(born Jan. 25, 1933, Manila, Phil.) President of the Philippines (1986–92). Born into a politically prominent family, she married Benigno Simeon Aquino, Jr. (1932–83), who became the most prominent opponent of Pres. Ferdinand Marcos. Benigno was assassinated in 1983 on his return from exile, and Corazon became the opposition candidate for president in 1986. Though Marcos was officially reported the winner, there were widespread allegations of voting fraud; high officials in the military supported Aquino, and Marcos fled. As president, Aquino introduced a hugely popular constitution. Over time her popularity declined amid charges of corruption and economic injustice.
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Identified by the press as Tokyo Rose after the war, she was detained for a year by the U.S. military before being released for lack of evidence. Upon return to the U.S., the Federal Bureau of Investigation began an investigation of her activities and she was subsequently charged by the United States Attorney's Office with eight counts of treason. Her 1949 trial resulted in a conviction on one count, making her the seventh American to be convicted on that charge. In 1974, investigative journalists found key witnesses had lied during testimony and other serious problems with the conduct of the trial. She was pardoned by U.S. President Gerald Ford in 1977, becoming the only U.S. citizen convicted of treason to be pardoned.
On July 5, 1941, Toguri sailed for Japan from Los Angeles' San Pedro area, to visit an ailing relative and to possibly study medicine. The U.S. State Department issued her a Certificate of Identification; she did not have a passport. In September, Toguri applied to the U.S. Vice Consul in Japan for a passport, stating she wished to return to her home in the U.S. Her request was forwarded to the State Department, but the answer had not returned by the attack on Pearl Harbor (December 7, 1941) and she was stranded in Japan.
With the beginning of American involvement in the Pacific War, Toguri, like a number of other Americans in Japanese territory, was pressured by the Japanese central government under Hideki Tojo to renounce her United States citizenship. She refused to do so. Toguri was subsequently declared an enemy alien and was refused a war ration card. "A tiger does not change its stripes" is a quote attributed to her. To support herself, she found work as a typist at a Japanese news agency and eventually worked in a similar capacity for Radio Tokyo.
In November 1943, Allied prisoners of war forced to broadcast propaganda selected her to host portions of the one-hour radio show The Zero Hour. Her producer was an Australian Army officer, Major Charles Cousens, who had pre-war broadcast experience and had been captured at the fall of Singapore. Cousens had been tortured and coerced to work on radio broadcasts, as had his assistants, U.S. Army Captain Wallace Ince and a Philippine Army Lieutenant, Normando Ildefonso "Norman" Reyes. Toguri had previously risked her life smuggling food into the nearby Prisoner of War (POW) camp where Cousens and Ince were held, gaining the inmates' trust. After she indicated her refusal to broadcast anti-American propaganda, Toguri was assured by Major Cousens and Captain Ince that they would not write scripts having her say anything against the United States. Toguri would then host a total of 340 broadcasts of The Zero Hour.
Under the stage names "Ann" (for "Announcer") and later "Orphan Anne" and possibly "Your Favorite Enemy, Anne", reportedly in reference to the comic strip character Little Orphan Annie, Toguri performed in comedy sketches and introduced newscasts, with on-air speaking time of generally about 20 minutes. True to the word of the two prisoners of war that Toguri worked under, no anti-Allies propaganda was found in her broadcasts. Though earning only 150 yen, or about $7, per month, she used some of her earnings to feed POWs smuggling food in as she did before.
Toguri aimed most of her comments toward her fellow Americans ("my fellow orphans"), using American slang and playing American music. In one of the few surviving recordings of her show, she refers to herself as "your 'Number One' enemy." In contemporary American slang (especially that used by US Marines and Naval forces in the Pacific), she was telling them that she was their "best enemy" (in other words, their friend), while the Japanese thought that it meant that she was their greatest enemy.
At no time did Toguri call herself "Tokyo Rose" during the war, and in fact there was no evidence that any other broadcaster had done so. The name was a catch-all used by Allied forces for all of the women who were heard on Japanese propaganda radio. She married Felipe D'Aquino (last name sometimes given only as Aquino), a Portuguese citizen of Japanese-Portuguese descent, on April 19, 1945. At the same time, Toguri formally became a Catholic, a faith she would keep through her prison years. The marriage was registered with the Portuguese Consulate in Tokyo, with Toguri declining to take her husband's citizenship.
