Author's Biographical Information
Frederick P. Close, Ph.D.
(Click on thumbnails to enlarge.)
Production stills from
The End of the Race
Fred Close has taught ethics, served as an advocate of character education in
America's public schools, produced award-winning television programs for PBS, and
worked as an independent historian, writer, and researcher. His eclectic career has
taken him to such disparate places as the lecture classes of an Episcopal seminary,
the low-rider barrios of East Los Angeles, predominantly African American schools in
rural Alabama, the Pueblo Indian reservations of New Mexico, and the voluminous
stacks of the National Archives in Washington D.C. to research Tokyo Rose / An
American Patriot: A Dual Biography (TR/AP).
Dr. Close graduated with departmental honors in philosophy from Stanford
University. He also received M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Texas at
Austin. His Master's thesis was a refutation of ethical relativism and his dissertation
analyzed the philosophical theology of Paul Tillich.
Section 1: My Interest in the Parallel Lives of Tokyo Rose and Iva Toguri
Section 2: My Personal Biography
Section 1: My Interest in the Parallel Lives of Tokyo Rose and Iva Toguri
I first became aware of Iva Toguri's story in the mid 1970s when I read Edwin McDowell's "The Case for
'Tokyo Rose'" in the Wall Street Journal (2/6/76). I followed the case through Gerald Ford's pardon and
wondered why no one had produced a movie or television mini-series on this amazing story. A few years
later, as a television producer for PBS (see Section 2 below), I contacted Dr. Clifford Uyeda [WED duh],
who as national president of the Japanese American Citizens League led the fight for Toguri's pardon.
He introduced me to Iva Toguri in 1980. Over the years she and I had numerous conversations and I got
to know her well. Although I was not successful in finding underwriting for my proposed television
project on her life, Iva and I stayed friends. She visited my wife and me in Texas, attended screenings of
our programming at our production company, and later, when I moved to Washington, D.C. to join an
ethics center (also discussed in Section 2), she visited me every year as part of her "tour" of friends all
over the U.S.
In 1987 I decided that I should interview Iva formally. Although reporters had interviewed her over the
years, most had spent less than an hour with her. Iva was 70 at the time but still very sharp. I journeyed to
Chicago and set up my recording equipment in the living room of June's (Iva's sister) condo. (June and
her husband were in California.) I interviewed Iva five hours a day for ten days, and when June returned I
interviewed her as well. Excerpts of these interviews are available on this website. (Click on the "Toguri
Interview" button at the top of page.) I also recorded a number of telephone interviews with her over the
years. When she visited we would sit at my computer and she would dictate memories to me as I typed.
This access has allowed me to infuse the book with personal anecdotes not available in any public
To prepare to write the manuscript, I examined approximately ten thousand pages of archival material in
FBI, Department of Justice, Army CIC, and Federal Broadcasting Intelligence Service files. Many of these
records have only recently been declassified and have never been cited previously. I traveled to the
National Archives in San Bruno, California to analyze the six thousand pages of trial transcripts from
1949. I also investigated newspaper and magazine reports, immigration records, prison documents,
military and civilian records in Australia, historical texts, archival film footage, and oral histories. I
collected dozens of photographs to illustrate the text. The book's 1,000+ chapter endnotes reference this
As my research progressed I began to question previously published research by others as well as
long-standing assumptions about the case. For example, Rex Gunn reported that the name "Tokyo
Rose" first appeared days after the attack on Pearl Harbor in the logs of a U.S. submarine. I decided I
should see the log for myself. I now believe no such report ever existed, but viewers can examine the log
in question for themselves by clicking on this button.
Section 2: My Personal Biography
I was born in Washington, D.C. in October, 1943. A year or two later, the U.S. Navy assigned my father, an
officer in the U.S. Navy's Civil Engineering Corps, to help build the Naval Hospital (now Veterans
Hospital) in Houston. As a result, I grew up in Texas where I attended public primary and secondary
After leaving the Navy following World War II, my father struggled as the owner of several small
businesses, and as a result throughout my school years I always worked. As an eighth grader I delivered
newspapers so I could buy an inexpensive Hallicrafters shortwave receiver. I strung antenna wires all
over the roof of my house to receive programs from overseas, and obtained mostly static for my efforts.
