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Prayer good luck flag with kanji

Article about: Just wanted to share a Prayer good luck flag with kanji, I picked up a couple of weeks ago.

  1. #11


    Last edited by fbeaty; 06-29-2016 at 11:52 PM.

  2. #12


    Quote by fbeaty View Post
    Respectfully disagree with the opinion. I have other people opinions that agree to the originality of the prayer flag...and the writings with numerous signatures....
    Hello Frank,

    With respect, I think you need to take another look at that flag. I have no doubt that the slogans, hanko and signatures say what you suggest, nor that your sources gave you the information in good faith. However, are they experienced collectors of such items or simply providing translations or confirming what is written? I suspect the latter because aside from the red flag Nick has mentioned there are others in my view.

    Are the flag, kanji and the hanko period authentic? I can't say for sure without an in hand examination. I can say that Good Luck flags were once a primary collecting focus of mine and I've had a pretty good look at a couple hundred. Yours is not one I'd feel comfortable with in my collection.

    I'll close saying I could well be incorrect but feel it's worth your while having another look. In particular at the stroke composition from start to finish. Solid, thick strokes with ink blobs at the ends are something I associate to flags signed with markers rather than brushes. I'm seeing too many for comfort on the flag.

    If you have not done so already black lighting the ink might prove worthwhile.

    Either way I wish you well in your collecting endeavours.


  3. #13


    Frank, if memory serves me Dr. Michael Bortner, author of what I consider to be the best reference book available on Good Luck flags, is still an active member here using screen name MichaelB. I believe his name was mentioned to you over on your WAF thread too. I suggest you send a PM asking him to take a look at this thread. His input might be of benefit to us all.


  4. #14


    Thanks Stu W...great input. I did black Light the ink and flag...nothing unusual there...and located blood through out flag. Rust color too. What was pointed out to many different types of handwriting...example the man who signed the date put his signature nearby. So there are multiple types of different handwriting. Some areas are strong and think...others are weak.

  5. #15


    I again double checked the ink...and there is no bubles...I definitely see wide darker areas...and then smaller thin areas. Maybe because of my lighting it looks thicker in pics...but is worn and faded wear and ink.

  6. #16


    Hi Frank,

    That's good news and is one of the reasons I mentioned that "in hand" is always the best way to examine such an item. I'll check back here in a day or two and see what Mike has to say. He often has thoughts that come from vast experience in this field.

    I'll take this opportunity to give Mike a plug ... his book is outstanding and worth the price even if Good Luck flags are not ones primary collecting focus. It's more than just a book about flags. It goes into senninbari in various forms and has some outstanding photographs and historical content as well.

    Here is a link ... Get History Today - Home


  7. #17


    I did attempt to contact MB... Also I have a couple of pics with the night light...The signed flag is silk, secondary flag is Rayon..

    Also I don't disagree in ref. to the oddities in the written Kanji, my only disagreement is ref...this being faked.

    This is what I am told...about one of the slogans.

    米 and 英 are usually used to refer to America and Britain, respectively. There is a well-known slogan 鬼畜米英 Kichikubeiei Satanic America and Britain in this era, and the radical 犭 kemonohen means "beast", so these two characters would be used to represent 鬼畜米英 here, I suppose.)
    Kemonohen is a radical, not a kanji. Those two Chinese characters "犭+米" and "犭+英" do exist, but they are very uncommon even in Chinese, and have nothing to do with America and Britain. I said my guess is that the writer would use them to represent 鬼畜米英 as a kind of wordplay.
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  8. #18


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  9. #19


    I was asked a couple of weeks ago to review some images of Frank's flag and to provide an opinion on it. I examined the listed images posted on another forum as well as those seen here. I want to first say that I dislike the use of the words that were initially used to describe people of Japanese descent, and therefore skipped over that thread after seeing the post. It appears that this was somewhat corrected by the mods and the discussion proceeded.
    I agree with Stu that looking at anything via images is never ideal and so one has to provide an opinion with a caveat when doing so. With that being said, some of the observations that I made follow: the large/bold horizontal slogans across the top of the flag appear fine to me, although it's not common practice to see them placed on top of each other in this fashion. When it's done, you normally see only one primary slogan written horizontally across the top. I don't think that I own any flags (although I might be wrong) where 2 slogans are written in this manner. When you see large "charactered" slogans written together it is usually done vertically, side by side.
    The material of the flag looks like age toned silk that has darkened to a bit of a cream color typical of old silk flags. The corner tabs look like typical thin leather or worn brown paper tabs, but it's difficult to determine. The shrine seal in the upper right-hand corner appears to be good to me as well. I cannot comment on the seal to the left of that nor can I comment on the seal in the lower right-hand corner. Based upon Frank's images, the flag does not glow under black light (a good sign).
    The signatures appear to have been placed by a number of different hands, and from reviewing the images appear to be okay. So, there are a couple of other things that remain: some of the writing looks too thin or lacks boldness typical of those placed by a Japanese writer, and Some of the lines may be written in the wrong direction. In addition, there have been comments based upon the nuances of a couple of the the characters used which was addressed and which I will not pick back up.
    Regarding the various strokes of some of the characters, I will post images of other flag examples and provide some comments in the next post.


  10. #20

    Default "Prayer" flag...

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    Here are 2 flags in my collection that have characters placed in varying degrees of "boldness" and consistency. As Stu pointed out, thin strokes could be a sign of a marker being used or in some instances a pen or fountain pen. Good luck flags have their characters placed by brush using ink and the strokes are often thick and sweeping. This is not always the case, however. On page 19 of the book, Imperial Japanese Good Luck Flags...... there is a World War Two period photograph showing a send-off with nobori and good luck signed flags. The good luck flag illustrated on the right-hand side has its primary slogan (Buun Chokyu) written in very thin, almost juvenile like fashion. This is not typical of the boldness that one normally associates with the Japanese perception or feeling behind this slogan. When discussing "Buun Chokyu" we (non-World War Two Japanese) tend to misunderstand just how much feeling was attached to that statement. Nevertheless, the lack of bold, sweeping strokes is plainly evident and I have seen "wimpy" styles of writing time and again. Also, the flag on page 67 has the day, month, year placed upon it as does Frank's flag. This is something seen enough, although it is not typical. I don't think that it's necessary to re-mention too that if you have a good luck flag in hand and observe that the characters are in magic marker.....well......
    As for the direction of the characters: the traditional Japanese writing system used to apply the ideograms in a right to left fashion. It's important to note that changes were made and are continuing to be made to the Japanese system of writing today. Numerous adaptions were made in the 19th and 20th centuries primarily to kanji and kana. In that period of time the authorities switched the direction of the characters from left to right giving us modern Japanese. In the 1920's for instance, changes were made to kanji that were adopted by people in some regions of the country and in territories under Japanese control. This was not the case everywhere, however. Additionally some people remained stuck in the way that they had first learned to write and didn't always comply with the new rules. That is one of the reasons for sometimes seeing lines of characters "written in the wrong direction".
    As I have not seen this flag "in person" that is about all that I can say with regard to it. Unless there are other gross shortcomings that have been fully brought to light elsewhere, there is not much more that I can say about this flag. Typical errors in fabrication that may be observed should lead anyone to reject a good luck flag of that type. ....But based upon the photographic evidence, I would say that this flag looks good to me.


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