THE FRAMING OF 'TOKYO ROSE'1
by James J. Martin
It is a very comfortable feeling to imagine that there is no past and that the future begins with the present but the future has a very awkward way of reminding us that our past will not down.
―Francis Neilson, in The American Journal of Economics and Sociology (July, 1949), p.358.
World War Two ended over thirty years ago, but the unfinished business of this war clutters the planet. Big political questions involving unresolved territorial disposition of disputed regions have brought about the vicious Korean and Vietnam wars. The nearly thirty years of strife in the Mideast grows out of other aspects of unbalanced WW 2 accounts. The boundaries and structure of Germany are still as unsettled as they were three decades ago, and 'war crimes' trials still go on there.2 For that matter, there still is no general peace treaty ending the war of 1939-1945.
On another level, there are many incidents which appear to be settled permanently, but which are really in a kind of historical limbo, with the final word, if there ever will be one, far from forthcoming. One of these, the subject of this re-appraisal, is the infamous treason trial of the woman known around the world three decades ago as 'Tokyo Rose,' and which, despite accepted modern legendry, has never been resolved. We already have a generation which has only the haziest notions as to what this case was all about, if they have any understanding about it at all.3 But very few of those old enough to recall the case realize that the person found guilty in the trial of 1949 has never admitted any guilt, and furthermore, her original attorneys sought for 25 years thereafter to establish not only that she was innocent, but that she should be pardoned and compensated for past indignities she was forced to endure.
It is desirable to start this amazing narrative on a broad scale, however, so that it can be understood how the whole sorry tale became part of the history of the times.
The attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese on December 7, 1941 brought the USA into World War Two formally. And Americans fought the Japanese in the Pacific for nearly four years thereafter, about twice as long as they eventually fought the Germans and Italians in Europe. It was a veritable race war (Norman Thomas once described World War II in the Pacific as 'an organized race riot'), and the accompanying propaganda was pitched at a level of racial venom in the USA which many involved never did repudiate. Hatred of the Japanese was developed into a science by the war administration's propaganda arm, and on some levels it became so aggravated that one would have imagined Americans were fighting large insects in the Pacific islands, so degraded did the enemy become on the evolutionary scale invented by the clever chaps who prepared the material for the psychological warfare which was fought simultaneously against the home front. A cursory examination of the popular press of 1941-45 reveals substantial slanderous dehumanization of the enemy in Asia, but it was far worse on what might be called the vulgar or informal level.
It is not the purpose here to dwell on this aspect of the war, but it is necessary to have some understanding of the state of mind in super-heated post-war America toward the late enemy in the Far East. It was part of the emotional climate in which such trials as that of 'Tokyo Rose' took place. 4 It was many years before any headway was discernible in the effort to dissipate the ferocity of Japanophobia in the USA, and overtones of this clever and successful brainwashing are palpable to this day, thanks in part to the reappearance of war-time anti-Japanese movies on television (since 1945 a very large part of American youth must reach the age of 14 or so before they realize the Germans and Japanese are no longer our enemies).
Though much balderdash had emanated from 'experts' and even military and naval spokesmen in the decade before Pearl to the effect that the Japanese could not put up a decent fight against Americans for six months, that an American fighting man was worth at least half a dozen Asiatics,5 and that any encounter in the Pacific, predicted by all manner of 'seers' after the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05, would be little more than an outing, it was soon realized in 1942 that the USA was confronted by a tough, resourceful and intelligent enemy. And it was also now being conceded that it was going to be a long and bitter struggle.
A steady drumfire of verbal abuse of the enemy was a substitute for victories for a time, and nothing was neglected which might be employed to paint the adversary as a monster. Beginning late in 1941 American servicemen stationed in various parts of the Pacific war theater began to receive on their radios numerous broadcasts of American music, that of the big dance bands which was at its peak of popularity with the young. These recordings were accompanied by commentary by announcers, most of whom were English-speaking women. Though there were several of them, the soldiers and sailors referred to them all as a single person, whom they dubbed 'Tokyo Rose.' Though no such name was ever used on Radio Tokyo, from which these broadcasts originated, it did not matter in those days.
The exploits of this legendary disc jockey grew to wondrous proportions, and her fame spread in such a way that by the war's end there were few people in the USA who had not heard of her. Mothers imagined her as a purring, leering Lorelei who was undermining their cleancut sons with all manner of unmentionable suggestions and especially encouraging them to believe wives and girl friends at home were 'untrue,' among other things. The press boiled with stories about this omnipresent woman, and radio blatherskites such as Walter Winchell and Drew Pearson were much exercised over it all.
With this brief background in mind, we may begin properly the historia calamitatum of Iva Ikuko Toguri. Born on July 4, 1916 of Japanese parents in Los Angeles, she graduated from UCLA in 1940. She was an outstanding pre-medical student there, as well as a talented pianist. The pre-war decade being a time of poor opportunities for Nisei in the US, she thought for a time of going to Japan to study medicine. But when she did go, in 1941, she went at the request of her parents to visit an ailing aunt in Kyushu; Iva's mother was too ill to undertake the visit herself. 7
And it was while she was there at the home of her uncle that the Pearl Harbor attack took place, from which time her life became incredibly complicated. She later related the confusion that took place caused by her inability to speak Japanese, and her unwillingness to believe at the start that such a thing had actually happened. It was two days after Pearl that she knew for sure that war had broken out.'
That she was still in Japan on December 7, 1941 was principally the fault of incompetent bureaucrats of two countries. She had left Los Angeles in such a hurry that she did not wait to obtain a passport, and was supplied only with what was called a 'certificate of identification. ' When she tried to sail home on the Tatsu Maru in November, 1941, the failure of the US consul to have her passport ready and the inability of the Japanese monetary functionaries to expedite the exchange of her foreign funds caused her to miss the ship.
She tried to get back to the USA two more times by sea on the Swedish ship Gripsholm, which was engaged much of the early war on runs from one belligerent to another, carrying refugees back and forth. The first time was just before the war; she failed again in September, 1942. By the latter date her parents were locked up in Arizona's Gila River concentration camp (this and like camps are still described in that exquisite hypocrisy Americans have inherited from their English tradition as 'relocation centers'9) and she was unable to get the money for the passage from them under these circumstances. Her mother later died in one of these camps.
