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Translating a Japanese World War 2 Flag 2017/7/29 09:20
Hello!

This flag was captured by my great uncle during World War II and sent home to my grandma before he was killed . He was a member of the US Army Air Force in the Pacific, where he served as a crewman on a bomber.


We just dug up this flag from my dad's room, and we're planing on getting it framed. But before we do, I wanted to see if anyone would be able to help us read the flag, or if they knew the use for this size of flag? The light switch in the picture is about 5 inches.


Any help would be greatly appreciated!


https://m.imgur.com/FyvVcfY

A very helpful Reddit user belives the characters are as follows:

Ŏ F^v


but I saw some similar questions asked on this site, and thought I'd ask for any additional information!

Thanks all!
by Geoff (guest)  

Re: Translating a Japanese World War 2 Flag 2017/7/29 11:12
The flag in photo is hung upside down.
It sounds like something a Kamikaze pilot would write.

Rough translation:
Ŏ- service by death
F^v- pray for lasting fortune

ꏑ- written by Sanukazu Koenuma (his name can be read many ways, the last name may be Koinuma or Hinuma; the first name may be Minokazu, etc.)
by Bearfield (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Translating a Japanese World War 2 Flag 2017/7/29 14:12
An attempt at a more accurate translation of the first two phrases:

Ŏ is maybe a mis-written version (or variation) of the following, as the reading (phonetically) would be the same.
Ŏ means "selflessly devoting oneself," often to the public good. Often used during the war referring to what soldiers needed to do for the country.

F@^v means "praying for continuing/long-lasting fortune in warfare."

I know the flag is something your family member left, so means a lot to your family, but I somehow hope that you would not frame and display it, as it is speaking of our difficult past (between your country and ours) and will be reminder of the dead soldier's sad determination for sacrificing himself in the war. I am not saying that your great uncle's sacrifice should be forgotten or anything like that, don't get me wrong, but it simply is a sad message to see. Thank you for your consideration.
by AK rate this post as useful

Re: Translating a Japanese World War 2 Flag 2017/7/29 16:45
May your great uncle rest in peace.

Meanwhile, Obon Society is one of the most active non-profit organizations today that can help you return war flags to Japanese families of the original owners. The organization works with social networking which allows more exposure of your photos, therefore making it easier for your flag to be returned.
http://obonsociety.org/

Even if you wish to keep the flag, please take a look at their website to learn more about what those flags are. Thank you. Peace.
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Translating a Japanese World War 2 Flag 2017/7/30 01:19
We definitely didn't want it displayed like a war trophy, which is sadly what it is, but more as a historical aritifcat in a room dedicated to the preservation of history.

My dad and I had checked out Obon when we first found the flag, as we assumed it was a good luck flag (OBON is mentioned on the Wiki). We are definitely interested in the service now that we've had the flag translated. Do you know how likely it is that the flag would return to the rightful family vs sitting in a ziploc bag in Oregon? Getting it back to them would be quite amazing.
by Geoff (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Translating a Japanese World War 2 Flag 2017/7/30 19:31
Do you know how likely it is that the flag would return to the rightful family vs sitting in a ziploc bag in Oregon?

Among the numerous war memorabilia, the flags are most likely to be traced to the original owner because of the names written on them. The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare in Japan is also working to return flags, but societies like Obon has attracted more viewers on the internet.

My opinion is that it doesn't hurt to notify an organization about your flag. And you can still keep it in your frame as long as the rightful family doesn't appear. The organization you contact can be anything. Obon seems to be quite reliable, but just for your reference here is the official website and contact for the Ministry.

http://www.mhlw.go.jp/english/policy/other/war-victim/memorabilia.html
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Translating a Japanese World War 2 Flag 2017/7/30 23:45
Great!

I will definitely look into the Ministry as well!

Thank you!
by Geoff (guest) rate this post as useful

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