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The symbolism of Japan’s prefectural flags

November 9, 2016


The bureaucratic administration of Japan is divided into three basic levels; national, prefectural and municipal. Below the national level are 47 parts, or prefectures, and the minimalist symbolism in the prefectural flags is appealing, with most designs incorporating highly stylised letters from the Japanese writing system.

Flag of FukuokaFlag of Fukuoka. Stylised hiragana of ふく (fuku). Also represents ume (plum), the prefectural flower.

Flag of GifuFlag of Gifu. Stylised kanji 岐 (gi). The emblem expresses peace and harmony. Green for the nature of Gifu.

Flag of IbarakiFlag of Ibaraki. The prefectural flower rose on blue field. Blue for the Pacific Ocean and Mount Tsukuba.

Flag of KagawaFlag of Kagawa. Stylised and slightly rotated katakana of カ (ka). Also represents mountains, and leaves of the olive, the prefectural tree.

Flag of KyotoFlag of Kyoto. Stylized kanji of 京 (kyō).

Flag of MiyagiFlag of Miyagi. Stylised hiragana of み (mi). Also represents the miyaginohagi (lespedeza), the prefectural flower.

Flag of TottoriFlag of Tottori. The symbol represents the hiragana と (to) and a bird (tori) to form a rebus of Tottori.

All prefectural flags are on Wikipedia.

Below the level of prefectures are the municipalities. They also have flags with nicely considered symbolism and, for the most part, appropriate restraint.

Via @TheLogoFactory.

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