Every historian of this case, myself included, has picked out Norman Reyes as the
worst witness at Iva Toguri's treason trial. However, I tried to offer an explanation
for why. I said in the 2014 Revised TR/AP (p. 389), "Yet the terrible tragedy of
Norman Reyes is that he probably answered more truthfully on the stand than
anyone, including Iva herself, and his failing was not that he lied but that he was
innocent in his goodness. His lack of sophistication prevented him from ever
catching on to how the world of trials and lawyers and government agents really
I had hoped this might bring him some small comfort. I regret to report that I
recently discovered that Reyes had died before my book's publication. Below is
his obituary from the Honolulu Star-Bulletin of January 7, 1999, to which I added a
reference in the Revised Edition:
Tokyo Rose /
A Dual Biography
Obituary for Norman Reyes
Norman Reyes, PR exec, dies at 75
Norman Reyes, a local public relations executive, died in the Philippines
yesterday. He was 75. He also was an author and a newscaster on island TV and
During World War II, Reyes was a lieutenant in the Philippine army when Lt. Gen.
Jonathan Wainwright surrendered the country to the Japanese in May 1942.
Taken prisoner, Reyes spent several months in jail before he was shipped to
Before the fall of the Philippines, Reyes' radio broadcasts from Bataan brought
him renown as the “Voice of Freedom.” On April 9, 1942, Reyes broadcast from
Corregidor that Wainwright had ordered his outnumbered, starving men to cease
fighting, noting, “Bataan has fallen, but the spirit that made it stand -- a beacon to
all liberty- loving peoples of the world -- cannot fall.”
Some of Reyes' ashes will be scattered at Corregidor, and the rest returned here
Reyes spent many years as a public relations executive for First Hawaiian Bank,
Hawaii Corp., the Dillingham Corp. and the state Department of Business and
Economic Development. He also was a newscaster on island television and radio
Walter Dods, BancWest Corp.'s chairman and chief executive officer, called Reyes
a “very sensitive, beautiful human being. He taught me so much. I loved him very
Dods, who knew Reyes for 35 years, said he first met his former boss when he
went to work for Dillingham.
“He gave me my first real training,” Dods said.
In 1995, Reyes authored a book, “Child of Two Worlds,” about growing up in the
Philippines the son of a Filipino father and a Brooklyn-born Caucasian mother.
“My life has been enriched by the lessons and burdens of having two
simultaneous cultures,” Reyes wrote. “And I enjoy the wisdom of sometimes
looking at my Asian self through my Western eyes and my Western self through
my Asian eyes. There are times when a bicultural person is not totally at home in
either of the two cultures involved, and that is the lonely aspect of the immigrant