present flag of Japan
is a white cloth with a red circle in the middle, which symbolizes the rising
sun. It is no coincidence that such a symbol has been chosen, and it reminds us
of how they synonymously call Japan
- Land of the Rising Sun. The proportions of the flag are 2:3, and the diameter
of a circle is 3/5 the width of the flag. If we get deep into the symbolism of
the flag of Japan,
it is possible to determine that purity and integrity are expressed with white
background and a red circle means warmness, brightness and sincerity.
accordance with Law Regarding the National Flag and
National Anthem dated as of August 13, 1999, the official name of the flag in Japanese is
Nissho:ki (Sun-mark flag), though Hi-no-maru (sun disk) is considered more
common and popular. There are some versions about the origin of Hi-no-maru as a Japanese symbol.
historians believe that the prototype of Hi-no-maru
appeared in the Heian period, when
this symbol was depicted on the standards of commanders. It was believed that
this symbol would draw power of the sun and give strength to the army.
According to one of the legends, the first Emperor of Japan – Jimmu had won a crushing victory over
the enemy, when the sun was behind his troops, and thus blinded their opponents.
legend says that the Japanese flag was created by a Buddhist monk Nichiren, and after attempts of Mongols
to invade the Japanese islands had been rejected, he handed the flag to shogun. According to another version,
the flag with a red circle was presented to the shogun by a samurai.
what was the reason for Hi-no-maru to
become the official symbol of Japan?
First, it is the divine origin of the Emperor, "the son of the sun",
that is, the Emperor was identified with the sun. Second, it is impact of
Shintoism with its color symbolism where red means the color of life, the sun’s
energy and fire, and white - the color of purity. Third, the significant role was
played by the geographical factor, because in China
it was believed that Japanese
Islands were located near
the eastern edge of the earth and the sun rose from there.
Hi-no-maru as a national symbol can
be attributed to the Meiji
Restoration (1867-1868) after which the flag of Hi-no-maru was to be installed on every merchant vessel. During the
Second World War, the international community has taken the flag as a symbol of
Japanese militarism. And, of course, right after the war there began controversial
debate in Japan
about the change of flag, but in the industrial, economic, political and social
bustle of the country’s post-war revival out of the ruins, this debate has not
been brought to an end.
Thus, as a result of
social and political debates which re-emerged in the mid-90s, the above
mentioned Law Regarding the National Flag and National
Anthem was enacted and the date of enactment of the law has become the day of the