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I need help with IJN FLAGS

Article about: Hello, I need help with Japanese WW2 naval flags. Specifically where they were made, who did all that hand stitching!, and a size guide for various ships (is there a chart similar to Ben Wee

  1. #1

    Default I need help with IJN FLAGS

    I need help with IJN FLAGSHello,

    I need help with Japanese WW2 naval flags. Specifically where they were made, who did all that hand stitching!, and a size guide for various ships (is there a chart similar to Ben Weed's Kriegs flag sizes by type/tonnage)?

    I have a few IJN flags and would like to determine what type vessel they may have been used on.

    This photo is a large flag. About 101” x 154”. The rope and header are missing but it is an authentic flag.


  2. #2


    I need help with IJN FLAGSI need help with IJN FLAGS

    Here are a couple of smaller flags. Roughly 3’x 5’ each. Also hand stitched out of many pieces of material.

  3. #3


    After looking into some old posts on WAF I found the following info:

    Wehrmacht-Awards.com Militaria Forums
    01-10-2015, 11:58 AM
    I just realized that there is some confusion regarding the metric conversion rate to be used on IJN naval flag sizes and suspect I used the wrong rate.
    Navy flags specs are actually not in metric, but measured in terms of how many standard sized fabric widths were necessary to make them. So to be faithful to the specs, sizes were from the smallest 1.5幅, 2幅, 3幅, 4幅, 6幅 and 8幅.These would also appear as the size marking on the flag. So a naval flag in size 3 will be marked 軍三 in ink. 幅means width, and normally pronounced haba or fuku, but for Kimono fabric it was pronounced as no, so 2幅 was read as Futano instead of Futahaba.
    Anyway 1幅, or Hitono was a measure based on Japan's old whale baleen scale and is generally known as an unit of 36cm. However by referring to the specs of the current Maritime Self Defense Forces, which are expressed both in metric and 幅 (Current flag sizes are 1幅, 1.5幅, 2幅, 3幅 and 4幅) as well as actual measurements of IJN flags, the correct conversion rate for 1幅 appears to be a totally different measure of 66.7cm in case of the IJN and 64.5cm for the MSDF.
    So actual flag widths recalculated based on these units would be like follows

    Size IJN flag width

    1.5 幅 100cm
    2 幅 133cm
    3 幅 200cm x 123 Known example in collection
    4 幅 266.8cm
    6 幅 400cm
    8 幅 534cm x 360 From Battleship Nagato
    Last edited by Nick Komiya; 01-10-2015, 12:03 PM.

  4. #4


    Didn't see this till now as you posted on the wrong forum. Yours is a size 6. The chart you seek is here.The Banner of Golden Brocade

    The swallow-tailed flag denotes a Commodore being in command of the vessel.

  5. #5


    YOUR 8 PAGE FORUM THREAD ON JAPANESE FLAGS IS AWESOME! I find the information very helpful. Do you have anything you can add about the construction of the naval flags, such as who were the flag makers? Why did they use hand stitching for the flags (I would assume there were sewing machines available in Japan pre-WW2?) I have about 20 various IJN flags ranging from ensigns to jacks to signal and rank flags. The hand stitching is so impressive. The lines are perfect. Maybe you could add information about the small paper labels sewn on many of these navy flags?

    Is there a different forum containing discussion about ranks flags?


    Thom Durbin

  6. #6


    Please post your further questions in the Japanese Militaria Forum and not the General Axis forum and I will answer your questions there. The flags were typically sewn at a Women's Cooperative located near the naval bases. Probably you are referring to labels that indicate this, but please upload your photos in the correct forum as a new thread.

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