Kimono Flea Market ICHIROYA's News Letter No552


This morning, at 10:00 A.M. Japan time, at World Cup Succer games, Japan team fought  with Cote d'levoir and lost - it was the first game for team Japan and there have been a lot of expectations.

It seemed the roads were less crowded today-we could assume, many people stayed home, being glued to TV on this Sunday morning.  Well, there must have been quite a lot of pressure for the players, we hope the players can relax and try their way in next game.


Today, we like to talk about our National flag. National flags are just flags but the design and the colors have the history and background of each country. For example, the three colors of the flag of Cote d'levoir, represent savvanna(orange), peace(white) and forest(green).

Japanese flag is quite simple design, yet has a strong impact, we think. It looks easy to draw but the balance of the red circle and the rest of the part, is actually very difficult! It used to be, each house has put flags at the entrance of house on National holidays, it was quite common sight of ordinary families but it is so seldom to see the sight (and having a flag at home)any more.

Who and when the flag has been decided as a National flag?

Japan is often said as `The land of the rising Sun', and the disc(cirle) in the center of Japanese flag is the sun. There is not a certain clear origin about this design.

You may have seen a famous secne of Ushiwakamaru and Benkei on the Gojo Ohashi bridge:


The two big clans, Minamoto and Taira fought for a long time. Yoshitsune(Ushiwakamaru) had this fan with the red disc design.

If Taira clan won in Genpei gassen, Japanese flag might have been quite different- white disc in the center and the back ground color was red! The samurai appeared after Genpei gassen used the flag. Nobunaga(Oda) and Ieyasu(Tokugawa)thought they have the spirits of Minamoto clan and started to use the flag at the battle afterwords. When Nobunaga and Ieysas cooperated each other, they used the flag .

Also when Perry came(1853) from US, the Japanese at that time welcomed them and showed the flag as the simbol of he country. 


Sometims Japanese flag is linked with Militarism, but the flag has been settled through the 1000 years of culture background and has been decided as a Japanese flag by the government. The flag was born through the natural background not through a small religious group or too patriatic people.

In our ordinary life, we do not think about our flag at all,  but at special occasion, such as World Cup Succer we see our flag and  feel impressed(and proud!).

Watching soccer games is exciting and watching the flag of one's own country, we feel like a supporter of the team. Our flag is called Hinomaru in Japanese.


photo by Yasunari(康就) Nakamura(