Rex Thomas Ziak, Co- Founder of OBON SOCIETY to Receive 2023 Autumn Commendation from the Government of Japan

On November 3, 2023 (Japan Standard Time), the Japanese government announced the recipients of the 2023 Autumn Commendations, among them was Rex Thomas Ziak.
Mr. Ziak will receive the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays this year in recognition of his contributions to promoting understanding and friendly relations between Japan and the United States.
Commendation: The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays
Summary of Achievements: Contributed to promoting understanding of Japan in the United States and friendly relations between the two countries.
Name: Rex Thomas Ziak
Major Titles: Co- Founder of OBON SOCIETY
In 2009, Mr. Rex Thomas Ziak and his wife Keiko founded "OBON 2015" (now the "OBON SOCIETY") to return "Yosegaki Hinomaru" and other war artifacts brought back by Allied soldiers during World War II to the surviving families of Japanese soldiers.  Yosegaki Hinomaru are Japanese flags with the words, signatures and best wishes of soldiers family, friends, colleagues, and neighbors that the soldiers would carry with them into war. These flags were often taken as battle trophies. They have returned more than 720 "Yosegaki Hinomaru" to Japanese family members and other surviving relations.
Mr. Ziak has also distributed many videos to promote understanding of the Yosegaki Hinomaru issue and the return process as well as creating a permanent exhibit of WWII artifacts at the Columbia River Maritime Museum in Astoria, Oregon. In so doing, he has made significant contributions and achievements in promoting understanding of Japan in the Northwest and across the United States.
The Ziaks’ activities create a bridge not only between the surviving families of Japanese soldiers of the Yosegaki Hinomaru and the American owners who returned them, but also between Japanese and American citizens who wish for understanding and reconciliation of our past history of conflict and who pray for continued peace and friendship in the future.