Corpus Christi, TX – Representatives from the USS Lexington Museum recently arrived in Tokyo, Japan, to reconnect a family after 80 years of separation, with the return of the Yosegaki Hinomaru or “Good Luck Flag”, that belonged to World War II Japanese soldier Shigeyoshi Mutsuda. A ceremony will take place at a national shrine in Tokyo this Saturday, July 29th at 3pm (1am CST) where the children of Mr. Mutsuda will receive the flag, viewed as his spirit returning home, that can reunite with his wife who recently passed away at the age of 102.
The flag being returned was donated to the USS Lexington Museum in 1994 yet was recently identified as a “Good Luck” flag; signed by family and friends of Japanese service members prior to leaving home for war. For Japanese families, the Good Luck Flags are often all that remains of their loved ones killed in action, and the return of the flag is seen as the return of their family member’s remains.
A repatriation ceremony was held Thursday, July 20th at the USS Lexington Museum. The flag was officially removed from the exhibit where it had been on display for the past 29 years. Executive Director Steve Banta handed over the flag to the non-profit organization OBON SOCIETY, whose founders Rex and Keiko Ziak accepted on behalf of the Mutsuda family. Over the past 13 years, OBON SOCIETY has repatriated more than 500 flags back to Japanese families and communities.
Like many women of her time, Mrs. Mutsuda’s husband made the ultimate sacrifice for his country, which left her to provide for all of their family’s needs. The feeling of loss of her soulmate was very difficult, and only eased on rare occasions when she could make the long journey to the national shrine to commune with her husband’s spirit. This shrine is where the ceremonial reuniting will take place, with husband and wife finally finding peace, together.
A recording of the event will be available to view through the same link.