165 Japanese Flag Facts For The Budding Vexillologist in You | Kidadl


165 Japanese Flag Facts For The Budding Vexillologist in You

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Read these Tokyo facts to learn all about the Japanese capital.

A national flag expresses many things related to a country without words.

By looking at the flag you can get to know about its ideologies, history, and culture. The flag tells you about the people of the nation as a whole.

When you look at a flag, you get a vague image related to the country in a glance. The flag is like a national entity. Like other countries, Japan has been rich in traditions for centuries. The flag of Japan has a unique story attached to it. There are great achievements as well as darker sides of its history.

The Japanese national flag has a red circle in it. This national symbol represents the Sun and it is on a white background. This design is named the Hinomaru in the Japanese language. The meaning of this word is 'a circle of the sun'. Japan is on the west side of the Pacific Ocean, so the sunrise here presents a spectacular view over the sea. That view is the source of inspiration for the Japanese flag design.

In earlier times, the Japanese people were required to show or host the national flag, when they were on holiday and held other special celebrations. Though this is no longer required after the end of World War II. The Japanese people were obligated to present the flag as a mark of respect to the Emperor when he came to their village. The Japanese national flag has been related to nationalist and patriotic feelings among Japanese citizens. During World War II, families of military troops used to sign a flag and give it to soldiers as a mark of blessings before deployment.

It is very interesting to know that this lovely tradition is followed even today. However, now it is done for athletes before they leave for important games. You can see the Japanese flag displayed outside government buildings. Some individuals still choose to hoist the flag when they go on holiday and hold other special celebrations.

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What is in the Japanese flag?

The Japan flag is very simple yet meaningful.

Japan's flag represents the most powerful power in nature, the rising sun. The red circle in the middle is the sun banner. This holds important religious as well as mythological significance like the national symbols of Japan.

According to the local people, Amaterasu, the sun goddess, is considered to be a direct ancestor of the ruling Emperors of Japan. This unique relationship between the Emperor and the sun goddess presents legitimacy to the power. Also, the Emperor is called the Son of the Sun.

Japan has been often called the Land of the Rising Sun. According to history, the first rising sun-themed flag was used by Emperor Monmu in 701 AD. The use of the rising sun as a symbol has been prevalent since then in the history of Japan. Emperor Go-Reizei gave the Unpo-Ji Temple the same flag during the 1000s. Then in the 1800s, the Japanese sun flag was used by naval and merchant ships as the Japanese flag when they sailed across different countries.

The centered sun symbol (known as Hinomaru) in Japan's flag is said to represent not only the sun but also a prosperous future for Japanese people. The white background color resembles the purity, integrity, and honesty of Japanese people.

Who created the Japanese flag?

This Japanese flag with a sun at the center has been used ever since the seventh century. It is believed that in 607, Japan was nicknamed the land of the rising sun. This was when the Emperor was called the ruler of the land of the sun.

Others believe that a golden flag, known as Nissho, was the first to be raised in 701. This was during New Year Day celebrations. While a few think a Buddhist priest named Nichiren invented the current flag, it was in the 13th century when Mongolians invaded Japan.

The Hinomaru flag has been used since 1854. It was hoisted on a Japanese vessel to distinguish it from other vessels. The Hinomaru flag was officially designated as the national flag in 1999 in August. The national anthem too was authorized by the Diet this year.

The official name of the Japanese flag is Nisshoki, also implying the sun mark flag. This name has been given due to its appearance. The ratio of the Japanese flag has been fixed to two: three. The red circle must precisely be in the center of the white area. This measurement should be three-fifths of the total length of the flag. One of the largest known Japanese prefecture flags is in the Shimane Prefecture, which is outside the Izumo Shrine. The measurements of this flag are 44.6 ft (13.6 m) by 29.5 ft (9 m). It is hung at a height of 154 ft (47 m).

The red circle in the Japanese Flag symbolizes the rising sun.

