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View Poll Results: Should Japan abandon the "16-rays rising sun flag" ?

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  • Yes, and the flag should be officially banned in public places too, as was the Nazi flag in Germany

    29 22.66%
  • Yes, it is the equivalent of the Nazi swastika flag and is unacceptable in today's world

    17 13.28%
  • Yes, because it reminds Japan's neighbours of its past atrocities

    14 10.94%
  • Probably. It would be so easy to choose another naval ensign, even the "hinomaru" flag.

    8 6.25%
  • No, there is no valid reason to change Japan's naval flag.

    43 33.59%
  • No, it is a cultural symbol of Japan('s military)

    25 19.53%
  • No it stands for Japan's eternal Empire of the Rising Sun. Banzai !

    24 18.75%
  • No idea

    9 7.03%
  • Don't give a damn about the Japanese flags

    10 7.81%
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Thread: Should Japan abandon the "16-rays rising sun flag" ?

  1. #1
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Arrow Should Japan abandon the "16-rays rising sun flag" ?

    The rising sun flag (below) is not the same as the sun disc flag (hinomaru). It was used by the Japanese Navy and Army during Japan's invasion and occupation of Asia between 1895 and 1945, and is still used as the official naval flag of Japan (including the SDF). It is one of the most powerful symbol of the 20-30 million deaths that Japan caused around Asia during this period. In other words it is the equivalent of the Nazi swasitka flag. However, it would be unthinkable for Germany to use the Nazi flag nowadays, even as a naval ensign.



    Here is an explanation from Wikipedia's article on Japanese nationalism :

    Kyokujitsu-ki(the sun-with rays-flag) or "Japanese war banner". It was the ensign of the Imperial Japanese Navy; and also, one of best-known Japanese nationalist symbols from the First Chinese-Japanese War (1894-95) to the Pacific War (1941-45). This flag was sometimes also used by the Imperial Japanese Army on land, and is now employed by Japanese right-nationalist groups as well as the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Forces.


    Should Japan continue to use the Rising Sun flag without fearing to cause anger in other Asian countries ? Would a modern, civilised and humanitarian country use a flag that reminds of its own atrocities during WWII ?

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  2. #2
    Banned Mike Cash's Avatar
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    How about "No, because I'm tired of PC Thought Police BS"

  3. #3
    –Ú˜^ Index's Avatar
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    Good question really. Though the swastika flag was Germany's national flag for a time, it was initially a nazi party flag and so is identified more with Nazi era Germany rather than Germany per se, at least in my mind. Does kyokujitsu have the same connotation or link with a particular movement in Japan's history? If so, I could see why it might be considered inappropriate. Otherwise leave it be, especially if it has been around for a long time and was initially a Navy flag.

  4. #4
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Index
    Though the swastika flag was Germany's national flag for a time, it was initially a nazi party flag and so is identified more with Nazi era Germany rather than Germany per se, at least in my mind. Does kyokujitsu have the same connotation or link with a particular movement in Japan's history? If so, I could see why it might be considered inappropriate.
    The rising sun flag was first adopted by the Imperial Navy (then Army) under Meiji, at the time of the first Sino-Japanese War (1894-95). It was used during the Russo-Japanese War (1904-05), the occupation of Korea (from 1905), of Manchuria (from 1931), the invasion and occupation of China (1937-45) and Southeast Asia, as well as the Pacific War against the Allies. So we could say that the falg was used as a symbol of Japan's military in the only period of its history (50 years) when it waged war, invaded and occupied other countries. The Japanese at home didn't have much to do with these wars or this flag. So, yes, like the Nazi flag, it has a strong negative association : war, massacres and destruction. That is why I don't understand why it has been kept so far, and has even become a naval flag for civilian ships in addition to the Navy after 1945 (so it's like when the Nazi flag changed status from the party flag to the second national flag in 1933).

  5. #5
    Regular Member Eisuke's Avatar
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    Should Japan abandon the "16-rays rising sun flag" ?

    No.


