On August 15th, 2017 U.S. Marine Marvin Strombo will complete a mission of reconciliation that began more than seventy years ago.
Marvin will personally return a lost heirloom to its waiting family in Japan.
Your contribution will help make this possible.
Marvin faces a long journey that will cover more than 10,000 miles. Your contribution will give Marvin a comfortable flight, hotel and ground transportation. He will be accompanied by several family members to provide support and safety and OBON SOCIETY staff to provide arrangements, introductions and translations.
We have made it easy for you to support Marvin’s trip to Japan.
You can donate directly to OBON SOCIETY with either a check, credit card or PayPal. OBON SOCIETY is a project of Astoria Visual Arts, Inc., tax-exempt under IRC 501(c)(3), EIN 93-1010234. (Consult your tax advisor about the benefits of contributing to a 501(c)(3) non-profit.)
In this two minute interview, Marvin describes the battle for Saipan, and how he acquired the Yosegaki Hinomaru in late June of 1944.
Marvin’s historic journey to Japan began back during World War II while fighting on the island of Saipan.
Sado Yasue was the eldest of six children from a family of farmers living in the mountains of Japan. His government sent him to Saipan to defend Japan.
Marvin Strambo was the middle of seven children from a ranching family in Dixion, Montana. His government sent him to Saipan to fight for America.
The Japanese fought valiantly to protect their homeland, but the indomitable American marines were victorious. Sadao Yasue perished on the frontline and no trace of his body was ever recovered.
Marvin Strombo survived and returned to his home in Montana. He brought back memories and nightmares of the gruesome battles, as well as several souvenirs to remind him of the war.
Among Marvin’s souvenirs was a Yesegaki Hinomaru he recovered on Saipan Island. Marvin respectfully held this flag for seven decades. In his mind he kept alive the hope that one day it could be returned to the family of that fallen soldier. Marvin expressed this desire during a newspaper interview and several concerned friends stepped forward to help.
They contacted the Obon Society with hopes this organization could help Marvin find the family. Obon Society received the flag, analyzed the inscriptions and carried on a nation-wide search. Within one month they had found the village where this soldier once lived and eventually made contact with the soldier’s younger brother who is 89 years old and still actively running the family farm.
The Japanese family was completely astonished on hearing the news of their brother’s remains. For the past 70 years this brother and two sisters had wondered how and where their eldest brother had died. Obon Society realized that Marvin was the only person on earth who could inform this family about their missing brother, so they quickly moved into action.
We asked Marvin, “Would you consider travelling to Japan to personally return this heirloom?”
He replied, “YES!”.
We asked Mr. Yasue, “Would you like to meet the American who was the last person to see your brother?”
He enthusiastically replied, “YES!”
The meeting has been arranged for August 15, 2017; the family eagerly await Marvin’s arrival. The entire local community is preparing for this historic visit.