What colors are in the Japanese flag and why?

The presence of a solid red disc on the white background found on Japanese flags represents the sun. The reason for the development of this design is religious and culturally rooted.

The Japanese flag is officially called Nisshoki. This means the flag represents a sun flag. This name has been given to the national flag due to its appearance. The fixed ratio of the Japanese flag is two: three. The red disc is precisely in the center of the white background. This measurement should be three-fifths of the total length of the flag. The largest known Japanese flag is in the Shimane Prefecture, just outside the Izumo Shrine.

The sun goddess plays a major role in Japanese culture. Shinto is known to be the indigenous polytheistic religion followed in these islands. This religion has a very important position for the sun. You can see thousands of deities in this religion yet the most important deity is the sun-goddess Amaterasu. She is the primary deity of Shinto. She is also believed to have progeny of the ruler Japanese imperial line.

The worship of the sun, as well as the geographic position of Japan in respect to China, can be seen in this flag. You can see that the sun rises first over the Japanese archipelago. This is the reason for naming the sun flag and country as the land of the rising sun.

The red sun disc was placed on a white background. This motif is old and has not been used in continual use. There are many different variations of this flag. The rising sun design of Japan has formally been used since the seventh century.

The official version has a close similarity with the flags used by the military. The army and the navy have been using the flag that has a red disc that has been displaced and there are various types of rays coming from this. The Japanese flag red sun and 16 red rays, also called spokes, are drawn from the center towards the borders of the flag.

The flag that is being used to date by the Japanese Army flag has been there since 1868. The use began at the end of World War II. The design of this flag had the sun in the middle with strokes coming out towards the edge of the flag.

Next is the Japanese navy variant. This one has been used since 1889 and it marked the end of World War II. In this design the sun is slightly off-center, it is placed towards the left end. Even after the war, the army and navy used their separate flags. However, there are only minor modifications.

The third one is the flag used by Japan's Self-Defense Forces. The Japan Ground Self-Defense Forces also use the same. They have the variation of reducing the number of rays from 16 to 8. The whole shape has also been changed. It is now a square flag. There is a gold border on the edges. 

The latest addition to this list is the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force flag. They have just changed the shade of red. It is a darker shade than the red used on the Japanese navy flag. While all the other dimensions and ratios are the same, the flag is not square, rather a rectangle.

How old is the Japanese flag?

The first recorded use of this flag was near the end of the eighth century and it was the New Year’s Day flag. It was named Nissho, meaning the 'flag bearing a golden sun'. The colors being used in today's Japanese flag, red on white, came into existence after the Genpei War which was occurred in the 12th century.

There were two banners for the Taira clan as well as the Genji clan. Both had the sun represented on them in the form of a circle. Though it is interesting to note that the colors used were different. The Taira clan's flag had a gold sun on a red background. While the Genji clan's flag had a red disc on a white background. As the Genji clan was declared victorious in this war, they became the unopposed rulers of a united Japan. Their flag was eventually used by the feudal government.

The oldest Japanese flag in existence can be on top of the Unpo-ji temple. It is at least 400-500 years old. 

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for 165 Japanese flag facts for the budding vexillologist in you, then why not take a look at do horses eat meat or the world's largest horse?

Written By
Sakshi Thakur

<p>Sakshi is a skilled content writer with extensive experience in the education industry. With a keen eye for detail and a passion for helping others, she has developed a reputation for excellence in academic content writing. She has worked with esteemed professionals such as Mr. Kapil Raj, a professor of History of Science at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris, further enhancing her knowledge and expertise. Sakshi is well-versed in the latest developments in e-learning and has a deep understanding of how to engage students and make learning fun and accessible. In her spare time, she indulges in her creative passions, including painting, embroidery, and listening to soft music. She also enjoys exploring new cultures and traveling, which helps her broaden her perspectives and inspire her writing. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Science from Panjab University.</p>

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