List of Japanese flags

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

National flags[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of Japan.svg August 13, 1999 – present Civil and state flag and ensign of Japan. Flag ratio: 2:3. This flag was designed by Proclamation No. 127, 1999. The sun-disc is perfectly centered and is a brighter shade of red.
Merchant flag of Japan (1870).svg February 27, 1870 – August 12, 1999 Civil and state flag and ensign of the Empire of Japan, and the Japanese state. 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 1868–present Imperial Standard of the Emperor of Japan 16 petal chrysanthemum, colored in gold, centered on a red background
Japan Sessyo Flag.svg 1926–present Imperial Standard of the Regent of Japan Similar to the Emperor's standard, but with a white border
Japan Kou(tai)gou Flag.svg 1926–present Imperial Standard of the Empress, the Empress Dowager, and the Grand Empress Dowager A pennant of the Imperial Standard
Japan Koutaisi(son) Flag.svg 1926–present Imperial Standard of the Crown Prince and the Imperial Grandson who is an heir apparent Similar to the Emperor's standard, but with a white orle
Japan Koutaisi(son)hi Flag.svg 1926–present Imperial Standard of the Crown Princess and the wife of the Imperial Grandson A pennant of the Standard of the Crown Prince
Japan Kouzoku Flag 16ben.svg 1926–present Imperial Standard of other members of the Imperial House 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–present Ensign of Japan Customs White represents land, blue represents sea, and the red disc represents the customs on a border.
Flag of NHK.svg 1995–2020 Flag of the NHK White flag with the NHK logo.
Flag of NHK (variant).svg 2020–present White flag with the NHK logo.

Military flags[edit]

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

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of the Japan Self-Defense Forces.svg 1954–present Flag of the Japan Self-Defense Forces and 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 the Empire of Japan.svg 1889–1945 Ensign of the Imperial Japanese Navy Sun disc with 16 rays on a white field, with the disc skewed to the hoist
Naval Ensign of Japan.svg 1954–present Ensign of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Sun disc with 16 rays on a white field, with the disc skewed to the hoist
Flag of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (1955-1957).png 1955–1957 Former ensign of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force Used from 1955 to 1957.
Flag of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (1957-1972).svg 1957–1972 Former ensign of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force Used from 1957 to 1972.
Flag of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (1972-2001).svg 1972–2001 Former ensign of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force Used from 1972 to 2001.
Flag of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force.svg 2001–present Ensign of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force Current ensign, used since 2001.
Standard of the Prime Minister of Japan.svg 1972–present Standard of the Prime Minister of Japan Five cherry blossoms on a purple background
Naval Standard of the Prime Minister of Japan.svg 1972–present 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–present 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–present 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–present 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–present 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, Joint Staff
Flag of Chief of Staff of the Ground Self-Defense Force (Japan).svg 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).svg 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
Japanese Naval Masthead Pennant.svg 1954– Masthead pennant 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 the Army Commander of the Ground Self-Defense Force (Japan).svg Flag of composite forces chief of staff of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force
Flag of an Infantry Battalion of the Ground Self Defense Force (Japan).svg 1972– Flag of infantry battalion group of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force
Flag of the Air Defense Command of the Air Self Defense Force (Japan).svg 1982– Flag of air defense command of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force
War flag of the Imperial Japanese Army (1868-1945).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 Naval ensign of the Tokugawa Shogunate[1] A bicolour flag consisting of three bands; white, black, and white.
Flag of Japan.svg 1905–1910 Flag of the Empire of Japan A white flag with a red circle in the Middle
Empire Of Japan.png 1797–1945 Civil and naval ensign of the Empire of Japan Derived from the Japanese Flag
Flag of Japan.svg 1879[2]–Present Current Flag of Japan A white flag with a red Circle in the Middle
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"
Civil Ensign of the Ryukyus (1967).svg 1967–1972 Civil ensign of the Government of the Ryukyu Islands Ryukyus pennant above Japanese flag was used during U.S. occupation of Ryukyu Islands.

