Monday, February 11, 2013

Mystery Monday: Japanese Passport in Nolan Lane's WWII Scrapbook

Last week I shared some information about my Uncle Nolan who served in WWII with the U. S. Navy Seabees.  My Treasure Chest Thursday post was about his WWII scrapbook.  Not only does this scrapbook contain some amazing photos of WWII, it also contains  a mystery--one that I hope someone can help me solve.

Japanese Passport found in WWII Scrapbook
of Nolan A. Lane

Among the pages of the scrapbook, I found a Japanese passport.  The passport is in good condition except for some frayed edges around it's dark green cover.  Inside is a clear black and white photo of a young woman, and I assume the passport belonged to her.  Dates throughout the passport are all from 1931.  Okinawa, Japan, and Argentina are about the only words I can decipher.  The rest of the writing looks to be Japanese.

Inside Pages of Japanese Passport

The mystery, to me, is why did my uncle have this passport?  Who is the young woman in the photo, and what happened to her?  Most importantly to me, however, is how can I find this woman's remaining family and return the passport to them?

I've taken my first step toward solving this mystery by sending the passport to a former colleague who teaches Japanese at the high school where I used to work.  He and his wife, who happens to be Japanese, have agreed to take a look at the passport and tell me what it reveals about the young woman.  While they are doing that, I hope to do some additional research myself about my uncle's WWII service.  How might he have come to possess this passport?

I'll keep you posted about our findings. In the meantime, I welcome any suggestions and/or information anyone can offer about this mystery.


  1. It's a stretch, but you might contact the PBS show, History Detectives. I saw an episode where they helped return a long lost Vietnam photograph to the original family. You never know!

    1. Done! Great idea, Heather! Thank you so much for suggesting this. I just completed the submission form on the History Detectives website and sent it in. Like you said, you never know! Keep your fingers crossed :)

    2. Great! I'm sure they get a lot of submissions, but yours is pretty unique. I can't wait to hear what happens with this research.

  2. Obviously I loved this post, so I included it on my Friday Favorites. Thanks for the good read and I hope you figure out it's origins!