The Return of the Sunrise Flag

In May, after the snows of winter had melted in Sanjo City, my father received a letter posted by air mail. It was from the mayor, Rokuro Kaneko, with news regarding the return of the Sun Rise Flag’s safe return to the fallen soldier’s mother, Mrs. Teko Watanabe.

Dear Mr. Youngblood,

In Japan everyday is fine now and especially in Niigata Prefect tulips are bloomed.

I, as Mayor of Sanjo City, handed the flag to the owner’s mother Mrs. Teko Watanabe, which you had been wanting to give back. Kango Watanabe is the owner’s name.

You were very kind and Miss Yuri Adachi, a student of Parrish High School, who was asked to help you return the flag was also very kind. I, as representative of seventeen thousand people of Sanjo city, thank you for your justice, love, and perseverance to keep the flag for a very long time, from 1944 to 1963, hoping to return it to the bereaved family.

Mrs. Teko Watanabe (70) received the flag with tears as if her son had safely returned from the battle.

We think that your behavior will be unforgettable memory to peace of this world and we cannot forget it forever.

P.S. As a memory of this I sent two pieces of newspaper cuttings (A. about Miss Adachi’s letter; B. When I brought the news to Mrs. Watanabe) by ship, and a remembrance.

We will be very glad for you to receive it.


Letter written to my father by the Mayor of Sanjo City, and posted May 13,1963


I hope you and your family to be always happy.

Sincerely yours,

To a mother, all things that once belonged to her lost child are like holy relics.

Rokuro Kaneko

Mayor of Sanjo City

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