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Translation for WWII Japanese Flag Considering repatriation

TonyTony

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I would like a bit of a translation help with WWII Japanese silk flag

I am considering going down the repatriation path.

It's definitely a genuine one and is in a very fragile state. However it has no provenance other than it's fair to assume it was collected by an Australian serviceman.

I'm wondering if there is any script on here that might lead to the Japanese owner's identity? I believe sometimes this is quite simple process and sometimes almost impossible.

Thank you in advance

Regards Tony
 

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Majestic

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Hi Tony,

It was sent to a person called Emoto Shigeharu (榎本重治). Emoto is the family name, Shigeharu is the personal name.

The other items on there are names, mostly. I don't see a location.
 

TonyTony

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Hi Tony,

It was sent to a person called Emoto Shigeharu (榎本重治). Emoto is the family name, Shigeharu is the personal name.

The other items on there are names, mostly. I don't see a location.
Thank you. Is that common name?

Does anyone here have any previous experiences with repatriating a flag like this?

Regards Tony
 

TonyTony

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Yes, it is a fairly common name.
There is a group called the Obon Society that specializes in repatriation of war souvenirs. You could try them out.
Yeah I had a look at them They are in the US and I'm in Australia.
It's a bit of a tough job without his home town. That's pretty much how they find the descendants.
I also don't want to remove the flag from its mount which means an expensive freight bill

Is there any military unit name on it anywhere you can see? Or rank?

Any other names with his surname?

It's a bit wishful but It would be nice if someone in his family got it back.
If I was to get something back that was my grandfather's (who died in WWII) I'd be overjoyed
Thanks for looking.

Regards Tony
 

Majestic

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Sorry Tony, nothing on the flag that would be an obvious help. Just names. Keep in mind that the family may not want or welcome the return of an item from the war. Some memories are best left undisturbed. It could be embarrassing for them, or might encourage some feeling of obligation that they would rather do without. Of course it is entirely possible that it would be an interesting thing for them to have, but bear in mind that the relationship the Japanese have towards the war is different from yours. The return of a relic like this doesn't automatically stir up positive emotions.
 

TonyTony

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Sorry Tony, nothing on the flag that would be an obvious help. Just names. Keep in mind that the family may not want or welcome the return of an item from the war. Some memories are best left undisturbed. It could be embarrassing for them, or might encourage some feeling of obligation that they would rather do without. Of course it is entirely possible that it would be an interesting thing for them to have, but bear in mind that the relationship the Japanese have towards the war is different from yours. The return of a relic like this doesn't automatically stir up positive emotions.
Yes you make a good point.
I visited the war museum in Tokyo when I was there 20 years ago and the the perspective is most definitely different.

Regards Tony
 

Majestic

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I would at least get in touch with the Obon Society. Maybe they have a database (they have been doing this for several years, so they must have access to some sort of database). Emoto Shigeharu is a fairly normal name, but even if there were 100 or so people with the same name, the number of people with those exact same kanji would be fewer. The number of people named Emoto Shigeharu who would have been in contact with Australian servicemen would narrow it down even further.
 

TonyTony

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I would at least get in touch with the Obon Society. Maybe they have a database (they have been doing this for several years, so they must have access to some sort of database). Emoto Shigeharu is a fairly normal name, but even if there were 100 or so people with the same name, the number of people with those exact same kanji would be fewer. The number of people named Emoto Shigeharu who would have been in contact with Australian servicemen would narrow it down even further.
I've contacted them and have had a generic and slightly patronizing reply. They want me to send it.
Unfortunately due to the fact it's too fragile to fold or roll the cost to send this to the USA from Australia is prohibitive. (over $350AU)

They've also got a policy they only start looking for family when they physically have the flag and they don't return items even if they can't find family.

I've dropped an email about it with images to the Japanese embassy here in Australia too. Will see where that leads. Probably in the "Too Hard" basket!

Thank you for all your help. Much appreciated.

Regards Tony
 

Majestic

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Ahh, OK. Good to know. I've never dealt with them. I am curious as to how they go about finding people. They are a bit of a black box. Thanks for the info.
 

TonyTony

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Ahh, OK. Good to know. I've never dealt with them. I am curious as to how they go about finding people. They are a bit of a black box. Thanks for the info.
FYI Embassy Reply

Good afternoon Tony,

Thank you very much for your enquiry in relation to returning the flag in your possession.

The Embassy takes particular interest in Japanese WWII artefacts retrieved from various locations across the Asia Pacific, and does provide a service by which, at the behest of the current owner, any heirlooms or other items of personal value can be returned to the original owner, their relatives, or any descendants wherever feasibly possible. This process also includes informing the families of the existence of a WWII artefact traced to a family member.

In order to facilitate a search for the owner and/or his or her relatives, I have attached a “Request for Investigation of Lost Articles” form. Please note that you will require a version of Microsoft Word 2010 in order to read the form. If you have any difficulties opening the file, please let me know.

If you could complete the form, including the final section which deals with your intentions vis-a-vis the flag should any surviving family members be located, this would be much appreciated. We will use that information as the basis for contact with any surviving family members.

After receiving the form from you, we shall send it and the photographs that you provided to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Japan as a diplomatic cable requesting the initiation of an investigation into the original owner and any surviving relatives.

Please note that the process of investigating the original owner of the flag and any living relatives or descendants can take some time, in most cases between six months to a year. Your patience in this matter would therefore once again be very much appreciated.

I trust this response has been of use to you. If you require any further information or clarification, please do not hesitate to contact me at %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

Kind regards,

Senior Researcher, Political Section
Embassy of Japan to Australia

在豪日本国大使館
政務班・研究者
グレッグ・パンプリング
 
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