Rising Sun Flag

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FIAV 000001.svg Naval ensign, flown by ships of the Imperial Japanese Navy (1889–1945) and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force. (1954–present) Flag ratio: 2:3
FIAV 001000.svg War flag of the Imperial Japanese Army. (1870–1945)

The Rising Sun Flag (旭日旗 Kyokujitsu-ki?) was originally used by feudal war lords in Japan during the Edo period.[1] On May 15, 1870, as a policy of the Meiji Restoration, it was adopted as the war flag of the Imperial Japanese Army, and on October 7, 1889, it was adopted as the naval ensign/war flag of the Imperial Japanese Navy.[2]It is still used in Japan as a symbol of tradition and good fortune, and is incorporated into commercial products and advertisements. It is currently flown by the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and a modified version is flown by the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force. It is associated with Japanese imperialism in the early 20th century in countries such as South Korea,[3][4][5] China,[6] and the United States[7][8][9] due to its use by Japan's military forces during that period.

Design[edit]

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.[10] 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 flag was used until Japan's surrender of World War II in August 1945. After the establishment of the Japan Self-Defense Forces in 1954, the flag was re-adopted and approved by the GHQ. The flag with 16 rays is today the ensign of the Maritime Self-Defense Force while the Ground Self-Defense Force uses an 8-ray version.[11]

Present-day use[edit]

The Rising Sun flag appears on commercial product labels, such as on the cans of one variety of Asahi Breweries lager beer.[12] The design is also incorporated into the flag of the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun. Among the fishermen, Tairyō-ki (大漁旗 Good Catch Flag?) shows their hope for good catch of fish. The flag is used at sporting events[13] by the supporters of Japanese team. In the political protests, extreme right-wing groups use it.[14] In order to express the relationship to Japan, the design of this flag is also used by the countries other than Japan. For example, U.S. military based in Japan uses this design in the emblem, and an American blues rock band Hot Tuna uses it in the cover art of the album Live in Japan.

Dispute in South Korea and China[edit]

As the flag was used by the Japanese military during the World War II, South Korean[15][16][17] and Chinese[18] consider it to be offensive. They consider that the flag is associated with Japanese militarism and imperialism. Because of this dispute, use of the flag is considered to be a problem in these countries. For example, during the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Japanese fans were warned not to fly the flag as it would cause offense and trouble with the Chinese.[19][20]

Examples of the Rising Sun design in use[edit]

United States Military[edit]

Similar flags[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Japanese Symbols". Japan Visitor/Japan Tourist Info. Retrieved October 9, 2014. 
  2. ^ "船舶旗について". Kobe University Repository:Kernel. Retrieved October 18, 2014. 
  3. ^ Radhika Seth (August 14, 2012). "Courting Controversy: Olympic Uniform resembled rising sun flag!". Japan Daily Press. Retrieved September 18, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Korean lawmakers adopt resolution calling on Japan not to use rising sun flag". Korea Herald. August 29, 2012. Retrieved September 18, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Japanese “Rising Sun Flag” Sparking More Tension between Korea and Japan". Business Korea. August 9, 2013. 
  6. ^ Naoto Okamura (August 8, 2008). "Japan fans warned not to fly naval flag". Reuters. 
  7. ^ Bill McMichael (August 2, 2011). "That Flag". Military Times. 
  8. ^ Tom Hester (November 3, 2008). "Trenton's 'Lady Victory' monument honors W W II vets". NJ.com. 
  9. ^ Martin Kidston (April 26, 2014). "Hellgate High senior will escort WWII veterans on final Big Sky Honor Flight". Missoulian. 
  10. ^ "海軍旗の由来". kwn.ne.jp. Retrieved 6 October 2011. 
  11. ^ Phil Nelson; various. "Japanese military flags". Flags Of The World. Flagspot. 
  12. ^ "Asahi Beer New Design". Japan Visitor Blog. December 12, 2011. 
  13. ^ "A great decade for Japan". FIFATV. 2012-12-18. 
  14. ^ "World: Asia-Pacific Reprise for Japan's anthem". BBC News. August 15, 1999. 
  15. ^ Radhika Seth (August 14, 2012). "Courting Controversy: Olympic Uniform resembled rising sun flag!". Japan Daily Press. Retrieved September 18, 2012. 
  16. ^ "Korean lawmakers adopt resolution calling on Japan not to use rising sun flag". Korea Herald. August 29, 2012. Retrieved September 18, 2012. 
  17. ^ "Japanese “Rising Sun Flag” Sparking More Tension between Korea and Japan". Business Korea. August 9, 2013. 
  18. ^ Naoto Okamura (August 8, 2008). "Japan fans warned not to fly naval flag". Reuters. 
  19. ^ Okamura, Naoto (8 August 2008). "Japan fans warned about rising sun flag". Reuters. Retrieved 5 April 2012. 
  20. ^ "Japan fans warned about rising sun flag". Japan Probe. 8 August 2008. Retrieved 5 April 2012.