Little did I know this interest would one day lead to a book on shortwave radio's most famous
broadcaster. I also waited on tables and washed dishes, loaded trucks in a warehouse, sold vacuum
cleaners, assembled and wired fixtures for a lighting showroom, repaired television sets, sold men's
clothing, and eventually owned and managed a restaurant in Austin while a graduate student.
Although I entered college intending to major in physics, I quickly became bored with blocks sliding
down inclined planes. I chose philosophy because it gave me an excuse to study every subject.
Eventually I specialized in ethics and theology. When I finally emerged from university life, I discovered I
was one of 3,000 philosophy Ph.D.s competing for about 30 college positions. To help us find
employment, the American Philosophical Association launched a campaign whose slogan could be
summarized as, "Because philosophy majors have prepared for no job in particular, they are therefore
qualified for every job in general." As you might suspect, this reasoning failed to catch fire with managers
of steel plants.
Which, in my case at least, was just as well. Although I had worked in myriad businesses, my central
interest lay in education. Therefore, shortly after completing my dissertation, I co-founded with Dr. Aida
Barrera, a creator of Carrascolendas, the first bilingual series on network television to address the needs
of Latino/a children, the non-profit Southwest Center for Educational Television. Together we produced
seventy-six educational ethnographic documentaries throughout the United States, Mexico, and Puerto
Rico as part of four season-long series, which were broadcast by the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS)
and National Public Radio (NPR), as well as selected commercial television, radio, and cable channels in
the United States, Canada, and Latin America.
In producing the ground-breaking documentaries, which won top awards such as the Gold Award from
the New York International Film Festival and recognition for excellence from the noted Ohio State
Awards, National Education Association, and Action for Children's Television, I worked with schools,
community groups, and families in an effort to highlight the contributions and historical tensions at times
produced by the complexities of American ethnic/racial populations. The on-location productions, among
the first within the genre, focused on such subjects as social history; cultural traditions; sports; music;
ethnic/racial identity; immigration; unemployment; and the problems of the disabled and other youths,
who were struggling with addictions, delinquency, or dysfunctional families.
In addition, I developed and produced The End of the Race, a documentary examining the dilemma faced
by the long-distance runners of the Pueblo Indians of New Mexico, whose striving for individual success
is at odds with aspects of their culture. The program was included in the Corporation for Public
Broadcasting's Independent Anthology Series on PBS and is exhibited in the collection of the
Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian.
During this hectic production period I also taught as Lecturer in Theology at the Episcopal Theological
Seminary of the Southwest. ETSS had a high failure rate (almost 30% in the theology courses), which
caused considerable unrest: students who believed themselves called by God to serve in the ministry
tended to view professors who flunked them as likely agents of Satan. So the seminary hired me to pull
the students through. I studied the "failures" and found them to be serious, intelligent, and hard working
adults. However, as former accountants, military officers, and electrical engineers, they had no
experience analyzing, critiquing, and restating evidentiary arguments, especially those of the abstruse
variety employed by theologians. I developed a method for diagramming such arguments and once they
caught on to how to analyze theological writing, the failure rate was cut to zero. As part of a grant I
submitted and received from the U.S. Department of Education, I redesigned the diagramming method for
high school students. Independent evalua- tors found it to be equally effective in teaching young people
to better understand what they read.
