List of Japanese flags

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This is a list of Japanese flags, past and present. Historically, each daimyo had its own flag. (See sashimono and uma-jirushi.)

National flags[edit]

Main article: Flag of Japan
Flag Date Use Description
Flag of Japan.svg August 13, 1999–
Present
Civil and state flag and ensign. Flag ratio: 2:3. This flag was designed by Proclamation No. 127,1999. The sun-disc is perfectly centered.
Merchant flag of Japan (1870).svg February 27, 1870–
August 12, 1999
Civil and state flag and ensign of the Empire of Japan. Flag ratio: 7:10. Disc is shifted 1% towards the hoist (left). This flag was designed by Proclamation No. 57, 1870.

Imperial flags[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of the Japanese Emperor.svg 1869– Standard of the Emperor of Japan 16 petal chrysanthemum, colored in gold, centered on a red background
Japan Sessyo Flag.svg 1926– Standard of the Regent of Japan Similar to the Emperor's standard, but with a white border
Japan Kou(tai)gou Flag.svg 1926– Standard of the Empress, the Empress Dowager, and the Grand Empress Dowager A pennant of the Imperial Standard
Japan Koutaisi(son) Flag.svg 1926– Standard of the Crown Prince and the Imperial Grandson Similar to the Emperor's standard, but with a white orle
Japan Koutaisi(son)hi Flag.svg 1926– Standard of the Crown Princess and the Wife of the Imperial Grandson A pennant of the Standard of the Crown Prince and the Imperial Grandson
Japan Kouzoku Flag 16ben.svg 1926– Standard of the Imperial Family of Japan A gold 16-petaled chrysanthemum centered on a white background with a red border

Governmental flags[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Japanese postal flag, 1872-1887.svg 1872–1887 Ensign of Japan Post Hinomaru with a red horizontal bar placed in the center of the flag.
Flag of Japan Customs.svg 1892– Ensign of Japan Customs White represents land, blue represents sea, and the red disc represents the customs on a border.

Military flags[edit]

See also: Rising Sun Flag

Self-Defense Force & Imperial Army/Navy[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of JSDF.svg 1954– Flag of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force A sun disc design with 8 red rays extending outward, and a gold border partially around the edge.
Naval Ensign of Japan.svg 1889–1945, 1954– Ensign of the Imperial Japanese Navy and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Sun disc with 16 rays on a white field, with the disc skewed to the hoist
Flag of JASDF.png 1972– Ensign of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force The first flag dates from 1955. The current ensign is the third one.
Standard of the Prime Minister of Japan.svg 1972– Standard of the Prime Minister of Japan Five cherry blossoms on a purple background
Naval Standard of the Prime Minister of Japan.svg 1972– Naval standard of the Prime Minister of Japan Five cherry blossoms on a purple background
Standard of the Minister of Defence of Japan.svg 1972– Standard of the Minister of Defense of Japan Five cherry blossoms on a magenta background
Naval Standard of the Minister of Defence of Japan.svg 1972– Naval standard of the Minister of Defense of Japan Five cherry blossoms on a magenta background
Standard of the Vice Minister of Defense of Japan.svg 1972– Standard of the Vice Minister of Defense of Japan Four cherry blossoms on a magenta background
Naval Standard of the Vice Minister of Defense of Japan.svg 1972– Naval standard of the Vice Minister of Defense of Japan Four cherry blossoms on a magenta background
Flag of Chief of Staff, Joint Staff (JSDF).svg Standard of Chief of Staff of the Joint Staff
Flag of Chief of Staff of the Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF).jpg Standard of Chief of Staff of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force
Flag of Chief of Staff, Maritime Self Defense Force.svg Standard of Chief of Staff of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force
Flag of Chief of Staff of the Air Self Defense Force (Japan).gif 1982– Standard of Chief of Staff of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force
Standard of Vice Admiral (JMSDF).svg 1965– Standard of vice admiral of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force
Standard of Rear Admiral (JMSDF).svg 1965– Standard of rear admiral of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force
Standard of Commodore (JMSDF).svg 1965– Standard of commodore of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force
Standard of Commander (A) (JMSDF).svg

