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Returning Good Luck Flags-T.V. Special

Article about: This is a link to a television special that was broadcast in the United States a few days ago on Memorial Day. It is getting some coverage on other discussion sites and I was hoping that we

  1. #1

    Default Returning Good Luck Flags-T.V. Special

    This is a link to a television special that was broadcast in the United States a few days ago on Memorial Day. It is getting some coverage on other discussion sites and I was hoping that we might get some different opinions here on the subject as well, especially since this Forum has a widespread European audience. I know that there are a number of collectors here that are knowledgeable on the nuances of the subject and might be able to point out some of the weaknesses (obvious and not so obvious) in this "news" piece. Thank you in advance for any and all posts.


  2. #2


    I respect the Japanese people but when it comes to war trophies from WW II most don't want anything to do with them.
    There are Japanese military collectors I have known several, but the folks that I have known don't put any real sentimental attachments on them.

    This puts me in mind of a story that was in the news 15 or 20 years ago a Marine that spent several thousand dollars researching a name on a Samurai sword he brought back to return it to a Japanese family.
    He made a big deal returning it to a couple with the same last name as the sword smith. The couple kept it about 6 months and sold it for a few thousand dollars.

    Most Japanese don't want anything to do with WW II military items. They don't like being reminded of losing a war in which the Imperial Military committed atrocities and lost.

    Most don't know much about Japanese WW II history. To the kids it is ancient history.
    The Japanese students that I have known and still keep in touch with didn't know any real Japanese military history between 1932 to 1945 other than "America forced them to attack Pearl Harbor and then we dropped Atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    When I took my friends to a couple of local gun shows they went bat $hit crazy buying pistols and ammo. A friend bought an Edo period Samurai sword and when we got back to the car he promptly cut his thumb pulling the blade out of the scabbard in the back seat of my car. I had to pull over and it took 2 or 3 minutes to stop the bleeding. That was the only time I saw Hiroshi Yamaguchi with big round eyes. My other friend Who called himself "Doobie" Shiraki ( he was a fan of the doobie brothers ) just about passed out laughing at him. But Hiroshi did help me clean the blood stains out of the back seat.
    My wife and I would give parties for international students when I taught Art and the Japanese kids were always fun and very generous .

    Boring story but it came to mind.

  3. #3

    Default Returing Flags

    Hi Steve-
    Great story! I couldn't have said it any better. When NHK came to my home a few years ago to film for their news piece on good luck flags, I took them out for dinner. When I asked them what they were taught about World War Two in school they told me, "Pearl Harbor, American B-29's bombing their cities, and the dropping of the bomb." That's a heck of a perspective.
    A number of former World War Two Japanese servicemen told me over and again how they were maligned for their wartime service and allowing the country to be swept into a destructive and losing war. One actually said that he was tired of being called a superstitious old fool.
    Almost nothing represents nationalism or the country more than its flag. Victories and defeats can be found on the pages of history books when studying that nation's flag. Because of this, I am left to ponder why the excitement to return the flag?
    Nails and hair were left behind by many service members as they had no anticipation of returning home. Oddly enough, this seems to be the passage that most often lacks credit and/or is shortened to omit the point that "hair and nails were left behind for a funeral". Because of this, the notion that funerals could not be performed seems a bit of truth stretching. On the other hand, it seems to be one of the biggest reasons given for returning flags- closure because of a lack of a body. Not every flag, however, is stained from battle or has DNA on it, and many were not given by family, as the narrative is playing, but rather by friends and co-workers. Hopefully others here will have some thoughts on the topic.

    Last edited by MichaelB; 06-04-2016 at 02:22 AM.

  4. #4


    I got a little suspicious when they were asked and said they had spent their life savings on their project. I smelled a bit of a scam there.
    Just exactly what do they spend their money on ? Research ???? That is something they would do on their own. Shipping a flag to Japan sure as hell doesn't cost that much.
    I only have 1 signed flag and there isn't any way I would give it away.
    I have a small Japanese collection some soft headgear, a couple of helmets, rifles, military swords and field gear and a couple of Nambu pistols.
    Although I started collecting Japanese swords with the one my Dad brought back from the Pacific. But the rest of Japanese items I picked up from Vets I sold and traded for other things that I was interested in.

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