    Here is information about the naval flag:

    The naval flag was introduced in 1889 and that has 16 rays extending from the Sun "Mon" to the edge of the flag. The flag was "banned" by the Treaty of San Francisco which prevent Japan from having her own armed forces, but in 1952 she started to build up "self-defence" forces. The naval forces readopted the naval ensign in 1954.

    I believe, but may be mistaken, that the naval flag was also the war flag in the Second World War, in which case it would have been used by Japanese soldiers and bases. This may be why you think they removed the rays from the flag, but in fact both flags existed at the same time. The modern land "self-defence" force uses a flag with 8 rays with a gold edge (made of two shallow triangles on each edge).
    Graham Bartram, 9 November 1998

    http://www.flag.de/FOTW/flags/jp^.html


    This is just the flag of the Japanese Navy. It has been the flag of the Japanese navy since 1889. That is a couple of years before the first Sino-Japanese war (1894-95).

  6. #6
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    Good point, Eisuke.

    Maciamo, do you believe that both flags should be banned, including the Hinomaru? Because Japan is entitled to its own national flag as a nation. The Hinomaru is this.

    As for this flag, it is not a national flag, but the naval ensign. Most countries have two flags - one is the national flag and the other is either the naval ensign or the land ensign.. naval ensigns are usually based on the national flags but done differently.

    I think Japan is entitled to this right as a civilized nation, just like China, Malaysia, America, and Britain, etc. Some countries which have waged agressive wars continue to retain their flags too. I won't discuss the People's Republic of China in this thread so I don't get attacked again, but Indonesia (for instance) had waged agressive and illegal war against East Timor and none of their ensigns were changed.

    I also think it is associated with Japanese modernity. Japanese military power. This is before that power was abused in World War II, but back in the 1880s. It is a cultural symbol. I voted for that option. It is a cultural symbol of the Japanese military.

  7. #7
    Regular Member –¼–³‚µ's Avatar
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    旭日旗

    Those who feel that Japan should abandon kyokujitsuki had better demand the corporate flag of a certain pro-communist newspaper publisher to be abandoned first.
    They are the only Japanese media praising Cultural Revolution, and kept the Beijing office open during 1960-70s.

    btw did IJN ever have a battle against any fleet of an Asian country during WWII.
    Last edited by –¼–³‚µ; Apr 30, 2005 at 23:15.

  8. #8
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hiroshi66
    Maciamo, do you believe that both flags should be banned, including the Hinomaru? Because Japan is entitled to its own national flag as a nation. The Hinomaru is this.
    No, I don't think the hinomaru should be banned. You will notice though that Germany changed flag after WWI, in 1935 the again in 1945 (and slightly in 1990 for the reunification) to show the rupture with the previous government. Russia changed flag at the Red Revolution of 1917, then again when it lost its communist empire in 1991. Again that shows the rupture with the previous regime. Recently, Iraq and Afghanistan changed their flags after the US invasion to show the clear change of regime too.

    Japan was allowed to keep the hinomaru along with the emperor because the US wanted to stress the continuity with the established regime. But the hinomaru did not become officially the national flag until 1999 ! (before it was used, but unofficially). I am not sure why Japan was allowed to make the hinomaru official, and at the same time rehabilitated Kimigayo as national anthem with complaint from the US, but I think it also coincide with the US's new strategy to push Japan to change its constitution, get an army, join the UN Security Council, teach patriotism at school (including singing Kimigayo), etc.

    As for this flag, it is not a national flag, but the naval ensign. Most countries have two flags - one is the national flag and the other is either the naval ensign or the land ensign..
    Yes, and both are offically recognised, both at a national and international level.

    naval ensigns are usually based on the national flags but done differently.
    Yes, most countries have s different naval flag. The Uk had dozens of naval flags actually. Other countries keep their national flag for the navy (e.g. the USA, France, Germany...). Some flag are only slightly different (Australia and NZ inverted the blue and white), but some have a completely different flag (e.g. Netherlands, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Korea...). You can check all of them on this great website.