Standard of Commander (B) (JMSDF).svg
1965– Standards of commander of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force
Standard of Senior Captain (JMSDF).svg 1965– Standard of senior captain of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force
Zulu flag.svg 1905–1945, 2011– The "Z flag", unofficial naval ensign Derived from International maritime signal flag "Z" Made famous by its use to signal the opening of the Battle of Tsushima
Flag of Army Commander Japan.gif Flag of composite forces chief of staff of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force
Battalion flag of the Japan Ground Self Defense Force.png 1972– Flag of infantry battalion group of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force
Air Defense Command Japan.png 1982– Flag of air defense command of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force
War flag of the Imperial Japanese Army.svg 1870–1945 War flag of the Imperial Japanese Army Centered sun disc with 16 rays on a white field
Standard of Admiral of Imperial Japanese Navy.svg 1889–1945 Standard of admiral of the Imperial Japanese Navy
Standard of Vice Admiral of Imperial Japanese Navy.svg 1914–1945 Standard of vice admiral of the Imperial Japanese Navy
Standard of Rear Admiral of Imperial Japanese Navy.svg 1914–1945 Standard of rear admiral of the Imperial Japanese Navy
Standard of Commodore of Imperial Japanese Navy.svg 1914–1945 Standard of commodore of the Imperial Japanese Navy
Standard of Commander of Imperial Japanese Navy.svg –1945 Standard of commander of the Imperial Japanese Navy
Standard of Senior Captain of Imperial Japanese Navy.svg –1945 Standard of senior captain of the Imperial Japanese Navy
Flag of Duty Ship (Imperial Japanese Navy).svg –1945 Standard of duty ship of the Imperial Japanese Navy

Japan Coast Guard[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Ensign of the Japanese Coast Guard.svg 1951– Ensign of the Japan Coast Guard The symbol represents a mariner's compass.
Standard of the Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (Japan Coast Guard)-bordered.svg 1951– Standard of the Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism
Standard of the Japan Coast Guard Commandant-bordered.svg 1951– Standard of the Japan Coast Guard Commandant
Standard of the Commander of Regional Coast Guard Headquarters (Japan Coast Guard)-bordered.svg 1951– Standard of the Commander of Regional Coast Guard Headquarters
Flag of Commander (Japan Coast Guard)-bordered.svg 1951– Flag of Commander

Historical flags[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of the Tokugawa Shogunate.svg 19th century Flag of the Tokugawa Shogunate[1] A tricolour flag consisting of three bands; white, black, and white.
Flag of the Republic of Ezo.svg 1868–1869 Flag of the Republic of Ezo a chrysanthemum (symbol of Imperial rule) and a red star with seven points (symbol of the new Republic) on a sky-blue background
Flag of Ryukyu.svg 1869–1875 Flag of the Ryūkyū Kingdom
Ryukyu Islands flag 1875-1879 cs.svg 1875–1879 Flag of the Ryūkyū Kingdom Three tomoe represent beauty, humanity and tenderness. White represents purity.
Flag of the Japanese Resident General of Korea (1905).svg 1905–1910 Flag of the Resident General of Korea A blue ensign with the Flag of Japan in the canton
Flag of Allied Occupied Japan.svg 1945–1952 Civil and naval ensign during the occupation of Japan Derived from International maritime signal flag "E"
Flag of the Independent State of Okinawa.svg 1950 (Jan–Mar) Proposed flag of Okinawa Called the Okinawan Flag (沖縄旗?) or the Ryukyu Flag (琉球旗?), proposed by the Okinawa Civil Government. The US administration stated they would decide the flag after the foundation of the unified government of the islands. However, the flag was forgotten ever since. Red, white, and blue represent peace, freedom, and enthusiasm, respectively. A star represents hope.
Flag of US Occupied Ryukyu Islands.svg 1952–1967 Civil ensign during the occupation of Okinawa Derived from International maritime signal flag "D"

