Japanese flags - Wartime stories and returning captured flags.
Latest hand-picked WWII news.
Why World War II veterans are returning captured Japanese flags
It's not uncommon for troops who overrun an enemy position to take a photo with a captured enemy banner. It's just as common for them to take that banner home as a souvenir. American troops have been capturing flags since the founding of the republic. So, why are these World War II veterans returning captured Japanese flags? The importance of a unit's standard dates back to antiquity. Roman legions carried standards that took on an almost divine quality, representing the Legion, the Emperor, and even the Gods themselves. They would take extraordinary measures to recover a captured standard, even invading neighboring countries decades after losing the standards just to get them back. The Japanese had a similar tradition with their Yosegaki Hinomaru.
Militaria Collector to return Japanese WWII Flag nearly 70 Years after Capture
A collector of WWII memorabilia has succeeded in a daunting quest thanks to help from the Japanese government. A veteran from Clarkston, Washington has found the right person to receive a Japanese war flag taken in battle nearly 70 years ago. Years ago, memorabilia collector George Koller bought an inscribed "good luck flag." It belonged to a Japanese fighter pilot killed in combat. Last year, Koller asked the Japanese consulate in Seattle for help to give the flag back. Now, based on handwritten notes on the flag, the Japanese Ministry of Health has identified the fallen WWII pilot as Lance Corporal Kirihara. Then the ministry located a living brother northeast of Tokyo.
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World War II Hinomaru flag finds way home to relative of late owner
A WWII Hinomaru flag left in the hands of a gift shop owner by a Dutchman has been returned to a relative of the original owner, although the circumstances behind its wartime origin remain unknown. The flag bears the name of Naosuke Takahashi of Shiroishi, Miyagi Prefecture. A Dutchman in his 20s or 30s left the flag in early June with Yoichi Koizumi, the owner of Koizumi Gishido, a gift shop in front of Sengakuji temple in Tokyo. Takahashi died in 1984 when he was 75. On Aug. 10, Koizumi sent the Hinomaru flag to the 68-year-old nephew of Takahashi, who lives in Shiroishi.
Yet another Japanese flag looted from a soldier killed in battle returned to Japan instead of auctioning it off online
12 years old Tahei Watanabe was killed in the Philippines in April 1945. In his pocket was a flag - carrying the best wishes of his family and friends - which was taken as a war trophy by U.S. Army Sergeant Earl Zwicky.
Japanese World War II flag from Iwo Jima is veteran's battlefield souvenir
Gordon Schnulle served as a machine gunner in H Company, 3rd Battalion, 28th Marine Regiment, 5th Marine Division during the Second World War, experiencing the entire battle for Iwo Jima. The fighting was so cutthroat that his company of 266 Marines decreased to just 39. "It was one of the scariest moments of my life when the Japanese came crawling up around our foxhole," Schnulle recalls about the day he shot and killed an enemy soldier and seized his Japanese flag, and had it signed by the 39 men. Recently he donated the cotton flag (an official government flag of Japan, 40inc by 27inc) to the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Triangle, Va.
Japanese World War II flag returned home
A lot of things need to line up for something to come full circle after 60 years. A Japanese family now has in its possession a reminder of that. During a ceremony at the American Embassy in Tokyo, members of the Kosakadani family were presented a Japanese flag that belonged to corporal Masayuki Kosakadani, who died during World War Two. The flag - brought to the United States as a war souvenir - was brought back to Japan by Air Force Col. Charles Eastman, who got the flag from Casey Breslin. The Kosakadani family hopes to write letters to the Americans who helped return the flag.
Dan Oke is trying hard to return a World War II flag to Japan (Article no longer available from the original source)
Dan Oke is taking special care of a piece of history he knows doesn't belong to him. He has a 20-by-30-inch, white silk Japanese flag with a red circle in the middle. He saw it among other WW2 mementos while cleaning out his late father's garage. His father - in the U.S. Army from Dec. 21, 1942, until Dec. 21, 1945 - brought the flag home from Luzon, but that was all Oke knew of its history. When his father passed away he found himself with a Japanese flag that had writing all over it, a few bullet holes, and some stains that may be blood. In 2008 he started the project of tracing its origin with his Japanese co-worker Nahoko Satonaka.
