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Big story behind the giant flag

FLYING THE FLAG: Members of the Ballina Naval and Maritime Museum with the huge Japanese flag.
FLYING THE FLAG: Members of the Ballina Naval and Maritime Museum with the huge Japanese flag. Rebecca Lollback

A GIANT flag which was recently donated to the Ballina Naval and Maritime Museum has been found to have an important place in Japanese history.

The flag was given to the museum by Kay Stone on behalf of Tony Porter and his family in March this year.

A few months later, a Japanese national who was visiting the museum was shown the flag in the hope that he might be able to translate the writing on it.

"The visitor, Dr Katsumi Homma, became quite excited as he viewed the flag," curator Ron Creber said.

"It came from the city of Kesennumna, which was devastated in those terrible tsunamis that struck Japan on March 11, 2011.

"Videos of that tragic event in Kesennumna circulated around the world, leaving people in utter dismay at the destructive forces of nature.

"The good doctor suggested it (the flag) should be framed and photos sent to the local fishermen's co-op in Kesennumna to boost their morale."

The following month, the naval museum was contacted by Dr Katsumi's solicitors in Brisbane, advising that he would pay for the flag to be framed and displayed in the museum.

The flag was from the Kyoshin Maru, a long-line tuna boat which was wrecked on Elizabeth Reef, 555km east of Ballina, in the 1970s. Local fishermen, including Tony Porter's late father, salvaged the boat and towed it to Ballina for repairs.

The Ballina Naval and Maritime Museum is now looking for more information about the vessel.

Phone Ron Creber on 6681 1002 or call into the museum.

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