But the troubles of Iva Toguri were just beginning. Her money soon ran out, and she became increasingly an object of suspicion, badgered by the Japanese police, who could not understand why she did not renounce her US citizenship. Matters were made worse by the breakdown in communication. She was denied a ration card, disowned by her uncle, and ended up wandering the streets of Tokyo for three months, following which she was admitted to a hospital, suffering from malnutrition. 10
Then began the job of survival in a strange land, with which her own country was at war, as unfavorable a situation as one was likely to imagine. First she set out to learn some Japanese. Then she secured a job with the Domei News Agency (Japan's equivalent to the big national newsgathering enterprises such as Reuter's, Havas and many others), but apparently was too pro-American for her associates. She soon left here, taking part-time work as a typist with the Danish Legation and Radio Tokyo. This latter place turned out to be a fateful one. Here she came to the attention of an Australian prisoner of war, Major Charles E. Cousens. Cousens, an American of similar status, Major Wallace G. Ince, and Norman Reyes, a lieutenant in the Filipino army, were in charge of a PQW-oriented radio program over Radio Tokyo, which became popularly known under the title Zero Hour. 11 It was broadcast mainly by English-speaking women announcers, who accompanied programs of American dance band music with casual chit-chat, virtually devoid of politics or propaganda, though there were other women who did read news and commentary on the war on several different programs.12 There was in the Zero Hour scripts, prepared under the direction of and mostly by the above-mentioned men, a theme which vaguely accented home and the comforts of non-combatant life, which could be and was construed as an effort to undermine the morale of Americans fighting a long distance from home in a very strange environment. It was originally the backbone of the Government's case against Iva Toguri that she had broadcast this kind of material, not that she had made political propaganda in behalf of Imperial Japan, though it might be mentioned that in a 1968 Pennsylvania State University Speech Department thesis by Rose Maria Fazio, which sought to estimate the effects of these broadcasts during the war, 93% of the ex-servicemen who were sent questionnaires responded that hearing these broadcasts had no demoralizing effect on them.13 Iva Toguri encountered Major Cousens for the first time in November, 1943, nearly two full years after Allied soldiers in the Pacific had started calling Radio Tokyo women announcers 'Tokyo Rose.'14 Cousens declared he selected her because she had demonstrated sympathy with POWs, and had secretly obtained food, clothing and blankets for them. She was coached and helped on a voice test, and soon joined the team of women on the air with Zero Hour. 15
The events of the period of her employment are not clear, 16 and were made much muddier by the continuous contradictions voiced by a stream of witnesses during the 1949 trial. Some of this will be examined in the context of the trial. At this moment we can proceed to the end of the war and reconstruct the time span from the late summer of 1945 to the spring of 1949.
The fierce search for 'Tokyo Rose' on the part of American journalists coincided with two other developments also transpiring in the closing days of August and the early days of September, 1945. The first of these was the steady pouring into the Tokyo area of large numbers of American occupying troops. Their mood was one of grimness verging on to vindictiveness, an attitude liberally stoked by a plethora of atrocity stories. The latter came from all regions which had housed prisoners of war in particular, and their tempo and gravity increased with almost every passing hour. The newspapers in the USA bulged with an avalanche of these accounts in this same time, the high point of which probably was the release of an official report by the Australian government on September 10, which accused the Japanese forces of cannibalism. 17 When the big Tokyo newspaper Asahi asserted that part of the motivation for the multitude of atrocity stories which were filling many columns in the stateside newspapers was a coverup for US atrocities against the Japanese, the paper was suspended for two days by General Douglas MacArthur, who had replaced Emperor Hirohito as Japan's authority figure.18
Thus the effort to locate 'Tokyo Rose' was no mere quest for a good headline; it was colored by a spirit of maliciousness which reflected the general tenor of the occupation, and there would obviously be little time spent considering the niceties of accuracy, considerateness or any of the other virtues of a less hysterical and more civilized psychological climate. Clark Lee and Harry T. Brundidge were anything but alone in the journalistic hunt for 'Tokyo Rose.' Al Dopking, of Lee' s previous employer, the Associated Press, published a lengthy story on September 1 on his feverish quest for this elusive figure. He spoke of being conducted through Yokohama by an American-born Japanese girl who had come to Japan from Downey, California in 1940, and had worked at Domei for two years during the war. He reported that she had told him 'Tokyo Rose' was 'several girls' and that she knew three of them herself, two of them Los Angeles-born, who worked at Radio Tokyo. Despite his eager pursuit, Dopking half-despaired of success, and was almost reconciled to believing that the woman-starved Pacific theater servicemen had been gulled by a Japanese propaganda invention all along. 19
But at the very moment Dopking's account was being read, one of the suspected materializations of 'Tokyo Rose,' Iva Toguri, was being interviewed by rival journalists Lee and Brundidge in the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo. The interview was to lead to a swatch of notes hurriedly composed by Lee, in which he managed among other things both to pose questions to his interviewee and answer them as well, with the result that a subsequently published account of the interview by Lee included self-damning remarks attributed to Iva Toguri which she never uttered. More attention will be paid to the central part played by this famous pair of interrogators subsequently but it was the refusal of Brundidge's employer, Cosmopolitan magazine, to print his sensational account of the affair that led to her arrest as 'Tokyo Rose. '20
Part of the blame has to be assessed against Iva Toguri as well, as a consequence of her rather naive and innocent approach to the interview, which in large part grew from her conviction that she had done nothing wrong, and her belief that the reporters were trying to verify the truth, rather than to weave a web of sinister circumstance around her which could lead only to implacable pursuit as a traitor. Fingered by Brundidge at U. S. Eighth Army intelligence headquarters she was arrested and placed under detention on September 5, 1945.21
American military occupation and civil agencies then began a curious game with the defendant. Released the day after her first arrest, news about her began to proliferate at home, and a week later it was revealed that a United States Attorney sought to have her tried in the United States. 22
On October 17, 1945 she was arrested again, and after spending a month in a Yokohama prison, was transferred to the ominous Sugamo prison in Tokyo, where the principal Japanese accused of war crimes were jailed. Here she was to stay for the next eleven months. 23
The occupation authorities decided as early as April, 1946 that she had done nothing culpable under military law, and privately decided to abandon any prosecution, and gave her unconditional clearance of treason charges. 24 But as a result of a separate Department of justice investigation she remained in jail. In September the Department gradually adopted the view that they should desist from prosecuting her and an Assistant Attorney General recommended to Washington that the Government drop the case, which was done on October 21,25 and on October 25, 1946, Iva Toguri was released from jail. The government's contention was re-affirmed that the appellation 'Tokyo Rose' was a composite one, and that it was impossible to isolate any individual under such a designation. 26
During this year in prison she was never allowed legal counsel, never knew the charges against her, nor granted either bail or the constitutionally-prescribed 'speedy trial.' At one time held incommunicado, her husband was eventually allowed to visit her for a grand total of twenty minutes a month. In the meantime she was treated as a circus freak, subjected to involuntary visits from all manner of people, even American congressmen, and even while she was bathing, in order that various gawking bumpkins might have a glimpse of the woman alleged to be the notorious 'Tokyo Rose.'
The Tokyo Rose saga might very well have ended here had it not been for an apparently unrelated circumstance, and its complicated consequences. On April 19, 1945 Iva Toguri had married a fellow media worker, Felipe J. D'Aquino, of mixed Portuguese and Japanese extraction, and technically a Portuguese citizen. When she became pregnant in 1947, the year after her release from prison, and thinking it would be appropriate to have her child born in the United States, she applied for a passport.
Now began a torturous process of legal shillyshallying as to her citizenship status. When jailed in the fall of 1945 one of the first things which had been established and promoted via the press was her United States citizenship.27 Now the complications of other bureaucratic bungling set in. She had been cleared by the Army and Justice Department, and the latter in October, 1947 had 'no objection' to the State department issuing her a passport.
The release of the news of her application to the press soon had the sensation mongers in full cry, and her exploitation for headlines had much to do with her new round of dolors. But there were many contributors to this. It ran from the mischievous sensation seekers Lee and Brundidge to radio bawlers such as Walter Winchell,28 the latter spearheading a ferocious hostility. 29 Eventually it spread to the American Legion, and to such as the Native Sons and Daughters of the Golden West, and about every other pocket of professional Japanophobia still awash in the wake of World War Two. 30 The various outcries against the return of a native born American to her native land performed the function of a delaying action, and Iva Toguri D'Aquino's baby was stillborn in January, 1948.
Between October and December, 1947 some amazing and powerful pressure was applied to the Truman regime's Justice Department to reopen the 'Tokyo Rose' charges against Iva Toguri D'Aquino. Preparations began to invest considerable time and money in this inquisition, which when directed against suspected Stalinist spies and agents was usually decried with much emotion by liberals as a 'witch hunt.' And it apparently made no difference to the new (and old) stalkers that both the Army and Justice investigations in Japan had been concluded in her favor.
