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Flag Translation Please

BataviaJim

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I have two Good Luck flags my father brought home from WWII. I would appreciate help translating them.
Photos are attached. There are two flags, with three photos of each -- full size, then each half for a closer view.

The flags are probably from the Philippines since he spent the most time there, but he was also in New Guinea and some smaller islands.

I'm aware of the Obon Society, which tries to return Good Luck flags to the soldier's descendants if they can locate any. If there are identifiable names on the flags I'm considering sending them for return. Does that seem like a good idea?

Thanks for any help.
 

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BataviaJim

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I should have mentioned that I can take closer in photos and/or reorient the flag if that would help.
 

Uncle Frank

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2:30AM now in Japan. Give us a day or so and someone should be able to help.
 

Uncle Frank

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Sometimes I wish the writing on them told their story instead of just names & slogans. I loved the Clint Eastward movie "Letters from Iwo Jima".
 

Majestic

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Flag #1

At the top of the flag (flag should be oriented so that this is horizontal, at the top of the flag)
祈武運長久
Good luck in battle 

Vertically, on the right side
信井成章君
Nobui Nariaki-kun (other readings are possible). Nariaki is the person to whom the flag was presented.

Everything else on the flag is a name, plus a couple of patriotic slogans
 

Majestic

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Flag #2
Again, at the top of the flag, the same "good luck" slogan, only this time it is written in reverse (right to left). So in reverse order it looks like
久長運武祈

Vertically, on the right side, again the name of the person to whom the flag was presented. This time, with a location
呈秋田縣北秋田郡澤口村
澤口村銃??公会 
鈴木?治君

Presented by (name of organization) of Sawaguchi village, in Kita Akita county, Akita prefecture, to Mr. Suzuki ??.

I'm not sure of the organization that is doing the presenting. It looks like some rifleman's association, but it could be a veteran's group or some other group supporting the soldiers. I'm fairly certain the name is Suzuki, but I can't pick out he first name of the addressee.

Edit: the name could also be 岩木 (Iwaki) using an old version of the kanji 岩. In the online phone directory I note a few families with this name living in this area.

To me, this would be an excellent candidate to provide to the Obon society, because the location is very specific. We have a village name, and a recipient's name, and again, signatures of people who live around that village. This area is very sparsely populated - maybe a few thousand people (both then and now). Sons and daughters of the signers of the flag may still be living in that area. If you ask me, this would be a slam dunk for the Obon society.
 
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Majestic

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The village was absorbed into a larger municipality, and the name was changed. But there is still a very small, local post office that retains the name of Sawaguchi.
 

BataviaJim

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Thanks very much for your help, I'm happy to find out.

Since there's a good chance of the flags being returned to family, I will send them to the Obon Society. I'd be thrilled to learn that they made it to a relative.

My wife said she thought my father (deceased in 2006) would be in favor of returning the flags. I don't know for sure how he'd feel. He hated the war and spoke very little of it, and never about the fighting. But he didn't seem to hold a grudge against the combatants, not that he ever said. In any case it's up to me now, and I think returning them is best.

Thanks again!
 

Majestic

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1. 國体ヲ護ル Protect the national polity (country + emperor)
2. 至誠一途  Wholeheartedly (lit: completely with sincerity)
3. 撃ちてし止まむ Don't give up until (the enemy) is completely destroyed
4. 兄貴頑張レ Hang in there, brother (looks like a personal message, either from a little brother, or younger colleague at work/school)
5. I didn't number this, but next to the name on the right side is 至誠奉公 Give everything (for your country)
flag slogans.jpg
 

Majestic

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Regarding your father's feelings, I agree completely with you and your wife.
Returning the flag would be a great way to pay tribute to your father, and to the fact that he bore no ill will to those whom he once called enemies.

