Featuring Japanese military weapons and artifacts, this exhibit tells the story of the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) in World War II. Earl and Tony Rogers donated a wonderful collection of IJA weapons, which includes rare rifles, pistols, swords and ammunition. In the process of creating an exhibit to showcase these weapons, we have also integrated a Japanese soldier’s personal items, a gift from Theodore Merrell, who recovered them from a Pacific island battlefield during the war.
With the help of local translator Kim Habig, we were able to identify these items, including a pay book and many photos of family and friends, as belonging to a Private Sahara, who we believed to be killed in action on the Philippine Island of Luzon in 1945. In a joint effort with Superior’s sister city, Ami-Machi, Japan, the Sahara family was located and Private Sahara’s personal effects were returned to his brother in August 2016. At that time we learned that Private Sahara did survive the war, married and had children. He died in 2013. Read the full story here.
The combination of the two collections has produced a very powerful exhibit about the IJA. Our deepest thanks to the Rogerses and to Theodore Merrell for entrusting us with these valuable collections.