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Frederick P. Close, Ph.D.
(Click on thumbnails to enlarge.)
Production stills from The End of the Race
Production stills from character education videos
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 record.

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 vast material.

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 schools.

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 with respect.
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, 184-190.

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 /
An American Patriot:
A Dual Biography