I Read, Therefore I Am

The best part of being a writer is being a reader. This writing thing is new for me, but the reading thing isn’t. I believe it was the great oracle of our time, Oprah Winfrey, who said that one of her favorite things is to be in the middle of a good book.  At least Oprah and I agree on one thing.

In preparation for a future writing project, I have been reading books about World War II and post-war cultural conditions in the US and Japan. I just completed a book titled, They Called Her Tokyo Rose by Rex Gunn, which tells the saga of Iva Toguri D’Aquino, an American citizen accused of treason because of alleged anti-US propaganda spread via her radio broadcasts from Tokyo. She was released for lack of evidence by US military courts in Japan but suffered tremendously when she returned to the US due to political and journalistic maneuvering beyond her control. Though the testimonies were contrary to the facts, several witnesses for the prosecution perjured themselves, and there was no evidence of actual treason, she was convicted and sentenced to ten years in prison. She served six years and was paroled in 1956. In the early 70s, the charges against her were the target of an investigation by the Chicago Tribune, and her story was highlighted in a 60 Minutes broadcast. As a result, she was pardoned by President Gerald Ford in 1976. Fascinating stuff.

Fred's Tokyo Rose 1940s picture cropped

My dad was a member of the occupation forces in Japan in the early days after the World War II. I have newspaper articles he saved, his pictures, and his journal from those days. He snapped the snapshot on the right of Mrs. D’Aquino on the day she was released from Sugamo Prison obviously unaware of what was in store for her back in the US.

I hope to have a chance to talk to dad at length about this part of his life before too long. What a hardship; in order to do that I would have to travel to one of the most beautiful spots in the country and force myself to enjoy truly wonderful people and tremendous food. I must suffer for my art.


“The greatest part of a writer’s time is spent in reading, in order to write: a man will turn over half a library  to make one book.”  ~ Samuel Johnson

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