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'Tokyo Rose' Receives Pardon

By Patrick Mondout

On January 19, 1977, Iva Toguri D'Aquino, an American citizen of Japanese descent who made Japanese propaganda broadcasts to U.S. troops during World War II, is pardoned from her treason charge by outgoing U.S. President Gerald R. Ford.

D'Aquino was the most widely known of the English-speaking announcers at Tokyo Radio, a state-owned radio network that engaged in psychological warfare against U.S. troops stationed in the southwestern Pacific. In an attempt to demoralize its American listeners by making them homesick, Radio Tokyo broadcast dance music and nostalgic reminiscences about everyday American life, along with claims by Tokyo Rose that the servicemen's women were consorting with other men at home.

The radio programs were extremely popular with U.S. servicemen located in remote areas of the Pacific, although there is little evidence that the broadcasts had any negative effect. Among several English-speaking female announcers at Tokyo Radio, D'Aquino was the favorite of U.S. troops, who fondly referred to her as "Tokyo Rose."

After the Japanese surrender, U.S. officials arrested D'Aquino in Japan and charged her with treason. During her subsequent trial, she maintained that she was visiting a sick aunt in Japan at the time of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and thus had not been able to return to the United States. Looking for a way to support herself in wartime Japan, she went to work for the state radio network as a secretary, and was later coerced into her position as an announcer.

The U.S. military tribunal found her guilty of treason, fined her $10,000, and sentenced her to ten years in prison. After six years in prison, she was released and over the next two decades she waged a tireless campaign to clear her name, finally receiving a pardon from President Ford on the last day of his administration.



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Correspondents interview "Tokyo Rose." Iva Toguri, American-born Japanese in August of 1945


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