Local Man to Return Sword to Original Owner in Japan - WSET.com - ABC13

Local Man to Return Sword to Original Owner in Japan

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Reporter: Heather Rosenbaum | Videographer: Jonathan Merryman

Lynchburg, VA - A Samurai sword from World War Two may soon make its way back to its original owner in Japan.

Lynchburg native Paul Ufema has had it in his family for nearly 70 years, passed down from his grandfather. Ufema decided to trace the owner and return it and is turning the whole experience into a documentary.

He says there is a bigger message in his story.

"It was collecting dust in the basement and I just felt like something more could be done with it," he said.

After nearly 70 years in Ufema's family, the samurai sword may soon be passed on to someone else.

"They are saying something huge could be born out of this action," said Ufema.

Ufema decided to turn his action of returning the sword into a documentary called "Forgive-Don't Forget," but first he had to trace it to its owner. He recruited his friend, Brad Bennett.

"I'm actually a quarter Japanese and my grandmother lives here in town, so she can actually read the text that is on this sword and tell us who this man was," said Bennett, who is producing the documentary.

Continued research led them to only the name and rank of the sword's owner. They've also learned that only handmade ones can return to the country.

"The mere fact that it was a handmade blade, the fact that Paul randomly contacted me, I just happen to be a quarter Japanese to help tell the rest of the story, I believe is fate," said Bennett.

Bennett used his contacts in Japan to find a match in a history book and talk to local specialists, but they hope to find the next piece of the puzzle the owner or his family, in Japan.

"We are trying to give back something that was surrendered nearly 70 years ago. It's huge. Bringing that across international waters, I think it speaks volumes," said Bennett.

"I'd rather take this and tell an amazing story with it. I won't be able to hand down a sword to my son, but I will be able to say check out this story," said Ufema.

Ufema needs your help. He is trying to raise nearly $30,000 in just two weeks to sponsor the trip to Japan.

You can watch the movie trailer and donate here. 

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