The Mistrial of Iva Toguri
and the Myth of “Tokyo Rose”


Orphan Ann was a disk jockey on Japanese radio during World War II. She was a real person named Iva Toguri. This is her story. This also the story of “Tokyo Rose,” who was not a real person, but a myth—a press invention, later turned political scapegoat. And this is the story of Iva Toguri’s conviction for treason, following a two and a half month jury trial in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. That conviction, as it turned out, was based on perjured testimony extracted by the prosecuting U.S. Attorneys. Finally, and most importantly, this is the ennobling story of a brave and loyal American citizen mistreated by our justice system, and the heroic efforts to defend Iva by lawyers of deep conviction and professional skill working for free to defend an innocent woman.

Please join us for a panel discussion on The Mistrial of Iva Toguri and the Myth of “Tokyo Rose” featuring the Honorable Jon S. Tigar, Professor Charles Wollenberg, attorney Wayne Collins Jr., Professor Naoko Shibusawa, and author Michael Weedall.

Program Partner

The Northern District Historical Society (NDHS) has been protecting and enlivening the rich judicial history of the court since 1977. The goal of the Society is to preserve, share, and enliven the court’s history with lawyers, educators, scholars, and students. To learn more visit their website here.

Date and Time (Virtual Event)

  • Wednesday, November 18, 2020 from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m (PST) plus Q&A Session at the end of Panelist presentation.


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The Honorable Jon S. Tigar

Judge Tigar has been a District Judge for the Northern District of California since January 2013.  He holds degrees from Williams College and Berkeley Law, where he was an Articles Editor of the California Law Review, and from which he graduated Order of the Coif.  Following a clerkship with the Eleventh Circuit, he was a litigator in San Francisco from 1990-2002, including a two-year stint as a public defender.  He was appointed to the Alameda County Superior Court in 2002, where he served until his transition to the federal bench.  Judge Tigar is a member of the American Law Institute, where he has served as an Adviser to two different Restatements of the Law, and a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.

Charles Wollenberg

Professor Wollenberg is the former Chair of Social Sciences and Professor of History at Berkeley City College, now retired.  He is the author of a number of books and articles, focusing primarily on California history, including, most relevant here: “Rebel Lawyer: Wayne Collins and the Defense of Japanese American Rights.”

Wayne Collins, Jr.

A practicing attorney in Oakland, Wayne is the son of the “Rebel Lawyer” described so beautifully by Professor Wollenberg (and many others).  He took on some of his father’s work when his father died in 1974, including the continuing defense of Iva Toguri and the eventually successful efforts to obtain President Gerald Ford’s pardon of Iva Toguri in 1977 following the 1976 revelations by Chicago Tribune reporter Ron Yates of the perjured testimony of two key witnesses who testified against Iva.

Naoko Shibusawa

Professor Shibusawa earned her BA in history at UC Berkeley and her MA and PhD degrees from Northwestern University.  She is a 20th Century U.S. cultural historian at Brown University, has garnered numerous fellowships and awards, written several books and numerous articles, many directly relevant to our topic today, including, for example, “Femininity, Race and Treachery: How ‘Tokyo Rose’ Became a Traitor to the United States after the Second World War”.

Michael Weedall

Mike Weedall, Author of “Iva: The True Story of Tokyo Rose.”  Following retirement as Vice-President for Energy Efficiency at the Bonneville Power Administration, Mike returned to his love of real-life stories that reflect upon American culture and values with his first work of historical fiction. After years of researching the tragic events surrounding Iva Toguri, Mike concludes that today’s politics parallel post-war America. Residing in Portland, Oregon, Mike is currently working on his new book documenting the experiences of U.S. Army Nurses during the Korean War.  

Special Acknowledgements

The Historical Society of the US District Court, ND, wishes to thank the following who provided helpful guidance and information in developing this program.

The Asian American Bar Association of New York

The AABANY generously provided to us the full Script of their 2010 presentation:  “The Trial of Tokyo Rose:  United States  v. Iva Toguri D’Aquino” which itself is a fascinating retelling of this important story.

Additionally, AABANY provided to us the slideshow they used that was prepared by the Jury Group.

Dale Minami

Senior Counsel at Minami Tamaki LLP and one of the Bay Area’s most prestigious lawyers with a lifetime of public service.  Dale headed the legal team, for example, that successfully overturned the conviction of Fred Korematsu who defied the World War II internment orders for Japanese Americans.  We leaned on Dale for assistance, among other things, to help us identify our panelists for this program.

Ronald E. Yates

Ron Yates is a retired Professor (and former Dean) of Journalism at the University of Illinois that followed a 25 year career (foreign correspondent, national correspondent and editor) at the Chicago Tribune.  Importantly, Ron’s investigative reportage in a series of 1976 Chicago Tribune articles about the perjured testimony of two key prosecution witnesses at Iva Toguri’s trial led to Iva’s eventual pardon.  Ron has published a trilogy of award-winning novels, among numerous other publications and is working on a book about Iva.  Ron provided invaluable assistance in organizing the substance of this program.

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