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Japanese military flags

Last modified: 2003-08-16 by phil nelson
Keywords: military flags: japan | sun ired) | rays | rising sun |
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Naval Ensign

[Naval Ensign] by Zeljko Heimer
2:3 [FIS Code]

Japan 1913 and 1941: the ensign is the same as today, white with a red disc slightly to the hoist with rays (16 to be precise) extending from the disc to the edges of the flag. The rays are the same as if the flag were gyrony of 32 gules and argent.
Nathan Augustine - 05 December 1995

The naval flag was introduced in 1889 and that has 16 rays extending from the Sun "Mon" to the edge of the flag. The flag was "banned" by the Treaty of San Francisco which prevent Japan from having her own armed forces, but in 1952 she started to build up "self-defence" forces. The naval forces readopted the naval ensign in 1954.

I believe, but may be mistaken, that the naval flag was also the war flag in the Second World War, in which case it would have been used by Japanese soldiers and bases. This may be why you think they removed the rays from the flag, but in fact both flags existed at the same time. The modern land "self-defence" force uses a flag with 8 rays with a gold edge (made of two shallow traingles on each edge).
Graham Bartram, 9 November 1998

The Naval Ensign was first adopted on October 7, 1889 and used until the end of World War II and re-adopted on June 30, 1954 as a Naval Ensign used by Japanese Maritime Self Defense Forces.
Nozomi Kariyasu, 6 February 2000

Anyone who has tried to draw the Japanese naval ensign will know that the 32 rays placed at 11.25degree intervals will not fit correctly (ie with rays at the corners) into a flag of 2:3. As far as I can see, there are two ways to do it, one is to alter the proportions of the flag, and the other is to adjust the rays, and for years I wondered how the Japanese did it?

A couple of years ago I managed to get a faxed copy (from Whitney Smith) of the law, which revived the flag, and (whilst it was in Japanese) fortunately had an illustration.
Christopher Southworth, 24 January 2003

I asked a JAVA member who is working for flag manufacturer about your question. His answer is to adjust rays to the flag but not change  proportion.Actually they hide rays with hoist edge. He has an official document showing flag specification but there is no statement on how to adjust rays  with 11.25 degree intervals. He is surprised to see Christpher notice this strange specification on naval ensign.
Nozomi Kariyasu, 27 January 2003

Ground Self Defense Forces

[Self Defense Forces] by Phil Nelson
[FIS Code]

The colors of the Ground Self Defense Forces were adopted on June 30, 1954.
Nozomi Kariyasu, 6 February 2000