War japanese symbol

War japanese symbol DEFAULT

Flag of Japan

"Hinomaru" redirects here. It is not to be confused with Hanamaru.

National flag

Flag of Japan.svg
NameNisshōki[1] or Hinomaru[2]
AdoptedFebruary 27, 1870; 151 years ago (1870-02-27)[a](civil ensign)
August 13, 1999; 22 years ago (1999-08-13)[b](national flag)
DesignA red disc centered on a white rectangular banner

The nationalflag of Japan is a rectangular white banner bearing a crimson-red circle at its center. This flag is officially called the Nisshōki (日章旗, 'flag of sun'), but is more commonly known in Japan as the Hinomaru (日の丸, 'circle of the sun'). It embodies the country's sobriquet: the Land of the Rising Sun.

The Nisshōki flag is designated as the national flag in the Act on National Flag and Anthem, which was promulgated and became effective on August 13, 1999. Although no earlier legislation had specified a national flag, the sun-disc flag had already become the de facto national flag of Japan. Two proclamations issued in 1870 by the Daijō-kan, the governmental body of the early Meiji period, each had a provision for a design of the national flag. A sun-disc flag was adopted as the national flag for merchant ships under Proclamation No. 57 of Meiji 3 (issued on February 27, 1870),[3] and as the national flag used by the Navy under Proclamation No. 651 of Meiji 3 (issued on October 27, 1870).[4] Use of the Hinomaru was severely restricted during the early years of the Allied occupation of Japan after World War II; these restrictions were later relaxed.

The sun plays an important role in Japanese mythology and religion as the Emperor is said to be the direct descendant of the sun goddess Amaterasu and the legitimacy of the ruling house rested on this divine appointment and descent from the chief deity of the predominant Shinto religion. The name of the country as well as the design of the flag reflect this central importance of the sun. The ancient history Shoku Nihongi says that Emperor Monmu used a flag representing the sun in his court in 701, and this is the first recorded use of a sun-motif flag in Japan.[5][6] The oldest existing flag is preserved in Unpō-ji temple, Kōshū, Yamanashi, which is older than the 16th century, and an ancient legend says that the flag was given to the temple by Emperor Go-Reizei in the 11th century.[7][8][9] During the Meiji Restoration, both the sun disc and the Rising Sun Ensign of the Imperial Japanese Navy and Army became major symbols in the emerging Japanese Empire. Propaganda posters, textbooks, and films depicted the flag as a source of pride and patriotism. In Japanese homes, citizens were required to display the flag during national holidays, celebrations and other occasions as decreed by the government. Different tokens of devotion to Japan and its Emperor featuring the Hinomaru motif became popular among the public during the Second Sino-Japanese War and other conflicts. These tokens ranged from slogans written on the flag to clothing items and dishes that resembled the flag.

Public perception of the national flag varies. Historically, both Western and Japanese sources claimed the flag was a powerful and enduring symbol to the Japanese. Since the end of World War II (the Pacific War), the use of the flag and the national anthem Kimigayo has been a contentious issue for Japan's public schools. Disputes about their use have led to protests and lawsuits. For the governments of China and South Korea, the flag is a symbol of aggression and imperialism. Several military banners of Japan are based on the Hinomaru, including the sunrayed naval ensign. The Hinomaru also serves as a template for other Japanese flags in public and private use.


Ancient to medieval[edit]

Progression During the Imperial Inspection at Ou, Matsushima. Ukiyo-e by Hiroshige III(1876)
Flag of Japan (1870–1999).

The exact origin of the Hinomaru is unknown,[10] but the rising sun had some symbolic meaning since the early 7th century (the Japanese archipelago is east of the Asian mainland, and is thus where the sun "rises"). In 607, an official correspondence that began with "from the Emperor of the rising sun" was sent to Chinese Emperor Yang of Sui.[11] Japan is often referred to as "the land of the rising sun".[12]

The sun is closely related to the Imperial family, as legend states the imperial throne was descended from the sun goddess Amaterasu.[13][14] The religion, which is categorized as the ancient Ko-Shintō religion of the Japanese people, includes nature worship and animism, and the faith has been worshiping the sun, especially in agriculture and fishing. The Imperial God, Amaterasu-ōmikami, is the sun goddess. From the Yayoi period (300 BCE) to the Kofun period (250 CE) (Yamato period), the Naiko Kamonkyo (ja:内行花文鏡, a large bronze mirror with patterns like a flower-petal manufactured in Japan) was used as a celebration of the shape of the shining sun and there is a theory that one of the Three Sacred Treasures, Yata no Kagami, is used like this mirror.[15]

During the eastern expedition (Jinmu tosei), Emperor Jimmu's brother Itsuse no Mikoto was killed in a battle against the local chieftain Nagasunehiko ("the long-legged man") in Naniwa (modern-day Osaka). Emperor Jimmu realized, as descendants of the sun, that he did not want to fight towards the sun (to the east), but to fight from the sun (to the west). So his clan went to the east side of Kii Peninsula to battle westward. They reached Kumano (or Ise) and went towards Yamato. They were victorious at the second battle with Nagasunehiko and conquered the Kinki region.[16][17]

The use of the sun-shaped flag was thought to have taken place since the emperor's direct imperial rule (親政) was established after the Isshi Incident in 645 (first year of the Taika (era)).[18]

The Japanese history text Shoku Nihongi completed in 797, has the first recorded use of the sun-motif flag by Emperor Monmu's Chōga (朝賀, 'new year's greetings ceremony') in 701 (the first year of the Taihō (era)).[5][6] For the decoration of the ceremony hall on New Year's Day the Nissho (日像, 'the flag with the golden sun') was raised.[5][6]

One theory has been influenced by the results of the Genpei War (1180 – 1185). Until the Heian period, the Nishiki flag (Nishiki no mihata 錦の御旗), a symbol of the Imperial Court, had gold and silver moon circles on a red background. At the end of the Heian era, they used the red flag, which is the color of their flag (Taira clan), calling themselves a government army, while Genji (Minamoto clan), in opposition to it, fought the Genpei war with the white flag. Since ancient times, the sun has been a symbol of national unity because of the close relationship between national rule and the sun. When Taira was destroyed and the samurai government was established by Genji, successive shōguns claimed to be descendants of Genji, and it was said that the Hinomaru of "Shirachikamaru" (白地赤丸, red circle on white background) had been inherited as a symbol of those who achieved the unification of the country. In Japan, "red and white" has been regarded as a joyous color scheme. One theory is folklore that there is a sense of Sacred–profane dichotomy (sacred = red, profane = white), and that this is also derived from the Genpei War.[citation needed]

In the 12th-century work, The Tale of the Heike, it was written that different samurai carried drawings of the sun on their fans.[19] One legend related to the national flag is attributed to the Buddhist priest Nichiren. Supposedly, during a 13th-century Mongolian invasion of Japan, Nichiren gave a sun banner to the shōgun to carry into battle.[20]

One of Japan's oldest flags is housed at the Unpo-ji temple in Yamanashi Prefecture. Legend states it was given by Emperor Go-Reizei to Minamoto no Yoshimitsu and has been treated as a family treasure by the Takeda clan for the past 1,000 years,[21] and at least it is older than 16th century.

The earliest recorded flags in Japan date from the unification period in the late 16th century. The flags belonged to each daimyō and were used primarily in battle. Most of the flags were long banners usually charged with the mon (family crest) of the daimyō lord. Members of the same family, such as a son, father, and brother, had different flags to carry into battle. The flags served as identification, and were displayed by soldiers on their backs and horses. Generals also had their own flags, most of which differed from soldiers' flags due to their square shape.[22][page needed]

In 1854, during the Tokugawa shogunate, Japanese ships were ordered to hoist the Hinomaru to distinguish themselves from foreign ships.[19] Before then, different types of Hinomaru flags were used on vessels that were trading with the U.S. and Russia.[10] The Hinomaru was decreed the merchant flag of Japan in 1870 and was the legal national flag from 1870 to 1885, making it the first national flag Japan adopted.[23][24]

While the idea of national symbols was strange to the Japanese, the Meiji Government needed them to communicate with the outside world. This became especially important after the landing of U.S. Commodore Matthew Perry in Yokohama Bay.[25] Further Meiji Government implementations gave more identifications to Japan, including the anthem Kimigayo and the imperial seal.[26] In 1885, all previous laws not published in the Official Gazette of Japan were abolished.[27] Because of this ruling by the new cabinet of Japan, the Hinomaru was the de facto national flag since no law was in place after the Meiji Restoration.[28]

Early conflicts and the Pacific War[edit]

A family gathers around a young boy in a military uniform, surrounded by banners and flags. Some of the children also hold flags.
1930s photo of a military enrollment. The Hinomaruis displayed on the house and held by several children.
Three children holding flags in front of a building and a rising sun
Propagandaposter promoting harmony among Japanese, Chinese, and Manchu. The caption in Chinese (read right to left) reads "With the cooperation of Japan, China, and Manchukuo, the world can be in peace".

