WWII Military Jacket With 2 Purple Hearts Returned to Vet’s Family

by Quentin Blount

The daughter of a WWII veteran will sleep a little better at night after receiving her father’s military jacket with two purple hearts on it. Get ready for what could be the most heartwarming story you’ll read all day.

Hawaii-born Tadashi Furuike was an Army Staff Sgt. in the 442nd Infantry Regiment. His entire unit was made up of fellow second-generation Japanese American soldiers. Furuike served from 1943 until his honorable discharge in 1946. However, he was a man of exemplary bravery.

Thanks to his efforts during the war, Furuike would be awarded two Purple Hearts and a Silver Star. He reportedly killed and/or wounded 60 enemy service members. And according to British news agency SWNS, Furuike’s lost military jacket found its way back to his family after being missing for decades.

WWII Jacket Bought on eBay in 2000

One man made this incredible story possible: Paul Osaki. The 60-year-old ran a Japanese American art and history store and was always looking to add to his collection. He came across Furuike’s authentic WWII military jacket back in 2000. The jacket was listed on eBay and Osaki purchased it along with the medals for $500.

“We were selling the Japanese American G.I. Joe doll, which you couldn’t buy in stores anymore, so we had to find them on eBay,” Osaki told SWNS. “I happened to put in Nisei, which is second-generation Japanese American, and this jacket popped up.”

Despite many people online selling knock-off versions and look-a-like jackets, Osaki says he knew Furuike’s jacket was real as soon as he saw it.

“I could tell it was real, mainly because the name that was written in it, Tadashi Furuike, was such an unusual Japanese name. When I opened it, my store partners and I were wowed, not just because of how good of shape it was in, but because of all of the insignias and ribbons on it. To think that one of the Nisei in the 442nd actually wore it. It was an awe moment.”

Daughter Reunites With Her Father’s Military Jacket

Tadashi Furuike’s WWII jacket stayed in Osaki’s store until 2009. And nearly ten years after closing the doors to his shop, Osaki set out on a mission to find the war hero’s family. Eventually, he stumbled across the email address of Donna Furuike.

“I told her who I was, that I found this jacket on eBay and I think it might be her fathers,” Osaki explained. “She didn’t respond for a while. Finally, she responded, ‘Yes, Tadashi’s my father.’ That was all, but those few words were more than enough.”

And finally in 2019, Donna Furuike was reunited with her late father’s jacket. Tadashi Furuike passed away the year before.

“When I was opening the box I kept thinking, ‘Wow, dad, this is your history. I wish you were here to open it instead of me,'” Furuike told SWNS. “My second thought was, ‘Wow, this is my dad’s jacket! He wore this!’ His handwritten name is right there. He was a small man with a lot of fire in him. Then I started crying. I had a lot of emotions going through me, mostly excitement, anticipation, and sadness that he wasn’t there to share in it.”

“I’m so happy to have a part of dad back with me,” she continued. “Paul opened my eyes to a part of dad’s history he rarely shared with me. To know that my dad played a part in what the 442nd did for America is amazing. Words cannot express my awe for those soldiers. What a great educational gift to pass down to future generations.”