    I think Japan is entitled to this right as a civilized nation, just like China, Malaysia, America, and Britain, etc. Some countries which have waged agressive wars continue to retain their flags too. I won't discuss the People's Republic of China in this thread so I don't get attacked again, but Indonesia (for instance) had waged agressive and illegal war against East Timor and none of their ensigns were changed.
    It is not only about waging war, but changing the government and the image of the country. The question is, does Japan want to be seen as the exact same country as during WWII, or a new, democratised and more peaceful country. It's a bit late to think about that as it's already 60 years the war is over. But Japan (or the US) have opted for the continuity, and with regard to the recent rise in anti-Japanese sentiment in East Asia, I was wondering if it was not better to finally break up clearly with the past and look toward the future. It is easy to create a new flag and a new image for the country.

  9. #9
    Regular Member Eisuke's Avatar
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    With all due respect Maciamo but if you think negative about alot of Japanese things and want to change it to your own liking then you should go to a other country.

  10. #10
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    Maciamo, in regards to Germany, that is very true. Except, after WWI, the monarchy was abolished. A completely new government was ushered in. Same with the Nazis in 1935 and with the Second West German Republic after WWII. During Reunification, Germany was reproclaimed.

    Nonetheless, a break with the past government does not mean a new flag has to be used. For example: Turkey. Turkey changed its government in 1923 and retained the old Ottoman flag.

  11. #11
    Regular Member bossel's Avatar
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    Voted "Don't give a damn...".
    I really don't care about national symbols in general, but if the Japanese government wants to show that it broke with the warmongering past, they probably should consider changing the flag. Would give them some credibility among the countries they invaded before.


    Quote Originally Posted by Hiroshi66
    Second West German Republic after WWII.
    What was the 1st West German Republic?

    Germany was reproclaimed.
    Reproclaimed?

    Turkey changed its government in 1923 and retained the old Ottoman flag.
    Well, perhaps we should ask the Armenians how they feel about this.

  12. #12
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eisuke
    With all due respect Maciamo but if you think negative about alot of Japanese things and want to change it to your own liking then you should go to a other country.
    You still don't understand, do you ? It seems so difficult for the Japanese (on this forum) to compehend how my mind works. Maybe it is because you (and others who react like you) don't know the concept of universal humanitarianism (maybe it's normal as Japan is so self-centered, and so much "us vs them"). In addition, I can argue about anything that is not logical, "fair in all logic" (eg. why did Germany have to do things that Japan didn't).

    In this very case (Japanese flag) I have no personal feelings guiding my reflexions. The rising flag doesn't bother at all as an individual. I wouldn't mind having one at home (just to show you that I really don't dislike it).

    But MY personal feelings (or yours for that matter) have no place in a rational discussion about the political significance of this flag, the consequence it has on the image of Japan (especially among its neighbours).

    Do you understand the importance of "symbolism" in politics ? This is what this is all about. Not just the flag and the emperor, but the visits to Yasukuni-jinja or the war apologies. Everybody knows that apologies or a change of flag will not change the past or repair anything. But it has a symbolic value showing a country's will to cut clear with its past, rather than endorse it. If you can't understand that, then you shouldn't discuss politics, history or international issues.

    A last word, I wouldn't waste my time discussing about Japan's flag if I didn't have a deep interest in Japan (maybe another thing difficult to understand for the average Japanese, as they usually wouldn't be more interested in a foreign country as in their own, and usually already lack this kind of deep interest in their own country).

  13. #13
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    the flag should be officially banned in public places too, as was the Nazi flag in Germany

  14. #14
    Villain Iron Chef's Avatar
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    Reading through this thread reminded me of the old confederate flag controversy down south. This is still a hotly-debtated issue with a lot of people. I'm not sure what the answer is really.
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  15. #15
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iron Chef
    Reading through this thread reminded me of the old confederate flag controversy down south. This is still a hotly-debtated issue with a lot of people. I'm not sure what the answer is really.
    Well, if the Japanese flag is officially recognised and allowed in public, I don't see why there should be any problem with the Confederate flag. At best it represent the slavery of the Southern US at the time. But it's hardly a comparison with the massacres, rapes, looting, cultural destruction, human experiments, etc. associated with the Rising Sun flag and the Imperial Army/Navy. We are not on the same wave length here.

