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Soldier’s postcard reaches family after 58 years

Date Posted: 2003-01-24

Rinsuke Onaga was a 28-year-old Okinawan soldier in the Imperial Japanese Army serving in Manchuria during the closing days of WWII. Upon bidding farewell to a friend who set off to return to Japan, Onaga wrote a postcard to his family stating that he had to stay and promising to write again. He never did.

The postcard finally made its way to Onaga’s family on Jan. 17, 2003, thanks to an American soldier who had found the postcard while serving in Saipan during the war. He had found the card among the rubble and took it as a memento, keeping it for the next 58 years.

Finally he showed the card to a former colleague who does historical research. The colleague then showed it to Japanese Shigeaki Mori who did same research, and who was able to read the address and locate Onaga’s family in Okinawa.

The former GI who had found the postcard is now in his late 80ies and he wanted to forward the card to the family it was intended to.

Upon receiving the card Onaga’s family was overjoyed. Although Rinsuke Onaga’s father whom the postcard had been addressed to had passed away years ago, the family welcomed the card. “It’s like Rinsuke finally came back home,” Onaga’s niece said.

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