The Journalists: My Hunt For Tokyo Rose pt. 2
This is post #2 in the series. Read post #1.
As I further my exploration into the story of Iva Toguri (aka Tokyo Rose), I continue to come across blatant disregard for the truth. One such story is that of Clark Lee and Harry Brundidge.
Lee quickly made a name for himself as a eyewitness war correspondent first in the Philippines then in Europe. He even went so far as to write an extremely successful book about the war effort in the Pacific, “They Call It Pacific.” Brundidge, on the other hand, was a very successful investigative journalist during the 1920s. He was known for his hard hitting and dramatic pieces on crime and corruption, going undercover and busting St. Louis gangs. The two journalists were among the many reporters who came to Japan at the end of World War II. Both were employees of Hearst publications and decided to work together in the near impossible task of finding the one and only Tokyo Rose.
At this point, Tokyo Rose was a legend and legends are often a fusion of fact and fiction. The nickname, Tokyo Rose, was created by American GIs. It was an umbrella term for all female newscasters and disk jockeys who operated on short wave radios in the Pacific. So, there was no single Tokyo Rose and, although firsthand accounts vary, there is no evidence that any of the women broadcasting from the Pacific actually used the name.
Tokyo Rose broadcasters were popular among American troops stationed in the Pacific because, despite the shows’ blatant propaganda, the women played popular Western music. But on the home front, Tokyo Rose was viewed as a stereotypical Japanese villain. Tokyo Rose went from a collection of women broadcasters to a single character used in American propaganda – an enemy of Superman and a dangerous siren in cartoons.
Lee and Brundidge were determined to find the “real” mysterious broadcaster. According to rumors, Tokyo Rose was such a successful propagandist that some soldiers listening to the broadcasts committed suicide. However, military investigations determined that no single Tokyo Rose existed and that the shows seemed to have raised American morale. Despite these findings, the two reporters would not give up.
As the Lee and Brundidge search intensified, they and other reporters started demanding employees of the NHK (Japan’s national broadcasting service) to give information about the identity of Tokyo Rose. Eventually, Lee contacted an old friend, Leslie Nakashime.
Lee and Brundidge offered Nakashime a large sum of money to find Tokyo Rose for them. Nakashime, allured by the money, began calling upon contacts at the NHK. After a short time, she gave them a name: Iva Toguri.
To read more about what Lee and Brundidge had to say about their investigation, click here.
Throughout the summer, I will continue to update our blog readers on Iva Toguri; who she was, her story, and why she is a historical figure we should never forget. As always, please leave your questions and suggestions in the comment box below.
Tokyo Rose: Orphan of the Pacific by Masayo Duus
The Hunt for Tokyo Rose by Russell Warren Howe