Monday, January 16, 2012

Remnants & Effects of Wars Past

During our trips over the holidays we came across a man who inherited Japanese personal effects from the War in the Pacific. It had been given to him sometime in the late 1970's by a man who took these things off a dead Japanese Officer. The items consisted of a “Dog Tag”, two medals, and a coin purse containing two dozen coins from the Showa Era bearing the Imperial Chrysanthemum. Little details were given to us as to how or where these “War Trophies” were taken but as you can imagine we were saddened to see these things knowing that this likely belonged to a man long listed as missing in action and presumed dead. Worse, knowing that this dog tag being taken it is likely that the body it was taken from was never identified.

Earlier last year, we posted an article in that first appeared on CNN about a Buddhist Monk who ran an organization that returned war effects to the families to whom they belonged to. When we expressed our interest in these items for the sole purpose of returning them to their rightful owners families in hopes of providing closure to any possible still living relatives things went sour. Of course it would not be so simple for us to get the owner to hand them over to us. As one might imagine, the current host who himself had served in the US Armed forces became somewhat uncooperative and refused to show them to us any longer. After some careful reasoning and cooler heads prevailing, we were allowed to photograph the dog tag in hopes that it could be translated and identified. Unfortunately, we did not have a decent camera with us and relied on cell phone photography in a less than ideal take it or leave it situation.

Seen here are the other two medals taken from the same officer. They contain no identifying marks. Only the dog tag has writing. We have since shown these photos and from what we could derive off them is Troop 11933, 17, 2 but no name which makes this difficult to identify. If anyone can make out the Kanji on the ID tag please let us know. With such knowledge we will try again to reason with the current host in hopes that they will allow us to either return these items to their rightful owners family or to the Japanese Government. We at American Mishima are almost certain someone in Japan will appreciate the gesture.

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