"Little Island - Big Ideas" Program Series

Next "Little Island, Big Ideas" Program

San Francisco and the Trial of Tokyo Rose

San Francisco and the Trial of "Tokyo Rose"

A Case Study in Anti-Asian Prejudice

October 23, 2021 at 10:30 am

Racial prejudice against Asians is, unfortunately, not unique to today. Prejudice against Japanese-Americans was never more virulent than during and immediately after World War II, and few suffered more from it than Iva Toguri, who was tried in San Francisco for treason.


As an American citizen visiting Japan in 1941, Toguri was trapped there after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Arrested in Japan after the war as “Tokyo Rose,” her trial was located by law wherever she first set foot back in America. Justice Department prosecutors determined that location to be San Francisco, despite logistical obstacles. At the time, Iva’s trial was the most expensive prosecution ever conducted by the Department of Justice. As one of only two women tried for treason at the end of the war, Toguri’s trial gripped the nation. Why did the government pick the City by the Bay for this public trial, and how did politics and prejudice play a role in the outcome of the trial?

Speaker: Mike Weedall recently retired from a career in energy efficiency and renewable energy. Returning to his long-time passion for researching and writing American history, he published Iva: The True Story of Tokyo Rose in 2020. The book was highlighted as one of the Top 100 Indie Reads in 2020 by Kirkus Reviews. He is currently at work on his new book that will explore the “Maroon” communities for escaped slaves in North America.

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Little Island, Big Ideas

Treasure Island Museum Program Series

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Until further notice, programs will be presented online. You must register to receive a Zoom login link.

These ongoing talks on the past, present and future of Treasure Island cover topics including Treasure and Yerba Buena Island history, San Francisco world’s fairs, naval history, current island activities and redevelopment, island sustainability, the Golden Gate International Exposition, and art and architecture on Treasure Island.

Construction Notice:  As redevelopment progresses, street and transit access and parking will be in flux. Here are current directions, but they will change from time to time.

Driving, as you approach Building One, after the stop sign, turn right into the parking lot. The Muni 25 stop has been reinstated on Avenue of the Palms between California and 3rd Street near Building One (inbound) and across from the inbound stop on Avenue of the Palms between California and 3rd Street (outbound to San Francisco).

See the Directions page for maps and directions to the safer new westbound Bay Bridge on-ramp.

The “Little Island, Big Ideas” program series is presented with support from the Treasure Island Development Authority and funding from the Historic Preservation Fund of the City and County of San Francisco, Office of Economic and Workforce Development.


Coming Programs

Prehistoric Animals? On Treasure Island?
The Art of William Gordon Huff at the Fair
November 13, 2021

Yes, prehistoric animals—including dinosaurs—were seen on Treasure Island by visitors to the Golden Gate International Exposition in 1939 and 1940. The creatures were the creations of sculptor William Gordon Huff. In addition to executing several monumental classical figures for the fair, he designed and produced much of the UC Museum of Paleontology’s impressive display, featuring dioramas, life-size heads of prehistoric mammals, and more.

Huff envisioned ancient environments dating from the Permian (280 million years ago) to the Pleistocene (9 million years ago). See his creations, hear how he collaborated with UC Berkeley paleontologists and a local artist to create this fascinating panorama of prehistory, and discover what became of the sculptures after the fair.

Speaker: David Smith, a retired graphic designer at the U.C. Berkeley Museum of Paleontology, has posted an online biography of Huff and the works he created for the fair.

Click here for the archive of all program flyers from March 2013.

Click here for titles and abstracts of all talks.