This page is part of © FOTW Flags Of The World website

Japan - Fact Sheet

Last modified: 2023-06-03 by zachary harden
Keywords: japan |
Links: FOTW homepage | search | disclaimer and copyright | write us | mirrors


Civil and State Flag and Ensign


Ground Self-Defense Forces
(War Flag)

[Self-Defense Forces]

Naval Ensign
(War Ensign)

[Naval Ensign]

See also:


Civil and State Flag/Ensign: A red disk on a white field. The disk is known as the Hinomaru, a mon representation of the sun. It can be used on land and sea by civilians and government (excluding military).

Ground Self-Defense Force (War Flag): A hinomaru with 7 red rays extending outward. A gold border lies partially around the edge.

Naval Ensign (War Ensign): A hinomaru set towards the hoist, with 16 red rays.

Adoption Date and related information

Although the hinomaru has been a symbol and flag of Japan for centuries (and unofficially a national flag since 1868), it was not officially adopted as the flag of Japan until 1999. The flag dimensions were set at 2:3.1

Following World War II, the War Ensign, which had been in use by the Japanese Navy since 7 October 1889 the flag use was discontinued as part of the treaty of San Francisco until 30 June 1954 when readopted for use by the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force. Proportions are 2:3.2

The War Flag was adopted 30 June 1954 as the flag of the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force.3 It's proportions are approximately 8:9.


1 Information provided by Graham Bartram (E-mail of 9 November 1998) and Nozomi Kariyasu (E-mail of 22 January 2000).
2 Nozomi Kariyasu, E-mail of 6 February 2000.
3 Christopher Southworth, E-mail of 5 May 2004.  

Artistic credits:

Flag of Japan by António Martins.
War flag by Kazutaka Nishiura, and Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg and ensign by Željko Heimer