One of WWII's most sensational stories was that of Tokyo Rose: a Japanese radio propagandist who demoralized American soldiers with stories of their wives' infidelity and impossibly accurate knowledge of U.S. troop movements. The Tokyo Rose story thrilled and horrified Americans, especially when an American citizen, Iva Toguri, was arrested for being the nefarious broadcaster-the problem, the U.S. government soon realized, was that Toguri was forced into the position of propagandist, had not actually broken any laws, and had even helped American POWs. Still, public opinion demanded that they prosecute, and she was ultimately convicted of treason. By treating Tokyo Rose, the Pacific legend, and Iva Toguri, the American citizen trapped by circumstance, as separate people, Close reaches into the heart of Cold War tension. Meticulously researched, Close's case explains not only why Toguri was not a traitor, but also why the American people, in a time of desperation, needed to believe she was. The result will prove compelling and readable for those interested in the Pacific theater, propaganda studies, or the history of the Cold War; though lengthy, Close makes his 500-plus pages worthwhile with a rich sense of context and detailed notes.
Tokyo Rose / An American Patriot: A Dual Biographyby Frederick P. Close
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Tokyo Rose / An American Patriot explores the parallel lives of World War II legend Tokyo Rose and a Japanese American woman named Iva Toguri. Trapped in Tokyo during the war and forced to broadcast on Japanese radio, Toguri nonetheless refused to renounce her U.S. citizenship and surreptitiously aided Allied POWs. Despite these patriotic actions, she foolishly identified herself to the press after the war as Tokyo Rose.
This book assembles for the first time a collection of images from American pre-war popular culture that provided impetus for the legend. It explains how the wartime situation of servicemen caused their imaginations to create the mythical femme fatale even though no Japanese announcer ever used the name Tokyo Rose. Further, in spite of the fact that there was only one rather innocuous broadcast by a woman between December 1941 and April 1942, a news correspondent with the U.S. Navy reported in April 1942 that sailors in the Pacific theater routinely listened to Tokyo Rose's propaganda.
Using interviews conducted over decades, this biography also explores Toguri's character and decisions by placing her story and conviction for treason in the context of U.S. and Japanese racial views, Imperial Japan, and Cold War politics. New research findings prompt a different perspective on her sensational trial, the most expensive in U.S. history up to that time. Misguided strategy by Toguri's defense attorney and her deceptive testimony about a key event led to the jury's verdict as surely as the perjury suborned by prosecutors.
In addition to updated information, this expanded edition discusses Manila Rose, another Japanese broadcaster who lived in San Francisco in 1949 a few blocks from the courthouse where the federal government prosecuted Tokyo Rose. The U.S. Army misstated Manila Rose’s name to the public when it interviewed her in 1945. As a result historians have never turned up her files because they researched this incorrect name. Close discovered the FBI investigation from 1954 in the National Archives and is the first here to reveal the full story of Manila Rose, a woman whose real life parallels that of the fictional Tokyo Rose.
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Meet the Author
Frederick P. Close is a founder of the non-profit Southwest Center for Educational Television. He has spearheaded the production of 76 ethnographic documentaries produced throughout the United States, Mexico, and Puerto Rico and broadcast in four season-long series by the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and National Public Radio (NPR), as well as selected commercial television, radio, and cable channels in the United States, Canada, and Latin America.
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