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Okinawa (Japan)

Last modified: 2000-01-14 by phil nelson
Keywords: okinawa | japan | ryu-kyu | disc (red) | letter: o |
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by Pascal Gross - 1998-05-05

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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 - 1998-05-06

History of the prefecture

For a long time they had a pennant shaped flag, white, with the word "Ryukyu" in red, which was flown in conjunction with the Japanese flag.
James Dignan - 1996-01-31

The prefecture of Okinawa was established on 16 May 1972 when Okinawa and the Ryukyu islands, wich had been administered by the United States since 1945, were restored to Japan. Immediately after the Second World War the islands' ships wore a flag of yellow over blue over yellow with the blue of double width and a triangle cut of the fly. On 1 July 1967 the Japanese flag was restored, but with a white triangular pennant above it with the name "Ryukyus" in Japanese and English in red lettering. When the islands were once more part of Japan, the present flag, which is like that of Japan, i.e. white with a red sun disc in the centre, was established. In this case, however, the Mon is composed of another disc in white superimposed on the red one, and a third red one superimposed on that. The discs are not concentric, but the two latter are 'stepped up' towards the top. [bar]
Mark Sensen - 1996-05-03

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 severly punished if they used the Okinawan language in school, even amoung 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 - 1996-05-06

[Okinawa - initial design]
by Bruce Ward - 1996-12-07

It seemed that this was to be the prefered logo on the prefectural 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.

[Okinawa - martial arts]
by Bruce Ward - 1996-12-07

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