  16. #16
    Regular Member Eisuke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    But MY personal feelings (or yours for that matter) have no place in a rational discussion about the political significance of this flag, the consequence it has on the image of Japan (especially among its neighbours).

    Do you understand the importance of "symbolism" in politics ? This is what this is all about. Not just the flag and the emperor, but the visits to Yasukuni-jinja or the war apologies. Everybody knows that apologies or a change of flag will not change the past or repair anything. But it has a symbolic value showing a country's will to cut clear with its past, rather than endorse it. If you can't understand that, then you shouldn't discuss politics, history or international issues.

    A last word, I wouldn't waste my time discussing about Japan's flag if I didn't have a deep interest in Japan (maybe another thing difficult to understand for the average Japanese, as they usually wouldn't be more interested in a foreign country as in their own, and usually already lack this kind of deep interest in their own country).
    First of all I'm way above average Japanese. Yes I understand symbolic value of things. Some people think this is the "ww2 flag" that it was made for that bad period in history, but it existed a couple of years before that happened. I really don't think it is the equivalent of the nazi flag. It is just the naval ensign of Japan.
    People know Japan in recent times is not the same as back in the ww2 period. The USA even changed the official name of Japan from "The Grand Imperial Nation of Japan" ("Dai Nippon Teikoku Kenpou") to "Country of Japan" ("Nihonkoku").
    Yes I think the war criminals should be taken out of yasukuni, but at the moment I can't do alot more then just see if it will happen .

    Well there are alot of places where people who complain alot get told "if you don't like it here, you can go back to where you came from." I think people should respect how things are in other countries.

  17. #17
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eisuke
    Some people think this is the "ww2 flag" that it was made for that bad period in history, but it existed a couple of years before that happened.
    The Nazi flag existed since 1923, become the 2nd official national flag in 1933 and the only one in 1935. WWII only started in 1939 in Europe, so the flag had existed for 16 years before the hostilities began. In comparison, te Rising Sun flag had existed for 6 years before the Sino-Japanese war and also 16 years before the occupation of Korea.

    I really don't think it is the equivalent of the nazi flag. It is just the naval ensign of Japan.
    Now it is, but until 1945 it was used by the Army as a symbol of Japanese imperialism. Nowadays, it is still sometimes used by the SDF Airforce, not jut the navy.


    It is also strongly associated with kamikaze at the end of WWII.


    Was the flag even used by civilian ships from 1889 to 1945 ?
    Anyhow, Germany also lost its WWI and WWII naval ensigns. (these ones)

    Well there are alot of places where people who complain alot get told "if you don't like it here, you can go back to where you came from." I think people should respect how things are in other countries.
    I couldn't disagree more about this way of thinking, It is usually Americans who said such things (not all of course, but in much higher proportion than in other countries). That is partly why I created the thread Do you accept easily criticism about your country's system or government ?, which basically confirms this (just check who voted for what, and click on their name to see where they are from). I also explained here why I feel that I can criticise the country/system where I have chosen residence. I don't think I have less respect for Japanese people than for people of my home country. They are fun people, annoying people, intelligent people and stupid in every country, every city and almost every group of people, however small. It's all relative. That's why I tend to concentrate on government issues rather than the people themselves (which I only use as a reference to have an idea of the "public opinion").
    Last edited by Maciamo; Apr 30, 2005 at 19:15.

  18. #18
    Banned Mike Cash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    Well, if the Japanese flag is officially recognised and allowed in public, I don't see why there should be any problem with the Confederate flag. At best it represent the slavery of the Southern US at the time. But it's hardly a comparison with the massacres, rapes, looting, cultural destruction, human experiments, etc. associated with the Rising Sun flag and the Imperial Army/Navy. We are not on the same wave length here.
    The only state which had NOT had slavery at some point up until the War of Northern Aggression was Vermont. At the time of the war, there were four slave states which were not part of the Confederacy (Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland, Delaware).