The use of the national flag grew as Japan sought to develop an empire, and the Hinomaru was present at celebrations after victories in the First Sino-Japanese and Russo-Japanese Wars. The flag was also used in war efforts throughout the country.[29] A Japanese propaganda film in 1934 portrayed foreign national flags as incomplete or defective with their designs, while the Japanese flag is perfect in all forms.[30] In 1937, a group of girls from Hiroshima Prefecture showed solidarity with Japanese soldiers fighting in China during the Second Sino-Japanese War, by eating "flag meals" that consisted of an umeboshi in the middle of a bed of rice. The Hinomaru bento became the main symbol of Japan's war mobilization and solidarity with her soldiers until the 1940s.[31]

Japan's early victories in the Sino-Japanese War resulted in the Hinomaru again being used for celebrations. It was seen in the hands of every Japanese during parades.[29]

Textbooks during this period also had the Hinomaru printed with various slogans expressing devotion to the Emperor and the country. Patriotism was taught as a virtue to Japanese children. Expressions of patriotism, such as displaying the flag or worshiping the Emperor daily, were all part of being a "good Japanese."[32]

The flag was a tool of Japanese imperialism in the occupied Southeast Asian areas during the Second World War: people had to use the flag,[33] and schoolchildren sang Kimigayo in morning flag raising ceremonies.[34] Local flags were allowed for some areas such as the Philippines, Indonesia, and Manchukuo.[35][36][37] In Korea which was part of the Empire of Japan, the Hinomaru and other symbols were used to declare that the Koreans were subjects of the empire.[38]

During the Pacific War, Americans coined the derogatory term "meatballs" for the Hinomaru and Japanese military aircraft insignia.[39] To the Japanese, the Hinomaru was the "Rising Sun flag that would light the darkness of the entire world."[40] To Westerners, it was one of the Japanese military's most powerful symbols.[41]

U.S. occupation[edit]

Men in military dress watch a flag being lowered.
The Hinomaruis lowered in Seoul, Korea, on September 9, 1945, the day of the surrender.

The Hinomaru was the de facto flag of Japan throughout World War II and the occupation period.[28] During the occupation of Japan after World War II, permission from the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers (SCAPJ) was needed to fly the Hinomaru.[42][43] Sources differ on the degree to which the use of the Hinomaru flag was restricted; some use the term "banned;"[44][45] however, while the original restrictions were severe, they did not amount to an outright ban.[28]

After World War II, an ensign was used by Japanese civil ships of the United States Naval Shipping Control Authority for Japanese Merchant Marines.[46] Modified from the "E" signal code, the ensign was used from September 1945 until the U.S. occupation of Japan ceased.[47] U.S. ships operating in Japanese waters used a modified "O" signal flag as their ensign.[48]

On May 2, 1947, General Douglas MacArthur lifted the restrictions on displaying the Hinomaru in the grounds of the National Diet Building, on the Imperial Palace, on the Prime Minister's residence and on the Supreme Court building with the ratification of the new Constitution of Japan.[49][50] Those restrictions were further relaxed in 1948, when people were allowed to fly the flag on national holidays. In January 1949, the restrictions were abolished and anyone could fly the Hinomaru at any time without permission. As a result, schools and homes were encouraged to fly the Hinomaru until the early 1950s.[42]

Postwar to 1999[edit]

Since World War II, Japan's flag has been criticized for its association with the country's militaristic past. Similar objections have also been raised to the current national anthem of Japan, Kimigayo.[21] The feelings about the Hinomaru and Kimigayo represented a general shift from a patriotic feeling about "Dai Nippon" – Great Japan – to the pacifist and anti-militarist "Nihon". Because of this ideological shift, the flag was used less often in Japan directly after the war even though restrictions were lifted by the SCAPJ in 1949.[43][51]

As Japan began to re-establish itself diplomatically, the Hinomaru was used as a political weapon overseas. In a visit by the Emperor Hirohito and the Empress Kōjun to the Netherlands, the Hinomaru was burned by Dutch citizens who demanded that he either be sent home to Japan or tried for the deaths of Dutch prisoners of war during the Second World War.[52] Domestically, the flag was not even used in protests against a new Status of Forces Agreement being negotiated between U.S. and Japan. The most common flag used by the trade unions and other protesters was the red flag of revolt.[53]

An issue with the Hinomaru and national anthem was raised once again when Tokyo hosted the 1964 Summer Olympic Games. Before the Olympic Games, the size of the sun disc of the national flag was changed partly because the sun disc was not considered striking when it was being flown with other national flags.[43] Tadamasa Fukiura, a color specialist, chose to set the sun disc at two thirds of the flag's length. Fukiura also chose the flag colors for the 1964 as well as the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano.[54]

In 1989, the death of Emperor Hirohito once again raised moral issues about the national flag. Conservatives felt that if the flag could be used during the ceremonies without reopening old wounds, they might have a chance to propose that the Hinomaru become the national flag without being challenged about its meaning.[55] During an official six-day mourning period, flags were flown at half staff or draped in black bunting all across Japan.[56] Despite reports of protesters vandalizing the Hinomaru on the day of the Emperor's funeral,[57] schools' right to fly the Japanese flag at half-staff without reservations brought success to the conservatives.[55]

Since 1999[edit]

A page with Asian characters and a black-and-white version of the Japanese flag left above
The Law Regarding the National Flag and National Anthemas it appears in the Official Gazette on August 15, 1999

The Law Regarding the National Flag and National Anthem was passed in 1999, choosing both the Hinomaru and Kimigayo as Japan's national symbols. The passage of the law stemmed from a suicide of the principal of Sera High School [ja] in Sera, Hiroshima, Toshihiro Ishikawa, who could not resolve a dispute between his school board and his teachers over the use of the Hinomaru and Kimigayo.[58][59] The Act is one of the most controversial laws passed by the Diet since the 1992 "Law Concerning Cooperation for United Nations Peacekeeping Operations and Other Operations", also known as the "International Peace Cooperation Law".[60]

Prime MinisterKeizō Obuchi of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) decided to draft legislation to make the Hinomaru and Kimigayo official symbols of Japan in 2000. His Chief Cabinet Secretary, Hiromu Nonaka, wanted the legislation to be completed by the 10th anniversary of Emperor Akihito's enthronement.[61] This is not the first time legislation was considered for establishing both symbols as official. In 1974, with the backdrop of the 1972 return of Okinawa to Japan and the 1973 oil crisis, Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka hinted at a law being passed enshrining both symbols in the law of Japan.[62] In addition to instructing the schools to teach and play Kimigayo, Tanaka wanted students to raise the Hinomaru flag in a ceremony every morning, and to adopt a moral curriculum based on certain elements of the Imperial Rescript on Education pronounced by the Meiji Emperor in 1890.[63] Tanaka was unsuccessful in passing the law through the Diet that year.[64]

Main supporters of the bill were the LDP and the Komeito (CGP), while the opposition included the Social Democratic Party (SDPJ) and Communist Party (JCP), who cited the connotations both symbols had with the war era. The CPJ was further opposed for not allowing the issue to be decided by the public. Meanwhile, the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) could not develop party consensus on it. DPJ President and future prime minister Naoto Kan stated that the DPJ must support the bill because the party already recognized both symbols as the symbols of Japan.[65] Deputy Secretary General and future prime minister Yukio Hatoyama thought that this bill would cause further divisions among society and the public schools. Hatoyama voted for the bill while Kan voted against it.[61]

Before the vote, there were calls for the bills to be separated at the Diet. Waseda University professor Norihiro Kato stated that Kimigayo is a separate issue more complex than the Hinomaru flag.[66] Attempts to designate only the Hinomaru as the national flag by the DPJ and other parties during the vote of the bill were rejected by the Diet.[67] The House of Representatives passed the bill on July 22, 1999, by a 403 to 86 vote.[68] The legislation was sent to the House of Councilors on July 28 and was passed on August 9. It was enacted into law on August 13.[69]

On August 8, 2009, a photograph was taken at a DPJ rally for the House of Representatives election showing a banner that was hanging from a ceiling. The banner was made of two Hinomaru flags cut and sewn together to form the shape of the DPJ logo. This infuriated the LDP and Prime Minister Tarō Asō, saying this act was unforgivable. In response, DPJ President Yukio Hatoyama (who voted for the Law Regarding the National Flag and National Anthem)[61] said that the banner was not the Hinomaru and should not be regarded as such.[70]


Passed in 1870, the Prime Minister's Proclamation No. 57 had two provisions related to the national flag. The first provision specified who flew the flag and how it was flown; the second specified how the flag was made.[10] The ratio was seven units width and ten units length (7:10). The red disc, which represents the sun, was calculated to be three-fifths of the hoist width. The law decreed the disc to be in the center, but it was usually placed one-hundredth (1⁄100) towards the hoist.[71][72] (this makes the disc appear centered when the flag is flying; this technique is used in other flags, such as the Flag of Bangladesh). On October 3 of the same year, regulations about the design of the merchant ensign and other naval flags were passed.[73] For the merchant flag, the ratio was two units width and three units length (2:3). The size of the disc remained the same, but the sun disc was placed one-twentieth (1⁄20) towards the hoist.[74]

The flag has a ratio of two by three. The diameter of the sun is three-fifths of the height of the flag. The sun is placed directly in the center.

