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Historical flags of Japan

Last modified: 2002-02-23 by phil nelson
Keywords: lu chu kingdom | japan: lu chu kingdom | daimyo |
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Feudal (Daimyo) flags

[Daimyo flag]  [Daimyo flag]
by Jaume Ollé

The Tokugawa family had ruled Japan politically for 300 years until the Meiji government was established in 1868 and in 1871 the court dismissed its Daimyo governors and consolidated their domains (about 300 HANs all in Japan) into more rationally structured prefectures (KEN). In the period of war among the states (1467-1603) there was 68 KUNI's and each KUNI was ruled by Daimyo feudal lord, each having beautiful colorful flags based on Japanese Mon. The flags were called Daimyo flags in English and Hata-sashimono in Japanese.

After the lengthy warring period Tokugawa Ieyasu received the title of shogun from the emperor in 1603 three years after achieving military supremacy over all the daimyo of Japan in the decisive Battle of Sekigahara in 1600.
Nozomi Kariyasu, 01 April 1998, February 2000

In 1868 the Meiji Restoration occurred in 1868, which means that the Emperor was restored a political power from Shogun of the Tokugawa family which had been set up by Ieyasu Tokugawa in 1603 after Big battle of Sekigahara in 1600 when we can see lots of Sengoku daimyo's flags.

For the 265 previous years Emperors had only a nominal political power.

'Daimyo' is a big manor in again straight English translation and Daimyo is not a aristocracy but a big samurai (guard soldier employed for Aristocracy originally).

'Shogun' is a General, greatest soldier (Super Daimyo similarly) in English for Emperor originally but in 1192 Yoritomo Minamoto, a Shogun took political and social power and then for long years most of Daimyo tried to become Shogun Greatest Daimyo in Japan such as Oda, Toyotomi, Tokugawa family.

There was no longer political presence of Daimyo family after Meiji Restoration.

Then Japan became a modern (in the Western concept) state . That's why we had to introduce a 2:3 proportion state flag besides the Emperor's flag and/or the family's flag .

The Japanese prefecture government is nothing to do with any particular regional family like Daimyo but just public/governmental organization.

The emblem put in the center in most cases of current Japanese prefectural flags may look similar to Mon to average Western peoples but different because Mon always belongs to a family.
Nozomi Kariyasu, 04 January 2000

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