On December 3, 1947 the FBI announced that it was once more seeking witnesses in a projected re-opening of the treason charges.31 The most enthusiastic respondent was Brundidge, now identified as 'an ex-Hearst reporter.' No doubt smarting from Winchell's pointed attack on the air as a maladroit, he undertook to ingratiate himself with J. Edgar Hoover, offering to assist the FBI in searching out witnesses against Mrs. D'Aquino in Japan, as well as trying to get her to sign the Lee notes of 1945, in order to clinch the allegations he and Lee had been making ever since the celebrated interview in Tokyo in September, 1945, that they had a 'confession' from her.
In March, 1948 Brundidge accompanied U.S. Attorney John B. Hogan on a trip to Japan. On the 26th, Hogan and Brundidge interviewed Mrs. D'Aquino again, and Hogan noted to a superior that she had declined to sign the notes proffered once more by Brundidge, on the grounds that they contained numerous and obvious discordances and incongruities between the story she had told the reporters and what these notes now contained.32
Brundidge then found for Atty. Hogan and the Justice Department two Japanese who were willing to testify that they had witnessed Mrs. D'Aquino making treasonable broadcasts during the war: Hiromu Yagi, a Japan Travel Bureau agent, and Toshikatsu Kodairi, an Associated Press reporter in Japan.33 So the way now seemed clear to proceed in calling a grand jury to 'sift' the treason charges against Mrs. D'Aquino, as the New York Times put it.
From here on, the trying of Iva Toguri D'Aquino in the newspapers and via opinion generated by radio bawlers was to proceed for over a year prior to her actual legal proceedings, which should have had professional liberal civil rights watchdogs baying around the clock. But these vigilant protectors of the legal prerogatives of hardened criminals, Communists and related ideologues were strangely silent. Nor were their legions of journalist allies any more watchful of the sacred civil rights and constitutional liberties of a fellow American-born citizen, who was still unproven of having done anything to anyone anywhere.
By mid-August, 1948 Mrs. D'Aquino was front page news again. The Times featured her interview on the 16th and devoted an editorial to her two days later. On the 26th she was arrested and imprisoned in Tokyo once more, and plans were set for her return to the United States the next day. But statements on the circumstances of her return and to what part of the USA consisted of a torturous medley of contradictions.
Since the accused was alleged to have committed treason abroad, the law stipulated that trials for such offenses had to take place at the first point on American soil where the accused set foot. The ship bringing her to the USA pointedly skipped docking in Hawaii and proceeded directly to San Francisco, avoiding a location where she might have been the recipient of very tolerant treatment in the courts, and taking her instead to a mainland city where the reputation for Japanophobia was substantial.
Mrs. D'Aquino was arraigned before a federal commissioner on September 25 and lodged in a jail near Chinatown. So she was finally back home, even if a prisoner once more, a state of affairs which now surely was becoming familiar.34
Segments of the opulent establishment press convicted her nearly a year before her trial began. The scurrilous lead national affairs article in Time on August 30, 194835 flatly called her a 'traitor,' scoffed at her story of why she went to Japan in 1941, while implying that her treasonous motivation antedated the war. But this vicious attack concealed as 'news' admitted that she had been just one of more than a half dozen English-speaking Japanese girls on Radio Tokyo, and that there was no evidence that American servicemen had been disturbed by the 'Tokyo Rose' broadcasts (a poll of veterans in 1948 might have revealed that 'Tokyo Rose,' in toto, had far more admirers among their ranks than detractors.)
Some sectors of the American press devoted to the welfare of Alger Hiss used the re-opening of the 'Tokyo Rose' case as a welcome relief and diversion from their chores involved in defense of the former, whose investigation before Congress was at a full peak at that moment. Many socially and financially prominent super-liberals were undergoing bloody sweats in behalf of Hiss, probably their most dearly loved pet protege in this century. A penniless and nearly friendless girl of Japanese ancestry made an easy punching bag.36
Under the impact of such trashy bus station and supermarket 'literary' gossip-mongering and exacerbation of wartime hatreds was the whole sorry process of 'Tokyo Rose' again dragged across the nation's consciousness. The combination of the Brundidge-Lee and Winchell effusions (plus that of Kate Smith), in addition to Brundidge's 'cooperation' with the Justice Department, led to the re-opening of the case by Attorney General Tom C. Clark, father of Ramsey Clark, of recent Hanoi fame. (It was Atty. Gen. Clark who ordered her re-arrest but Brundidge took personal credit for Atty. Gen. Clark's order to the U.S. Army occupiers in Tokyo and her transport to San Francisco.)
A federal grand jury indictment for treason on October 8, 1948,37 during which irregularities took place that should have caused its dismissal, as shall be seen, led to a decision to prosecute on the part of the Government. Iva Toguri D'Aquino was front page news again.
An examination of the grand jury proceedings which led to the indictment of Iva Toguri D'Aquino on eight counts of treason certainly leads to no conclusion that the Government should be covered with glory. The U.S. Attorney responsible for conducting the Government's case before the grand jury was Thomas De Wolfe; he later was to head the prosecution when the trial began. De Wolfe, however, five months before the grand jury began its hearings, expressed strong views to the effect that there were insufficient grounds and evidence which would lead to her conviction. He thought the witnesses would present overwhelming evidence as to her pro-American and non-treasonous behavior while employed by Radio Tokyo, that there was no available evidence which might induce 'reasonable' minds to 'conclude guilt beyond a reasonable doubt,' and that on the basis of where they stood at that moment, 'the Government case must fail.'
De Wolfe must have been inspired by what Hogan and Brundidge brought back from Japan, however, since he undertook the presentation of the Government's case with un-ordinary vigor in October. He boasted of presenting the evidence against Mrs. D'Aquino 'in a rather forceful manner,' in a memorandum written November 12, 1948, and in another composed on November 17 he admitted that even after this bravura performance, two grand jurors were still voting against indictment, and that he found it necessary 'to practically make a Fourth of July speech in order to obtain an indictment.'
But within less than a month of the grand jury indictment, there must have been prostration among the men preparing the prosecution, because by then they knew that both of the Japanese witnesses against the defendant, Yagi, and Kodaira, had perjured themselves. Yagi had testified that Kodaira had been present with him at the time of a Zero Hour broadcast where they had heard the defendant make treasonous remarks. Yagi confessed before a Counter-Intelligence officer in November in Japan that this was not so, and on November 5, Kodaira emphatically denied ever having been present with Yagi at any such broadcast, implicating Brundidge as having cajoled him to so attest, and promising vague benefits in the United States if he would so testify.
At first the grand jury refused to act unless the officers under whom Mrs. D'Aquino had worked, and had read from scripts they had written, were also indicted. They settled for only the single indictment when informed that they had no authority over military officers; the latter could only be court martialed. (Cousens, tried in Australia, was acquitted of treason charges and promoted. In the US, Ince was similarly promoted, and, as Phil Jordan, one of the most knowledgeable students of the case, observes tartly, 'with no nonsense about a court martial,' though the Government had promised the grand jury that this would take place in return for their cooperation in finding against Mrs. D'Aquino.)