When the Law Regarding the National Flag and National Anthem passed, the dimensions of the flag were slightly altered.[1] The overall ratio of the flag was changed to two units width by three units length (2:3). The red disc was shifted towards the center, but the overall size of the disc stayed the same.[2] The background of the flag is white and the center is red circle (紅色, beni iro), but the exact color shades were not defined in the 1999 law.[1] The only hint given about the red color is that it is a "deep" shade.[75]

Issued by the Japan Defense Agency (now the Ministry of Defense) in 1973 (Showa 48), specifications list the red color of the flag as 5R 4/12 and the white as N9 in the Munsell color chart.[76] The document was changed on March 21, 2008 (Heisei 20) to match the flag's construction with current legislation and updated the Munsell colors. The document lists acrylic fiber and nylon as fibers that could be used in construction of flags used by the military. For acrylic, the red color is 5.7R 3.7/15.5 and white is N9.4; nylon has 6.2R 4/15.2 for red and N9.2 for white.[76] In a document issued by the Official Development Assistance (ODA), the red color for the Hinomaru and the ODA logo is listed as DIC 156 and CMYK 0-100-90-0.[77] During deliberations about the Law Regarding the National Flag and National Anthem, there was a suggestion to either use a bright red (赤色, aka iro) shade or use one from the color pool of the Japanese Industrial Standards.[78]

Color chart[edit]

Use and customs[edit]

When the Hinomaru was first introduced, the government required citizens to greet the Emperor with the flag. There was some resentment among the Japanese over the flag, resulting in some protests. It took some time for the flag to gain acceptance among the people.[26]

Before World War II, all homes were required to display Hinomaru on national holidays.[28] Since the war, the display of the flag of Japan is mostly limited to buildings attached to national and local governments such as city halls; it is rarely seen at private homes or commercial buildings,[28] but some people and companies have advocated displaying the flag on holidays. Although the government of Japan encourages citizens and residents to fly the Hinomaru during national holidays, they are not legally required to do so.[81][82] Since the Emperor's 80th Birthday on December 23, 2002, the Kyushu Railway Company has displayed the Hinomaru at 330 stations.[83]

Starting in 1995, the ODA has used the Hinomaru motif in their official logo. The design itself was not created by the government (the logo was chosen from 5,000 designs submitted by the public) but the government was trying to increase the visualization of the Hinomaru through their aid packages and development programs. According to the ODA, the use of the flag is the most effective way to symbolize aid provided by the Japanese people.[84]

Hinomaru Yosegaki[edit]

During World War II in Japanese culture, it was a popular custom for friends, classmates, and relatives of a deploying soldier to sign a Hinomaru and present it to him. The flag was also used as a good luck charm and a prayer to wish the soldier back safely from battle. One term for this kind of charm is Hinomaru Yosegaki (日の丸寄せ書き).[85] One tradition is that no writing should touch the sun disc.[86] After battles, these flags were often captured or later found on deceased Japanese soldiers. Some of these flags have become souvenirs,[86] and some are being returned to Japan and the descendants of the deceased.[87]

In modern times, the "Hinomaru Yosegaki" is still being used. The tradition of signing the Hinomaru as a good luck charm still continues, though in a limited fashion. The Hinomaru Yosegaki is shown at sporting events to give support to the Japanese national team.[88] The Yosegaki (group effort flag, 寄せ書き) is used for campaigning soldiers,[89] athletes, retirees, transfer students in a community and for friends. The colored paper and flag has writing with a message. In modern Japan, it is given as a present to a person at a send-off party, for athletes, a farewell party for colleagues or transfer students, for graduation and retirement. After natural disasters such as the 2011 Tōhoku Earthquake and tsunami people write notes on a Hinomaru Yosegaki to show support.


The hachimaki (鉢巻, "helmet-scarf") is a white headband (bandana) with the red sun in the middle. Phrases are usually written on it. It is worn as a symbol of perseverance, effort, and/or courage by the wearer. These are worn on many occasions by for example sports spectators, women giving birth, students in cram school, office workers,[90] tradesmen taking pride in their work etc. During World War II, the phrases "Certain Victory" (必勝, Hisshō) or "Seven Lives" was written on the hachimaki and worn by kamikaze pilots. This denoted that the pilot was willing to die for his country.[91]

Hinomaru Bentō[edit]

A bentō and makunouchi are types of Japanese lunch boxes. It can have Hinomaru rice (日の丸ご飯, Hinomaru gohan). It consists of gohan (steamed white rice) with a red umeboshi (dried ume) in the center which represents the sun and the flag of Japan. A Hinomaru lunch box (日の丸弁当, Hinomaru bentō) only has white rice and a red umeboshi in the center. The salty, vinegar soaked umeboshi acts as a preservative for the rice. There are also hinomaru rice bowls which are less common.[92]

Crustaceans with the Hinomaru[edit]

There are multiple crustaceans with the hinomaru (circle of the sun) shape. Such as the Hinomaru Shogun Shrimp (ヒノマルショウグンエビ, Hinomaru Shogun Ebi) (Astacidea), Hinomaru Teppo Shrimp (ヒノマルテッポウエビ, Hinomaru Teppo Ebi) (Caridea) and the Hinomaru princess horizontal shears (ヒノマルヒメヨコバサミ, Hinomaru Himeyokobasami) (Anomura). The Caridea Alpheus shrimp has an abdominal segment with a type of Japanese flag-shaped crest.[citation needed]

Culture and perception[edit]

A group of people wave Japanese flags at a palace.
Emperor Akihitogreets the flag-waving crowd at the Imperial Palace on his birthday. Photo taken on December 23, 2016.

According to polls conducted by mainstream media, most Japanese people had perceived the flag of Japan as the national flag even before the passage of the Law Regarding the National Flag and National Anthem in 1999.[93] Despite this, controversies surrounding the use of the flag in school events or media still remain. For example, liberal newspapers such as Asahi Shimbun and Mainichi Shimbun often feature articles critical of the flag of Japan, reflecting their readerships' political spectrum.[94] To other Japanese, the flag represents the time where democracy was suppressed when Japan was an empire.[95]

The display of the national flag at homes and businesses is also debated in Japanese society. Because of its association with uyoku dantai (right wing) activists, reactionary politics, or hooliganism, most homes and businesses do not fly the flag.[28] There is no requirement to fly the flag on any national holiday or special events. The town of Kanazawa, Ishikawa, has proposed plans in September 2012 to use government funds to buy flags with the purpose of encouraging citizens to fly the flag on national holidays.[96] The Japanese Communist Party is vocally against the flag.

Negative perceptions of the national flag exist in former colonies of Japan as well as within Japan itself, such as in Okinawa. In one notable example of this, on October 26, 1987, an Okinawan supermarket owner burned the flag before the start of the National Sports Festival of Japan.[97] The flag burner, Shōichi Chibana, burned the Hinomaru not only to show opposition to atrocities committed by the Japanese army and the continued presence of U.S. forces, but also to prevent it from being displayed in public.[98] Other incidents in Okinawa included the flag being torn down during school ceremonies and students refusing to honor the flag as it was being raised to the sounds of "Kimigayo".[29] In the capital city of Naha, Okinawa, the Hinomaru was raised for the first time since the return of Okinawa to Japan to celebrate the city's 80th anniversary in 2001.[99] In the People's Republic of China and Republic of Korea, both of which had been occupied by the Empire of Japan, the 1999 formal adoption of the Hinomaru was met with reactions of Japan moving towards the right and also a step towards re-militarization. The passage of the 1999 law also coincided with the debates about the status of the Yasukuni Shrine, U.S.-Japan military cooperation and the creation of a missile defense program. In other nations that Japan occupied, the 1999 law was met with mixed reactions or glossed over. In Singapore, the older generation still harbors ill feelings toward the flag while the younger generation does not hold similar views. The Philippine government not only believed that Japan was not going to revert to militarism, but the goal of the 1999 law was to formally establish two symbols (the flag and anthem) in law and every state has a right to create national symbols.[100] Japan has no law criminalizing the burning of the Hinomaru, but foreign flags cannot be burned in Japan.[101][102]


A diagram of a white flag with a black ring. A black ribbon and ball appear above the flag.
Diagram published with Regulation 1 from 1912 (Raising Mourning Flag for the Emperor)

