Today’s Guest Blogger is Rob Hasller an F&M American Studies and Art History major ’12 who is part of the Museum Mysteries Seminar Course:
On November 1, 1945, an American soldier named Earl (last name unknown) sent two letters from his post in Manila Bay, the Philippines, to family members in Florida. Earl, stationed at Manila Bay in the Philippines and hoping to return to America to vote in his first election, enclosed this Japanese flag as a souvenir of the American enemy. The flag, known as a hinomaru yosegaki (“to write sideways around the red sun”), was a talisman given to a Japanese soldier bearing signatures and the wishes of good fortune of family and friends. The characters, written on the silk flag with brush and ink, usually flowed outward in a rayed pattern. In this example, crowded with well-wishes, the messages overlap the sun.
As American soldiers carried photographs of their family and loved ones, Japanese soldiers carried their hinomaru yosegaki as reminders to return home safely from the battlefield. Nothing further is known of the fallen Japanese soldier who carried this flag.
-Rob Hassler ’12-
Student researchers are exploring some of the mysteries behind museum objects to reveal hidden histories. Objects from the Museum Mysteries seminar course will be on view in The Nissley Gallery at The Phillips Museum through May 11, 2012.