Minorities[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
1973– Unofficial flag of the Ainu people Designed by Ainu artist Bikki Sunazawa. Cerulean blue stands for sky and sea, white for snow and red for an aconite arrow which is running in the snow beneath Hokkaidō's sky.
Flag of mindan-unfinished.svg 1946??– Flag of Mindan Flag of Mindan, a pro-South organization of Zainichi Koreans. The pink flower surrounding the taegeuk is a hibiscus syriacus, the national flower of South Korea. The formal name of the society (Zainihon Daikanminkoku Mindan) is written in kanji in white, and the abbreviation (Mindan) is written in hangul in yellow. The blue field of the flag stands for clear sky and sea.
Flag of National Levelers Association.png 1923–1945? Flag of National Levelers Association / Buraku Liberation League Flag of National Levelers Association, a burakumin rights group, and Buraku Liberation League, NLA's succeeding group. Named the Crown of Thorns Flag (荊冠旗 Keikanki?). Black represents a dark society with discriminations. Red represents blood.
Flag of Buraku Liberation League.png 1945?– Flag of Buraku Liberation League The current Buraku Liberation League flag, with a white star representing hope.

Cultural flags[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of safety.svg 1919– Flag of safety Named the Green Cross (緑十字 Midori-jūji?). Designed by Toshifumi Gamō as the symbol of the governmental "safety week" campaign. The cross represents philanthropism in Western sense, and the place where good deeds gather in Oriental sense. JIS Z9103-1986 designates the symbol as the safety indication sign.
Flag of industrial health.svg 1953– Flag of industrial health Announced by the Labour Standards Bureau, the Ministry of Labor of Japan (the current Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare), over a public subscription.
Flag of safety and health.svg 1965– Flag of safety and health Designed by the Japan Industrial Safety & Health Association. These three flags are frequently flown on factories or construction sites.
日本郵政旗.svg 1886- Postal flag The Postal symbol, , on a white field.

Prefectural flags[edit]

Each modern prefecture has a unique flag, most often a bicolour geometric highly stylised design (mon), often incorporating the letters of Japanese writing system. A distinct feature of these flags is that they use a palette of colours not usually found in flags, including orange, purple, aquamarine and brown.

Some prefectures also have alternative official flags called "symbol flags" (シンボル旗?). They may be used on less formal occasions. Famous symbol flags include the one used in Tokyo.

