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Okinawa (Japan)


Last modified: 2023-06-03 by zachary harden
Keywords: okinawa | japan | ryu-kyu | disc (red) | letter: o | neyagawa | urasoe |
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image by Kazutaka Nishiura, 28 March 2015

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Description of the flag

White O letter in red disc on white field. O is the prefecture initial letter. The inner small red disc stands for progress of Okinawa and outer red circle for sea surrounding Okinawa. Adopted 1972-10-13.
Nozomi Kariyasu, 06 May 1998

The construction sheet of the Okinawa Prefecture flag is on the prefecture website. The ratio is 2x3, and the drawing is given at 14x21. The emblem of the prefecture is 10 by 10 units and it is centered on the flag. The giant circle is 10x10, the middle circle is 7x7 and the smallest circle is 4.5x4.5. On the height of the flag, the top of the middle circle is placed at 2.5 and the top of the smallest circle is at 3. The red color of the flag is Munsell 3.5R 4/16. Attached is my drawing of the flag.
Zachary Harden, 8 September 2009

The prefecture emblem was adopted on May 15th 1973 by Notice No 3 and the flag was adopted on Oct 13th 1973 by Notice No 135. The flag proportion is 2: 3.
Nozomi Kariyasu, 28 March 2015

The Symbolism

The symbol on the Okinawan flag of today brought out a great deal of discussion and even threats of law suits while it was being formulated. The initial colors used blue as the outer disk. As such, if placed on its side, disks towards the hoist, it would have been identical with the the Mon used by the most prominent Okinawan martial arts organization. This quite possibly reflects that that organization was really the only native organization which received equal status with organizations throughout Japan.
From 1879 until 1945, the Japanese had strived to squelch the Okinawan culture, and to impose their own. This was especially true through education, where children would be severely punished if they used the Okinawan language in school, even among themselves. The colors were changed to Red on White on Red, but the significance to the Okinawans remains clear -- if they are to be a part of Japan, then they are equal to any other prefecture in the nation.
Bruce Ward - 06 May 1996

Original Okinawa flag design
[Okinawa - initial design]
by Antonio Martins

It seemed that this was to be the preferred logo on the prefecture flag just prior to "reversion" to Japan. However, a threatened lawsuit by a martial arts organization over the design forced the selected logo to be only in red and white.

Martial Arts logo
[Okinawa - martial arts]
by Antonio Martins

Logo of the premier martial arts organization in Okinawa, and indeed all of Japan, in the early 1970s. The organization threatened suit to prevent the new prefecture government from using the red-white-blue logo for itself. The government backed down and used red-white-red.
Bruce Ward - 1996-12-07

Sports Association

[Okinawa Sports Association]
image by Zachary Harden, 15 November 2017

Okinawa uses an emblem on white. (Source)
Zachary Harden, 15 November 2017

Municipal flags of Okinawa