According to protocol, the flag may fly from sunrise until sunset; businesses and schools are permitted to fly the flag from opening to closing.[103] When flying the flags of Japan and another country at the same time in Japan, the Japanese flag takes the position of honor and the flag of the guest country flies to its right. Both flags must be at the same height and of equal size. When more than one foreign flag is displayed, Japan's flag is arranged in the alphabetical order prescribed by the United Nations.[104] When the flag becomes unsuitable to use, it is customarily burned in private.[103] The Law Regarding the National Flag and Anthem does not specify on how the flag should be used, but different prefectures came up with their own regulations to use the Hinomaru and other prefectural flags.[105][106]


The Hinomaru flag has at least two mourning styles. One is to display the flag at half-staff (半旗, Han-ki), as is common in many countries. The offices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs also hoist the flag at half-staff when a funeral is performed for a foreign nation's head of state.[107]

An alternative mourning style is to wrap the spherical finial with black cloth and place a black ribbon, known as a mourning flag (弔旗, Chō-ki), above the flag. This style dates back to the death of Emperor Meiji on July 30, 1912, and the Cabinet issued an ordinance stipulating that the national flag should be raised in mourning when the Emperor dies.[108] The Cabinet has the authority to announce the half-staffing of the national flag.[109]

See also: ja:大喪中ノ国旗掲揚方

Public schools[edit]

A group of people facing a man and woman on a stage. Two flags are above the stage.
A graduation ceremony in Hokkaido Prefecturewith both the Hinomaruand the flag of Hokkaido Prefecture. The school's own flag is on a staff to the speakers' right.

Since the end of World War II, the Ministry of Education has issued statements and regulations to promote the usage of both the Hinomaru and Kimigayo (national anthem) at schools under their jurisdiction. The first of these statements was released in 1950, stating that it was desirable, but not required, to use both symbols. This desire was later expanded to include both symbols on national holidays and during ceremonial events to encourage students on what national holidays are and to promote defense education.[43] In a 1989 reform of the education guidelines, the LDP-controlled government first demanded that the flag must be used in school ceremonies and that proper respect must be given to it and to Kimigayo.[110] Punishments for school officials who did not follow this order were also enacted with the 1989 reforms.[43]

The 1999 curriculum guideline issued by the Ministry of Education after the passage of the Law Regarding the National Flag and Anthem decrees that "on entrance and graduation ceremonies, schools must raise the flag of Japan and instruct students to sing the Kimigayo, given the significance of the flag and the song."[111] Additionally, the ministry's commentary on the 1999 curriculum guideline for elementary schools note that "given the advance of internationalization, along with fostering patriotism and awareness of being Japanese, it is important to nurture school children's respectful attitude toward the flag of Japan and Kimigayo as they grow up to be respected Japanese citizens in an internationalized society."[112] The ministry also stated that if Japanese students cannot respect their own symbols, then they will not be able to respect the symbols of other nations.[113]

Schools have been the center of controversy over both the anthem and the national flag.[44] The Tokyo Board of Education requires the use of both the anthem and flag at events under their jurisdiction. The order requires school teachers to respect both symbols or risk losing their jobs.[114] Some have protested that such rules violate the Constitution of Japan, but the Board has argued that since schools are government agencies, their employees have an obligation to teach their students how to be good Japanese citizens.[21] As a sign of protest, schools refused to display the Hinomaru at school graduations and some parents ripped down the flag.[44] Teachers have unsuccessfully brought criminal complaints against Tokyo Governor Shintarō Ishihara and senior officials for ordering teachers to honor the Hinomaru and Kimigayo.[115] After earlier opposition, the Japan Teachers Union accepts the use of both the flag and anthem; the smaller All Japan Teachers and Staffs Union still opposes both symbols and their use inside the school system.[116]

Related flags[edit]

Main article: List of Japanese flags

Military flags[edit]

See also: Rising Sun Flag

An illustration of the Japanese army occupying Khabarovsk, 1920. Both Hinomaru and the Rising Sun Flag (in background) are depicted

The Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) and the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force use the Rising Sun Flag with eight red rays extending outward, called Hachijō-Kyokujitsuki (八条旭日旗). A gold border is situated partially around the edge.[117]

A well-known variant of the sun disc design is the sun disc with 16 red rays in a Siemens star formation, which was also historically used by Japan's military, particularly the Imperial Japanese Army and the Imperial Japanese Navy. The ensign, known in Japanese as the error: {{nihongo}}: Japanese or romaji text required (help), was first adopted as the war flag on May 15, 1870, and was used until the end of World War II in 1945. It was re-adopted on June 30, 1954, and is now used as the war flag and naval ensign of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF).[117]JSDF Chief of Staff Katsutoshi Kawano said the Rising Sun Flag is the Maritime Self-Defense Force sailors' "pride".[118] Due to its continued use by the Imperial Japanese Army, this flag carries the negative connotation similar to the Nazi flag in China and Korea.[119] These formerly colonised countries state that this flag is a symbol of Japanese imperialism during World War II, and is an ongoing conflict event for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The JMSDF also employs the use of a masthead pennant. First adopted in 1914 and readopted in 1965, the masthead pennant contains a simplified version of the naval ensign at the hoist end, with the rest of the pennant colored white. The ratio of the pennant is between 1:40 and 1:90.[120]

The Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF), established independently in 1952, has only the plain sun disc as its emblem.[121] This is the only branch of service with an emblem that does not invoke the rayed Imperial Standard. However, the branch does have an ensign to fly on bases and during parades. The Japan Air Self-Defense Force flag was first adopted in 1955 after the JASDF was created in 1954. The flag is cobalt blue with a gold winged eagle on top of a combined star, the moon, the Hinomaru sun disc and clouds.[122][123] The latest version of the JASDF flag was re-adopted on 19 March 2001.[124]

Although not an official national flag, the Z signal flag played a major role in Japanese naval history. On May 27, 1905, Admiral Heihachirō Tōgō of the Mikasa was preparing to engage the Russian Baltic Fleet. Before the Battle of Tsushima began, Togo raised the Z flag on the Mikasa and engaged the Russian fleet, winning the battle for Japan. The raising of the flag said to the crew the following: "The fate of Imperial Japan hangs on this one battle; all hands will exert themselves and do their best." The Z flag was also raised on the aircraft carrier Akagi on the eve of the Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in December 1941.[125]

Imperial flags[edit]

A golden flower centered on a red background
The standard of the Japanese Emperor

Starting in 1870, flags were created for the Japanese Emperor (then Emperor Meiji), the Empress, and for other members of the imperial family.[126] At first, the Emperor's flag was ornate, with a sun resting in the center of an artistic pattern. He had flags that were used on land, at sea, and when he was in a carriage. The imperial family was also granted flags to be used at sea and while on land (one for use on foot and one carriage flag). The carriage flags were a monocolored chrysanthemum, with 16 petals, placed in the center of a monocolored background.[73] These flags were discarded in 1889 when the Emperor decided to use the chrysanthemum on a red background as his flag. With minor changes in the color shades and proportions, the flags adopted in 1889 are still in use by the imperial family.[127][128]

The current Emperor's flag is a 16-petal chrysanthemum (called Kikkamon, Japanese:菊花紋), colored in gold, centered on a red background with a 2:3 ratio. The Empress uses the same flag, except the shape is that of a swallow tail. The crown prince and the crown princess use the same flags, except with a smaller chrysanthemum and a white border in the middle of the flags.[129] The chrysanthemum has been associated with the Imperial throne since the rule of Emperor Go-Toba in the 12th century, but it did not become the exclusive symbol of the Imperial throne until 1868.[126]

Subnational flags[edit]

Each of the 47 prefectures of Japan has its own flag which, like the national flag, consists of a symbol – called a mon – charged upon a monocolored field (except for Ehime Prefecture, where the background is bicolored).[130] There are several prefecture flags, such as Hiroshima's, that match their specifications to the national flag (2:3 ratio, mon placed in the center and is 3⁄5 the length of the flag).[131] Some of the mon display the name of the prefecture in Japanese characters; others are stylized depictions of the location or another special feature of the prefecture. An example of a prefectural flag is that of Nagano, where the orange katakana character ナ (na) appears in the center of a white disc. One interpretation of the mon is that the na symbol represents a mountain and the white disc, a lake. The orange color represents the sun while the white color represents the snow of the region.[132]

Municipalities can also adopt flags of their own. The designs of the city flags are similar to the prefectural flags: a mon on a monocolored background. An example is the flag of Amakusa in Kumamoto Prefecture: the city symbol is composed of the Katakana character ア (a) and surrounded by waves.[133] This symbol is centered on a white flag, with a ratio of 2:3.[134] Both the city emblem and the flag were adopted in 2006.[134]


Former Japan Post flag (1872–1887)
Flag of the Association of Evenksin the Sakha Republic, composites the Flag of Japan and other elements.

