Original Japanese WWII Hand Painted Cloth Good Luck Flag - 45” x 32”
Original Item: One-of-a-kind. Just purchased from a large military auction. This hand painted cloth flag is marked with battle quotes such as "Banzai", and "Good Luck for Bravery". As with many good luck flags, the flag is marked on the right side with the Japanese phrase 久 長 運 武 祈, which reads Bu un Chou kyu Inoru ("A prayer that your military fortunes be long lasting.") though it is difficult to read/translate due to most of it being in “grass writing”. Sosho, or 'grass style', is a cursive style of Japanese calligraphy that is thought to reflect wind blowing over grass. Sosho is the most abstract of the three approaches and is, therefore, the most difficult to read and understand.
It is also signed with the names of many friends and family. The flag measures approximately 45” x 32”, and is made of what appears to be cotton/canvas, with the red "sun" dyed into the middle. Overall the flag is in good condition with some tearing present and is the real deal: a genuine USGI "bring back"!
The writing is still clearly legible, and this would make a fine display piece for a wall or glass table, or even a translation project. The flag still has the original corner ties fully intact, but they run the width of the flag on an interior flap and do not have reinforcement tabs.
Ready to display!
The Good Luck Flag
Known as hinomaru yosegaki (日の丸 寄せ書き) in the Japanese language, was a traditional gift for Japanese servicemen deployed during the military campaigns of the Empire of Japan, though most notably during World War II. The flag given to a soldier was a national flag signed by friends and family, often with short messages wishing the soldier victory, safety, and good luck.
The Japanese call their country's flag hinomaru, which translates literally to "sun-round", referencing the red circle on a white field. When the hinomaru was signed, the Japanese characters were usually written vertically, and radiated outward from the edge of the red circle. This practice is referenced in the second term, yosegaki, meaning "sideways-writing".
The phrase hinomaru-yosegaki can be interpreted as "To write sideways around the red sun", describing the appearance of the signed flag. This particular example completely unique is written in old KANJI the writing are mainly Japanese names of this soldier's family and friends with quotes and phrases.
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