BACK FROM THE DEAD

My dad called me yesterday after he read the previous post. I didn’t answer the phone, but he left a message that said I had left him in suspense. He was calling because he didn’t want to wait for the next post and wanted the low-down straight from the tap. Or as he put it, “You’re the main man, and I got a connection. I was hoping you’d call me to let me know what’s going on.” I called him back and filled him in, but I suppose it’s time I told the rest of the world. 

As I said in the previous post, OBON 2015 traveled to Japan several weeks ago to return five flags. Mine was one of them. Since they haven’t been able to track any of Sukio’s family, it was returned to a shrine in Fukuoka. 

Around that same time OBON 2015’s associates in Japan obtained the alumni records from the school Sukio had attended and, according to their records, had graduated from. After searching for each student listed, they were able to contact more than sixty individuals, which seems like a remarkable number to me, seeing how several have passed away already.

They asked each of his former classmates anything they remembered about Sukio himself and the area where they think he may have lived. Except for one, all of the people they contacted didn’t remember all too much about Sukio. One person thought his family came from a specific village, but when they searched the village’s public records, nothing came up. 

Despite the numerous dead ends they’ve run into, they still had another some other leads they were pursuing. (Just a quick aside: It’s impressive at how relentless these people are in their search. I get the impression that they’re like the Hulk of detective work in that dead ends only appear to make them more determined.) One of these leads was at the veteran’s association. Their records don’t show that anyone named Sukio Ueda died during World War II. OBON 2015 said their records aren’t flawless, but they have proven to be very, very good in the past. So if the records are correct, then it appears he survived the war. 

It appears that after he returned from the war, he got married, had a daughter and resided in the North, near the straits of Shimonoseki. The Fukuoka people contacted officials in Kitakyushu to get some information about Sukio, but Japan has some pretty tough privacy laws and denied the request. 

But like I said up above, the people searching are like the Hulk of detective work. They won’t give up until they’ve exhausted every single lead. Seeing how they’re a group of people comprised of family members of veterans, politicians, professors, retired military, priests and business leaders, they have a large collection of skill sets. And since OBON 2015 was present at the flag returning ceremony several weeks ago, they were able to personally alert the politicians of the search for Sukio. So now we have some political influence helping power the search. As of the writing of this post, a local chairman made a formal request for information about Sukio in the Kitakyushu area. We’re just waiting to see what they say. We just may have another shot at finding something out about him through their records. 

Who knows, maybe he’s still alive?