Original Japanese WWII USGI Bring-Back Grouping - Hand Painted Good Luck Flag, Rank Insignia & Photo

Item Description

Original Item: One-of-a-kind. Just purchased from a private collector. This is a very nice USGI Bring-back grouping from WWII Japan. It has been very nicely matted and glazed in a lovely frame, measuring approximately 40"W x 34"H x 2". The back of the frame is signed "Grandfather Lester Cook.  James Cook", so we assume that this was brought back by Lester Cook. An excellent research opportunity.

The centerpiece of the grouping is definitely the hand painted good luck flag. It is marked with battle quotes such as "Banzai", and "Good Luck". As with many good luck flags, the flag is marked on the top with the Japanese phrase  久 長 運 武, which reads Bu un Chou kyu ("May your military fortunes be long lasting.").  To the right of these is the character , which means "Prayer", so this particular flag is praying for good luck in battle.

It is also signed with the names of  friends and family, radiating out from the enter. The flag measures approximately 28" x 33", and is made of what appears to be cotton muslin cloth, with the red "sun" dyed onto the middle. Flag is in very good condition and is the real deal, with lots of patina and service wear. The upper right corner is missing, possibly damaged when being captured.

Included with the flag inside the frame are additional bring back items:

  • A 2 1/2"W x 3 1/2"H photograph of a Japanese Army soldier, which we assume to be the one that the flag was captured from. The detail of the photo unfortunately does not allow us to see the rank insignia.
  • An Imperial Japanese Army Enlisted Collar Tab with three stars, indicating Sergeant Major Rank.
  • An Imperial Japanese Army Enlisted Shoulderboard with two stars, indicating Sergeant rank.

The two different rank insignia indicates that the soldier received a promotion from Sgt. to Sgt. Major at some time during the war. This is a really nice bring back grouping, with great potential. It is all framed and 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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