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Translating my grandfather's captured Good Luck Flag

Jason Hicks

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Hello,

My grandfather recently passed away, who was a veteran of the Pacific Theater of WW2. Somehow he acquired this amazing flag. After reading about the significance of these flags, I am hoping to identify the owner, his location and some of the written elements. You'll notice that there are what appear to be blood stains on the flag and more writing than I have seen on other Good Luck Flag specimens. I am hoping that you good people can help me to decipher this enigma. Thank you very much in advance!
 

Toritoribe

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There is not any information about the recipient (name, location or date). Those are just the signatures and few typical patriotic slogans.
 

Uncle Frank

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To make reading a bit easier.
 

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Jason Hicks

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Wow. That was a quick response! I find it heartbreaking that so many people loved this man and wanted him to return home safely, yet he died far away from home, fighting for a cause that history has judged unworthy. He and my grandfather could very well have been drinking buddies in another life. Since you say that there are not any distinguishable names or locations, Toritoribe, it seems that there is not much of a chance of identifying potential existing family members? Not sure how much the family would appreciate seeing the blood of their loved one on the flag either though. :( What do some of the flag's slogans say (if you don't mind me asking?)
 

Uncle Frank

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Don't feel bad , I lived in Japan 2 years and never did learn Kanji. After 40 years away from Japan , I've lost all my Japanese skills. Hope fully someone will give you a few of the slogans.
From past posts and pictures of flags , it sounds like a ton of fake ones were made during and after the war. I always pictured a couple Marines and a Japanese buddy making up dozens to sell and each one with a story how it was taken off a body. I'm not talking about yours , just a bunch posted here in the past that were fakes.
 

Toritoribe

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What do some of the flag's slogans say
盡忠報國
Give all for the country

祈る奮闘
Wish you make strenuous efforts

見敵必殺
Certain kill to enemies you see

必勝
Certain victory

頑張れ
Wish you the best

信念
Faith

捨身
Sacrifice yourself

荘烈(most likely a typo of 壮烈)
Braveness

自制
Self-control

I found 大阪市 Osaka city next to a signature. This is the only one location name on the flag.

Who is 西田? The first person to sign it?
One of the presenter, the writer of the slogan 祈る奮闘.
 

Mike Cash

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I think some of people still alive. For example I found one person on the online telephone directory.
秋好 観八- ネットの電話帳- 住所でポン!2012年版
"秋好 観八" is very uncommon name and I don't think there are other "秋好 観八".

You can't go by that.

For one thing, they are YEARS out of date. For another, the phone may have been in the person's name for decades and the family never bothered changing the information when the person died.

Did you call the number and ask for the guy? Do that and let us know how it goes.
 

Jellyzo

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Heeeey! Good news! I found Japan War-Bereaved Families Association has introduced such a Lost and Found project, so called Obon Society.
The website is:
Obon Society | Family to Family
The society is based in Oregon.
You can post the picture and they will help you to find the owner!
Thank you for your effort and respect our man!
 
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Nils Olson

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I asked a former military person in our church here in Fukuoka Prefecture, Munakata City about the family name NISHIDA (西田). He told me that NISHIDA was the person to whom the flag was given when he left to fight in the war. The two characters to the right of NISHIDA are the soldier's first name. 泰丸(Yasukuni, or Yasumaru). If you sent these photos and name to a website, or organization that deals specifically with returning war flags to veterans' families, perhaps they could find the soldier's family members. I will say that if you can find the family and have the flag returned, it will be of great importance to and remaining relatives of this soldier.
 

Mike Cash

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I asked a former military person in our church here in Fukuoka Prefecture, Munakata City about the family name NISHIDA (西田). He told me that NISHIDA was the person to whom the flag was given when he left to fight in the war. The two characters to the right of NISHIDA are the soldier's first name. 泰丸(Yasukuni, or Yasumaru). If you sent these photos and name to a website, or organization that deals specifically with returning war flags to veterans' families, perhaps they could find the soldier's family members. I will say that if you can find the family and have the flag returned, it will be of great importance to and remaining relatives of this soldier.

Was this a Japanese person you asked?

What, if anything, did he say about the lack of any honorific after the name?
 

Nils Olson

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Was this a Japanese person you asked?

What, if anything, did he say about the lack of any honorific after the name?

It was a Japanese person whom I asked. He is 79 years old so was pretty reliable. As for an “honorific” after the name, since it was NISHIDA’s own flag, there would be no honorific written after his name. Japanese never use an honorific for themselves; it’s a form of humility to not use any honorific for ones self.
 

Toritoribe

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The recipient's name was never written by himself. It's written by one of the presenters, therefore honorific titles such like 君 or 殿 was attached to it.
The size and the position of the signature are also very uncommon as the recipient's one. Ask him about it as well.
I've never seen the reading "kuni" for 丸, by the way.
 

Jason Hicks

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Wow..! Haven't checked this post in a couple of weeks. I had guessed that there was no way for sure of knowing who the flag belonged.to. I already knew about OBON Society, but was hesitant to send them the only thing passed down to me from my grandfather, especially after hearing that there was no distinguishable names on it. I also do not appreciate the policy that they have stating that they will not even begin the search unless they have the flag in their possession. Furthermore, they will not even return it to you if they do not find the recipient.
 
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Jason Hicks

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Jason Hicks

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View attachment 26619
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I asked a former military person in our church here in Fukuoka Prefecture, Munakata City about the family name NISHIDA (西田). He told me that NISHIDA was the person to whom the flag was given when he left to fight in the war. The two characters to the right of NISHIDA are the soldier's first name. 泰丸(Yasukuni, or Yasumaru). If you sent these photos and name to a website, or organization that deals specifically with returning war flags to veterans' families, perhaps they could find the soldier's family members. I will say that if you can find the family and have the flag returned, it will be of great importance to and remaining relatives of this soldier.
Thank you so much for helping with this mission!
 

Jellyzo

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Wow..! Haven't checked this post in a couple of weeks. I had guessed that there was no way for sure of knowing who the flag belonged.to. I already knew about OBON Society, but was hesitant to send them the only thing passed down to me from my grandfather, especially after hearing that there was no distinguishable names on it. I also do not appreciate the policy that they have stating that they will not even begin the search unless they have the flag in their possession. Furthermore, they will not even return it to you if they do not find the recipient.
Oh, I didn't know that. It is sad :(
 
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