toguri’s ailing mother asked Iva to
    represent the American side of the Toguri family at the bedside of a dying aunt
    in Tokyo. It
    was a bit risky, but someone had to go; and on July 5, 1941, one day after her 25th
    birthday, Iva was on a slow boat to Japan. She
    spoke no Japanese, had never been to Japan and had never met her aunt.

    It would be a fateful journey, one that
    would alter Iva Toguri’s life forever and eventually introduce to the world one
    of its most enduring and erroneous myths: The Legend of “Tokyo Rose.”

    Less than five months after arriving in Japan and not
    long after her sick aunt had recovered, Japanese warplanes swooped down on a
    place called Pearl Harbor. For Iva Toguri
    and millions of others, the future went from bright to black in a matter of
    moments. And the lights would not come back on until August 1945, when Japan

    But for Iva Toguri,
    the war did not end in 1945 as it did for so many others. Four years later Iva Toguri
    would stand in a San Francisco
    courtroom, one of only a few American women ever convicted of treason. In the
    minds of millions of Americans Iva Toguri was the one and only “Tokyo
    Rose,” the name American GIs in the Pacific had given to several women
    radio announcers who played scratchy Glenn Miller
    and Benny Goodman records during propaganda radio
    shows broadcast in English from Tokyo
    and elsewhere in Asia.

    Iva’s conviction on just one of eight
    counts of treason came despite the testimony of G.I.s who called the Radio
    Tokyo “Zero Hour” broadcasts she made morale boosters and despite
    evidence which showed she was just one of 13 English-speaking
    women announcers broadcasting from Tokyo at the time. Another 14 women had
    broadcast from cities throughout Asia and the
    Pacific that were occupied by the Imperial Japanese Army. Interestingly, not one of them called herself
    “Tokyo Rose.” (The
    only radio alias Iva
    Toguri ever used during her
    15-minute segment of popular music was the name “Orphan Ann” because, as she often said during her
    broadcasts, she was an announcer who had been orphaned in Tokyo by the war.)

    Not even the absence of a written record
    or an electronic recording of the single “treasonous” broadcast she
    was supposed to have made stopped her conviction. That broadcast came after a
    crushing U.S. Naval victory in Leyte Gulf of
    The Philippines
    in which she allegedly said:

    “Orphans of the Pacific, you really
    are orphans now. How will you get home now that all your ships are sunk?”

    Most Americans listening to that would
    have seen through the facetious tone of those words, no matter who said them,
    and understood that it was a broadcast meant more for members of the defeated
    Imperial Japanese Navy than for the victorious U.S. Navy. Even more important,
    however, was the fact that Iva never
    said those words.

    Nevertheless, in 1949 as she, her family
    and her corps of defense attorneys led by the late Wayne Mortimer
    Collins looked on, Iva was sentenced to 10 years in prison and a $10,000
    fine. She served six years and two months of her sentence in the Alderson
    Federal Reformatory in West Virginia
    which would much later house Martha
    Stewart. But more importantly her
    conviction sentenced Iva
    Toguri to a life of disgrace and
    deep inner pain that only those falsely accused and convicted can ever

    Some vindication came in a series of
    exclusive stories I reported and wrote in 1976 while serving as the Chicago
    Tribune’s Tokyo Bureau Chief and Chief Asia Correspondent.

    After several meetings two key prosecution
    witnesses who, after 27 years of silence, wanted to ease their consciences,
    admitted to me that they were forced by U.S. Justice Department and FBI officials
    to lie, tell half-truths and withhold vital information at the trial. It was on
    the basis of their coerced and false testimony that the jury had found Iva guilty. (Article
    3 of the Constitution states that treason shall consist only in levying war
    against the United States or in giving aid and comfort to its enemies and that
    conviction may be had only on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt
    act or on confession in open court).

    The two witnesses, Kenkichi Oki
    and George Mitsushio—both California-born
    Japanese-Americans—were Iva’s
    superiors on Radio Tokyo’s “Zero Hour” radio program. Oki was the
    show’s production manager and Mitsushio was program director. Oki and Mitsushio
    testified they had heard Iva make the
    so-called “Orphans of the Pacific” broadcast about Leyte
    Gulf in October 1944 when in fact she never did.

    The “Zero Hour” was produced
    under coercion by Allied prisoners of war, and while the Imperial Japanese
    government saw it as a way to broadcast propaganda to American GIs fighting in
    the Pacific, the POWs and Iva saw it
    as a way to sabotage the Japanese war effort.

