“Tokyo Rose” was not an actual individual, but a fabricated name that U.S. soldiers gave to a collection of approximately a dozen English-speaking women who made propaganda radio broadcasts under various aliases to a Japanese listening audience during the Second War. The woman who eventually became associated most specifically with that nickname was Iva Ikuko Toguri d’Aquino (1916-2006), a U.S. citizen by birth who was raised by Japanese-born parents in Los Angeles.
In 1941 Toguri (her surname would change in 1945 when she wed Felipe d’Aquino) traveled to Japan and took a job as a typist for Radio Tokyo. In November 1943, that station made her a broadcaster on its evening Zero Hour program, which was an integral part of a Japanese media campaign designed to demoralize U.S. troops. Airing six nights per week, this show featured Toguri (who was known to her audience as “Orphan Ann”) reading scripts prepared for her by Japanese experts in psychological warfare. The underlying theme of every script was that President Roosevelt was a disreputable liar who had sent American soldiers to die in a war that was both illegal and unwinnable.
Tokyo Rose continued her Zero Hour broadcasts until the war was over, and by late 1944 she was writing much of her own material. In 1949 she was charged with the crime of treason “for adhering to, and giving aid and comfort to, the Imperial Government of Japan during World War II.” Convicted on one count, she was sentenced to a prison term of ten years (of which she would serve 74 months) and was fined $10,000 for her crime.