Original Japanese WWII Service Used Cloth Rising Sun Army War Flag - 27" x 36"
Original Item: Only One Available. The Rising Sun Flag (旭日旗 Kyokujitsu-ki) design was originally used by feudal warlords in Japan during the Edo period. On May 15, 1870, as a policy of the Meiji government, it was adopted as the war flag of the Imperial Japanese Army, and on October 7, 1889, it was adopted as the naval ensign of the Imperial Japanese Navy (Naval flags have the sun off center to the left). With the sun in the center, this is a flag of the IJA (Imperial Japanese Army).
This is a very nice one piece rising sun flag that measures approximately 27" x 36", and is made of very fine woven cloth, most likely rayon. It is in lovely condition, with a dyed red "Sun" in the middle, with rays going out to the edge of the flag. It features remnants of the leather reinforcements without tie strings present.
The flag shows minor age toning from decades of storage. There also are some very small holes in the flag, possibly from insect damage or exposure to the elements.
Certainly brought back by a US Marine or Soldier from World War Two!
History and Design
The flag of Japan and the symbolism of the rising Sun has held symbolic meaning in Japan since the Asuka period (538–710 CE). The Japanese archipelago is east of the Asian mainland, and is thus where the Sun "rises". In 607 CE, an official correspondence that began with "from the Emperor of the rising sun" was sent to Chinese Emperor Yang of Sui. Japan is often referred to as "the land of the rising sun". In the 12th century work The Tale of the Heike, it was written that different samurai carried drawings of the Sun on their fans.
The Japanese word for Japan is 日本, which is pronounced 'Nihon' or 'Nippon', and literally means "the origin of the sun". The character nichi (日) means "sun" or "day"; hon (本) means "base" or "origin". The compound therefore means "origin of the sun" and is the source of the popular Western epithet "Land of the Rising Sun". The red disc symbolizes the Sun and the red lines are light rays shining from the rising sun.
The design of the Rising Sun Flag (Asahi) has been widely used since ancient times, and a part of it was called "Hiashi" (日足/ひあし) and used as the samurai's crest ("Hiashimon" (日足紋)). The flag was especially used by samurai in the Kyushu region. Examples include the "twelve sun-rays" (変わり十二日足) of the Ryūzōji clan (1186–1607 CE) in Hizen Province and the Kusano clan (草野氏) in Chikugo Province, and the "eight sun-rays" (八つ日足紋) of the Kikuchi clan (1070–1554 CE) in Higo Province. There is a theory that in many parts of the Kyushu region, Hizen and Higo are related to what was called "the country of Japan (Hi)"
There have been many types of Asahi flags since ancient times, and the design in which light rays spread in all directions without clouds expresses honored day or auspicious events, and was a design that was used for celebrating a good catch, childbirth and seasonal festivities. A well-known variant of the flag of the sun disc design is the sun disc with 16 red rays in a Siemens star formation. The Rising Sun Flag (旭日 旗, Kyokujitsu-ki) has been used as a traditional national symbol of Japan since at least the Edo period (1603 CE). It is featured in artwork such as ukiyo-e prints, one example being the Lucky Gods' visit to Enoshima ukiyo-e print by Utagawa Yoshiiku in 1869 and the One Hundred Views of Osaka, Three Great Bridges print by Utagawa Kunikazu in 1854. The Fujiyama Tea Co. used it as a wooden box label of Japanese green tea for export in the Meiji period (1880s).
The Rising Sun Flag was historically used by the daimyō (大名) and Japan's military, particularly the Imperial Japanese Army and the Imperial Japanese Navy. The ensign, known in Japanese as the Jyūrokujō-Kyokujitsu-ki (十六条旭日旗), was first adopted as the war flag on May 15, 1870, and was used until the end of World War II in 1945. It was re-adopted on June 30, 1954, and is now used by the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF). The Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) and Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) use a variation of the Rising Sun Flag with red, white and gold colors.
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 flags were used until Japan's surrender in World War II during August 1945. After the establishment of the Japan Self-Defense Forces in 1954, the off-set Rising Sun Flag was re-adopted for the JMSDF and a new 8-rays Rising Sun Flag with a yellow border for the JGSDF and JSDF was approved by the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (SCAP/GHQ). The flag with the off-set sun and 16 rays is the ensign of the Maritime Self-Defense Force, but it was modified with a different color red. The old flag is darker red (RGB #b12d3d) and the post-WW2 modified version is brighter red (RGB #bd0029).
The Imperial Japanese Army flag with symmetrical 16 rays and a 2:3 ratio was abolished. The Japan Self-Defense Forces and the Ground Self-Defense Force use a significantly different Rising Sun Flag with 8-rays and an 8:9 ratio. The edges of the rays are asymmetrical since they form angles 19, 21, 26 and 24 degrees. It also has indentations for the yellow (golden) irregular triangles along borders. The JSDF Rising Sun Flag was adopted by a law/order/decree published in the Official Gazette of June 30, 1954.
Regardless of the military flag, before the Meiji period, the design of Asahi was used for prayers, festivals, celebration events, reconstruction, logos of companies and products, big catch flags (Tairyō-bata), corporate and product logos and sports.
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