Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare

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For those of you who have memorabilia of Japanese war dead,
such as Nisshoki with messages or Senninbari

Selling wartime relics, such as Nisshoki (the national flag of Japan) with the personal name of the war dead attached, on online Internet auctions for sale may hurt the feelings of bereaved families.

If you have such a wartime relic and do not know what to do with it, please send us information as we may be able to identify the bereaved family from our data.

Specifically, we will try to identify the original owner of the wartime relic or their bereaved family by collating evidence from the relic, such as name or name of the military unit to which the owner belonged, with the data at the ministry, working in cooperation with prefectural and municipal governments in Japan. Once the original owner’s or the bereaved family’s intention to accept the return of the relic is confirmed, we will collect the relic from you and return it to the original owner or the bereaved family.

Nisshoki with messages from loved ones and Senninbari (a cloth with one thousand stitches) were given by families and loved ones to Japanese soldiers as they departed for war, and the soldiers kept such relics close to them during the war. For some bereaved families who have no memorabilia or remains of their loved ones, the lost Nisshoki and other artifacts may be the only memento that they will have of their loved ones.

Please know that it is of considerable heartache and sadness for the bereaved families, who are waiting to have the remains or other memorabilia of their loved ones returned to them, to see such memorabilia traded on online auctions.

○ Inquiries to:
 Investigation group #2, Planning Division of Recovery of the Remains of War Dead, Social Welfare and War Victims’ Relief Bureau, Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan
 Telephone: 03-5253-1111 (extension: 3476)
 E-mail: suishin@mhlw.go.jp

Application for Research on Lost Artifacts

(Click to download the Application for Research on Lost Artifacts. In requesting research on wartime relics, please fill the application form and return it to the Planning Division of Recovery of the Remains of War Dead, Social Welfare and War Victims’ Relief Bureau, Ministry of Health Labour and Welfare of Japan. Please attach photographs of the relic (including the full shots, shots of the top, bottom, right, left, and reverse side of the relic, and any evidence that could be used as a lead for the research, such as any names, etc. on the relic). If you are submitting your application by e-mail, please enter “Research on Wartime Relics” in the subject line).

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