Minorities[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of mindan-unfinished.svg (1996) 1994–[citation needed] 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[citation needed] 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–[citation needed] Flag of Buraku Liberation League The current Buraku Liberation League flag, with a white star representing hope.
Flag of Ainu.svg ?–[citation needed] Flag of Ainu .

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 and resembling company logos. 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
Flag of Aichi Prefecture.svg Aichi JP-23
Flag of Akita Prefecture.svg Akita JP-05
Flag of Aomori Prefecture.svg Aomori JP-02
Flag of Chiba Prefecture.svg Chiba JP-12
Flag of Ehime Prefecture.svg Ehime JP-38
Flag of Fukui Prefecture.svg Fukui JP-18
Flag of Fukuoka Prefecture.svg Fukuoka JP-40
Flag of Fukushima Prefecture.svg Fukushima JP-07
Flag of Gifu Prefecture.svg Gifu JP-21
Flag of Gunma Prefecture.svg Gunma JP-10
Alex K Hiroshima kenki.svg Hiroshima JP-34
Flag of Hokkaido Prefecture.svg Hokkaidō JP-01
Flag of Hyogo Prefecture.svg Hyōgo JP-28
Flag of Ibaraki Prefecture.svg Ibaraki JP-08
Flag of Ishikawa Prefecture.svg Ishikawa JP-17
Flag of Iwate Prefecture.svg Iwate JP-03
Kagawa JP-37
Flag of Kagoshima Prefecture.svg Kagoshima JP-46
Flag of Kanagawa Prefecture.svg Kanagawa JP-14
Karafuto Flag.svg Karafuto N/A
Flag of Kochi Prefecture.svg Kōchi JP-39
Flag of Kumamoto Prefecture.svg Kumamoto JP-43
Flag of Kyoto prefecture.svg Kyoto JP-26
Flag of Mie prefecture.svg Mie JP-24
Flag of Miyagi Prefecture.svg Miyagi JP-04
Flag of Miyazaki Prefecture.svg Miyazaki JP-45
Flag of Nagano Prefecture.svg Nagano JP-20
Flag of Nagasaki Prefecture.svg Nagasaki JP-42
Flag of Nara Prefecture.svg Nara JP-29
Flag of Niigata Prefecture.svg Niigata JP-15
Flag of Oita Prefecture.svg

Flag of Oita (variant).png
ŌitaŌita JP-44
Flag of Okayama Prefecture.svg Okayama JP-33
Flag of Okinawa Prefecture.svg Okinawa JP-47
Flag of Osaka Prefecture.svg Ōsaka JP-27
Flag of Saga Prefecture.svg Saga JP-41
Flag of Saitama Prefecture.svg Saitama JP-11
Flag of Shiga Prefecture.svg Shiga JP-25
Flag of Shimane Prefecture.svg Shimane JP-32
Flag of Shizuoka Prefecture.svg Shizuoka JP-22
Flag of Tochigi Prefecture.svg Tochigi JP-09
Flag of Tokushima Prefecture.svg Tokushima JP-36
Flag of Tokyo Prefecture.svg Tokyo JP-13
Symbol flag of Tokyo.svg
Flag of Tottori Prefecture.svg Tottori JP-31
Flag of Toyama Prefecture.svg Toyama JP-16
Flag of Wakayama Prefecture.svg Wakayama JP-30
Flag of Yamagata Prefecture.svg Yamagata JP-06
Flag of Yamaguchi Prefecture.svg Yamaguchi JP-35
Flag of Yamanashi Prefecture.svg Yamanashi JP-19

Municipal flags[edit]

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

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Daimyo Flags, 19th Century".
  2. ^ Itai Hidenobu 板井英伸 (2008). ""Naha-kō zu byōbu" ni miru 19 seiki Naha-kō no fune 『那覇港図屏風』にみる19世紀那覇港の船 (19th Century Boats in Naha Port as Depicted in the Naha Port Folding Screen)". Hikaku minzoku kenkyū 比較民俗研究 (in Japanese) (22): 93–136. Retrieved June 17, 2018.