In addition to the flags used by the military, several other flag designs were inspired by the national flag. The former Japan Post flag consisted of the Hinomaru with a red horizontal bar placed in the center of the flag. There was also a thin white ring around the red sun. It was later replaced by a flag that consisted of the 〒 postal mark in red on a white background.[135]

Two recently designed national flags resemble the Japanese flag. In 1971, Bangladesh gained independence from Pakistan, and it adopted a national flag that had a green background, charged with an off-centered red disc that contained a golden map of Bangladesh. The current flag, adopted in 1972, dropped the golden map and kept everything else. The Government of Bangladesh officially calls the red disc a circle;[136] the red color symbolizes the blood that was shed to create their country.[137] The island nation of Palau uses a flag of similar design, but the color scheme is completely different. While the Government of Palau does not cite the Japanese flag as an influence on their national flag, Japan did administer Palau from 1914 until 1944.[138] The flag of Palau is an off-centered golden-yellow full moon on a sky blue background.[139] The moon stands for peace and a young nation while the blue background represents Palau's transition to self-government from 1981 to 1994, when it achieved full independence.[140]

The Japanese naval ensign also influenced other flag designs. One such flag design is used by the Asahi Shimbun. At the bottom hoist of the flag, one quarter of the sun is displayed. The kanji character 朝 is displayed on the flag, colored white, covering most of the sun. The rays extend from the sun, occurring in a red and white alternating order, culminating in 13 total stripes.[141][142] The flag is commonly seen at the National High School Baseball Championship, as the Asahi Shimbun is a main sponsor of the tournament.[143] The rank flags and ensigns of the Imperial Japanese Navy also based their designs on the naval ensign.[144]


  • Japanese flag at the Meiji Memorial.

  • Flags of Japan and other G7 states flying in Toronto.

  • A series of Japanese flags in a school entrance.

  • Yokohama City (left) and the Hinomaru (center) flying on Yokohama Harbor.

  • Firefighters in Tokyo holding the Japanese national flag during a ceremony.

  • Large flags of Japan at the Tokyo Olympic Stadium during the final match of the East Asian Football Championship.(February 14, 2010)

See also[edit]



  1. ^As the civil ensign by Proclamation No. 57.
  2. ^As the national flag and slight modifications to the design of the flag.


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Sours: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_Japan

World War II’s Forgotten Hate Symbol—In the U.S.

Content Warning: violence, blood, graphic images

Picture fans at the Olympics flying the Confederate flag. Or, imagine spectators waving the Nazi swastika. This summer, we will witness similarly offensive behavior if the International Olympic Committee (IOC) permits the display of Japan’s “Rising Sun” flag at the Tokyo Olympics. 

The Rising Sun flag portrays a red sun with 16 rays spread across a white background—different from Japan’s national flag with a red sun against a plain white background. Flown by the Japanese military during Japan’s imperialist expansion, the Rising Sun flag is most memorable as the war flag of Imperial Japan. Today, a modified version of the flag represents Japan’s navy. 

Woodblock print by Migita Toshihide, First Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895). Japanese Colonel Satō charges while carrying the Rising Sun flag. Dead Chinese soldiers lie behind him. During the First Sino-Japanese War, Japanese artists created woodblock …

Imperial Japan actively associated the Rising Sun flag with its military glory from 1870, the beginning of its modernization, to 1945, the end of World War II. During this time, Japan brought sheer destruction to the Asia-Pacific region in the name of progress. Chalmers Johnson, professor emeritus of political science at the University of California, San Diego, estimates that during World War II, the Japanese killed up to 30 million Burmese, Cambodians, Indonesians, Filipinos, Malays, and Vietnamese—people from countries that most Americans cannot locate on a map. In addition to conducting human experimentation, the Japanese exploited their victims as forced laborers, with the Japanese government coercing colonized women into a system of sexual slavery. 

Woodblock print by Utagawa Kokunimasa, October 1894. Japanese soldiers behead Chinese prisoners of war while the Rising Sun flag flies in the background (top right). 

The Rising Sun flag evokes memories of Japanese wartime atrocities. Some recognize the offensive nature of the symbol. FIFA, the international governing body of soccer, bans the Rising Sun flag at games. In August 2008, the Japanese government advisedJapanese fans not to fly the flag at the Beijing Olympics and restated the IOC’s ban on political symbols at Olympic venues.

Today, however, the Japanese government has regressed from this progressive position. In August 2019, South Korean Olympic officialsaskedthe Tokyo Organizing Committee to prohibit the display of the Rising Sun flag at the upcoming Olympics. Tokyo organizers denied the request, affirming that the flag is “widely used in Japan” and is not a “political statement,” contrary to its cautionary stance in 2008. The Korean government then took its request to the IOC, explaining that the Rising Sun flag’s symbolism of military aggression does not align with the Olympic value of peace. The IOC assumed neutrality, stating that it would evaluate concerns as they arise at the Olympics.

Oil painting by Tōjō Shotaro, 1905. Japanese Admiral Tōgō Heihachirō (center) stands solemnly before the Battle of Tsushima during the Russo-Japanese War. Evidently, the Japanese government took a new approach to public relations.

As the Tokyo organizers explained, the Rising Sun flag appears in Japanese society today, displayed at traditional activities and in logos, and the flag’s use predates Japanese colonialism. At the same time, Japanese far-right groups who espouse xenophobic views and pay respect to convicted war criminals embrace the symbol. Neither long history nor good intentions legitimize a hate symbol’s display. Just like the Confederate flag symbolizes Southern heritage to some and white supremacy to many others, the Rising Sun flag ties to Japanese tradition but also represents systematic cruelty and crimes against humanity. 

Photograph, December 1941. Japanese Navy troops march through Shanghai carrying the Rising Sun flag, and a Nazi swastika flies in the background. The Japanese occupied Shanghai in 1937.

Conversations about symbols’ meanings are complex, and historical factors also contribute to acceptance of the Rising Sun flag. Unlike the Rising Sun symbol in Japan, the Nazi swastika is banned in Germany, reflecting how the U.S. treated Germany and Japan differently after 1945. While the American government purgedNazi leadership and wiped Germany of Nazi influence, it kept many Japanese wartime leaders in powerful positions. The U.S. feared creating instability that would drive Japan to communism, which had begun to spread in Asia. Without a complete restructuring of politics and society after the war, Japan has not fully recognized its problematic wartime past. Certain politicians such as the former prime minister Abe Shinzo downplay Japan’s responsibility in exploiting women as sex slaves and committing other wartime atrocities. 

To complicate matters, many Americans know little about Japan’s past crimes or feel uncomfortable hearing about them. Since the late 19th century, the U.S. has viewed Japan as different from other non-Western countries. After the Meiji Restoration in 1868, Japan pursued modernization, adopting Western dress and building a colonial empire. Americans saw the Japanese as civilized Orientals; President Theodore Roosevelt, for example, wrote that the Japanese were “entitled to stand on an absolute equality” with members of the “civilized world,” meaning the West, and he advocated Japan’s colonization of Korea. Americans continue to hold a unique respect for Japan, seen in their tendency to pay more for Japanese and Western foods than for other non-Western cuisines with similar dishes. To many Americans, the Rising Sun flag is just another part of Japanese culture, and they do not question its use today.

As more Confederate memorials come down in the United States, people are grappling with the issue of symbols tied both to tradition and horrific crimes. We must extend this discussion to the Rising Sun flag. Because of past events, many are unaware of the Rising Sun symbol’s offensive nature, and they inadvertently dismiss generations of suffering that the flag represents. We must question the display of the Rising Sun flag to remedy legacies of historical injustice. 

Sours: https://swarthmorevoices.com/content-1/2021/1/10/world-war-iis-forgotten-hate-symbolin-the-us
  1. Cvc flip books
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  5. Nail machine manufacturer

Japanese Symbols

Japanese Symbols

As well as the many thousand kanji characters (漢字) that make up Japan's written language, Japan is a country of many important symbols, originating in its people's early cultural beliefs, religion and imperial myths.

Imperial & State Symbols

Japanese symbols.

The sixteen petal chrysanthemum, usually white or orange, is the crest or mon (紋) of the Japanese emperor and is often seen displayed on Shinto shrines throughout the country.

The Imperial Regalia of Japan, also known as the "Three Sacred Treasures of Japan," are the sacred sword (kusanagi), the mirror (yata no kagami), and the jewel (yasakani no magatama), symbolizing the imperial virtues of valor (the sword), wisdom (the mirror), and benevolence (the jewel).

These mythical objects are not on display to the general public but the sword or a replica of it is said to be kept at Atsuta Shrine in Nagoya, the jewel at The Imperial Palace in Tokyo, and the mirror is the Grand Shrine of Ise.


The curved stone beads or magatama (勾玉 or 曲玉) often made from agate, jade, jasper, quartz or talc date from shamanistic rituals in the Jomon period of Japanese history and are believed to symbolize the vitality of the human spirit. Popular with the ruling chieftains of the period, magatama have been found in numerous burial mounds (kofun) dating from the Jomon era.

