The text of this ‘good luck flag’, which belonged to the Japanese General Shunkichi Ikeda, reads: ’A tiger walks 1,000 miles, but always returns again’. A group of Japanese women from his place of birth embroidered this thousand-stitch saying, meant to bring him luck and prosperity.
Whenever the General went into battle with his troops from the Japanese Imperial Army, the flag went with him. In early 1945, General Ikeda was stationed in Sorong, a town in New Guinea in the Dutch East Indies.
His men were attacked by the Allies. Two wounded American pilots were taken prisoner. They were beheaded two days later. Who committed this gruesome act? General Ikeda was ultimately responsible but after the war when he was interrogated in 1946, he could not remember anything about the incident.
He realized what a hopeless position he was in and gave this flag to his interrogator A. Leijten as a gift. Little is known about what happened to General Ikeda after that; he died in 1948.