Flag #1 may be harder to place, since it has no location. The family name on the flag (Nobui) is unusual enough that it might be all that is required to trace the family. But I think it may be slightly difficult.
Flag #2 as I said has name and location, and the location is a small village, so there isn't a lot of detective work that the Obon society has to do.

If you do end up one or both of them successfully, let us know the outcome. I don't think we've ever had a complete "homecoming" story for war relics. It would be fascinating if you can send this back.
 

BataviaJim

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Thank you so much! It's amazing to find out after all these years.

The flags were in a box in my family's attic. I had known about them when I was young but forgot completely. My sister had been storing the box since my parents sold their house in 1986. She gave it to me last year, and I'd been meaning to do something with the contents since then but just got to it now due to sequestering for the pandemic. There were also some other papers in the box: a couple currency bills, what appears to be an exercise routine, a booklet with photos (of the royal family?), and a newspaper sheet. Photos attached of everything, but only a few sample pages of the booklet. No need to translate anything; I'm just posting them as a matter of interest.

I'll let you know if the Obon Society succeeds in returning a flag. I have no idea how long it might take though.

Thanks again!

IMG_20200802_143652.jpg IMG_20200802_143949.jpg IMG_20200802_144006.jpg IMG_20200802_143712.jpg IMG_20200802_143807.jpg IMG_20200802_143823.jpg IMG_20200802_143859.jpg IMG_20200802_143916.jpg IMG_20200802_144053.jpg IMG_20200802_144104.jpg IMG_20200802_144129.jpg IMG_20200802_144138.jpg
 
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Majestic

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Very cool stuff.
The bank note is from China. It is a People's Republic of China 10,000 yuan note from 1949-ish. Worth a few hundred bucks today if its in good condition.

The sheet with the illustrations of the girl in the kimono is a dance guide to the traditional folk song "Tankō Bushi". It is typically played and danced during summer festivals - about right now actually (early - mid August). But some places hold their festivals earlier, and some hold them later in the season. Now, as then, the festival would take place in a large public area, a park or riverside, and the town will erect a small two-story tower as a centerpiece, decorated with red and white bunting, with lanterns strewn around the tower. Around the festival grounds there will be stands with carnival games, and stands selling various cheap foods; grilled chicken, grilled fish, corn-on-the-cob, sweets, etc.. There will be loudspeakers on the tower, and when a folk song like Tankō Bushi is played, people will gather round the tower and dance to it. It remains one of the delights of Japanese summer, although this year I fear it is a pleasure that will have to be foregone.

The video below captures a bit of what it is like. This one is from a festival in Tokyo, and uses the song Tankō Bushi, although there are a lot of traditional songs like this.

The newspaper is from December, 1952.
 

Toritoribe

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Supplement to Majestic-san's translation;

Flag #1
There is one more slogan on the lower side of the flag.

征け決戦へ
Go for the final battle

Flag #2
The name of the organization is 澤口村銃後奉公会, an organization for services to the country at the home front.
The given name of the recipient of the flag would be 為治 Tameharu (or Tameji).
 

BataviaJim

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Majestic,
Thanks for the additional information. My father was in both WWII and Korea. He was doing his mandatory service in 1941 when war broke out, so he was in for the duration. He served 6 months in occupied Japan and was discharged from active duty in 1946. But the rules back then were that you were on inactive reserve for 5 years after your discharge, and he was involuntarily recalled to active duty for Korea in November 1950. He was married with a toddler and an infant so tried to get out of it, but they wanted experienced combat officers, which he was, so they ordered him in. The Chinese currency and the newspaper must be from his Korean service.
There are two bank notes. Unfortunately they're not in good condition (creased and stained) but thanks for the tip -- maybe I'll try to sell them anyway.
Thanks for the video, it's very interesting to connect the document to a real performance.
My father also brought home a third flag that's completely blank. That one may have come from his time in Japan, though I don't know for sure.

Toritoribe,
Thank you for the additional translations.

I had no chance of making out anything on the flags. I'm so glad I found this website.
 

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