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The pith helmet was given to me by WWII Iwo Jima veteran Combat Correspondent Ivan Prall back in '94 when I was living in Japan. Mr. Prall found the pith helmet on a carved out shelf in a Japanese headquarters cave, with maps on the wall, on the central western side of Iwo Jima during the battle. He went into the cave to take photos of the maps and found the pith helmet and eventually sent it home.

The dead soldier was PFC Shinji Ehara, Shibuya unit, First mixed regiment, Headquarters, 109th Division under LtGen. Tadao Kuriayashi. PFC Ehara was (according to Japanese records) a radio operator. His regiment was split between the islands of Haha Jima and Iwo Jima, but Ivan Prall never set foot on Haha Jima and informed in a letter that he picked it up on Iwo Jima. The little Hebrew star sewn into the helmet is actually the Battalion HQ map symbol, and we are not sure about the other character next to it...still researching."KYO"

For 16 years I searched wanting to reunite the pith helmet with the family of the dead Japanese soldier but had no luck until, with the help of the Japanese Govt's Ministry of Health and Welfare, we found the dead Japanese soldier's younger brother in Tokyo and returned the pith helmet on March 10, 2011. I am now waiting to hear from the younger brother with more information and hopefully a photo of the man who died on Iwo Jima back in 1945.

Thank you letter from the Japanese Government confirming the return of the helmet.

This is the letter I received from the younger brother of the Japanese Army Soldier who died on Iwo Jima and whose pith helmet was taken to the US as a war trophy by War Correspondent Ivan Prall.

This is the only photo that younger brother Shozo Ehara
has of him and his older brother today. In his thank you
letter, Shozo said the photo was taken to commemorate
a special home leave granted before heading "to the front",
which turned out to Iwo Jima. He had never known where
his brother died, only that the Japanese military informed
his family he had died in the Pacific.



Current photo of Mr. Shozo Ehara, age 82,
taken in Tokyo in front of the Tokyo Sky Tree Tower.

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