    That’s the way the occupation forces of
    Gen. Douglas MacArthur saw it too when on April 17, 1946, following 11 months
    of Iva’s incarceration in Tokyo’s Sugamo prison along with such Class A
    Japanese war criminals as former Prime Minister Hideki Tojo, the U.S. Army
    Legal Section issued the following report:

    is no evidence that Iva
    Toguri ever broadcast greetings to
    units by name and location, or predicted military movements or attacks,
    indicating access to secret military information and plans.”

    Then, in October 1946 a U.S. Justice
    Department investigation of Iva

    Toguri’s activities, particularly in view of the innocuous nature of her
    broadcasts, are not sufficient to warrant prosecution for treason.”

    It was obvious that the U.S.
    authorities in Tokyo
    were willing to let bygones be bygones. And they were willing to accept the
    reasons for Iva
    Toguri’s voluntary participation
    in the Zero Hour show: that like most of the 10,000 Japanese-Americans stranded
    in Tokyo during
    the war, she had taken the job to sustain herself while she was basically a
    hostage in a hostile environment.

    Furthermore, she had been assured by the
    American and Australian POWs who wrote the scripts she read, that she was doing
    nothing unpatriotic–and indeed that what they were doing might help the allied
    war effort.

    That was especially important to Iva,
    because unlike all the other Japanese-Americans who participated in the Zero
    Hour broadcasts, she had steadfastly refused to give up her American
    citizenship, despite being threatened and pushed to do so by Imperial Japan’s
    dreaded “kempeitai” secret police. In fact, her pro-American
    sentiments often got her into arguments with Japanese members of the Zero Hour
    staff. On several occasions she risked arrest and even death to smuggle food
    and medical supplies to Allied POW’s in Tokyo.

    In 1948, Iva
    petitioned to return to the United
    States and Chicago, where her family had resettled
    following the war and where she still lives.

    When word leaked out that the notorious
    “Tokyo Rose” was trying to reenter the United States, much of the U.S. press took
    exception. Radio columnist Walter
    Winchell unleashed a series of
    broadcasts attacking then U.S. Atty. Gen. Tom Clark
    for “laxness” in dealing with “Tokyo Rose.” Pressure
    steadily built on the Truman administration
    to “make an example” of somebody. That “somebody” was to be
    Iva Toguri.

    It made no
    difference that Iva
    Toguri bore no resemblance in
    appearance or deed to the fictitious and seductive Oriental woman American
    G.I.s fantasized about while sitting in their jungle foxholes. Nor did the fact
    that U.S. Occupation forces already had investigated Iva
    and cleared her of any activity that could be construed as treasonous.

    It was an election year and the
    administration of President Harry
    S Truman
    could not afford to be seen as being soft on alleged wartime spies and
    turncoats. Atty. Gen. Clark
    dispatched investigators to Tokyo
    to look into the Tokyo Rose case. They found that Iva Toguri
    was the only person associated with the “Zero Hour” show who was
    still an American citizen and hence, still subject to U.S. law. So Clark began to build a case
    against Iva and told justice department attorney Tom de
    Wolfe to “prosecute it vigorously.”

    In 1945 Iva
    had married Filipe
    J. d’Aquino,
    who was born in Yokohama
    of a Portuguese father and a Japanese mother. In 1948 the couple’s child, who Iva desperately wanted to be born in the United States,
    died at birth. The two remained together until her conviction and then,
    following decades of forced separation, they divorced in 1980. After Iva’s
    release from prison, she could not get a U.S. passport to travel and d’Aquino,
    while in San Francisco for the trial, had been told by the FBI never to return
    to the United States, “or else.”)

    The case against Iva Toguri
    was flimsy at best. Something had to be done to strengthen it. So FBI agents in
    Tokyo rounded
    up all of those involved in the “Zero Hour” broadcasts and applied
    the kind of pressure that most any Japanese-American at the time could

    “We had no choice,” Oki told me in
    1976 after I had convinced he and Mitsushio to meet me in Tokyo. “The FBI and U.S. Occupation
    police told us we would have to testify against Iva
    or else they said Uncle Sam might arrange a trial for us too—or worse. We were flown to San Francisco from Tokyo and
    along with other government witnesses, we were told what to say and what not to
    say two hours every morning for a month before the trial started.

    “Even though I was a government
    witness against her, I can say today that Iva Toguri
    was innocent: she never did anything treasonable…she never said the words that
    got her convicted,” Oki said. “It was all a lie. Iva never had a chance. And all I can say now is that
    I am truly sorry for my part in her conviction. I hope she can find it in her
    heart to forgive us.”

