They Called Her Tokyo Rose, 2nd Edition by Rex Gunn


They Called Her Tokyo Rose by Rex GunnReviewed by Teri Davis

As children, most of us were taught the differences between legend and reality. With real people who were noteworthy like Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone, sometimes the lines between the real person and the legend can be hard to distinguish. We usually believe the reasons for this is due to the number of years ago that the person lived. What about someone though who has lived in the past hundred years. Are there people who are considered legendary, but in actuality are not the same as their reputation?

What was the truth about Tokyo Rose, the legendary femme fatale who supposedly demoralized our troops in the Pacific during World War II?

They Called Her Tokyo Rose delves into the story of Iva Togori, the woman who was believed to be this notorious person and follows her entire life. Iva is the woman was was tried in a lengthy trial and convicted of treason by our federal government for being Tokyo Rose. Was she the person who while broadcasting on Radio Tokyo reported about the American losses in the Pacific and who constantly weakened the spirits of our soldiers and POW’s by mentioning doubts about their wives’ and girlfriends’ loyalties?

Back in 1977, 2500 copies of this book was printed for the Japanese-American Citizen League. No other copies were available for the general public. This was also the year that President Gerald Ford issued a full pardon to Iva Toguri which restored her American citizenship. Editor and publisher Brent Bateman made a promise to the author Rex Gunn to edit, reformat, and to publish this book. This was a story that both firmly believed needed to be available to everyone to discover the true story of Iva Togori.

This novel is a wonderful reflection of the time period explaining the values and core beliefs of life during the time as well as opening a window from multiple perspectives in who was Iva Togori. Truly viewing Iva from various aspects gives a balanced assessment of this person who has been labeled as a traitor of her country while she viewed herself as a friend of the prisoners of war in Japan. So was she the traitor, friend of the prisoners, both or neither?

“History is written by the victors,” is a quote from Winston Churchill. That statement lets everyone understand that any history is judged only from the winners’ perspective. However, is that the entire story? This story about Tokyo Rose shows that one perspective is not a fair assessment of this woman.

They Called Her Tokyo Rose has numerous lessons taught about the influence of the media, the legal system, living in a foreign country, the importance of a passport, being tried and convicted of treason, as well as trying to just be a person doing the right thing.

Did the punishment match the crime?

They Called Her Tokyo Rose is a wonderful story of a true person, who she really was, who others believed she was, and ultimately how she balanced the two in becoming her own person. Everyone needs to learn of Iva Togori through this wonderful account by Rex Gunn, They Called Her Tokyo Rose.

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