Flag For 04/08/2011
Rising Sun Flag of Japan (Naval ensign)
The design is similar to the flag of Japan in that it has a red circle close to the middle signifying the sun, the difference being the addition of extra sun rays (16 for the ensign) exemplifying the name of Japan as "The Land of the Rising Sun". The Imperial Japanese Army first adopted the Rising Sun Flag in 1870. The Imperial Japanese Army and the Imperial Japanese Navy both had a version of the flag; the naval ensign was off-set, with the red sun closer to the lanyard side, while the army's version (which was part of the regimental colors) was centered. It was adopted in 1889. The flag was used in overseas actions from the Meiji period to World War II. When Japan was defeated in August 1945, the flag was banned by Allied Occupation authorities. However with the re-establishment of a Self-Defense Force the flag was re-adopted in 1954. The flag with 16 rays is today the ensign of the Maritime Self-Defense Force while the Ground Self-Defense Force uses an 8 ray version. This flag is often considered offensive in China and Korea, where it is considered as a symbol of Japanese militarism and imperialism, and often referred to as the "militarist flag of Japan" in China.