First scheduled for May 16, 194936 in Federal Court in San Francisco, the trial did not get under way until July 5, Judge Michael J. Roche presiding. The jury consisted of six men and six women, all white Californians, selected in just two hours. Stanton Delaplane, covering the event for the San Francisco Chronicle, in the issue for July 5 called special attention to the prosecution eliminating all non-Caucasian potential jurors, employing eight of its peremptory challenges to eliminate six blacks, a Chinese-American and another person of mixed ethnic origins.39 But others paid close scrutiny to this unusual Government tactic, and during the trial and long after there were charges of intentional racism, which were heatedly denied by Government spokesmen. However, it could not be missed by many that an all-white jury was trying a Japanese-American in a state long known for its Japanophobic outrages and persisting psychology and sentiment, gravely inflamed by the recently-concluded war.40 (It might be pointed out that the Government subsequently segregated its witnesses, the Caucasians in one room and the Japanese in another, while they awaited being called to testify.)
The prosecution was headed by De Wolfe (see above), special assistant to Atty. Gen. Clark, assisted by two U.S. attorneys, Frank J. Hennessey and Hogan, Brundidge's companion on the witness-hunting trip to Japan. De Wolfe was a specialist in treason trials, having already acted in the successful prosecution of American journalists Robert H. Best and Douglas Chandler, convicted for making wartime broadcasts from Germany.
Defense counsel was headed by Wayne M. Collins, aided by Theodore Tamba and George Olshausen, San Francisco attorneys, who served the defendant without pay. The performance of Collins in particular caused the prosecution many unhappy and uneasy days, achieving such success in cross-examination of prosecution witnesses that there were few observers who believed the Government had a case by the time it went to the jury.
By the time the trial began, Mrs. D'Aquino, following her arrest in Tokyo August 25, 1948 and her transport to San Francisco and arraignment on September 25, had been in jailor its equivalent another year. (There is an unfortunate NEA telephoto published in the daily newspapers allover the land in the days after the start of the trial of Mrs. D'Aquino being escorted into the courtroom by a Government policeman under appearances which suggest she is almost being dragged, though it would seem that it was due to being shot at a bad angle; however, the malicious may have preferred to view it on the obvious superficial merits.)
Some poorly-explained things transpired before and during the 'Tokyo Rose' trial. Three and a half months before the trial the court had denied a defense motion to subpoena 34 witnesses in Japan, including even General Douglas MacArthur, the veritable American pro-consul, whose prestige and status rivalled anything ever achieved by Caesar in the Roman Empire.41 The court allowed the collection of depositions from witnesses in Japan by the defense, but the posting of pieces of paper, no matter what they contained, could never match in drama and effect a live witness, no matter how informational the deposition, and no matter how dull, obtuse or mendacious the witness. The Government, on the other hand, utilized witnesses brought in from Germany and Japan, including 19 Japanese citizens flown in first class from Tokyo at a cost of $23,000, and who were paid $10 a day for the duration of the trial, which exceeded 12 weeks. It was the testimony of two of these Japanese nationals, unsupported by an American citizen, which led to the conviction of Mrs. D' Aquino on a single count of treason.
Ultimately the Government, which rejected defense efforts to bring in witnesses from Japan, on the grounds that it did not have the money to pay for this, spared little expense in its own behalf, spending upward of three fourths of a million dollars to send Iva Toguri D'Aquino to jail, and undoubtedly going well beyond the million mark in keeping her in jail for 74 months and in paying for the multifarious bureaucratic maneuvers and capers which have been engaged in for over a quarter of a century in continuing its ferocious offensive against a solitary citizen. 42
The defense was guilty of one serious lapse, as Atty. Tamba was to recall later, in failing to realize that Major General Charles A. Willoughby was right in San Francisco, based at the Presidio, at the time of the trial. Gen. Willoughby was chief of intelligence for the U. S. occupation forces in Japan in 1945-46, and supervised the Defense Department investigation which had dismissed treason charges against Iva Toguri D'Aquino at that time. He might have been a formidable witness for the defense, if not the deciding factor in the trial.
The government prosecution started out anxious to prove that she had volunteered to broadcast on Radio Tokyo and that she had committed treasonous acts. 43 A former serviceman44 witness the first day testified that he had got her autograph in 1945. But the fireworks did not commence until the second day, when Yukio Ikeda, wartime personnel director of Radio Tokyo, and Shigetsugu Tsuneishi, the military commander who directed the POW broadcasts on Zero Hour, testified for the prosecution. The latter asserted that no POWs were forced to broadcast pro-Japanese propaganda. Under cross-examination Tsuneishi expressed doubt that the 'Tokyo Rose' broadcast amounted to anything effective in the propaganda field anyway, and further supported the accused by admitting she had been under duress to broadcast on the famed program.45 This particular ploy turned out to be one which went on all during the trial. The prosecution's attempt to show that the defendant had not acted under duress, and the countering of the defense to demonstrate that she had, proved unfruitful, as the witnesses were hopelessly contradictory on that subject, and on most others as well, all during the trial.
Clark Lee, testifying July 14, following Tsuneishi, who was on the stand four days, made some headway for the prosecution, when he recounted things which allegedly had been said to him in his 1945 interview with the defendant. It was also his testimony, and that of one Leslie Nakashima, which disclosed the sinister sensationalism of the former's colleague, Brundidge. Lee and Brundidge came into Tokyo promptly on the heels of the occupying U.S. Marines, and immediately smelled a journalistic coup in the making if they could be the first to locate and interview the universally-discussed 'Tokyo Rose.'
They soon found out that there were several possible candidates here, and it was purely coincidental that they ended up with Iva Toguri D'Aquino. Seeking help from Nakashima, a Domei employe, they got none. But Nakashima then went to Radio Tokyo and consulted John Kenkichi Oki, production supervisor of the Zero Hour. Nakashima, testifying early in the first week of September, declared that Oki told him there was no such person as 'Tokyo Rose,' that there were several women who had been on Radio Tokyo record shows, and then for some unknown reason gave him Mrs. D'Aquino's name.
Unabashed by these complications, Lee asked Nakashima to find her for him and Brundidge, and to offer her $2000 for a story in which she would admit that she was THE 'Tokyo Rose.' He did not make clear whether she got any money,46 but these two opportunist reporters got a five-hour interview with her, and Lee clung to his earlier declaration that she had admitted what they had tried to get her to say. Under cross-examination, Lee admitted that they had omitted from their story everything that might have been in her favor. 47
The singular aspect of this episode was that Brundidge, who was listed as a witness by the prosecution, was never called to testify, nor was he subpoenaed by the defense as a possible hostile witness. The behavior of the prosecution is far more understandable than that of the defense, however. The Attorney General's office knew full well a month before the trial began that the defense also knew of the confessions of perjury by Yagi and Kodaira, and would cross-examine Brundidge if he took the stand as a prosecution witness. The Government had considered prosecuting Brundidge for subornation of perjury, but became convinced that any such action prior to the trial of Mrs. D'Aquino would completely wreck any hope on their part of getting her convicted. The assistant attorney general for the criminal division also was sure that he would never be convicted in California on the testimony of two Japanese, and that they had better forget for the present any idea of instituting criminal proceedings against him.
The most damaging witnesses against Mrs. D'Aquino, however, proved to be Oki, and his associate, George Mitsushio, chief of the 'Front Line' section of Radio Tokyo which produced Zero Hour. Testifying during the third week of July, both men stubbornly stuck to a declaration that they had seen or heard her broadcasting the false news report concerning the alleged American naval losses in the Leyte Gulfbattle in October, 1944, of which more will be said later. This was no. VI of the eight-part indictment, the only one on which she was convicted.
