FAQ

If the family is not found will you return the flag to me?

Every item OBON SOCIETY receives will eventually be returned to Japan.

If you have an emotional connection to the item or if you sincerely want to keep it in your possession, please do not send it to OBON SOCIETY.

Our goal is to find immediate relatives, whenever possible. Otherwise, we can find the local community who will receive the item in the soldiers memory and preserve it in a community center.

Searches can take between several weeks to several years. Since these searches are complex, we operate under a policy of guaranteed return. After our thorough and exhaustive search if no family or community is found we will return this object to the care of the organization that handles bereaved families in Japan for continued search. 

 

Can you search for the family if I send you a photograph of the flag? 

No. OBON SOCIETY must have the physical item before the search begins.

 

Can I deliver the flag personally to the family in Japan? 

This may be possible, depending mostly on how the receiving family feels.

You will be notified once the family is found. If you want to make the trip we will forward your request to authorities in Japan. The family will be contacted to inquire about their feelings about your possible visit.

Some families might not be able to receive foreign visitors. Others, due to spiritual beliefs or the intimate nature of their return of a missing relative, might prefer having only the comfort of close relatives. Each family is different.

If the family is receptive to the idea and you have the flexibility to travel, we will try to put you in touch. Few Japanese speak English so a translator will be necessary. 

 

Do you return other items besides flags to Japan? 

Yes. 

For our own purposes we divide items into two distinct categories; Personal items and Government issued items. We focus on Personal items.

Personal items are anything that came from the soldiers home or family. This includes the Yosegaki Hinomaru (good-luck flags) diaries, photos, letters, cards and the like.

Government items include rifles, pistols, clothing, shoes, gloves, goggles, medals, badges or helmets.

Some swords are family heirlooms while other swords are mass-produced. Mass-produced items cannot be traced back to a family. Some family heirloom swords can be returned.  If you have a sword contact us.

If you are in possession of skulls, bones, teeth or other human remains contact your local Japanese Consulate or contact us. OBON SOCIETY works discreetly and confidentially. 

 

Can I deliver this directly to you in Astoria?

Yes. 

Contact us as soon as you have an estimated arrival time, at least two weeks (or even two months) in advance so we can set aside appropriate time.

 

How do you find the family? 

OBON SOCIETY operates a network of archivists, scholars and researchers who examine each item for clues of its place of origin. We oversee the work of another team scattered throughout Japan who search from house to house.

 

After I send you the flag what can I expect? 

Our Archivists check the post office at least once each week.  

  • Upon receiving the packet our archivists will email you to confirm its arrival 
  • Upon finding the family you will be notified via email and a phone call 
  • You will be invited to write a letter to the relatives in Japan 
  • If you choose to write, your letter will be translated into Japanese and accompany the item

 

Are you a non-profit organization that allows us to deduct contributions from our income taxes? 

OBON SOCIETY is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt Oregon non-profit corporation. Your generosity helps make our charitable humanitarian work possible. Consult a CPA for current laws and tax deduction limits.