In 1990 I became Director of Character Education at the Ethics Resource Center in Washington, D.C. At
the time few public schools had moral or character education as an explicit part of their curriculum, and
in 1991 I helped found the Character Education Partnership, a consortium of educators, teachers'
groups, and youth organizations. I visited hundreds of schools around the nation and gave speeches
encouraging teachers and administrators to introduce direct character education into the curriculum of
their school. In addition I wrote position papers and teachers' manuals, and produced a 10 part dramatic
series on ethics in the workplace for use in high schools as well as an anti-racism music video and
lessons for primary school students on being kind to mentally challenged students and treating others
An internet search of "Frederick Close" in the 1990s would have turned up several references to a single
sentence in one of my early papers, a sentence denounced by the president of the National Education
Association and endorsed by the followers of L. Ron Hubbard. If the controversy surrounding this
statement is of interest, click here.
Other writers suggested that some women - they often cited Myrtle Lipton or Manila Rose - had broadcast
Tokyo Rose-like material over Japanese controlled shortwave, but not Iva. I began to doubt that any such
material had ever been broadcast by anyone. So I examined in some detail the transcripts of the Federal
Intelligence Broadcasting Service for Manila, Tokyo, and other broadcast points. I became convinced
Tokyo Rose was a true legend, or to put it more bluntly, that her broadcasts were myths. Again websites
users can judge for themselves by reviewing the evidence, or lack thereof, in TR/AP, pp. 42, 159-165,
One last example: a crucial document for historians of this case is the September 1, 1945 interview of Iva
by Clark Lee. In this multi-page interview, Iva purportedly made any number of claims that are
demonstrably false. The choice for biographers is stark. Either Lee invented these statements and put
them in Iva's mouth, or Iva lied when she denied making the statements. Defenders of Iva believe the
former. I reluctantly came to the conclusion that Iva strayed from the truth in order to become Tokyo
Rose. She indirectly admitted as much to me when she said that to collect the money being offered for an
exclusive interview with Tokyo Rose, all she had to do was tell a "cock and bull" story to the reporters.
This analysis led me to believe that Lee had simply typed as Iva talked, that he may have gotten some
detail wrong but he had invented nothing. This in turn led me to believe that Iva's admission to Lee
during this interview that she had broadcast the taunt for which she was convicted was very likely true. I
suspect I am the first person since the trial jurors to come to this conclusion. For my reasoning, see
TR/AP, pp. 424-430.
In addition to considerably revising earlier accounts, I considered it important to place the events of this
famous case in their legal and political contexts. The FBI grilled Iva Toguri for two days and coerced a
statement from her without providing her with legal counsel, which was not a problem at the time. The
defense couldn't call as a witness a man who admitted he lied under oath to the Grand Jury to help the
prosecution obtain an indictment. I explain the reason why the defense could not in TR/AP, p. 323-24.
American law made the defense of duress impossible (TR/AP, pp. 440-41), and the prosecution was not
required to turn over to the defense the mountains of exculpatory evidence it developed. I also
incorporated historical information on life in Imperial Japan, U.S. and Japanese racial views, military
strategy, radio propaganda, and Cold War political developments. One cannot make sense of the
successful prosecution of Iva Toguri for treason unless one is aware of the conditions that prevailed in
1949 America: the loss of atomic secrets to spies, the fixation on ferreting out communists, the demand
for loyalty oaths, voters' view of Truman as soft on traitors, and the uphill battle Truman had to wage to
be elected president.
Finally I realized that the biographies of Iva Toguri and Tokyo Rose were both completely different and
inextricably intertwined. Iva Toguri lived her life as a real person, but Tokyo Rose lived an equally vital, if
fictional, life as well. At trial, jurors found Tokyo Rose guilty of treason but Iva Toguri sat in the
defendant's chair. As I struggled with how to approach these two parallel "lives," my study of classical
Greek and Roman philosophy suddenly came back to me. I remembered Plutarch and recalled that he
had written biographies of real people and legendary myths. His Parallel Lives seemed a perfect model,
which is why I structured Tokyo Rose / An American Patriot as a dual biography.
Today I am hard at work on my next writing project, a book written in the form of a manual for young
adults on how to become a good person. The work is tentatively titled Hidden Soul Beneath: A
Navigational Guide to Ethics and the Good Life.
Tokyo Rose /
A Dual Biography