The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

A Rose Passes in Chicago

By Matt Wood in News on Sep 28, 2006 11:29AM

Iva Toguri, a Chicago native once convicted of treason for allegedly being one of the voices of the infamous Japanese radio siren "Tokyo Rose" during World War II, died at the age of 90 on Tuesday. She had run her family's store, J. Toguri Mercantile near Belmont and Clark for 50 years since the war.

chicagoist_2006_09_IvaToguri.jpegToguri had been visiting a relative in Japan when Pearl Harbor was bombed. Stuck in the country, she took a job at Radio Tokyo, and became one of the dozen or so voices dubbed "Tokyo Rose" by American servicemen in the Pacific. The Japanese intended the programs to be propaganda, taunting sailors with false reports of sunk ships and lost battles, but Toguri only voiced entertainment portions of the shows. Nevertheless, she was tried and convicted of treason in the U.S. following the war. She was pardoned in 1977 by President Ford in part because of an investigtion by the Tribune that revealed that two of her accusers had been forced to give false testimony by the FBI.

Who would have known? Apparently few who visited her store. The Tribune reports that Toguri rarely talked about her past, and requested no funeral or memorial when she died. Her story may not qualify as bona fide Chicago history, but as the brand new Chicago History Museum opens this week, we think it may at least warrant a brief mention in the new collection.

Image from Wikipedia