HALL COLUMN: From assault on Tokyo to Tokyo Rose

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Hugh Lloyd&8217;s adventures of World War II are no secret to those who know him or have read these pages for several years.

Had it not been for the decision to drop two atomic bombs on Japan, he would have been part of an infamous group of soldiers who carried out an all-out, frontal assault on the heart of Japan&8217;s military forces.

As a member of Army Intelligence, Lloyd was privy to the plans that had been drawn up. They consisted of multiple maneuvers on sea and land.

Email newsletter signup

But the reality was that what they planned was akin to what took place at Normandy. It would have cost thousands of lives. It was the end-game move designed to end the war.

Instead, a truce agreement followed the bombing, and the mission of the 11th Airborne Division &8212; to which Lloyd was assigned at the time &8212; became one of &8220;arresting war criminals and liberating prisoners of war who were there.&8221;

More than 600 men flew into the Yatsui air strip in Yokahama to begin their mission. Intelligence reports contained rumors of planned kamikaze attacks on the arriving U.S. troops.

Lloyd said the Japanese fighter planes were lined to the side of the air strip with their propellers removed.

Of course, one of the war criminals military intelligence was seeking was Tokyo Rose.

According to online brief files of the FBI, it was September, 1948, when the military located, interrogated and arrested Iva Ikuko Toguri d&8217;Aquino, a Japanese-American born in California.

The online brief states: &8220;On July 5, 1941, Toguri sailed for Japan from San Pedro, California, without a U.S. passport. In subsequent years, she gave two reasons for her trip: to visit a sick aunt and to study medicine. In September of that year, Toguri appeared before the U.S. Vice Consul in Japan to obtain a passport, stating she wished to return to the U.S. for permanent residence. Because she left the U.S. without a passport, her application was forwarded to the Department of State for consideration. Before arrangements were completed for issuing a passport, Japan attacked America, and war was declared.&8221;

The arrest in 1948 was the second time Aquino was detained by American authorities.

After the second arrest and interrogation &8212; of which Lloyd was apart &8212; Aquino was sent to the U.S. to stand trial on eight counts of treason. On Sept. 29, 1949, she was found guilty of one count. The jury returned a ruling that said, &8220;[Aquino] did speak into a microphone concerning the loss of ships.&8221;

The main problem with the prosecution was that investigations revealed the possibility of multiple women being forced to broadcast items that played against the morale of American troops. Aquino served six years of a 10-year sentence. As more information came to light, President Ford pardoned her on Jan. 19, 1977.

Lloyd, however, has other ideas about the lady known on the radio as &8220;Orphan Ann&8221; and to Americans as Tokyo Rose. When she was brought into the interrogation room, she was wearing a &8220;skirt and blouse and saddle shoes. She looked like a college student.&8221; Lloyd said, &8220;I thought she was a very attractive person.&8221;

Early in the interview, Lloyd asked Aquino to sign a yen bill. She signed it, &8220;Tokyo Rose.&8221; After claiming she was one of many women who were forced to play the part of &8220;Orphan Ann,&8221; Lloyd asked her, &8220;If you say you were not Tokyo Rose, then why did you sign this bill that way?&8221;

Her response? &8220;That&8217;s what you wanted, wasn&8217;t it.&8221;

Both smiled. The interrogation continued.

Sam R. Hall is editor and publisher of The Times. He can be reached by e-mail to sam.hall@demopolistimes.com.