CLINTON, CONN., AUG. 26 -- A Japanese soldier who lost his family's 300-year-old samurai sword during World War II traveled to America to recover the cherished weapon 42 years later, saying he had been "embarrassed" without it.
Usaburo Ishijima, 72, of Kyoto, Japan, arrived Tuesday to accept the sword from Jesse Brazee Jr. of Clinton, a concrete truck driver who bought it five years ago.
It was the first time Ishijima had touched the family heirloom since it was taken from him in 1945 when he was captured by U.S. soldiers toward the end of World War II.
"The sword is a family treasure; I felt lonesome and embarrassed without it," Ishijima said through an interpreter.
"He was overjoyed" but tired, Brazee said of the former army lieutenant, with whom he corresponded for four years.
Ishijima said he was "astonished" by a 1982 letter from Brazee saying Brazee had bought the sword from a karate instructor.
Brazee said his curiosity was aroused by Japanese writing on a rag attached to the sword, which an expert said was made about 1650. He learned the sword belonged to a lieutenant in the Japanese Army.
Japanese officials helped Brazee find Ishijima, a retired accountant.