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'Tokyo Rose'

August 29, 1986

"Tokyo Rose" was a term applied to any and all female broadcasters heard on Japanese radio stations during World War II. At Radio Tokyo alone there were 14 English-speaking women announcers employed. The term was used as early as December, 1941, a full two years prior to the date the person convicted as "Tokyo Rose" first came on the air.

Only a single individual was ever charged and tried as being "Tokyo Rose." While visiting her sick aunt she was stranded in Japan by the outbreak of the war. She was an outspoken supporter of the United States even in wartime Japan, was frequently visited by the police, and throughout the war refused to renounce her American citizenship. She risked her own safety by clandestinely providing American POWs with extra food, clothing, scarce vitamins and medicine.

Her conviction was based on perjured testimonies of two "witnesses" who, 27 years later, admitted that they were coached by the prosecutor under severe duress.

Realizing the gross injustice, 28 years after the conviction (1977), President Gerald Ford granted a full and unconditional pardon. It was the first time in United States history that such a pardon had been granted in a "treason" conviction.

It might be of interest to Americans to know that the verdict of "guilty" was based on a charge "that on a day during October, 1944, the exact date being to the grand jurors unknown, the defendant in the office of the Broadcasting Corporation of Japan did speak into a microphone concerning the loss of ships." The reference is to the Battle of Leyte Gulf, which was a resounding victory for the United States.

In light of this, Arthur Hansl's statements in his letter of June 30 about people he claimed had served the enemy need to be corrected.


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