Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Iva Toguri D'Aquino, who was convicted and later pardoned of being World War II propagandist "Tokyo Rose," died Tuesday of natural causes, said her nephew, William Toguri. She was 90. Tokyo Rose was the name given by soldiers to a female radio broadcaster responsible for anti-American transmissions intended to demoralize soldiers fighting in the Pacific theater. D'Aquino was the only U.S. citizen identified among the potential suspects. In 1949, she became the seventh person to be convicted of treason in American history and served six years in prison. But doubts about her possible role as Tokyo Rose later surfaced and she was pardoned by President Gerald Ford in 1977.D'Aquino was born in Los Angeles on July 4, 1916, to Japanese immigrant parents. She began to use the first name Iva during her school years. D'Aquino had recently graduated from UCLA and was visiting relatives in Japan when she became trapped in the country at the beginning of World War II, according to a statement from a Toguri family spokeswoman, Barbara Trembley. D'Aquino began working odd jobs to support herself while trying to find a way out of the country. That led to her work on a Japanese propaganda radio show manned by Allied prisoners called "Zero Hour," the statement said. Using the name "Orphan Ann," D'Aquino performed comedy skits and introduced newscasts. On April 19, 1945, D'Aquino married a Portuguese citizen of Japanese-Portuguese ancestry.The FBI and the Army conducted an extensive investigation to determine whether D'Aquino had committed crimes against the U.S. Authorities decided that the evidence then known did not merit prosecution, and she was released. A subsequent public furor convinced the Justice Department that the matter should be re-examined and D'Aquino was arrested in Yokohama in 1945 and tried. D'Aquino spent the years following her release from prison living a quiet life on Chicago's North Side. Ron Yates, dean of the College of Communications at the University of Illinois, is credited with helping win the pardon.