These two witnesses deserve extra attention. Oki, born in Sacramento, had played football at New York University, and was married to one of the girl broadcasters on Radio Tokyo, known during the war as the 'Saturday night party girl.' Mitsushio, born in San Francisco, had gone to Japan in the years before the war, like Oki, and subsequently both renounced their U. S. citizenship.48 It was an additional touch of irony that it was to be their testimony that brought about the conviction of a Japanese-American who did not renounce her U.S. citizenship.
Undoubtedly both were under tremendous pressure to testify the way the prosecution wished, and were surely subject at least to psychic intimidation by FBI investigators, since they could have been rung in on a treason charge themselves through a little expert rigging. Their dogged maintenance that the fateful newscast had been uttered by the defendant made defense counsel suspicious. Collins pounded Mitsushio especially, drawing an admission that the latter had memorized the indictment. At one time he supported 7 of the 8 counts thereon, but ultimately fell back on No. VI, which position he did not desert.
Mitsushio's mechanical repetition of the legalese of the indictment led to additional questioning from Collins, and eventually drew from him the admission that he had received a copy from the prosecutor, De Wolfe, two weeks before testifying, and that he had kept it until three days before taking the stand. Both men further undermined their credibility by giving contradictory testimony to each other as to the ultimate purpose of the Zero Hour program, on which subject they were the experts.49 But the damage had been done.
The performance of Mitsushio in particular smacked of witness-preparation, and other performances on the stand reinforced this defense contention. Shinjiro Igarashi, a Radio Tokyo broadcaster who testified in the sixth week of the trial, had previously told two of the defense counsel on April 22, 1949 in Japan that Mrs. D'Aquino had never made any statement on the air concerning alleged American naval sinkings at Leyte Gulf. But on the stand in San Francisco he reversed his statement. When challenged on this by Collins, Igarashi replied, 'At that time my memory was confused,' to which Collins countered in cutting words, 'And now it's much better, isn't it?' Harris Sugiyama, another prosecution witness, also admitted that his memory had been 'refreshed' since he had arrived in San Francisco to testify. 50
An interesting footnote was later added to the story of Oki and Mitsushio. Jordan, who along with retired US Army Colonel John Juji Hada are among the best informed men alive on the ramifications of the 'Tokyo Rose' affair, related that Atty. Tamba had once told him of being approached during a noon recess by a witness brought to the court from Japan, but who was never allowed to testify, one Seizu Huga. Huga told Tamba that the two men testifying to the alleged treasonable act by Mrs. D'Aquino were lying, and that if called to the stand and cross-examined, he would say so, and present evidence in support of his charge which would make the prosecution's case collapse. But Huga never made the stand; he was sent back to Japan a few hours after being seen talking to Tamba.51
From now on it was downhill for prosecutor De Wolfe. His witnesses tended to go from bad to worse under cross-examination by Collins, especially when the Government started calling Americans. Dale Kramer, a 1945 reporter for the service magazine Yank, testified that Mrs. D' Aquino did not use the name 'Tokyo Rose' (but then, neither did anyone else ever do so). He did cite a script in which she called herself 'Orphan Ann' (Cousens later explained that the 'Ann' was short for 'announcer,' and that the remainder was related to the popular song which sprang from the American comic strip syndicated in the daily newspapers. However, it had an internal meaning to the defendant, who thought of herself as an 'orphaned' American working on the radio in a strange land.)
One of the most damaging to the prosecution's case was the next one, an FBI agent named Frederick G. Tillman, who, though a prosecution witness, told the court that the defendant had told him that she construed her purpose on Zero Hour to be one of making the program entertaining while reducing its effectiveness as propaganda. He further testified under cross-examination to the frantic efforts Mrs. D'Aquino had made to try to get back to the US before the war broke out, which was contained in the 12-page statement she had made for him in Sugamo Prison on April 30, 1946, several months prior to her second release by American authorities. 53
The bomb, however, was dropped by Tillman under cross-examination, when he admitted that Yagi, the Japan Travel Bureau agent, and a Government witness, had confessed to him that he was bribed to testify falsely against Mrs. D'Aquino before the grand jury which indicted her. 54 It seemed that this was the most important opening of the whole trial which might have been exploited by the defense, but Brundidge, the man who had bribed Yagi, was not even identified in court at the moment Tillman admitted the bribery under Atty. Collins' questioning. The failure to subpoena Brundidge on the part of the defense later on appears to have been a grave lapse. This was made more obvious when the defense early in September was unable to introduce testimony from Yagi on the bribery incident, though it did submit Kodaira's deposition from Japan on Brundidge.
The day before this damaging admission by Tillman, the prosecution had put on the stand two counter-intelligence agents, one of them Major James T. Reitz, who had been a captain in the CIC in Tokyo in September, 1945 but who had to be brought to San Francisco from his new assignment in Germany. Major Reitz identified a package of radio scripts which had been turned over to him by Sgt. Merritt Page, also of the CIC, in Tokyo. And Page, employed in 1949 with the Veterans Administration in Pittsburgh, followed Reitz to the stand and declared that the scripts had been given to him by Mrs. D'Aquino in the Grand Hotel in Tokyo, at which time Page said she had told him that she did not believe she had done anything treasonous. The proceedings here were not very supportive of the prosecution either, since it would have been strange behavior on the part of anyone believing themselves to be traitorous to volunteer the evidence upon which such a verdict might be secured, self-incrimination of the most suspicious sort. The counter-intelligence sleuths were also helping out the defense.
A third witness that same day (July 26), another former reporter for Yank, James J. Keeney, supported the previous testimony of his colleague Kramer, declaring that the defendant had also confirmed to Kramer, who had interviewed her in Tokyo on September 3, 1945, of the part of the Australian POW, Cousens, in getting her the job on Zero Hour. And under cross-examination by Collins, Keeney stated that Mrs. D'Aquino had denied that she ever broadcast to American servicemen that their wives and sweethearts were 'going out with other men.'55 (That they had done so could have been established on a grand scale; therefore, if Mrs. D'Aquino had made such a statement, how she could have been considered traitorous for simply reporting a common social fact of wartime American life, is truly a mystery. But the myth of Stateside fidelity had to be protected, even though one of the most widespread and universal home front and war front jokes concerned some incident or other involving a 'Dear John letter.')
Probably the most persuasive of the defense tactics was the emphasizing that the Government was trying to prove that the defendant was each of all the women broadcasters on Radio Tokyo during World War Two, and was not interested in learning who they all were. The defense maintained Mrs. D'Aquino was a victim of mistaken identity, and being blamed for the words of others. There is no doubt that the testimony by the defendant and others, that there were several other women involved in the Zero Hour broadcasting, whom careless or malicious people had lumped together as a single person, had something to do with the change in approach by the prosecution.
