Massachusetts family finds stolen Japanese artifacts in late father’s attic

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Family finds 22 stolen Japanese artifacts in late father’s Massachusetts attic

Family finds 22 stolen Japanese artifacts in late father’s Massachusetts attic


BOSTON – The FBI Boston Division returned 22 historic artifacts to Japan after they said a Massachusetts family found them in their late father’s attic.

The FBI said the siblings, who want to remain anonymous, were going through their late father’s belongings when they found several pieces of Asian art. The artifacts included several pieces of pottery, six portraits and a hand-drawn map dating back to the 19th century.

After they did some research, the learned the items were reported stolen from Japan during the Battle of Okinawa in 1945. While their father had served in World War II, he never served in the Pacific Theater.

A piece of Japanese pottery given to the FBI after being found in Massachusetts.

FBI Boston

“This case highlights the important role the public plays in recognizing and reporting possible stolen art. We’d like to thank the family from Massachusetts who did the right thing in reaching out to us and relinquishing these treasures so we could return them to the people of Okinawa,” said Jodi Cohen, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division in a statement.    

The family turned the artifacts over to the FBI, who were able to authenticate the artifacts. The National Museum of Asian Art helped the FBI package the artifacts and send them back to Japan.

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