Let me tell you a little story about the Japanese flag that will surely ignite your desire to learn Japanese!
Picture this: a vibrant red circle perfectly centered on a clean white background. It’s like a fiery sun rising over a snowy mountain, symbolizing the beauty and harmony of the country. Yes, I’m talking about the national flag of Japan!
Hold on to your hats because we’re about to discover that Japan is more than just a one-trick pony with its national flag. There are not one or two, but three mighty flags that proudly wave in the wind, symbolizing their respective nation, the imperial family, and the honorable military.
The Revolution Of Japanese Flags
Brace yourself, my friend, for I am about to reveal a world of fascinating information that will leave you hungry for more! Keep those eyes glued to the screen because what’s about to unfold will blow your mind!
Let’s take a journey to explore the fascinating evolution and symbolism behind Japan’s different flags. We’ll journey through time, exploring the cultural changes and historical events that shaped these symbols. It’s a great way to understand better and appreciate Japan’s rich heritage and identity.
Let’s unravel these unique tales together!
Official National Flag
Imagine you’re watching the Olympic Games, and the winner of the gold medal is from Japan. You’ll see the Japanese national flag waving proudly and hear the Japanese national anthem playing in the background. It’s got that pure white background with the red disc in the center.
Oh, yeah! That’s the Japanese flag.
What Is The Red Dot On The Japanese Flag?
Did you know that there is a place called “the land of the rising sun?” For many years, it has served as a symbol of Japan. So, the red dot is the sun, of course.
The Japanese Emperor Meiji and his family had their own flags made beginning in 1870. The current Emperor’s flag has a golden chrysanthemum with 16 petals. Since the reign of Emperor Go-Toba in the 12th century, the chrysanthemum has been a symbol of the Imperial throne. However, it wasn’t until 1868 that it became the exclusive sign of the Imperial throne.
I’m sure you’ve seen those Japanese historical movies, especially the ones about World War II. Do you know that famous symbol with the red sun disc and 16 red rays on a white background? Yes, it’s the Rising Sun flag. The one that represents Japan’s militarism.
Pre-World War II Military Flags
Back in the day, Japan’s military, like the Imperial Japanese Army and Navy, used the Rising Sun flag. It represents a war flag and was used until the end of World War II in 1945. Pretty interesting, right?
The Rising Sun Flag Used From 1868 To 1945
Interestingly, the Imperial Japanese Army flag was introduced as a war flag on 15 May 1870, yet the Japanese naval flag was presented later, in 1889.
It has a slightly different design compared to the army version. So, in the version for the Imperial Japanese Navy, they placed the red disc slightly to the left. But they put the red disc in the center for the Imperial Japanese Army version.
Post-World War II Military Flags (1954 – Present)
After World War II ended, Japan formed the Japan Self-Defense Forces in 1954. Here, they made the new introductions on their flags. Let’s check them out!
The Rising Sun Flag Used For The Japan Ground Self-Defence Force
From 1954 until the present, the flag with a centered red disc, eight red rays spreading outward, and a gold border partly around the edge has been used by the Japan Self-Defense Forces and the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force.
The Rising Sun Flag Used For The Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force
The flag used for the Imperial Japanese Navy, which had been gone following the end of the Second World War, returned to use on 30 June 1954, particularly for the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force. However, the red disc is more vibrant and saturated in the version introduced after World War II.
Is The Rising Sun Flag Illegal?
Did you know that the Rising Sun flag is seen as having a stigmatizing meaning in China and Korea?
So, these ex-colonies say that this flag represents Japanese aggression during WWII. Something similar occurred when Japanese fans at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics cheered and waved the Rising Sun flag. The South Korean government has been outspoken in its criticism, and some officials have even compared it to the Nazi swastika.
Japan has not taken action despite mounting criticism from former colonial countries like South Korea. Japan’s foreign ministry explained the flag’s history from a broader perspective, not just focusing on Japan’s role in WWII.
Even while it’s not illegal to fly the flag, doing so in South Korea or China raises serious eyebrows due to the flag’s historical associations with Japanese militarism and imperialism.
Useful Vocabulary About Flag
Alright, Japanese learners! Let’s dive headfirst into the fascinating realm of Japanese words! Are you ready? Let’s do this!
|Rising Sun Flag||旭日旗||Kyokujitsuki|
|Flag of the sun||日章旗||Nisshōki|
|Ball of the sun||日の丸||Hinomaru|
|Imperial chrysanthemum crest, imperial seal of Japan||菊花紋章||Kikuka monshou|
Flags in Japan have profound symbolic meaning. These magnificent pieces of fabric are not just mere symbols. They’re like time machines transporting us to different eras of Japan’s rich history and vibrant culture. It’s like diving into a treasure trove of knowledge for all Japanese language learners out there!
Now, imagine yourself standing in the heart of Tokyo, surrounded by the bustling cityscape, as you proudly communicate with locals in their native language. Why on earth would you want to wait when you could be seizing the day, living life to the fullest, and embarking on the Japanese language?
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