  19. #19
    Regular Member Eisuke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    Now it is, but until 1945 it was used by the Army as a symbol of Japanese imperialism. Nowadays, it is still sometimes used by the SDF Airforce, not jut the navy.
    Personally I regard that flag as the Japanese Naval Ensign and also as Japan's historical and correct military flag. I don't see it as a symbol of Japanese imperialism.

    People in general who are not originally from a country they reside in are free to complain about things of that country. However if the complaining is too much then they can be seen as against that country.
    I think complaining is okay but not if someone complains about alot of things of a other country. If people don't like alot of issues of a country then I really suggest he/she moves back to their home country or a other country that they prefer more.

  20. #20
    Regular Member Tim33's Avatar
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    there is no reason what so ever to change the flag. The Nazi swaztica(spelling???) flag was a symbol of Nazi germany and brought in for that reason therefore of course it should be banned. The Japanese flag was not like that however and therefore i really dont see why they should get rid of it.

    I think whats more important is instead the opposite and trying to stop focusing on the war for every issue in life. Chinese girl gets raped(lets talk about war), Japanese have a flag(let talk about war), A can of coke costs 69p in londis(lets talk about war).
    I think people really need to move on and think about what really matters. Millions die daily of disease/hunger/poverty. why not spend our time worrying about the state of the world today and what we can do about that.

    If people spent half the time trying to improve there lives now rather then complain about things that really are not important on the whole the world would be alot better off. If people just shut up complaining for a minuite and decided to work together we would be so much better off.

    Sorry for going off topic but i need to get that off my chest....... Again

  21. #21
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tim33
    The Japanese flag was not like that however and therefore i really dont see why they should get rid of it.
    In what sense is it different ? It was brought in by people like Yamagata Aritomo and his cronies who created Japan's modern Army and Navy, and set Japan on its way to the nationalistic military dictarure it was from the 1930's to 1945. It is extremely similar to the rise of Nazi Germany if you ask me as a history buff.

    Chinese girl gets raped(lets talk about war), Japanese have a flag(let talk about war), A can of coke costs 69p in londis(lets talk about war).
    I have nothing to do and did not participate in the thread about the raped Chinese girl. I suppose that you know the flag we are discussing is not Japan's national flag.

    I think people really need to move on and think about what really matters. Millions die daily of disease/hunger/poverty. why not spend our time worrying about the state of the world today and what we can do about that.
    Feel free to post about that in the (non-Japan-related) "Serious Discussions" section. However this forum is about Japan. I have posted about other issues on other forums before. Don't ever assume that I have not had this kind of critical discussions about other countries in the world (just have a look at our "American issues" sub-section).

    If people spent half the time trying to improve there lives now rather then complain about things that really are not important on the whole the world would be alot better off.
    Well, personally I don't really have to. I would be bored and depressed without a place to discuss about Japan and other topics like here.

    If people just shut up complaining for a minuite and decided to work together we would be so much better off.
    How can you decide to work together while shutting up if people don't understand each others ? There need to be a place where people can learn more about each other's culture, history, way of thinking or whatever. People come to Japan Reference to understand better Japan (or for Japanese to understand how other people see them and how they could improve). I hope I can do the same for other countries later.

  22. #22
    –Ú˜^ Index's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tim33

    I think whats more important is instead the opposite and trying to stop focusing on the war for every issue in life.
    I think people really need to move on and think about what really matters. Millions die daily of disease/hunger/poverty.
    As far as problems are concerned, I'd say war is one of the biggest ones around. Among other things it does create hunger, poverty, and disease. It also tears families and people apart, as well as having major environmental side effects that can continue for generations. It is a problem that is capable of destroying humanity, therefore I think it IS a problem that really matters (to use your words).

    why not spend our time worrying about the state of the world today and what we can do about that.
    There are countless wars going on around the world right now, possibly more conflict than ever before prior to the twentieth century. Contrary to popular belief, the world has not recently become a more peaceful place, nor will it in the near future. It is therefore a very relevent topic.

