A HEROIC EFFORT

Every time I visit my parents, there’s a 99% chance my mom will have the TV tuned to CSI or NCIS. Or is it Law & Order? I don’t know. All those shows are the same to me, and I find myself confusing them the way you would a set of twins you just met. So each time I always ask my mom, “Which one is this? CSI? Law & Order?” And each time the reply is the same, “It’s NCIS.” That’s what she says at least, but in her head I’m sure she appends “Don’t you ever listen? I’ve told you 58 times already. You’re just like your dad.” to the end of her answer. 

While I don’t really care for those shows, I have learned one thing from them: Rarely do you ever go with the very first theory you come up with when solving a murder. Or in my case, attempting to return a 60-year-old flag to a fallen soldier’s family with very little information to go on.

Initially, the scholars thought Sukio attended a northern school in the Fukuoka Prefecture, which is why he had so many signatures on the flag from students at that school. He also had a few signatures from students at the southern school, but not many. The reason is that he could have made connections to this school through the teacher that traveled between schools? Seems plausible, right? Well, it’s not actually the case. There was no traveling teacher. The signature they thought was from a traveling teacher actually belonged to the principal of the southern school, Mr. Seiji Harada, which is where Sukio graduated.  

Of course, none of this is new information, as I mentioned it the last post, but it has given rise to a new theory: Sukio attended the northern school where he had quite a few friends (hence their signatures on his flag) but had recently transferred to the southern school, which explains why so few students from that school signed his flag. Again, this is just a theory (albeit a solid one), as the scholars really have no clue why he has signatures from students at both schools. But if it’s true, why did he transfer schools? Was this something that happened all the time? Or was something else going on that we don’t know about? 

We do know that Sukio’s class had 109 students, but the class was divided into two sections. And they weren’t sure which section he was in, but there were 43 surviving students registered with the alumni department. After calling each one, only ONE (ONE!!!) remembered Sukio and suggested a town where he may have grown up. However, after searching the district’s citizen registry, they found that no Uedas lived there. 

With nothing but dead ends, the scholars have turned their attention back to the northern school and have been able to get lists of the students who attend the northern school during 1944, 1945 and 1946. Their hope is that they’re able to match some of the names on the flag to students at the northern school. If they do, they can track these people down and ask them where Sukio may have grown up. 

OBON 2015 told me that never before have so many people given so much effort to help. They even went on to call it a “heroic effort.” I didn’t understand what they meant by that until the end of their email where they said that 200 (200!!!) additional people are working together to help find Sukio’s family and won’t stop until this mission is accomplished. I was blown away when I read that. 

200 additional people… A heroic effort indeed.