The History And Meaning Behind The Japanese Flag

Written byIchika Yamamoto

The national flag of Japan has the name Hinomaru, or translated to circle of the sun. By many around the world, the Japanese flag meaning has the loose translation ‘Land of the Rising Sun’. It is one of the most recognizable and iconic world flags. The Japanese flag colors are based solely as a white rectangle with a large red disk that represents the sun. Historically, the motif of the Japanese flag was used by the upper class citizens in government and samurai in battle. Emperor Mommu had one of the earliest incarnations of the flag in 701 AD, which was the first recorded appearance of the symbol.

Early History and Design

The origins of the Japanese flag history are unknown, but as stated previously have had a symbolic meaning to the nation since the 7th century. One legend of the Japanese flag linked the national flag to the Buddhist priest Nichiren, whom during the 13th century gave the sun banner to the soldiers of the Japanese army to defend against the Mongolian invasion. The representation of the sun in the flag was also stated to have relations to Amatertsu, the legendary goddess of the sun. In the 1850s, Japanese ships were required to hoist the Hinomaru flag to distinguish themselves from foreign ships. The design of the national flag was passed in 1870, with to requirements to be fulfilled. The first requirement was related to who flew the flag, and the second was related to how the flag was made. The flag of Japan has a seven unit length by 10 unit width, and the red center disc must be placed in the center, three fifths of hoist length.

Meanings and Perceptions of the Flag

In the 11th century, the sun disc and the rising sun versions of the flag began the predominant source of pride and love of nation in Japanese culture. In early Japanese culture,the Hinomaru flag was seen in relation to public events, festivals, and other occasions being displayed in homes and businesses across the country . This has changed in more recent times, but is still practiced by many citizens. The Japanese flag meanings and perception differ between its citizens. For many, it represents the nation of Japan, but a difference in opinion also links the flag with imperialism and intimidation. Overall, the Japanese flag has an enduring history despite any previous negativity denoted from the past. Most Japanese people recognized the Hinomaru as the official national flag before its adoption as the national flag in 1999.

The Flag and Maps Today

If you are planning to travel to Japan, the flag will be the symbol of welcome, tradition, and an enriched history of culture. Just as important as the Japanese flag, Japan maps are essential for travel, and has plenty of detailed political, population, and transportation maps of national Japan, as well as local and major city maps. Looking for subway maps of Tokyo? has these maps of Japan and maps for any country or flag around the world. Make world travel a bit more refreshing and informational by visiting today!

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Author: Ichika Yamamoto
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