Returning a piece of WWII history to Japan

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Mint Hill resident Dan Oke is taking special care of a piece of history he knows doesn't belong to him. And he's working to return it to its rightful owner.

Oke has a 20-by-30-inch, white silk Japanese flag with a bright red circle in the middle.

He discovered it among other mementos while cleaning out his late father's garage.

When his father passed away in 1999, he found himself with a Japanese flag that had black writing all over it, a few holes he thinks might have been caused by bullets, and some stains that may be blood.

Last year, with the help of a Japanese co-worker, Nahoko Satonaka, he started the process of tracing its origin.

Satonaka took a picture with her cell phone and sent it to relatives in Japan. A friend's grandmother recognized it as a flag that Japanese soldiers carried with them into battle.

He's still intrigued about how much he doesn't know about the flag his father brought back home more than half-century ago. But he hopes its return to Japan will bring comfort to family who still remember a loved one lost long ago.

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