Three magatama forming a flowing circle can be found on the rounded roof tiles in Japanese temples. The use of magatama as regal symbols also spread to the Korean peninsula through the close connections of the various kingdoms in Korea and Japan at the time. Nowadays, magatama make for popular cell phone straps.

Domoe & Mitsudomoe

Similar to the magatama is the comma-shaped domoe or tomoe symbol. The futatsudomoe (二つ巴) is a symbol using two swirls. The mitsudomoe (三つ巴) is a common design of three swirls or three magatama and is seen on Japanese family crests (see below) and on roof tiles on traditional Japanese homes, Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples. The design can also be found on taiko drums and was used in the old flag of the Ryukyu Islands (Okinawa) and the modern flag of Jeju Island in South Korea. The mitsudomoe became to be associated with Hachiman, the Shinto god of war and later with the samurai. The domoe symbol is similar to the Korean sam-taegeuk and Tibetan gankyil.

Mitsudomoe Japanese symbol.
Mitsudomoe design pattern.
Hinomaru or Nisshoki Japanese flag.
Wartime Japanese naval ensign.

Japanese Flag

Japan's national flag, the Nisshoki (日章旗, "rising sun flag"), more commonly known as the Hinomaru (日の丸, "the sun disk"), is the well-known and memorable red circle in the middle of an all white background. The red symbol is the rising sun.

The Rising Sun Ensign (旭日旗, "kyokujitsu-ki") with sixteeen sun rays (image above right) is the controversial Japanese war flag used during World War II and now flown by the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Forces. The Japanese Ground Self-Defense Forces fly an eight-ray version of the flag.

The original flag was flown by various feudal lords (daimyo) during the Edo Period (1603-1868) and was adopted as the de facto national flag in 1870 at the beginning of the new Meiji State.

Triple tomoe, Umi Hachimangu Shrine.
Japanese crest.
Japanese crest.

Japanese Crests: Mon

Japanese family crests (mon, monsho or kamon) are somewhat similar to European coats of arms in heraldry.

Japanese crests originated as badges woven into clothing such as haori, happi coats and kimono to distinguish the members of a particular clan. Later these crests were added to the flags, arms and armor of the samurai. Well-known mon include the chrysanthemum crest of the Emperor (see above), the three hollyhock design of the Tokugawa family and the three water chesnuts in the Mitsubishi logo. Family crests are also seen in the rounded ceramic roof tiles of surviving samurai houses.

Modern Japanese Symbols

Other more modern Japanese symbols used by organizations and businesses as well as on maps include the Japanese post symbol - a capital T with a bar over the top representing a post office (〒 unicode: U+3012) and the beginning of a Japanese 7-digit post code, the symbol for public bath (sento) and onsen - a circle with three lines of steam rising from it or the kanji (yu, 湯) or hiragana (ゆ) and the torii gate sign to represent a Shinto shrine. The symbol used on maps and signs for Japanese temples is the manji (卍) or swastika (which has no relation whatsoever with Nazi Germany). For schools and universities the symbol bun (文) with the meaning of "literature" or "composition" hence "study" or "school" is used - a place where people write.

Japanese shrine symbol.
Japanese temple symbol.
Japanese onsen symbol.

Korean Symbols

Books on Japanese Culture

Sours: https://www.japanvisitor.com/japanese-culture/japanese-symbols
What Happened to the Old Japanese Flag?

Rising Sun Flag

Japanese military flag

The Rising Sun Flag (旭日旗, Kyokujitsu-ki) is a Japanese flag that consists of a red disc and sixteen red rays emanating from the disc.[1] Like the Japanese national flag, the Rising Sun Flag symbolizes the sun.

The flag was originally used by feudal warlords in Japan during the Edo period (1603–1868 CE).[2] On May 15, 1870, as a policy of the Meiji government, it was adopted as the war flag of the Imperial Japanese Army, and on October 7, 1889, it was adopted as the naval ensign of the Imperial Japanese Navy.[3]

At present, the flag is flown by the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, and an eight-ray version is flown by the Japan Self-Defense Forces and the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force.[2] The rising sun design is also seen in numerous scenes in daily life in Japan, such as in fishermen's banners hoisted to signify large catches of fish, flags to celebrate childbirth, and in flags for seasonal festivities.[4]

The flag is controversial in parts of East Asia, especially South Korea, where it is associated with Japanese militarism.[5]

History and design

The emblem (mon) of the Ryūzōji clan and Kusano clan, twelve sun-ray variation (変わり十二日足)

The flag of Japan and the symbolism of the rising Sun has held symbolic meaning in Japan since the Asuka period (538–710 CE). The Japanese archipelago is east of the Asian mainland, and is thus where the Sun "rises". In 607 CE, an official correspondence that began with "from the Emperor of the rising sun" was sent to Chinese Emperor Yang of Sui.[6] Japan is often referred to as "the land of the rising sun".[7] In the 12th century work The Tale of the Heike, it was written that different samurai carried drawings of the Sun on their fans.[8]

The Japanese word for Japan is 日本, which is pronounced 'Nihon' or 'Nippon', and literally means "the origin of the sun". The character nichi (日) means "sun" or "day"; hon (本) means "base" or "origin".[9] The compound therefore means "origin of the sun" and is the source of the popular Western epithet "Land of the Rising Sun".[10] The red disc symbolizes the Sun and the red lines are light rays shining from the rising sun.

The design of the Rising Sun Flag (Asahi) has been widely used since ancient times, and a part of it was called "Hiashi" (日足/ひあし) and used as the samurai's crest ("Hiashimon" (日足紋)).[11][12] The flag was especially used by samurai in the Kyushu region. Examples include the "twelve sun-rays" (変わり十二日足) of the Ryūzōji clan (1186–1607 CE) in Hizen Province and the Kusano clan (草野氏) in Chikugo Province, and the "eight sun-rays" (八つ日足紋) of the Kikuchi clan (1070–1554 CE) in Higo Province. There is a theory that in many parts of the Kyushu region, Hizen and Higo are related to what was called "the country of Japan (Hi)".[13][a]

There have been many types of Asahi flags since ancient times, and the design in which light rays spread in all directions without clouds expresses honored day or auspicious events, and was a design that was used for celebrate a good catch, childbirth and seasonal festivities.[14][15][16] A well-known variant of the flag of the sun disc design is the sun disc with 16 red rays in a Siemens star formation. The Rising Sun Flag (旭日旗, Kyokujitsu-ki) has been used as a traditional national symbol of Japan since at least the Edo period (1603 CE).[2] It is featured in artwork such as ukiyo-e prints, one example being the Lucky Gods' visit to Enoshimaukiyo-e print by Utagawa Yoshiiku in 1869 and the One Hundred Views of Osaka, Three Great Bridges print by Utagawa Kunikazu in 1854. The Fujiyama Tea Co. used it as a wooden box label of Japanese green tea for export in the Meiji period (1880s).[17]

The Rising Sun Flag was historically used by the daimyō (大名) and Japan's military, particularly the Imperial Japanese Army and the Imperial Japanese Navy. The ensign, known in Japanese as the Jyūrokujō-Kyokujitsu-ki (十六条旭日旗), was first adopted as the war flag on May 15, 1870, and was used until the end of World War II in 1945. It was re-adopted on June 30, 1954, and is now used by the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF). The Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) and Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) use a variation of the Rising Sun Flag with red, white and gold colors.[18]

The design is similar to the flag of Japan, which has a red circle in the center signifying the Sun. The difference compared to the flag of Japan is that the Rising Sun Flag has extra sun rays (16 for the ensign) exemplifying the name of Japan as "The Land of the Rising Sun". The Imperial Japanese Army first adopted the Rising Sun Flag in 1870.[19] The Imperial Japanese Army and the Imperial Japanese Navy both had a version of the flag; the naval ensign was off-set, with the red sun closer to the lanyard side, while the army's version (which was part of the regimental colors) was centered. The flags were used until Japan's surrender in World War II during August 1945. After the establishment of the Japan Self-Defense Forces in 1954, the off-set Rising Sun Flag was re-adopted for the JMSDF and a new 8-rays Rising Sun Flag with a yellow border for the JGSDF and JSDF was approved by the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (SCAP/GHQ). The flag with the off-set sun and 16 rays is the ensign of the Maritime Self-Defense Force, but it was modified with a different color red. The old flag is darker red (RGB #b12d3d) and the post-WW2 modified version is brighter red (RGB #bd0029).[20]

The Imperial Japanese Army flag with symmetrical 16 rays and a 2:3 ratio was abolished. The Japan Self-Defense Forces and the Ground Self-Defense Force use a significantly different Rising Sun Flag with 8-rays and an 8:9 ratio. The edges of the rays are asymmetrical since they form angles 19, 21, 26 and 24 degrees. It also has indentations for the yellow (golden) irregular triangles along borders. The JSDF Rising Sun Flag was adopted by a law/order/decree published in the Official Gazette of June 30, 1954.[20]

