Iva: The Myth of Tokyo Rose

Article by Keen Lee
Photo credit Lucas Huang Photography

“Iva: The Myth of Tokyo Rose”, directed by Soriya Chum and Elena Chang, is the trial case about Iva Toguri, a Japanese American citizen, who was accused of treason during World War II, was performed on stage at the Asia Society on Thursday, May 16th. AsianInNY had the pleasure to experience the reenactment of Iva’s case. Iva was known as the infamous “Tokyo Rose”, and her story has raised awareness of the issues of race and civil rights for the past decades. This production has brought discussion about social injustice, but most importantly, it will highlight the future actions of treating social injustice in today’s society.

The performance presented by the talented cast and production members delivered Iva’s story incredibly well. I felt as if I was in the actual trial with Iva. I also felt what Iva endured through Rachel Lin’s performance, who played Iva Toguri. I especially enjoyed the cast’s singing and dancing, which stirred the feelings and doubt of Iva’s trial. The entire cast was energetic and passionate. They did an amazing job portraying each and every character in the story. Other than Rachel, the rest of the cast portrayed more than one character and I was very impressed to see the clear transition from one character to another. Through this performance, I witnessed the extremes that people of different race were unfairly treated. I hope that society will wake up to this and learn to respect each other.

I have never heard of Iva Toguri’s case before I watched this play, but I am glad I got the chance to acknowledge that history made its mistakes and is learning from it. The social injustice that existed in the past continues to occur in today’s society, but the justice system is fighting its way to improve it as much as it can. Though it was unfair that Iva was wrongly accused for an act she never committed, her strength and optimism guided her along the way.

During the talkback after the performance, the panel of judges mentioned how strong and inspirational Iva was. Director Soriya Chum said Iva took what she had and turned it into a positive experience during a difficult time. She was a friendly, smart and caring individual. During her time in jail, Iva befriended many of the inmates and continued to visit them even after she was released from prison. I think it takes a lot for someone who was innocent and given her circumstances, to adapt to an environment like that. Iva is a remarkable woman and I am glad the hardships she endured taught a lesson to everyone. Her story shall never be forgotten, and hopefully, it will remain a lesson to the justice system.


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