Original Japanese WWII Hand Painted Good Luck Flag Covered with Writing - 27" x 38"
Original Item: One-of-a-kind. Just purchased from a Pacific War collector at a military show! This hand painted cloth flag is marked with battle quotes, usually phrases such as "Banzai", and "Good Luck". As with most good luck flags, it is marked with 武 運 長 久, which reads Bu un Chou kyu ("May your military fortunes be long lasting.") on the top, though it is in the reverse order from what we usually see.
These flags typically have additional phrases, and names written on them, but we have rarely seen a flag with THIS MUCH writing. It is almost completely covered with names, sayings, many radiating out from the "sun", all around the flag. The handwriting even shows some "script" style writing, and many different styles, so this was signed by a lot of different people. This would make an excellent, if challenging, translation project for someone who can read the pre-1945 Kanji.
The flag measures approximately 27" x 38", and looks to be made from rayon, an early semi-synthetic cloth made from wood, with the red "sun" dyed into the middle. It is quite thin, so it's possible that it might be silk, but the weave looks too regular. Flag is in good condition and is the real deal: a genuine USGI "bring back"!
The flag itself has some stains and small holes, as well as overall age toning. The paint or ink used on the flag looks to have made the cloth delicate, so there are many areas where the writing is "hollow" with the fabric inside missing. The flag is definitely delicate and should be handled with care. It still has the intact corner reinforcements and ties, but we do no recommend hanging it. Under a glass table would be a much more appropriate display option.
The Good Luck Flag, known ashinomaru 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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