Regardless of the military flag, before the Meiji period, the design of Asahi was used for prayers, festivals, celebration events, reconstruction, logos of companies and products, big catch flags (Tairyō-bata), corporate and product logos and sports.[21][22][23][24][25][26]

Present-day use

Commercially the Rising Sun Flag is used on many products, designs, clothing, posters, beer cans (Asahi Breweries), newspapers (Asahi Shimbun), bands, manga, comics, anime, movies, video games (such as E. Honda's stage of Street Fighter II, although this was removed in the 2021 re-release[27]), as well as appearing elsewhere. The Rising Sun Flag appears on commercial product labels, such as on the cans of one variety of Asahi Breweries lager beer.[28] Among fishermen, the tairyō-ki (大漁旗, "Good Catch Flag") represents their hope for a good catch of fish. Today it is used as a decorative flag on vessels as well as for festivals and events. The Rising Sun Flag is also used at sporting events by the supporters of Japanese teams and individual athletes.[29]

Since June 30, 1954, the Rising Sun Flag has been the war flag and naval ensign of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF). JSDF Chief of Staff Katsutoshi Kawano said the Rising Sun Flag is the Maritime Self-Defense Force sailors' "pride".[30] The Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) and the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) use the Rising Sun Flag with eight red rays extending outward, called Hachijō-Kyokujitsuki (八条旭日旗). A gold border partially lines the edge.[18]

The flag is also used by non-Japanese, for example, in the emblems of some U.S. military units based in Japan, and by the American blues rock band Hot Tuna, on the cover of its album Live in Japan. It is used as an emblem of the United States Fleet Activities Sasebo, as a patch of the Strike Fighter Squadron 94, a mural at Misawa Air Base, the former insignia of Strike Fighter Squadron 192 and Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System with patches of the 14th Fighter Squadron. Some extreme right-wing groups display it at political protests.[31]


As the flag was used by the Imperial Japanese military during Japan's expansion throughout Asia, it is regarded as offensive by some in East Asia, particularly in South Korea[32][33] (which was ruled by Japan) and China.[34] This symbol is often associated with Japanese imperialism in the early 20th century in these two countries.[35][36]

South Korean campaigns against the Rising Sun Flag began in earnest in 2011. In an association football match against Japan, South Korean footballer Ki Sung-yueng was accused of making a racist gesture, sparking outrage in Japan. Ki responded that he had intended to highlight the racism he had experienced at Celtic F.C. and that his "heart shed tears" after he saw the Rising Sun Flag at the match.[37][38] Om the other hand, many in Japan insist that the Rising Sun Flag was not in the stadium.[37][39] For this reason, there is a widespread view in Japan that Ki Sung-yueng used the excuse of having seen the Rising Sun Flag to justify his racist gesture.[40][41]

In 2012, South Koreans who disapproved of the flag began to refer to it as a "war crime flag".[42][43] According to political scientist Kan Kimura, in 2012, following Ki Sung-yueng's remarks, Koreans living in New York formed a political group "The Citizens Against War Criminal Symbolism" and started a campaign to equate the Rising Sun Flag with the Nazi swastika and ban it. The following year at the 2013 EAFF East Asian Cup, a banner with a slogan about historical issues with Japan appeared on the Korean cheering squad. As these events were often reported in the Korean media, an international political movement among Koreans to equate the Rising Sun Flag with that of the Nazi swastika and to prohibit it intensified.[44]

Critic Katsumi Murotani, a correspondent of the Jiji Newsletter Seoul in the 1980s, stated that the Rising Sun Flag had not been criticized until recently in South Korea.[45][46] South Korea did not object to Japan's adoption of the Rising Sun Flag for the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force in 1952, nor to the entry into South Korean ports Japanese warships flying the flag on a warship at the 1998 and 2008 navy fleet reviews held in South Korea.[47]

When hosting an international fleet review at Jeju Island from October 10 to 14, 2018, South Korea requested all participating countries to display only their national flags and the South Korean flag on their vessels, a request apparently aimed at preventing Japan from flying the Rising Sun Flag, which had been the ensign of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force since it was established in 1954. Japan announced on October 5, 2018 that it would be withdrawing from the fleet review because it could not accept Seoul's request to remove the Rising Sun Flag. Japanese officials say the flag is mandatory for Japan’s naval ships under domestic laws and is widely recognized as identification for the Japanese military under an international maritime convention. On October 6, 2018, JSDF Chief of Staff Katsutoshi Kawano said the Rising Sun Flag was the "pride" of Maritime Self-Defense Force sailors, and that the JMSDF would absolutely not go if they had to remove the flag.[1]

The South Korean parliamentary committee for sports asked the organizers of the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo to ban the Rising Sun Flag, with South Korean lawmaker An Min-suk stating that the Olympics could not proceed peacefully with the flag in the stadium. The organizers refused to ban the flag from venues.[48][49] In September 2019, the Chinese Civil Association for Claiming Compensation from Japan sent a letter to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to ban the flag.[50] According to the Associated Press, the IOC confirmed the receipt of the letter and said in a statement "sports stadiums should be free of any political demonstration. When concerns arise at games time we look at them on a case by case basis."[51]

In 2021, Capcom removed the appearances of the Rising Sun Flag from their re-release of Street Fighter II. Capcom did not provide an official reason for the flag's removal, but Japan Today conjectures that the flag was removed in an effort to avoid a negative reaction from China and South Korea where there are many vocal groups campaigning against the flag.[27]

The Japanese government's basic position on the Rising Sun Flag is that "claims that the flag is an expression of political assertions or a symbol of militarism are absolutely false."[52] The Sankei Shimbun, a right-wing Japanese newspaper, criticized South Korea's attitude toward the Rising Sun Flag, stating that even the United States, who had opposed Japan during World War II, had not protested formally against the Rising Sun Flag.[53][54] The same newspaper argued that the history of the flag dates back much further than World War II,[55] and that the corporate logo of the Asahi Shimbun, which is praised for being conscientious in South Korea,[56] also uses the rising sun design.[57]

The Japanese Vexillological Association states that the flag was designed for the Japanese army in the early Meiji period, with a different version adopted by naval forces,[55] stating that "Flags used by the military are domestic decisions",[55] arguing that "the Rising Sun flag existed before Japan went to war and the nature of the issue is different from that of the swastika flag, which was created to symbolize the Nazi regime's political ideologies."[55] Former Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida has stated that "There is no country in the world that does not know this flag. The flag can be recognized as Japan's in any sea", with the flag having been adopted for its "recognizability" as the naval flag of the JMSDF.[55]

Examples of the Rising Sun Flag design in use


  • One Hundred Views of Osaka, Three Great Bridges, ukiyo-e print by Utagawa Kunikazu, 1854. The composition shows the morning sun rising behind the Nanhwa Three Bridge.

  • From "Good and evil child's hand", "Kiyomori entrance" (Adachi Ginbo, 1885)

  • "Fugitoshi Fish Entering" (author unknown, 19th century Edo period)

  • The postcard of anti-Tuberculosis groups in Japan (June 27, 1925)

  • Suehiro Tokyo sights - the Edobashi office of Communications and Transportation (1882)


  • Tairyō-bata is a traditional Japanese fisherman's flag. Today it is used as a decorative flag on vessels and for festivals and events.

  • Postcard of a Japanese woman draped in the rising sun flag of Japan (1910).

  • Asahi Beer poster. The Asahi logo is on the bottle label (in 2013, at a pub in Higashiosaka city).

  • Wooden box label (Fujiyama Tea Co.) of Japanese green tea for export in the Meiji/Taisho period. Such a label was called orchid.

  • "Yamagata phone launch anniversary" postcard (Yamagata post office, 1907). Telephone exchange service began in Yamagata on November 26, 1868.

  • Japan raw silk pack sticker (in French and Japanese) (1880)


  • Japanese footballing fans wave a Rising Sun Flag during a Japan vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina match in January 2008.

  • Sumo wrestler Asashio Tarō I with rising sun waves kesho mawashi, 1901

Japan Self-Defense Forces

United States military

See also


  1. ^In modern times, it is also used as a simple pattern, for example, Yurikamome Inc. (company), Hinode Station pattern.


