Stolen Japanese Artifacts Were Discovered in an Attic of a Massachusetts House

The FBI Boston recently announced it recovered 22 Japanese artifacts that were stolen after the Battle of Okinawa in World War II. The artifacts, dating from the Ryukyu Kingdom, were found in an attic of a Massachusetts house.

According to an official statement, a family of a World War II veteran who didn’t serve in the Pacific region discovered the artifacts while they were cleaning their attic. They did their research and found that some of the items were part of the National Stolen Art File. The family then contacted the FBI’s Art Crime Team, which confirmed the true origin of the artifacts.

The family also found a letter that confirmed the artifacts were smuggled out of Japan in the final days of World War II. An unnamed soldier unsuccessfully attempted to sell them to a U.S. museum.

Among the items were six painted scrolls dating from the 18th and 19th centuries, a hand-drawn map of Okinawa from the 19th century, and a number of ceramic pieces.

After conducting the investigation, the FBI contacted the Japanese government and organized the return of the artifacts to Okinawa Prefecture.

“When taken together, they really represent a substantial piece of Okinawan history,” said Special Agent Geoffrey J. Kelly of the FBI Boston Field Office.

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