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Tokyo Rose (alternate spelling Tokio Rose) was a generic name given by Allied forces in the South Pacificmarker during World War II to any of approximately a dozen English-speaking female broadcasters of Japanesemarker propaganda. The intent of these broadcasts was to disrupt the morale of Allied forces listening to the broadcast near the Japanese mainland. According to rumors circulating among GIs, Tokyo Rose routinely identified American units on air, sometimes even naming individual soldiers. Her purported predictions of impending attacks were, according to many, unnervingly accurate, but there are no radio scripts, transcripts, or recordings of such broadcasts. Nevertheless, these stories continue to appear in popular histories of World War II and popular movies, such as Flags of Our Fathers. Similar rumors surround the propaganda broadcasts of Lord Haw-Haw and Axis Sally.

The name "Tokyo Rose" is most strongly associated with Iva Toguri D'Aquino, who broadcast as "Orphan Ann" during the 15-20 minute D.J. segment of the 75-minute "The Zero Hour" program on Radio Tokyomarker (NHK), a program that consisted of propaganda-tinged skits and slanted news reports as well as popular American music. Toguri's advocates have long argued that other announcers better suited the legend. They include American Ruth Hayakawa (who substituted for Iva on weekends), Canadian June Suyama ("The Nightingale of Nanking") who also broadcast on Radio Tokyo, and Myrtle Lipton ("Little Margie") who broadcast from Japan-controlled Radio Manila. However, during the war, journalists and officials with the US Foreign Broadcast Intelligence Service identified Toguri's "Orphan Ann" as the woman "most servicemen seem to refer to when they speak of Tokyo Rose" but characterized the "legends" that "piled up about 'Tokyo Rose'" as "apocryphal."

Tokyo Mose

As "Tokyo Mose" during and after World War II, Walter Kaner aired on US Army Radio, answering Tokyo Rose’s broadcasts. In Japan, his "Moshi, Moshi Ano-ne" theme song, sung to the tune of "London Bridge is Falling Down," was so popular with Japanese children and GIs alike that Stars and Stripes, the Army newspaper, called it "the Japanese occupation theme song." Elsa Maxwell's column and radio show in 1946 referred to Kaner as "the breath of home to unknown thousands of our young men when they were lonely."

Depiction in film and media

Tokyo Rose has been the subject of one song, two movies and four documentaries:
Iva Toguri mug shot, Sugamo Prison--March 7, 1946.
  • 1946: Tokyo Rose, film; directed by Lew Landers. Lotus Long played a heavily fictionalized "Tokyo Rose", described on the film's posters as a "seductive jap traitress"; Byron Barr played the G.I. protagonist, set to kidnap the Japanese announcer. Blake Edwards appeared in a supporting part.
  • 1969: The Story of "Tokyo Rose", CBS-TV and WGN radio documentary written and produced by Bill Kurtis.
  • 1976: Tokyo Rose, CBS-TV documentary segment on 60 Minutes by Morley Safer, produced by Imrel Harvath.
  • 1985: "Tokyo Rose", a song by Canadian group Idle Eyes.
  • 1995: U.S.A. vs. "Tokyo Rose", self-produced documentary by Antonio A. Montanari Jr., distributed by Cinema Guild.
  • 1995: Tokyo Rose: Victim of Propaganda, A&E Biography documentary, hosted by Peter Graves, available on VHS (AAE-14023).
  • 2002: Tokyo Rose is a character in Burning Vision, a play by Canadian playwright Marie Clements, which dramatizes the history of radium/uranium mining in the Canadian North.
  • 2008: Tokyo Rose, film; in development with Darkwoods Productions, the only entity granted life story rights by Iva Toguri, Frank Darabont to direct. Christopher Hampton, is the screenwriter for Tokyo Rose.
  • Moe sold his bar in a 'Simpsons' episode and it was turned into a Japanese Restaurant called "Tokyo Roe's"

In 2004, actor George Takei announced he was working on a film entitled Tokyo Rose, American Patriot, about Toguri's activities during the war.

In the 1958 movie Run Silent, Run Deep, the crew listens to Tokyo Rose over the submarine's radio.

A scene in the 2006 movie Flags of Our Fathers has American servicemen listening to a radio broadcast in the style generally attributed to "Tokyo Rose" but ascribed to "Orphan Ann" to give greater credence to widespread but now historically discredited popular accounts from that time.


  1. [1] FBI History
  2. [2] "The Legend of Tokyo Rose by Ann Elizabeth Pfau
  3. Talking History radio program on "World War II Radio Propaganda: Real and Imaginary" and Ann Elizabeth Pfau and David Hochfelder, "'Her Voice a Bullet': Imaginary Propaganda and the Legendary Broadcasters of World War II," Sound in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, eds. Susan Strasser and David Suisman, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009.
  4. [3] "The Legend of Tokyo Rose by Ann Elizabeth Pfau
  6. Chun, Gary C.W. "Star Trek 's Lt. Sulu plans to make his film, Tokyo Rose: American Patriot, in Hawaii",, April 12, 2004.


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