"Little Island - Big Ideas" Lecture Series
San Francisco and the Trial of "Tokyo Rose:" A Case Study in Anti-Asian Prejudice
Racial prejudice against Asians is, unfortunately, not unique to today. Prejudice against Japanese-Americans was never more virulent than during and immediately after World War II, and few suffered more from it than Iva Toguri, who was tried in San Francisco for treason.
As an American citizen visiting Japan in 1941, Toguri was trapped there after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Arrested in Japan after the war as “Tokyo Rose,” her trial was located by law wherever she first set foot back in America. Justice Department prosecutors determined that location to be San Francisco, despite logistical obstacles. At the time, Iva’s trial was the most expensive prosecution ever conducted by the Department of Justice. As one of only two women tried for treason at the end of the war, Toguri’s trial gripped the nation. Why did the government pick the City by the Bay for this public trial, and how did politics and prejudice play a role in the outcome of the trial?
Speaker: Mike Weedall recently retired from a career in energy efficiency and renewable energy. Returning to his long-time passion for researching and writing American history, he published Iva: The True Story of Tokyo Rose in 2020. The book was highlighted as one of the Top 100 Indie Reads in 2020 by Kirkus Reviews. He is currently at work on his new book that will explore the “Maroon” communities for escaped slaves in North America.