Defense counsel made hash out of the prosecution's witnesses who testified to hearing Mrs. D'Aquino while stationed at widely separated geographical locations. 56 Radio Tokyo had 20 transmitters, broadcasting from Nazaki, Yamata and Kawachi in Japan, and at the height of Japanese expansion in the South Pacific had some 200 radio outlets, including Manila, Singapore, New Guinea, Batavia (now Jakarta, in Java, in what is now Indonesia), and Saigon. This covered parts off our time zones. Further complications grew out of the testimony of radio expert Kiwamu Monotsuka, who stated that a number of broadcasts were made at the same time and on the same frequencies, from Tokyo and from transmitters located in other Far East cities, so it was possible to hear a number of women on the air simultaneously. 57
Collins encouraged ex-servicemen to state categorically having heard Mrs. D'Aquino at a specific hour, and then would demonstrate that they had been located at a spot from one to three hours off from Tokyo time, and therefore could not possibly have heard the defendant, since it had been established that her stint on Radio Tokyo was always at the same hour. 58
Not only were prosecution witnesses hopelessly mired, testifying to hearing other women talking at times before or after it was known when Mrs. D'Aquino was on the air. Later defense witnesses, known in reportorial shorthand as 'SWLs,' short wave listeners, added much informative testimony on the complicated Japanese radio scene in the Pacific. It was one, Gustave C. Gallagher of San Francisco, an indefatigable eavesdropper on Japanese broadcasts the whole war, who estimated Radio Tokyo outlets to be at least 200, while another, one May Hagedorn of Everett, Washington, declared that she had heard at least six different women broadcasting news from Tokyo, as well as other women announcers on Japanese radio from Manila, Java and Saigon. 59 Jordan has concluded that 'There may have been as many as two dozen 'Tokyo Roses' broadcasting during the war,' including several who had been born in the US. Like many other people, he has been puzzled as to why only one of them was ever tried. 60
A side issue of this line of investigation sank in importance as the complex picture of Japanese radio was exposed to view. There had been much said in earlier months of 340 broadcasts which had been done at Radio Tokyo and transcribed on discs (but only one of which was a complete Zero Hour broadcast), and which were in the hands of the Government at one time in the investigation of Mrs. D'Aquino, By this stage of the trial only 13 were left. Where were the others, which had figured so prominently in the early bombast? Somehow or other they had been subjected to routine destruction, the authorities explained. Tamba maintained, however, that these recordings had never been destroyed, but actually were stored right there in San Francisco, at the army base in the Presidio. He entertained the suspicion that the recordings were suppressed evidence by the Government which would prove the defendant innocent as charged.
The jurors were excused July 29 while the judge, attorneys, reporters and the defendant spent the day listening to these remaining discs, (by now the total had been reduced to 6), those done reputedly by 'Orphan Ann,' whose voice Mrs. D'Aquino already admitted was hers. These were officially prosecution Exhibits 16-21. Two other witnesses asserted that the voices were the same,61 which did not prove anything, since it was now a substantive matter: what had she said?
Mrs. D'Aquino became ill and the trial was recessed from August 4 to August 8. Thereafter another Japanese witness, Satoshi Nakamura, master of ceremonies on Zero Hour, took the stand, and while testifying that the defendant had not been coerced to broadcast under the name 'Orphan Ann,' challenged the veracity of a succession of previous prosecution witnesses, denying she had ever uttered any of the 14 inflammatory remarks on the program which they had attributed to her. This performance characterized the sustained series of contradictory confrontations heard all during the trial. Nakamura further testified that Mrs. D'Aquino had been employed entirely in simple disc jockey work, introducing recordings and the like, and had not read news or political commentary. 62
De Wolfe summed up the Government's contentions thereafter and on August 12 rested his case.63 Judge Roche denied a defense motion for acquittal argued by associate defense counsel Olshausen on August 11,64 and the trial resumed with the defense introducing its witnesses.
The seventh week of the trial was the dramatic and emotional high point. Preceded by a 40-minute opening statement to the jury by Tamba, the defense put on the stand both Cousens and then Major Ince. Cousens, a radio announcer in Sydney, Australia by that time, came to the defense of Mrs. D'Aquino in an earnest manner, and both he and Ince denied in toto the series of 'morale-damaging' statements attributed to her by previous prosecution witnesses. Ince, corroborating Cousens' stand, reiterated his distrust of all Japanese connected with the Zero Hour show, whether native or US-born, his suspicion of the defendant resulting in his not allowing any information of any significance to get in their hands. 65 Cousens was on the stand a long time, but despite De Wolfe's persistence stuck to his blanket denial that she had said any of the things the prosecution alleged. 66
The Government had a little better luck with Reyes, the remaining member of the Zero Hour trio, who testified for four days in the eighth week of the trial. Reyes was now a student at Vanderbilt University. De Wolfe, who treated Reyes in a shabby and contemptuous way, succeeded in pointing out that he contradicted in part what Cousins and Ince said previously, in statements he had given the FBI in October, 1948. But Reyes insisted that he had been intimidated into signing these statements by agents Tillman and Dunn after 20 hours of questioning in four separate sessions.67 Reyes further observed that while being questioned he could see the dimensions of the case being built against Mrs. D'Aquino, and thought that, if established, he could be subjected to a similar trial if returned to the Philippines. He further asserted while on the stand that FBI interrogators had threatened to turn him over to Philippine counterintelligence. 68
After a succession of other defense witnesses, including one J.F. Whitten, who testified that he had heard 'Tokyo Rose' in 1942,69 long before the employment of Mrs. D'Aquino, and the defendant's husband, Felipe D'Aquino, who declared that she had made public statements in Japan predicting Japanese defeat, or had lauded an American victory,'? Mrs. D'Aquino took the stand herself September 7, 8 and 9. On these three days she repeated many of the facts appearing at the start of this account, again denying ever making political commentary. She called attention once more to the other female announcers on Radio Tokyo, while re-stating her record of friendly and helpful association with various prisoners of war. 71
Just prior to her testimony, depositions by persons in Japan were introduced, one from the defendant's landlady, Mrs. Funane Kido, which quoted Mrs. D'Aquino saying 'Japan hasn't a chance in the world of winning the war' (The defendant lived with Mrs. Kido from October, 1944 to September, 1945).72
Probably the most important deposition relating to the case of the defense that the defendant was being charged with being a large number of women radio personalities was that of Ken Murayama. New York born in 1911 and a graduate of George Washington University, Murayama had gone to Japan in 1939 and become a Japanese national. In 1949 a translator of moving pictures in Tokyo, he had written scripts for radio during the war, mainly for a so-called 'torch-singer' named Myrtle Liston, a Philippines national, who broadcast from Manila and was known among American troops as 'Manila Rose.' Murayama admitted that he wrote material for her which specifically 'sought to create homesickness among allied troops' in the Pacific.73 But this barely introduced a far larger situation, the Pacific-wide spread of Japanese wartime radio and its multiplicity of English-speaking women announcers and newscasters.
Though it was fairly well established by now that the defendant had not been employed in enterprises such as those of 'Manila Rose' and others elsewhere, nevertheless, the prosecutor, De Wolfe, was described in an Associated Press story on September 14 as having subjected Mrs. D' Aquino to a 'hammering crossfire,' which went on for three days, seeking by this pounding to get her to admit that she had been employed to make American servicemen in the Pacific homesick. But he failed to get her to admit anything of this sort.74
The defense made its final argument September 2175; the Government's summation was completed September 23.76 The jury was charged, and began its deliberations, and after four days, on the evening of September 29, the Associated Press reported that 'a somewhat reluctant federal court jury' had found Iva Toguri D'Aquino guilty of treason on a single one of the eight counts. The jury foreman, John W. Mann, of Oakland, an employe of a glass-making concern, was quoted as saying that the jury would have liked to acquit the defendant, but 'we did the only thing we thought possible under the judge's instructions.'77 To the critics of the trial, these instructions were simply the crowning irregularity in a trial which blossomed with irregularities.
A private poll of the reporters covering the trial had resulted in a 9-1 vote for acquittal. When told this, Mann replied that the jury was of about the same sentiment. At one time it had only one person for conviction; at another, the vote stood 10-2 for acquittal. 78 The jury had been harangued for nearly two hours by the judge prior to the commencement of its deliberations.79 and kept coming back for copies of the transcript of the testimony of Oki, Mitsushio and Clark Lee. 80
After the third return of the jury, Judge Roche lectured them on the necessity of coming to a verdict.81 stressing the cost of the trial, and the economic consequences to the Government of an inconclusive result, with vague overtones to the effect that it was their 'patriotic duty' to arrive at a verdict, as some editorial commentators put it, subsequently. So, as a consequence of this set of instructions from the bench, what should have been at worst a hung jury was turned into a conviction.82 When Jordan observed that Judge Roche had been 'little credit to the federal bench,' there were students of the proceedings who thought that he had uttered the understatement of the last quarter of a century.
