Hinomaru – National Flag of Japan

by ebazaar 18 November 2009 No Comment

Japan is known as land of the rising sun, and they have a good reason to be called with this nickname. The sun in the Japanese history is something that is worshiped as a deity. As a matter of fact, the chief divinity in the Shinto pantheon is the sun goddess, Amaterasu Omikami. Through this, you can guess to what extend is the sun for the Japanese people in the olden times.

Japan national flagThe sun can also be seen from the national flag of Japan or more popularly known in Japan as ‘Hinomaru’ which literally means ‘sun disc’. However, the official name for it is actually ‘Nisshoki’ or ‘sun flag’. The national flag of Japan has a crimson disc symbolizing the sun naturally, and it is placed exactly in the center of the white field. There are certain measurement for the ‘sun disc’ to be located right in the center of the white field too. It was said that in 1870, during the Meiji period, the design and proportions of Japan’s national flag were fixed with vertical to horizontal ration was set at 2:3. the diameter of the disk was to equal three-fifths of the vertical measurement of the flag.

Before the current Japan’s national flag, there were a few other designs of the flag, although unofficial at that time. The flag was used more in the military field than in other fields. The Tokugawa shogunate (1603-1867) adopted the flag for its ships in the early 1600s. The Hinomaru was widely used on military banners in the Sengoku (Warring States) period of the 15th and 16th centuries.

In the mid-19th century the shogunate decreed that all Japanese ships fly flags with the sun on a white field. In 1870 the Meiji government officially designated it for use on Japanese merchant and naval ships. It has never been officially designated as the national flag; however, it has become so by customary use. But later on August 13, 1999, the flag was adopted nationally by the Japanese government through the Law Concerning the National Flag and Anthem.

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