  1. ^ ab"Japan to skip South Korea fleet event over 'rising sun' flag". AP NEWS. October 5, 2018. Retrieved April 13, 2021.
  2. ^ abc"Japanese Symbols". Japan Visitor/Japan Tourist Info. Retrieved October 9, 2014.
  3. ^"船舶旗について"(PDF). Kobe University Repository:Kernel. Retrieved October 18, 2014.
  4. ^"The Rising Sun Flag As Part Of Japanese Culture"(PDF). Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. November 8, 2019. Retrieved September 10, 2020.
  5. ^"South Korea compares Japan's 'rising sun' flag to swastika as Olympic row deepens". the Guardian. October 29, 2019. Retrieved January 20, 2021.
  6. ^Dyer 1909, p. 24 harvnb error: no target: CITEREFDyer1909 (help)
  7. ^Edgington 2003, pp. 123–124 harvnb error: no target: CITEREFEdgington2003 (help)
  8. ^Itoh 2003, p. 205 harvnb error: no target: CITEREFItoh2003 (help)
  9. ^"Where does the name Japan come from?". Retrieved January 29, 2017.
  10. ^Piggott, Joan R. (1997). The emergence of Japanese kingship. Stanford University Press. pp. 143–144. ISBN .
  11. ^"日足紋". www.harimaya.com.
  12. ^"家紋の由来". www.harimaya.com.
  13. ^"見聞諸家紋". www2.harimaya.com.
  14. ^韓国世論「旭日旗とナチス党旗を同一視」の大いなる誤解サーチナ 2013年4月16日
  15. ^中国においても、広東語で通勝と称される中国古来の黄暦には、古くから春牛図が描かれており、その図中の日の意匠は日本の旭日に類似していた(豊作祈願)芒神春牛圖
  16. ^Rising Sun Flag Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan
  17. ^Designer Idezaka (September 9, 2013). [Ukiyo-e and Western encounter The charm of the exported tea label before the war]. Nikkei Style (in Japanese). Archived from the original on October 4, 2018. Retrieved October 4, 2018.
  18. ^ ab"自衛隊法施行令" [Self-Defense Forces Law Enforcement Order] (in Japanese). Government of Japan. June 3, 1954. Retrieved January 25, 2008.
  19. ^"海軍旗の由来". kwn.ne.jp. Retrieved October 6, 2011.
  20. ^ abPhil Nelson; various. "Japanese military flags". Flags of the World. Flagspot.
  21. ^"神戸新聞NEXT|淡路|新造船、鮮やか大漁旗まとい進水式 淡路市". www.kobe-np.co.jp (in Japanese). Retrieved October 12, 2018.
  22. ^"天然マダイ船12年ぶり進水 糸島の船越漁港". 西日本新聞Web (in Japanese). Retrieved October 12, 2018.
  23. ^"【オリックス】新守護神・増井、「大漁旗」モチーフ応援グッズ発売". スポーツ報知 (in Japanese). April 3, 2018. Retrieved October 12, 2018.
  24. ^"オリックス増井応援グッズは故郷焼津市の大漁旗原案 – プロ野球 : 日刊スポーツ". nikkansports.com (in Japanese). Retrieved October 12, 2018.
  25. ^"宗像大社みあれ祭:大漁旗はためかせパレード – 毎日新聞". 毎日新聞 (in Japanese). Retrieved October 12, 2018.
  26. ^"<塩釜みなと祭>震災と豪雨復興願う 御座船、松島湾巡る「頑張ろう西日本!」掲げた船も". 河北新報オンラインニュース (in Japanese). Retrieved October 12, 2018.
  27. ^ ab"Rising Sun removed from 'Street Fighter II' background in game's latest rerelease". JAPAN TODAY. February 22, 2021. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  28. ^"Asahi Beer New Design". Japan Visitor Blog. December 12, 2011.
  29. ^"A great decade for Japan". FIFATV. December 1, 2012.
  30. ^"Japan to skip S. Korea fleet event over 'rising sun' flag". The Asahi Shimbun. October 6, 2018. Archived from the original on October 6, 2018. Retrieved October 7, 2018.
  31. ^"World: Asia-Pacific Reprise for Japan's anthem". BBC News. August 15, 1999.
  32. ^"'Rising Sun' art sets off bashing".
  33. ^"Here's why #CancelKorea is trending on Twitter". GMA News Online.
  34. ^Taylor, Adam (June 2, 2015). "Japan has a flag problem, too". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved October 6, 2017.
  35. ^"Korean lawmakers adopt resolution calling on Japan not to use rising sun flag". Korea Herald. August 29, 2012. Retrieved September 18, 2012.
  36. ^Bill McMichael (August 2, 2011). "That Flag". Navy Times Scoop Deck.
  37. ^ ab"South Korean footballer's monkey impression angers Japan". The Guardian. January 28, 2011. Archived from the original on November 12, 2020.
  38. ^"「旭日旗」問題の契機はサッカー・アジア杯 奥薗静岡県立大准教授" [Rising Sun Flag controversy began at an Asian Cup Football match – Associate Professor of the University of Shizuoka Okuzono]. Sankei Shimbun. October 5, 2018. Archived from the original on October 6, 2018.
  39. ^"Why did a Korean soccer player insult the Japanese by mimicking a monkey?". MSN News. February 2, 2011. Archived from the original on March 5, 2016.
  40. ^"Why is Asahi Shimbun OK? South Korea's campaign to oust the Rising Sun Flag has been inconsistent". J-CAST News. August 6, 2013. Archived from the original on February 15, 2021.
  41. ^"The power hidden in South Korea's campaign against the Rising Sun Flag. The target is also South Korea's leading companies, entertainers and toys". Yahoo News Japan. March 4, 2021. Archived from the original on March 4, 2021.
  42. ^"[Why] 욱일기 때문에 불참통보한 일본군함, 우린 왜 지금 더 분노하나" [[Why] The Japanese warship conveyed an absence. Why are we angry now?]. The Chosun Ilbo. October 6, 2018. Archived from the original on October 6, 2018.
  43. ^"[팩트체크] 욱일기는 전범기? '전범기'는 없다" [[Fact check] Rising Sun Flag is war crime flag? There is no "war crime flag"]. News True or Fake. October 6, 2018.
  44. ^Kan Kimura. "New Aspects of Korean Nationalism Seen in the Rising Sun Flag Problem"(PDF). Journal of International Cooperation Studies, Vol.27, No.1. pp. 31–37. Archived from the original(PDF) on November 12, 2020. Retrieved January 29, 2021.
  45. ^‘영국에서도 욱일기가?’ 日, 욱일기 흔든 사례보니…일간스포츠 中央日報 2013年7月31日
  46. ^「日本は意味分かっている」 旭日旗使用で韓国外務省 共同通信 2013年8月2日
  47. ^"[특파원 칼럼] 대일외교, '감정'보다 '사실' 앞세워야" [Foreign diplomacy, Put forward "fact" rather than "emotion"]. Korea Economic Daily. October 12, 2018.
  48. ^"'Symbol of the devil': Why South Korea wants Japan to ban the Rising Sun flag from the Tokyo Olympics". September 7, 2019.
  49. ^"Democratic Party lawmaker proposes resolution opposing Rising Sun Flag in Ntl. Assembly". October 2, 2019.
  50. ^"China group asks IOC to ban 'rising sun' flag at Tokyo Olympics". September 2, 2019. Archived from the original on October 1, 2019.
  51. ^"S. Korea urges IOC to ban Japanese imperial flag from 2020 Olympics". Kyodo News. September 12, 2019. Retrieved September 5, 2020.
  52. ^"Rising Sun Flag: Japan's basic position (Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary SUGA, September 26, 2013(AM))". MOFA, Japan. November 8, 2019. Retrieved September 5, 2020.
  53. ^韓国の反日から旭日旗の名誉を守れ (第三段 国際社会は受け入れ) 産経新聞 2013年8月3日
  54. ^"日本の艦艇、旭日旗を掲げて韓国に入港し物議=韓国ネット「...|". レコードチャイナ. Retrieved July 17, 2018.
  55. ^ abcde"Why the Uproar Over Japan's Rising Sun Flag? It's A Symbol for Celebrating Life and Bounty". Sankei Shimbun, Japan Forward. December 19, 2018. Archived from the original on January 17, 2021.
  56. ^"日우파기자가 밝힌 우파들의 본심" [Real intention of the rightist revealed by a Japanese rightist reporter]. The Chosun Ilbo.
  57. ^皆川豪志. "なぜ韓国人は、朝日の社旗に怒らないのか,繰り返されるマッチポンプ". iRONNA. 産経デジタル. Retrieved May 18, 2018.

External links

Sours: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rising_Sun_Flag

Japanese symbol war

This is what I observed, as Sherri began ironing the first suit, and soon she stood still, from time to time clenching her legs and leaning forward. "I can't stand it any longer!" - she suddenly said, putting the iron, squeezing both hands between her legs and dancing with. Pain and impatience. More than twenty minutes remained until the end of the match. I agreed to examine her belly to see how full her bladder was, to which Sherri easily agreed, feeling that her bladder was about to.

Japan's Kishida sends ritual offering to notorious Yasukuni shrine

Dasha nodded in agreement and left. She immediately went to the wine cellar, hoping to find Svidrigailov sober, in order to tell him about Sonya Marmeladova's insane plan. But when Dasha came down, the owner of the estate was already waiting for her, lying in a pool of his own urine.

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We played a fool for stripping and making wishes come true. But there is one highlight in this game, there is another deck of cards, but only on the reverse side, not pictures are. Drawn there, but desires are written. If you are familiar with the rule of playing the fool, then it is not difficult to guess that out of four.

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