Measurements: 30″ x 38″ / 77 x 96cm
Product Description: This is an impressive, wartime example of the Japanese flag. It is made of silk, as is typical for Imperial period examples. The overall condition of this flag is excellent. The red ink used to print the central sun disk remains bold and vibrant. There is the typical minor yellowing due to age toning, as well as a few scattered marks, likely a result of use. The original pig skin leather corner reinforcements remain present on the hoist end, as well as the ties that would have been used to affix this to a pole. The reinforcements have some small holes; this flag was apparently hung on a wall at one time. One of the corner reinforcements is marked on one side with a name, “Glenn,” possibly the veteran who took this as a souvenir from the Pacific Theater. The size is 30 by 38 inches, a desirable, displayable size. This Japanese flag is textbook in all respects and is a very appealing original example.
Historical Description: The national flag of Japan is a rectangular white banner with a red disk at the center, representing the sun. It is most commonly known in Japan as “Hinomaru,” the Circle of the Sun. The first historical reference to this flag was in the year 701; the oldest surviving example predates the 16th century. Starting with the Meiji Restoration of 1868, the Hinomaru flag became an important patriotic symbol, and in 1870 it became the national flag used by the Imperial Navy and by merchant ships. The Navy also used, as its ensign and war flag, a version of the sun flag, called the Rising Sun flag, that featured 16 red rays emanating from the central disk. Both the Hinomaru sun flag, and the Rising Sun flag, were very important in Imperial Japan and during World War 2. Soldiers were traditionally given signed examples of the Hinomaru flag bearing the signatures of friends and family, along with short patriotic messages wishing them luck. After WWII, use of the traditional Japanese flags was restricted, though these restrictions were later eased. Japanese flags were eagerly collected souvenirs for American servicemen in the Pacific, and genuine wartime examples remain very collectible today.
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