And it was on the grounds of this amended set of instructions to the jury being prejudicial that Atty. Collins announced that the conviction would be appealed, to the Ninth District Court. A testy and spirited fighter, Collins stated flatly that the trial had 'resulted in more instances of reversible error than any other trial in American judicial history.'83
Before pronouncing sentence, Judge Roche in rapid order denied four defense motions introduced to set aside the conviction. These consisted of a request for a new trial, on the grounds that the instructions to the jury were technically illegal and that the prosecutor had been guilty of misconduct during the trial; a request for 'arrest of judgment,' on the grounds that the indictment did not state a public offense, and also on the grounds that the Federal Court in San Francisco had no jurisdiction in the case, and that the defendant should have been tried in Okinawa, since that location of American jurisdiction was the first which the defendant had touched on leaving Japan; a call for acquittal, on grounds of insufficient evidence and that the defendant was either in double jeopardy or that her year in jail in Japan before her return to the U.S. constituted a violation of her constitutional right to a speedy trial; a plea for clemency, and the five-year minimum sentence accompanying this.
Then he sentenced Mrs. D'Aquino to ten years in prison, a fine of $10,000 and loss of her U.S. citizenship.84
So ended the longest and most expensive treason trial in US history to that time, lasting over 12 weeks, totaling 56 courtroom days, and 40 hours of deliberation by the jury, covering a period off our days. During the trial the prosecution had called up to 46 witnesses, the defense 25, and depositions had been filed from 19 witnesses who remained in Japan.
The Alameda (Calif.) Times Star on October 1 editorially called for a new trial, on the grounds that the exclusion of non-whites from the jury, and the judge's pressure on the jury to come to a verdict by stressing the likely cost of another trial, were prejudicial. The logic of Judge Roche's position, it appeared to them, was that there was a price tag on justice.
Colonel Hada, who resumed his education after retiring from the army, submitted a master's degree thesis to the history faculty at the University of San Francisco in May, 1973 titled 'The Indictment and Trial of Iva Ikuko Toguri D'Aquino―'Tokyo Rose,'' 200 pages in length with appendices totaling another 200, in which he concluded that the case had been 'studded with bribery, perjury, kidnapping, unlawful imprisonment, destruction of records, ... ' as well as the defendant being 'a casualty of our judicial system which failed to protect her fundamental rights.'
It was fitting that the 'Tokyo Rose' trial should terminate a short while after Owen Cunningham, a Des Moines lawyer who had served as defense counsel to the Japanese ambassador to Germany, General Hiroshi Oshima, in one of the lamentable 'war crimes' trials, told a Lincoln, Nebraska Bar Association audience that Oshima's trial had been a 'comedy of errors.'85
The striking thing about the vast efforts and expenditures of the prosecution was the miserable tidbit of material it used to send Mrs. D'Aquino to jail for ten years while fining her $10,000. Its vainglorious brandishing of 340 recordings, deflated to 18, then 13, to 8, and finally 6, then was pinched down to a mere 25 words allegedly uttered on a single one! This ridiculous progression downward did indicate the malicious zeal of the prosecution, however, and the frantic clutching at anything to justify its sensational charges.
The words which were ultimately decided to be 'treasonous' consisted of the following, spoken after the naval battle of Leyte Gulf in October, 1944 when the radio voice remarked, 86
'Now you fellows have lost all your ships. You are really orphans of the Pacific. How do you think you are going to get home?'
And it was on the say-so of Japanese nationals Oki and Mitsushio that they were credited to Mrs. D'Aquino. No one thought it strange that not a single U. S. citizen had presented evidence of treason by her that the court would accept. (There is an interesting related matter which did not seem to come to anyone's attention: if Mrs. D'Aquino had read the fateful words, who had written them, and why was this not as important, in a legal process trying to establish treasonous behavior?)
In view of the outpourings of pro-Communist billingsgate issued by Americans from Hanoi during the Vietnam war which hardly drew a rebuke, what was used to send Iva Toguri D' Aquino to jail under heavy fine was a laughable travesty. (And for the Government to maintain, and for any member of the jury to believe, that any American would take credence in a news broadcast to the effect that their entire fleet had been sunk, was a towering insult to the intelligence of even the least-gifted member of the entire American armed forces.) But in this manner was the Government's brontosaurus reduced to the size of a gnat.
Prosecutor De Wolfe's smug dictum that the jury's verdict was 'a just one for the United States'87 contained an overtone of panic. Obviously, there were people in high political rank who wanted this woman convicted, even on the flimsiest evidence, which turned out to be the case. That a jury should consider the 25 words on which their decision hinged' sufficiently damaging to American morale to constitute treason' was a rationalization of the weakest and most pathetic kind.
Why the Government was so anxious to convict Mrs. D'Aquino is still puzzling, however. It might be laid to the motive of indulging in additional vengeance against' a defeated enemy, which surely was behind most of the preposterous 'war crimes' trials. But Mrs. D'Aquino was a native born American, which the prosecution spent much time seeing to that such was firmly planted in the record. The reasons for the persistent harrassment and repeated jailings of this woman, until a long and very expensive trial could be engineered to lodge her in a cell even longer, may take much time to unravel. It would appear, however, that some involuted point of high statecraft, and not personal malice toward the defendant, was at the base of their motivation.
Atty. Collins denounced Mrs. D'Aquino's conviction as 'absolutely erroneous―unsupportable by any credible testimony.'88 His efforts to undo this lamentable proceedings began immediately, and, to the surprise of many, his labors to gain for his client a full presidential pardon continued until his death on July 16, 1974.89 A reporter, interviewing him and his colleague Tamba (who preceded him in death, in the second week of December, 1973), and Mrs. D'Aquino, in San Francisco in the summer of 1973, related that her lawyers90
continue to stand by her after 23 years, and insist that she is innocent of treason. Moreover, they charge that she was and is the victim of public hysteria, racial discrimination, and political vengeance by postwar American officials. 'Without any question,' said Collins angrily, 'she should be pardoned, and compensated by Congress.'
It was expected that the court would deny defense motions for a new trial. Following the sentencing, an appeal was filed and Mrs. D'Aquino's release on bail was sought. Federal District Court denied bail shortly after the appeal was filed. 91 (Only convicted Stalinist spies such as Judith Coplon seemed to deserve release on bail.)92 Mrs. D' Aquino's sentence began November 3, 1949, and she was transferred from San Francisco on November 15 to start her prison term in the facility at Alderson, West Virginia. 93
'Judicial processes do not take place in a social void,' cautioned Professor Arthur M. Schlesinger, Sr., in his introduction to George Louis Joughin's and Edmund M. Morgan's The Legacy of Sacco and Vanzetti. 94 But at the time he wrote that, he and the legions of his fellow liberals were part of a dominant climate of opinion which reflected little more than smug self-satisfaction at what was happening to Iva Toguri D'Aquino, for to protest on their part would have cast a shadow on a portion of the propaganda of what had been acclaimed boastfully by Stanley High as 'The Liberals' War.'95
Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, in February, 1950, conceded the issue of whether Mrs. D'Aquino had had a fair trial and been the beneficiary of proper legal guarantees was a debatable one,96 but in general the legal Establishment supported the outcome of the 1949 trial. Mrs. D' Aquino appealed her conviction in September of that year, and the appeal was argued in March, 1951. A U.S. Circuit Court upheld her conviction on October 10, 1951. When she asked the Appeals Court to reconsider her appeal rejection, a rehearing was denied December 17. When the case was taken to the Supreme Court, the appeal was rejected April 28, 1952 and on April 6, 1953 the Supreme Court barred any further review of the case. 97
But the matter was not ended, nor were the travails of Mrs. D'Aquino over. On January 28, 1956 she was freed from federal prison after serving six years and two months of her original sentence.98 Justice Department officials literally met her on the steps of the prison and forced her to sign an alien registration card, informing her that she would be deported as an undesirable alien. Only then did the American Civil Liberties Union begin to get into the act. (There was a basic contradiction here: an alien cannot be tried for treason, and a native born American cannot be deported. The Government wanted to scramble these: for the purposes of the treason trial, the prosecution had been tireless in its concentration on her U.S. citizenship, but after her conviction wished to view her as a deportable alien.)
