Historic samurai sword returned to owner

Sept. 17, 2003 at 6:27 PM
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OXFORD, Miss., Sept. 17 (UPI) -- A 150-year-old samurai sword surrendered to U.S. Marines after the 1945 Battle of Iwo Jima is en route to Japan to be returned to its original owner.

After searching for more than two years to locate the sword's owner, the University of Mississippi has sent the antique and nearly priceless relic to 84-year-old Ushio Togami, a retired high-ranking Japanese naval officer.

The sword had been in Togami's family for generations, since the ruling Japanese samurai feudal rulers were in power.

The sword was given to 81-year-old Henry Mitchell Jr., a retired U.S. Marine who fought at Iwo Jima.

Mitchell, who retired as the University of Mississippi's architect in 1983, asked school officials to help him locate the owner of the sword, whose name was etched on the blade.

The university said Mitchell died Aug. 23, but the return of the sword was his "dying wish."

Togami told reporters: "You'll never know how happy I have been since the first notice of this matter. I am 84 years old now, and it is really nice that I could (have) the sword while I am still alive. I am looking forward to having it in my hand."

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