Flag signed by the Japanese war cabinet members given to Veterans Museum in Chehalis (Article no longer available from the original source)
World War II veterans and those who wished to honor them met at the Veterans Memorial Museum in Chehalis. Among the participants was Bernard Langdon, who served in the Army at Sugamo Prison, which housed Japanese war criminals. He donated a flag signed by about 23 Japanese members of the war cabinet to the Veterans Memorial Museum. The guards would take the flag to various prisoners and have them sign it. "It was not sanctioned. The jailers hid it for me in their coats. The signatures have faded badly." Langdon also donated a collection of artwork drawn by Japanese prisoners depicting life in prison to Ohio State University.
Returning World War II Japanese swords and flags to their owners
A relic from World War II belonging to a Japanese family may find its way back home thanks to Ken Buckingham. He has had a Japanese flag with messages on it for 60 years, but recently he sent it to Yasuhiko Kaji, who has amassed a huge collection of Japanese militaria from the war to return them to the original owners or their families. Among the items Kaji already has returned are 5 swords, 20 notebooks and 30 flags. He still has over 100 swords and other artifacts that he hopes to return. The flags commonly are signed by family members with messages like "Please take care of yourself. Come back alive."
Wayne Downey uncovers Japanese flag uncle got during WWII (Article no longer available from the original source)
Wayne Downey talks about the Japanese flag his uncle Arnold Walton got from a medieval castle after the Battle of Okinawa in June 1945. The Japanese flag was signed by over 20 Marines from all over the America and Downey would like hunt down the veterans or their families and send them a picture of the flag and then see where the story leads.
Jewish antiques dealer selling Nazi memorabilia like swastika banners (Article no longer available from the original source)
A London antiques dealer has defended selling Nazi memorabilia, including German caps. Leon Shrier, who owns Leon's Militaria, said the Nazi militaria was "not my favourite", but they "show various aspects of the war" and that "hiding history or not explaining it doesn’t help" and "my customers are genuine collectors". He said that many other dealers sold Nazi items: "Today Wallis and Wallis are having a sale of German items, including silverware with AH on it... If you look at magazine such as The Armourer, you will see lots of adverts from dealers showing swastikas, Iron Crosses and SS stripes - my advert doesn’t."
War relics returned to Japanese soldiers
As Yasuhiko Kaji shuffled through the boxes of flags, diaries, senninbari and pictures that he has collected over the past 30 years, he came across an illustrated Japanese flag. He has sent this flag's photograph twice to the government of Japan, which has a department for war victims, but it has yet to find the soldier who owned this flag. Kaji amassed his entire collection of Japanese artifacts from WW2 in the hopes of returning the militaria to the original owners or their families. Even when the flag has a name, it can be difficult to trace because 5-7 million Japanese soldiers were drafted and the ministry will sometimes find 6-7 soldiers with the same name.
Japanese flag taken down from the summit of Mount Suribachi
Linda Byak will take a special item to be appraised at 'Antiques Road Show'. It's a Japanese flag taken on Iwo Jima by her late father who led the most forward patrol moving up Mount Suribachi. In its place other Marines raised an American flag. "I just want someone to authenticate it and tell me what the Japanese writing on the flag says." Her father, Sherman Watson, a sergeant in the Marines, led 3 other men to the top of the mountain as his company fought its way up the steep sides on Feb. 23, 1944. Reaching the top the patrol removed the flag and was called back down the mountain by the platoon leader.
Historical Treasures - Looted Japanese WWII flags (Article no longer available from the original source)
Inside the shirt of a Japanese military officer; in a submarine and in a military building near Nagasaki after the second atomic bomb was dropped. These were all places of Japanese flags - flags now owned by Mike Swarbrick. His father, James C. Swarbrick, was a U.S. Marine Corps sergeant, who snagged them as memorabilia. The flag with the design of Japan's national flag was taken off a military building in a town near Nagasaki. "My dad was on Nagasaki, like a week or two after the atomic bomb was dropped. And the military commanders said 'Just don't pick up anything and put it in your pocket,' because obviously they didn't even know what radiation was at that point."