Ivan Friske with a Japanese flag handed into him at the RSL.
Ivan Friske with a Japanese flag handed into him at the RSL. Craig Warhurst

Japanese war flag uncovered

Gympie RSL Sub Branch president Ivan Friske is seeking help to decipher writings on a World War II Japanese flag handed in to the club.

The fragile silk Japanese flag was found in a World War II digger’s belongings after he died.

The ex-serviceman’s son was cleaning up his father’s belongings after the funeral when he found the piece of war memorabilia.

Mr Friske said the son handed the flag into the RSL to see if members knew anything about its origin.

“We are now looking for someone who can decipher the writing on the flag,” Mr Friske said.

The flag may have been some sort of good luck charm given to Japanese soldiers before they went off to war.

“We think the writing is messages of good luck from family and friends,” Mr Friske said.

Mr Friske took the flag to the sushi bar at Gympie Centro to see if anyone could interpret the message.

He said the girl at the sushi bar said the writing was old-style Japanese, but she did roughly interrupt one phrase that said “good luck, good health and return to us”.

She also said the bold writing was male while the smaller writing was more likely female.

Mr Friske said the ex-serviceman may have souvenired the flag after a battle.

He said a lot of Japanese soldiers tied flags to the barrel of their rifles during battle.

“The flag is in really good condition, we are really interested in finding out its story,” Mr Friske said.

He said the RSL would love to keep the flag but it was up to the owner to decide what to do with it.

“It is in top condition, it would be a shame to leave it in a cupboard where no one could see it,” Mr Friske said. If anyone can help decipher old-style Japanese writing they can contact Mr Friske at the Gympie RSL.

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