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Name: Nisshōki or Hinomaru
Proportion: 2:3
Adopted: February 27, 1870 (as the civil ensign by Proclamation No. 57);
August 13, 1999 (as the national flag and slight modifications to the design of the flag)
Design: A red sun-disc centered on a white rectangular field
The national flag of Japan is a rectangular white banner bearing a crimson-red disc at its center. This flag is officially called Nisshōki (日章旗, the "sun-mark flag"), but is more commonly known in Japan as Hinomaru (日の丸, the "circle of the sun"). It embodies the country's sobriquet: Land of the Rising Sun.

The Nisshōki flag is designated as the national flag in the Law Regarding the National Flag and National Anthem, which was promulgated and became effective on August 13, 1999. Although no earlier legislation had specified a national flag, the sun-disc flag had already become the de facto national flag of Japan. Two proclamations issued in 1870 by the Daijō-kan, the governmental body of the early Meiji period, each had a provision for a design of the national flag. A sun-disc flag was adopted as the national flag for merchant ships under Proclamation No. 57 of Meiji 3 (issued on February 27, 1870), and as the national flag used by the Navy under Proclamation No. 651 of Meiji 3 (issued on October 27, 1870). Use of the Hinomaru was severely restricted during the early years of the Allied occupation of Japan after World War II; these restrictions were later relaxed.

The sun plays an important role in Japanese mythology and religion as the Emperor is said to be the direct descendant of the sun goddess Amaterasu and the legitimacy of the ruling house rested on this divine appointment and descent from the chief deity of the predominant Shinto religion. The name of the country as well as the design of the flag reflect this central importance of the sun. The ancient history Shoku Nihongi says that 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. During the Meiji Restoration, both the sun disc and the Rising Sun Ensign of the Imperial Japanese Navy became major symbols in the emerging Japanese Empire. Propaganda posters, textbooks, and films depicted the flag as a source of pride and patriotism. In Japanese homes, citizens were required to display the flag during national holidays, celebrations and other occasions as decreed by the government. Different tokens of devotion to Japan and its Emperor featuring the Hinomaru motif became popular during the Second Sino-Japanese War and other conflicts. These tokens ranged from slogans written on the flag to clothing items and dishes that resembled the flag.

Public perception of the national flag varies. Historically, both Western and Japanese sources claimed the flag was a powerful and enduring symbol to the Japanese. Since the end of World War II (the Pacific War), the use of the flag and the national anthem Kimigayo has been a contentious issue for Japan's public schools. Disputes about their use have led to protests and lawsuits. The flag is not frequently displayed in Japan due to its association with ultranationalism. To some Okinawans, the flag represents the events of World War II and the subsequent U.S. military presence there. For some nations that have been occupied by Japan, the flag is a symbol of aggression and imperialism. The Hinomaru was used as a tool against occupied nations for purposes of intimidation, asserting Japan's dominance, or subjugation. Several military banners of Japan are based on the Hinomaru, including the sunrayed naval ensign. The Hinomaru also serves as a template for other Japanese flags in public and private use.


  • 日本
  • Nippon/Nihon
Centered deep red circle on a white rectangle[2]
Golden circle subdivided by golden wedges with rounded outer edges and thin black outlines
Imperial Seal
Anthem: Kimigayo "君が代"
"His Imperial Majesty's Reign"
Government Seal of Japan
Seal of the Office of the Prime Minister and the Government of Japan
Go-Shichi no Kiri
Projection of Asia with Japan's Area coloured green
Area controlled by Japan shown in green – claimed, but uncontrolled shown in light green
and largest city
35°41′N 139°46′E / 35.683°N 139.767°E / 35.683; 139.767
Official languages None
National language Japanese
Ethnic groups
  • 98.5% Japanese
    • ┗Yamato people
    • ┗Ainu people
    • ┗Ryukyuan people
  • 0.5% Korean
  • 0.4% Chinese
  • 0.6% other
  • 51.8% Folk Shinto / None
  • 34.9% Buddhism
  • 4% Shinto sects
  • 2.3% Christianity
  • 0.1% Judaism
  • 7% No answer
Demonym(s) Japanese
Government Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy
• Emperor
• Prime Minister
Shinzō Abe
• Speaker of the House of Representatives
Tadamori Oshima
• President of the House of Councillors
Chuichi Date
• Chief Justice
Naoto Ōtani
Legislature National Diet
• Upper house
House of Councillors
• Lower house
House of Representatives
• National Foundation Day
February 11, 660 BC
• Meiji Constitution
November 29, 1890
Current constitution
May 3, 1947
San Francisco
Peace Treaty
April 28, 1952
• Total
377,973 km2 (145,936 sq mi) (61st)
• Water (%)
• October 2018 census
126,440,000 (10th)
• Density
334/km2 (865.1/sq mi) (41st)
GDP (PPP) 2018 estimate
• Total
$5.632 trillion (4th)
• Per capita
$44,550 (31st)
GDP (nominal) 2018 estimate
• Total
$5.071 trillion (3rd)
• Per capita
$40,106 (26th)
Gini (2011) 37.9
medium · 76th
HDI (2018) Increase 0.909
very high · 19th
Currency Yen (¥) / En (JPY)
Time zone UTC+9 (JST)
Date format
  • yyyy-mm-dd
  • yyyy年m月d日
  • Era yy年m月d日 (CE−1988)
Driving side left
Calling code +81
ISO 3166 code JP
Internet TLD .jp
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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Categories: Flags introduced in 1870,Flags introduced in 1999,Flags of Japan,National symbols of Japan,Empire of Japan,Postwar Japan,Red and white flags,National flags,1870 establishments in Japan, Japan,East Asian countries,G7 nations,G8 nations,G20 nations,Island countries,Member states of the United Nations,Northeast Asian countries

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