Flag Prefecture Geocode Description
Flag of Aichi Prefecture.svg Aichi JP-23 Stylised hiragana of あいち (Aichi). The emblem also expresses sunrise and wave to indicate Aichi's location facing the Pacific Ocean.
Flag of Akita Prefecture.svg Akita JP-05 Stylised katakana of ア (a), the first syllable of "Akita".
Flag of Aomori Prefecture.svg Aomori JP-02 Stylised map of the prefecture.
Flag of Chiba Prefecture.svg Chiba JP-12 Stylised katakana of チバ (Chiba). Blue stands for hope and progress, yellow for prefecture flower, rapeseed.
Flag of Ehime Prefecture.svg Ehime JP-38 Yellow stands for happiness, green for peace and white for simplicity and purity. The mon represents orange, the prefectural flower.
Flag of Fukui Prefecture.svg Fukui JP-18 Stylised katakana of フクイ (Fukui). The emblem stands for harmony and cooperation of people.
Flag of Fukuoka Prefecture.svg Fukuoka JP-40 Stylised hiragana of ふく (fuku). It also represents ume (plum), the prefectural flower.
Flag of Fukushima Prefecture.svg Fukushima JP-07 Stylised hiragana of ふ (fu).
Flag of Gifu Prefecture.svg Gifu JP-21 Stylised kanji 岐 (gi). The emblem expresses peace and harmony. The green stands for the nature of Gifu.
Flag of Gunma Prefecture.svg Gunma JP-10 Stylised kanji 群 (gun) and three crescents which stand for three mountains Mount Akagi, Mount Haruna and Mount Myōgi. Purple was selected as refined colour suitable to Gunma's cultural inheritance.
Flag of Hiroshima Prefecture.svg Hiroshima JP-34 Stylized katakana of ヒ (hi).
Flag of Hokkaido Prefecture.svg Hokkaidō JP-01 A seven-pointed star standing for hope and development. Blue represents sea and sky of Hokkaidō, red stands for people's energy and white for light and snow.
Flag of Hyogo Prefecture.svg Hyōgo JP-28 Stylized kanji of 兵 (hyō). It also represents the stylised map of the prefecture, facing the Seto Inland Sea and the Sea of Japan.
Flag of Ibaraki Prefecture.svg Ibaraki JP-08 The prefectural flower rose on blue field. Blue stands for the Pacific Ocean and Mount Tsukuba.
Flag of Ishikawa Prefecture.svg Ishikawa JP-17 The mon is a stylised form of its name in kanji, 石川 (Ishikawa). It also represents the stylised map of the prefecture.
Flag of Iwate Prefecture.svg Iwate JP-03 Stylised kanji of 岩 (iwa) which symbolises advanced progress.
Flag of Kagawa Prefecture.svg Kagawa JP-37 Stylised and slightly rotated katakana of カ (ka). It also represents mountains, as well as leaves of the olive, the prefectural tree.
Flag of Kagoshima Prefecture.svg Kagoshima JP-46 Stylised map of the prefecture, with Sakurajima in the center.
Karafuto Flag.jpg Karafuto N/A Stylised kanji of 太 (futo) in the form of three birch 樺 (kaba) leaves and fruit, making the rebus of 樺太 (Karafuto). Used from 1911–1945; the territory is now part of Russia.
Flag of Kanagawa Prefecture.svg Kanagawa JP-14 Stylised kanji of 神 (ka). The Japanese national colours were chosen due to the Yokohama seaport, long used as a primary gateway into Japan, being located within the prefecture.
Flag of Kochi Prefecture.svg Kōchi JP-39 Stylised hiragana of とさ (Tosa), the name of the former province. The mon also incorporates 90 degrees rotated katakana of コ (ko).
Flag of Kumamoto Prefecture.svg Kumamoto JP-43 Stylised katakana of ク (ku). It also represents the stylised map of Kyūshū.
Flag of Kyoto Prefecture.svg Kyoto JP-26 Stylized kanji of 京 (kyō).
Flag of Mie Prefecture.svg Mie JP-24 Stylized hiragana of み (mi). The circle also represents pearls aquafarmed in the prefecture.
Flag of Miyagi Prefecture.svg Miyagi JP-04 Stylised hiragana of み (mi). It also represents the miyaginohagi (lespedeza), the prefectural flower.
Flag of Miyazaki Prefecture.svg Miyazaki JP-45 Stylized katakana of ミ (mi).
Flag of Nagano Prefecture.svg Nagano JP-20 Orange flag with white mon closer to the hoist. The mon is a stylized katakana of ナ (na). It also represents mountains mirrored on a lake.
Flag of Nagasaki Prefecture.svg Nagasaki JP-42 Stylised form of the letter N. It also represents a dove, the symbol of peace. There are two versions, one with the prefectural name in kanji, another without it. Both are official.
Flag of Nara Prefecture.svg Nara JP-29 Stylised katakana of ナ (na).
Flag of Niigata Prefecture.svg Niigata JP-15 The symbol on the top is a stylised kanji 新 (nii) of Niigata, while the left half of the circle is a stylised katakana for ガ (ga) and the right, タ (ta).
Flag of Oita Prefecture.svg