    My stories containing details of Oki and
    Mitsushio’s confession of perjury, as well as interviews with her former
    husband Phil d”Aquino
    and others who had worked with Iva on
    the Zero Hour, appeared in March 1976 and were carried around the world.

    On January 19, 1977, President Gerald Ford, in his last official act in office,
    granted Iva Toguri a full and unconditional pardon.
    While the historic pardon was an attempt to correct the injustice done to Iva Toguri,
    the individual, it also served to raise awareness of the unfair treatment
    Japanese-Americans received at the time from the federal and some state

    The fact Iva Toguri
    became the first person in American history to be pardoned following a treason
    conviction, speaks volumes about her own indomitable spirit and the
    determination of those who supported her crusade for justice, say leaders in
    the Japanese-American community.

    Others say the pardon also says something
    about the deeply-ingrained sense of fair play that permeates American society
    and which manifests itself, albeit sometimes belatedly, in the media, the
    courts and, in Toguri’s case, the White House.

    On July 4, 2006 Iva Toguri’s
    turned 90. It was a bittersweet occasion because, as she told me, for almost 65
    of those 90 years ‘I had to live with
    the myth that I was “Tokyo Rose.”

    Some vindication came several months before
    her 90th birthday in a quiet, private ceremony held in a restaurant on Chicago’s
    north side when Iva received the
    Edward J. Herlihy Citzenship Award from the World War II Veterans Committee.
    (Herlihy was a radio broadcaster who was known as the “Voice of WW II” for his
    narration of Universal Newsreels). It was a twist of irony not lost on those in

    I was privileged to be one of those
    invited to the ceremony, along with members of Iva’s family and a handful of
    close friends like former CBS news anchor Bill Kurtis, who has known Iva since
    the late 1960s; and Hollywood producer Barbara Trembley, whose years of work
    will result in a major feature film from Paramount and director Frank Durabont
    (“The Shawshank Redemption” and the “Green Mile”) about Iva and her struggles.

    Iva pushed back tears as she accepted the

    “This is such a great honor,” she said.
    “For so many years I wanted to be positive about this whole thing. I wanted to
    honor my father and my family. They believed in me through all the things that
    happened to me. I thank the World War II Veterans Committee for making this the
    most memorable day of my life.”

    Several years before, Iva and I met in the same restaurant. She had invited
    me to dinner to thank me for the series of stories I had written that resulted
    in the Presidential pardon. Incredibly, even though Iva
    and I were linked by the stories I had written we had never met face to face.

    “You know, if it hadn’t been for
    those stories I never would have received my pardon,” Iva told me. “I would still be a criminal. You
    started the ball rolling. And now, after all this time, I just want to say
    thank you. Its long overdue.”

    I hadn’t come to dinner in search of any
    recognition or thanks. I just wanted to meet the woman whose story had
    fascinated me years before and sent me on a search for the truth. I wanted
    finally to separate the woman from the myth; to detach Iva Toguri
    the person from “Tokyo Rose” the World War II caricature. I wanted to
    meet the woman that fertile G.I. imaginations had turned into some torrid kimono-clad
    Mata Hari.

    The woman sitting across from me was
    certainly no Mata
    Hari. Here was a woman with kind
    eyes, a gracious smile and an admirable ability to put things into perspective.

    “I’ve put all that behind me
    now,” Iva said, speaking of her ordeals in wartime Tokyo, in San Francisco’s federal
    court and in prison.

    “I’m only sorry that my father never
    lived to see me pardoned. He died in 1972. But he believed in me until the end.

    ” ‘I’m proud of you Iva,’ he used to tell me. ‘You were like a
    tiger…you never changed your stripes…you stayed American through and

    “Am I bitter? No, what good does it
    do to be bitter?” Iva said. Then
    she thought for a moment. There were exceptions to that blanket forgiveness.

    “In your stories Oki and Mitsushio
    asked for my forgiveness. But how could I ever forgive them for what they did
    to me?”


    (Ronald E. Yates, is a former award-winning foreign
    correspondent for the Chicago Tribune and former Dean of the College of Media
    at the University of Illinois)

  • Mike Trotter

    The dramatic pauses are extremely annoying. Just be direct and to the point and whatever you do, don’t cry

The 411 From Glenn

Sign up for Glenn’s newsletter

In five minutes or less, keep track of the most important news of the day.