In need of money, and still trying to get home, Iva stepped forward to claim the money, but instead found herself arrested, on September 5 1945, in Yokohama. She was released after a year in jail when neither the FBI nor General Douglas MacArthur's staff had found any evidence she had aided the Japanese Axis forces. Furthermore, the American and Australian prisoners-of-war who wrote her scripts assured her (and the Allied headquarters) that she had committed no wrongdoing.
The case-history at the FBI's website states, "The FBI's investigation of Aquino's activities had covered a period of some five years. During the course of that investigation, the FBI had interviewed hundreds of former members of the U.S. Armed Forces who had served in the South Pacific during World War II, unearthed forgotten Japanese documents, and turned up recordings of Aquino's broadcasts". Investigating with the U.S. Army's Counterintelligence Corps, they "conducted an extensive investigation to determine whether Aquino had committed crimes against the U.S. By the following October, authorities decided that the evidence then known did not merit prosecution, and she was released".
However, upon her request to return to the United States to have her unborn child born on American soil, the influential gossip columnist and radio host Walter Winchell lobbied against her. Her baby was born in Japan, but died shortly after. Following her child's death, D'Aquino, forcibly separated from her husband (whom she never saw again), was brought to San Francisco, on September 25 1948, where she was charged by federal prosecutors with the crime of treason for "adhering to, and giving aid and comfort to, the Imperial Government of Japan during World War II".
Her trial on eight "overt acts" of treason began on July 5, 1949, at the Federal District Court in San Francisco. During what was at the time the costliest trial in American history, totaling more than half a million dollars, the prosecution presented 46 witnesses, including two of Toguri's former supervisors at Radio Tokyo, and soldiers who testified they could not distinguish between what they had heard on radio broadcasts and what they had heard by way of rumor. Although boxes of tapes were brought by prosecutors to the courthouse and rested near the prosecution table, none were entered into evidence and played for the jury. Toguri claimed she and her associates subtly sabotaged the Japanese war effort.
Toguri was defended by a team of attorneys, led by Wayne Collins. Collins had been at the forefront of the battle for rights of Japanese Americans. Collins enlisted the help of Theodore Tomba, who became one of Toguri's closest friends, a relationship which continued until his death in the 1970s.
During the trial, the former supervisor at Radio Tokyo testified that:
I said to Toguri I had a release from the Imperial General Headquarters giving out results of American ship losses in one of the Leyte Gulf battles, and I asked that she allude to this announcement, make reference to the losses of American ships in her part of the broadcast, and she said she would do so.
Another co-worker testified that Toguri said, "Now you fellows have lost all your ships. Now you really are orphans of the Pacific. How do you think you will ever get home?"
On September 29, 1949, the jury found Toguri guilty on a sole count, Count VI, which stated, "That on a day during October, 1944, the exact date being to the Grand Jurors unknown, said defendant, at Tokyo, Japan, in a broadcasting studio of The Broadcasting Corporation of Japan, did speak into a microphone concerning the loss of ships." She was fined US$10,000 and given a 10-year prison sentence. Attorney Collins called the verdict "Guilty without evidence". She was sent to the Federal Reformatory for Women at Alderson, West Virginia. She was paroled after serving six years and two months, and released January 28, 1956. She moved to Chicago, Illinois. The FBI's case history notes, "Neither Brundidge nor the witness testified at trial because of the taint of perjury. Nor was Brundidge prosecuted for subornation of perjury."
Toguri never reunited with or again saw her husband, who had been deported to Japan after her trial. Toguri divorced him in 1980; he died in 1996.
In 1976 an investigation by Chicago Tribune reporter Ron Yates discovered that Kenkichi Oki and George Mitsushio, who delivered the most damaging testimony at Toguri's trial, lied under oath. They stated they had been threatened by the FBI and U.S. occupation police and told what to say and what not to say just hours before the trial. This was followed up by a Morley Safer report on the television news program 60 Minutes
Due to these revelations, U.S. President Gerald Ford pardoned Mrs. D’Aquino on January 19, 1977, his last full day in office, after she had appealed to him in writing. The decision was supported by a unanimous vote in both houses of the California State Legislature, the national Japanese-American Citizens League, and S. I. Hayakawa, then a United States Senator from California. The pardon restored her citizenship.