Now the Immigration and Naturalization Service appeared on the scene, announcing their decision to try to have her deported, though they admitted having no precedent upon which to call in seeking to bring about the denaturalization and deportation of a native-born citizen. There was a law passed in 1940 which stipulated that a U.S. national, whether by birth or naturalization, would be deprived of American nationality upon conviction for treason, but the geniuses who put this together did not make clear how a native born person could be deported anywhere. Mrs. D'Aquino had not come from Japan. If she was to be sent there, then the Immigration Service were apparently going to invoke an ethnic clause of their own invention, which apparently implied immense consequences for the future.99 Nor could the technicality of possessing foreign citizenship be rung in, since she possessed neither Japanese nor Portuguese citizenship.
The press was miffed that she showed 'no repentance' upon release from prison,100 and reporters were not charmed by her pluck in her announced decision to fight deportation.101 Now living in Chicago, the Government authorities ordered her movement restricted to a 50-mile radius of that city.102 By now there were people in the country who thought the Government was rubbing things in, and demonstrating malice beyond normal expectations. An American Legion post in Springfield, Ohio, a most unlikely source of support, even urged the President, now Mr. Eisenhower, to pardon her.103 A month later the immigration authorities ordered her to leave the USA voluntarily within a month or face deportation, again not too sure where she could be sent.104
Then the ice floe began to melt a bit. The following month, April 12, 1956, she was permitted to move to San Francisco again,105 where her deportation hearing was supposed to begin April 26,106 But the hearing never took place. The matter dragged on and on for over two years, the Government finally dropping the deportation efforts on July 10, 1958.107
But the threat of it being reopened remained. And if Mrs. D'Aquino were to leave the country voluntarily, there existed the possibility that she would not be allowed to return. The federal bureaucracy still housed people who were embarrassed by the continuation of this case. And the venom was little abated in some circles 25 years after the trial. In the interview in the summer of 1973, published in the Christian Science Monitor, Mrs. D'Aquino remarked, 'Every time the case is recalled in the papers, I seem to hear from every maniac in the country―everything from marriage proposals to death threats.'
Meanwhile, the 'Tokyo Rose' affair took other directions, now that the phase involving the prison sentence had been liquidated. Mrs. D'Aquino's indefatigable legal defenders, Collins and Tamba, pursued the avenue of petitions of executive clemency for their client. Tamba filed the first on June 7,1954 during Dwight D. Eisenhower's first term in office, while she was still in prison. The second was presented to President Lyndon B. Johnson by Collins on November 4, 1968, the day before Richard M. Nixon won the election of that year. Neither petition received an answer.108
In the case of the Government, pursuit of the defendant took shape in an equally tireless effort to collect the $10,000 fine which had been assessed by Judge Roche in October, 1949. There was no pronounced attempt of this sort until 1968, when it may have been further aggravated by the executive clemency petition, in re-opening the entire affair. About half the amount was paid prior to 1971, at which time the Justice Department once more applied pressure to collect the remainder. Haled into Federal Court in Chicago, Mrs. D'Aquino was subjected to a demand for the $5,255 unpaid balance. Collins, associate defense counsel in this action, heatedly upbraided the Government for its 'capricious harassment' of his client, and wished an explanation for the heavy-handed harrying of this long-badgered woman for such a small sum of money. He noted the far different attitude toward many others who owed unpaid fines in the billions of dollars and which the Government never tried to collect.109
As late as the closing weeks of 1972, collection agents of the Nixon administration were assiduously at work trying to attach her wages for this unpaid balance. Mrs. D'Aquino's request for a hearing as a preliminary to getting the federal authorities to stop this planned looting of her income at the source was denied by an imperious panel of federal judges in Chicago on November 15, 1972.110
In 1975 Jun Toguri, Mrs. D'Aquino's father, died. His will contained a provision stipulating that the remainder of his daughter's fine was to be paid out of the estate. The amount was collected to the last cent and the Government finally closed the case.111
So ended the sustained prosecution of Iva Ikuko Toguri D'Aquino after a period of 30 years, spanning the administrations of six different presidents. The story is not yet concluded, however. The faint and tremulous efforts on Mrs. D'Aquino's behalf dating from the late 1950s took somewhat more solid shape finally on July 27, 1974, when the Japanese American Citizens League first took positive and official action in announcing their support for her and formally resolved that it would 'use its leadership, manpower, and resources to correct the miscarriage of justice in Iva Toguri's case by seeking all executive or other remedies available under the law.'112 And there is another aspect of continuity in the situation, as Atty. Wayne Collins, Jr., son of Mrs. D'Aquino's original chief defense counsel, headed the campaign to obtain for her a presidential pardon, which began with a nationwide publicity drive by the JACL early in 1976. He announced that he would file this third application for executive clemency after the election in November, 1976.113
On November 17 the petition for a presidential pardon was filed by Mrs. D' Aquino in San Francisco. An atmosphere of symbolism prevailed, in that the petition, addressed to the U.S. Pardon Attorney, was accepted from her personally by San Francisco Postmaster Lim P. Lee on the steps of the former federal court house where she was convicted in 1949. President Gerald R. Ford thus became the third chief executive to whom this procedure for the partial redress of past wrongs was directed. Newspapers across the land treated the event as front page news and followed it with a flurry of special commentaries with incidental references to its history. But for some observers there was the eerie feeling that the past and the present had, at least for a moment, become indivisible.
The 'Tokyo Rose' case, like all treason cases, is as much political as it is legal. It is one more illustration that the word 'treason' is far more a political term than it is anything else, and is always subjectively defined and applied by whatever power element happens to be in control of the machinery of the State. 114 In all cases they seek to interpret 'treason' in harmony with their own interests while trying to conceal it all behind the majestic spook of 'national interest.' Looking back at the 'Tokyo Rose' proceedings from the vantage point of a generation, it is obvious why the entire affair had become, in the minds of an increasing number! a circumstance in which, 1) the trial was a lamentable succession of events which cumulatively amounted to a glaring miscarriage of justice, and, 2) the whole proceedings of the Government beginning even before the grand jury indictment, was primarily a glittering press-agent's spectacle, aimed at trying the personification of a World War Two soldier's legend,115 not a person with civil and constitutional rights, and was therefore little more than a grandiose technical frame-up.
Mrs. Iva Ikuko Toguri D'Aquino was granted an unconditional pardon by President Gerald R. Ford on the afternoon of his last full official day as the thirty-eighth President of the United States, January 19, 1977.