Thursday, December 28, 2006

Students Looking For WWII Flag's Owner

A group of Hyogo Prefecture university students said they are looking for the owner of a Japanese national flag which had been kept by a U.S. Sailor since World War II, on behalf of the late sailor's brother. The Rising Sun flag was taken back to the United States from a battlefield by Jerry Costa, who enrolled in the U.S. Navy in 1941 and fought in the Pacific War around the islands of Midway, Bougainville and Iwojima, the students of Mukogawa Women's University in Nishinomiya said at a press conference. The students were citing what they heard from his brother Duan Costa, who lives in Spokane, Washington.The 72-year-old brother has given the flag to the five students who were studying at the university's branch school in the city in the hope it could be returned to the owner or one of the owner's relatives, they said. The former sailor had not spoken much about the war and died about five years ago, so the background to his taking the flag home is unknown, the students quoted the brother as saying. The 65 centimeter-long and 70 cm-wide flag bears Japanese "kanji" characters wishing a person named Heitaro Kodama lasting good luck in battle, as well as characters referring to the first warehouse of a factory in Niigata belonging to a Niigata iron works company, and also include the names and messages of about 50 people. One of the students who brought the flag back to Japan, Yurina Kimura, 20, said, "I want to try to help as I really felt the misery of the war for the first time, having seen the flag and heard the story." The university's public relations office would welcome any information. The phone number is 0798-45-3533.

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