    If people spent half the time trying to improve there lives now rather then complain about things that really are not important on the whole the world would be alot better off. If people just shut up complaining for a minuite and decided to work together we would be so much better off.
    What do you think is the point of most of the threads Maciamo puts up about Japan? It is to improve understanding and communication, to talk about issues and find out people's opinions about them. This is how problems get solved; I've never heard of any problem being solved by 'just shutting up'. Do you propose we should work together using sign language? What a preposterous suggestion. If you don't think this particular issue has any significance then perhaps you had better take another look at what kind of issues are making WORLD headlines right now. The antagonism between China and Japan is only one of the biggest international political disputes that has occurred recently, and it is primarily about WAR and attitudes towards it. Get your head out of the sand and take a look around.
    Last edited by Index; May 1, 2005 at 01:09.

  23. #23
    Regular Member Pararousia's Avatar
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    Unhappy The Flag

    Maybe it is because you (and others who react like you) don't know the concept of universal humanitarianism (maybe it's normal as Japan is so self-centered, and so much "us vs them").
    Maybe you answered your own question, Mac. IF the Japanese truly are as self-centered and/or self-absorbed as you say, then they don't care what other countries/people think when those flags are flown. Until they do care or feel ashamed about them, then they will continue to be flown.

    It is not only about waging war, but changing the government and the image of the country. The question is, does Japan want to be seen as the exact same country as during WWII, or a new, democratised and more peaceful country. It's a bit late to think about that as it's already 60 years the war is over.
    Every country has to decide how it wants to appear before the world's eyes. Here in the U.S. many times we're "damned if we do, and damned if we don't" by the countries around us. I personally would not want to fly a flag if it were vastly offensive (going back to the Confederate flag and Nazi flag argument) but it sounds to me like Japan has decided that it doesn't care. But why doesn't she may be the better question to pose?

  24. #24
    Regular Member Eisuke's Avatar
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    Here is some more information which explains the differences between the Japanese flags.

    Japanese Flags

    Civil and State Flag and Ensign

    Description:
    A red disk on a white field. The disk is known as the Hinomaru, a mon representation of the sun. It can be used on land and sea by civilians and government (excluding military).

    Adoption Date and related information:
    Although the hinomaru has been a symbol and flag of Japan for centuries (and unofficially a national flag since 1868), it was not officially adopted as the flag of Japan until 1999. The flag dimensions were set at 2:3.

    Naval Ensign (War Ensign)

    Description:
    A hinomaru set towards the hoist, with 16 red rays.

    Adoption Date and related information:
    Following World War II, the War Ensign, which had been in use by the Japanese Navy since 7 October 1889 the flag use was discontinued as part of the treaty of San Francisco until 30 June 1954 when readopted for use by the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force. Proportions are 2:3.

    Ground Self Defense Forces (War Flag)

    Description:
    A hinomaru with 8 red rays extending outward. A gold border lies partially around the edge.

    Adoption Date and related information:
    The War Flag was adopted 30 June 1954 as the flag of the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force. It's proportions are approximately 8:9.

    http://www.flag.de/FOTW/flags/jp_fact.html

  25. #25
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eisuke
    Ground Self Defense Forces (War Flag)

    Description:
    A hinomaru with 8 red rays extending outward. A gold border lies partially around the edge.
    Interesting link, I didn't know about that 8-ray flag. This was apprently a post-war creation influenced by the San Francisco Treaty. The funny thing is that the 16-ray flag was banned only for two years, from the enforcement of the treaty in 1952 until 1954. Another strange thing is that now the SDF and Navy use slightly different flags, but they don't mention the Air Force. From the picture I posted above, they also use the 16-ray version (and so did some kamikaze).

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