The national flag of Japan, officially called Nisshōki (日章旗), is a white rectangular flag with a stylized sun as a red disk in the center
According to tradition, the Sun Goddess Amaterasu founded Japan about 2700 years ago. Sun Goddess Amaterasu is also believed to be the ancestor of Jimmu, the first emperor of Japan. Emperor Mommu used a sun flag in his court in 701. So, Sun symbolizes Japan and its Emperor.
Meaning of the sun on the Japanese flag
Red Sun Disk represents sun goddess 'Amaterasu', founder of Japan and ancestor of its emperors. It symbolizes bright future for Japan
Symbolism & meaning of colors of Japanese flag
White represents honesty, integrity, and purity of Japanese people
Adopted in 1889, the current Japanese Emperor's flag is a 16-petal chrysanthemum, colored in gold, centered on a red background with a 2:3 ratio. The crown prince and the crown princess use the same flags, except with a smaller chrysanthemum and a white border in the middle of the flags. The chrysanthemum has been associated with the Imperial throne since the rule of Emperor Go-Toba in the 12th century, but it did not become the exclusive symbol of the Imperial throne until 1868.
Flag of the Emperor
The Rising Sun Flag is a white field with a sun disc with 16 red rays in a Siemens star formation. On May 15, 1870, it was adopted as the war flag of the Imperial Japanese Army. The flag with 16 rays is today the ensign of the Maritime Self-Defense Force while the Ground Self-Defense Force uses an 8-ray version.
Rising Sun Flag
The Japanese Emperor is believed to be the direct descendant of the sun goddess Amaterasu. Emperor Monmu used a flag representing the sun in his court in 701, and this is the first recorded use of a sun-motif flag in Japan. The oldest existing flag is preserved in Unpō-ji temple, Kōshū, Yamanashi, which is older than the 16th century, and an ancient legend says that the flag was given to the temple by Emperor Go-Reizei in the 11th century. The flag embodies Japan's nickname as the Land of the Rising Sun. The rising sun seems to have had some symbolic meaning since the early 7th century (the Japanese archipelago is east of the Asian mainland, and is thus where the sun "rises" from the ocean). In 607, an official correspondence that began with "from the Emperor of the rising sun" was sent to Chinese Emperor Yang of Sui. One of Japan's oldest flags is housed at the Unpo-ji temple in Yamanashi Prefecture. Legend states it was given by Emperor Go-Reizei to Minamoto no Yoshimitsu and at least it is older than the 16th century. On May 2, 1947, General Douglas MacArthur lifted the restrictions on displaying the Hinomaru in the grounds of the National Diet Building, on the Imperial Palace, on the Prime Minister's residence and on the Supreme Court building with the ratification of the new Constitution of Japan. Those restrictions were further relaxed in 1948 when people were allowed to fly the flag on national holidays. In January 1949, the restrictions were abolished and anyone could fly the Hinomaru at any time without permission. When the Law Regarding the National Flag and National Anthem passed in 1999, the overall ratio of the flag was mandated to be two units width by three units length (2:3). The red disc was shifted towards dead center, but the overall size of the disc stayed the same. The background of the flag is white and the sun disc is red (beni iro), but the exact color shades were not defined (only mentions that it is a "deep" shade) The document was changed on March 21, 2008, and lists acrylic fiber and nylon as fibers that could be used in construction of flags used by the military. For acrylic, the red color is 5.7R 3.7/15.5 and white is N9.4; nylon has 6.2R 4/15.2 for red and N9.2 for white. In a document issued by the Official Development Assistance (ODA), the red color for the Hinomaru and the ODA logo is listed as DIC 156 and CMYK 0-100-90-0.
History of the Japanese flag
The flag may fly from sunrise until sunset; businesses and schools are permitted to fly the flag from opening to closing. When flying the flags of Japan and another country at the same time, the Japanese flag takes the position of honor and the flag of the guest country flies to its right. Both flags must be at the same height and of equal size. When more than one foreign flag is displayed, Japan's flag is arranged in the alphabetical order prescribed by the United Nations. When the flag becomes unsuitable to use, it is customarily burned in private.
Japanese flag display rules
The Hinomaru flag has at least two mourning styles. One is to display the flag at half-staff (半旗 Han-ki), as is common in many countries. The offices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs also hoist the flag at half-staff when a funeral is performed for a foreign nation's head of state. An alternative mourning style is to wrap the spherical finial with black cloth and place a black ribbon, known as a mourning flag (弔旗 Chō-ki), above the flag. This style dates back to the death of Emperor Meiji on July 30, 1912, and the Cabinet issued an ordinance stipulating that the national flag should be raised in mourning when the Emperor dies. Law Regarding the National Flag and Anthem decrees that "on entrance and graduation ceremonies, schools must raise the flag of Japan and instruct students to sing the "Kimigayo" (national anthem), given the significance of the flag and the song."
Japanese flag details
|Official name||Nisshōki||('sun-mark flag')|
|Popular name||Hi no maru|
|('circle of the sun')|
|Adopted||August 5, 1854 (de facto)|
|August 13, 1999 (de jure)|