Minnesota WWII veteran returns Japanese sword he took as souvenir


Spectators describe the ceremony at Como Park in Saint Paul Saturday as "very moving." One of them sent us this picture.

The Rochester Post-Bulletin has the story of 94-year-old Orval Amdahl, of rural Lanesboro, Minn., who plans to give a sword he took as a souvenir while serving in Japan during World War II back to its owner – 70 years later.

Amdahl acquired the elegant weapon as a Marine captain who fought on the Pacific islands and helped oversee the occupation of Japan, the newspaper reported. He long considered the sword just a souvenir, and he tenderly cared for it. But a lingering question nagged at him – the sword at one time had belonged to someone ... who?

Amdahl tried to track its owner on his own, but without success, the Post-Bulletin reports. Then an author working on a book about atomic bombs interviewed Amdahl. She eventually used her contacts in Japan to help Amdahl track down Tadahiro Motomura, a grandson of the officer who once owned it. Amdahl plans to hand the sword to Motomura in a Sept. 21 ceremony at the Japanese Garden at the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory in St. Paul, with local and Japanese dignitaries in attendance.

Amdahl's story is familiar. KARE 11 last month had the story of Doug Rachac, the grandson of a World War II soldier who had a Japanese flag he took as a souvenir, which Rachac eventually returned to its original owner.

A 92-year-old WWII veteran in Illinois is also trying to find the original owner of a Japanese flag he took from the body of a sniper nearly 70 years ago.

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