Flag of Oita (variant).png
OitaŌita JP-44 Three stylised kanji of 大 (ō). Each kanji also represents a flying bird, and the whole symbol represents the sun. There are two versions, one with the prefectural name in kanji, another without it. Both are official.
Flag of Okayama Prefecture.svg Okayama JP-33 Stylized kanji of 岡 (oka). The simplified version uses the white symbol instead of gold.
Flag of Okinawa Prefecture.svg Okinawa JP-47 White letter O within a red disc on a white field.
Flag of Osaka Prefecture.svg Ōsaka JP-27 The blue stands for cleanness, freshness and intelligence and also represents the sky and sea due to Ōsaka City having both an airport and seaport. The blue also represents Ōsaka's nickname water city, due to having many rivers and facing two seas. The mon represents calabash, the symbol of Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Circles also mean the letter O.
Flag of Saga Prefecture.svg Saga JP-41 The mon is Japanese cinnamon, the prefectural flower.
Flag of Saitama Prefecture.svg Saitama JP-11 Sixteen magatama (ornamental beads) representing the sun as well as development and strength. Magatama were found in Sakitama Kofun (ancient tombs), Gyōda, which is the origin of the name of the prefecture. White stands for purity and friendship.
Flag of Shiga Prefecture.svg Shiga JP-25 Stylised katakana of シガ (Shiga). The circle in the centre represents Lake Biwa.
Flag of Shimane Prefecture.svg Shimane JP-32 Four stylised katakana of マ (ma). In Japanese, "four" is shi.
Flag of Shizuoka Prefecture.svg Shizuoka JP-22 Stylised map of the prefecture and Mount Fuji. Blue stands for the sky and the Pacific Ocean and orange for sun light, passion and unity of people.
Flag of Tochigi Prefecture.svg Tochigi JP-09 Stylised kanji of 栃 (tochi) and kanji 木 (gi) with three arrows. The flag represents improvement and active motion.
Flag of Tokushima Prefecture.svg Tokushima JP-36 Stylised hiragana of とく (toku). It also represents a flying bird.
Flag of Tokyo Prefecture.svg Tokyo JP-13 The sun represents the developing capital city Tokyo. This is the official "metropolitan flag", used on formal occasions. See Insignias of Tokyo for details.
Symbol flag of Tokyo.svg The symbol at the centre consists of three arcs combined to resemble a ginkgo leaf and represent T for Tokyo.[2] This is the official "symbol flag", used more frequently than the flag (crest) above. See Insignias of Tokyo for details.
Flag of Tottori Prefecture.svg Tottori JP-31 The symbol is meant to represent the hiragana と (to) and a bird (tori) to form a rebus of Tottori.
Flag of Toyama Prefecture.svg Toyama JP-16 The symbol is meant to represent the hiragana と (to) and two mountains (yama) to form a rebus of Toyama. It also represents Mount Tateyama.
Flag of Wakayama Prefecture.svg Wakayama JP-30 Stylised katakana of ワ (wa).
Flag of Yamagata Prefecture.svg Yamagata JP-06 Three mountains (yama). The form also represents the stream of the Mogami River running through Yamagata. Blue stands for desire for peace and ideal, white for snow and purity of people.
Flag of Yamaguchi Prefecture.svg Yamaguchi JP-35 Stylised kanji of 山口 (Yamaguchi). The emblem represents a bird flying towards the sun and stands for cooperation and progress of people.
Flag of Yamanashi Prefecture.svg Yamanashi JP-19 Stylised kanji of 山 (yama) in the centre of Mount Fuji. Purple represents the grape, a popular product of Yamanashi.

Municipal flags[edit]

Most municipalities have unique flags. Like prefectural flags, most of them are with a bicolor geometric highly stylized symbol, often incorporating Japanese characters.

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.fotw.net/flags/jp_daimy.html#tok
  2. ^ http://www.metro.tokyo.jp/ENGLISH/PROFILE/appendix05.htm