Rising Sun Flag
The Rising Sun Flag (旭日旗 Kyokujitsu-ki?) is the military flag of Japan. The design of this flag, dating from the Edo period, is used as a symbol of good fortune, so the design is also incorporated into many commercial products and advertisements related to Japan. On January 27, 1870, as a policy of the Meiji Restoration, it was adopted as the national flag. The naval ensign and a modified version of the war flag continue to be used by the Japan Self-Defense Forces.
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. 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 defeated in August 1945. After the establishment of the Japan Self-Defense Force 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.
The Rising Sun flag appears on commercial product labels, such as on the cans of one variety of Asahi Breweries lager beer. 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 by the supporters of Japanese team. In the political protests, extreme right-wing groups also use it.
Dispute in South Korea and China
As the flag was used by the Japanese military in the conquest and occupation of East Asia and during the war in the Pacific, it is considered offensive in South Korea and China. 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.
Examples of the Rising Sun design in use
United States Military
Emblem of United States Fleet Activities Sasebo.
Patch of Strike Fighter Squadron 94.
The mural painted on a wall at Misawa Air Base, Japan.
Former insignia of Strike Fighter Squadron 192.
Flag of Russian Air Force
Flag of Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine
Flag of the Karen National Liberation Army
Korean Unification Church Flag
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