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Please help me translate this flag

MPaws

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Good morning. I am new to the forum and I love history. In 1946 my father brought this small flag back with him from the South Pacific. Being a history buff, I like to know the stories behind the things I collect so I may share the information with others. Can anyone help me translate what is written on the flag? Thank you all for your help.
20141110_112218.jpg
20141110_112218.jpg
 

Majestic

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The main four characters to the right in your picture are > 武運長久 = Good luck in battle (a common phrase usually found on such items)

The other characters are names and one or two patriotic slogans - but the writing is a bit too stylized for me to make out. Looks like your uncle stumbled across a platoon of calligraphers.
 

Mike Cash

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Bottom is 九州市三井部 and 努力?in the bottom left. Center is 中立, perhaps?

Top left looks like 為国戦

Too center 日本士??
 

MPaws

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Thank you very much for the help. It is greatly appreciated
 

Toritoribe

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Hmm, I have some doubt if that's a genuine one; the reasons are 1)the proportion of the center red circle to the entire flag is odd, 2)they used the flag longitudinally, and above all, 3)I don't think the phrase at the bottom 第二次世界大戦日本亡為国戦 Japan perished by WWⅡ and the name of a non-existent location 九州市三井部 are appropriate.
 

Mike Cash

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Thank you very much for the help. It is greatly appreciated

We're not done yet. Wait a bit and somebody who is actually good at this will come along. [EDIT: See?]
 

MPaws

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Thank you again. This flag is is a mystery. The flags size puzzles me also. It is approx 12" X 14". From what I have read, traditional prayer flags are much larger. So here is the question...What kind of flag is it? It was with my father's WW2 memorabilia along with a map of Iwo Jima. I enjoy studying about that time period and would like to be able to speak intelligently about it. Thank you for your help.
 

Majestic

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The flag has a few "problems" with it: the orientation, the legibility (or illegibility), the odd writings. I don't know enough about the size of these things to make even a wild guess as to why this is one size and not another, but the size doesn't seem to be as big of a problem as the actual writing.

One possibility is that someone created this flag after the war so that it would look like a Japanese soldier's flag (maybe in order to sell it or trade it to someone who couldn't really read the writings) - in other words, a fake war souvenir. Maybe its an authentic soldier's flag that someone with some familiarity with kanji tried to mark up, again, in order to try to add some authenticity to it.

There is a faint red seal (a square outline with some characters in it) near the edge of the red circle on the bottom left quadrant. I would be interested to see a better picture of this. It might have a hint that could tell us a bit more.
 

caster55

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I think it is just a souvenir in south east asia?
the Japanese did not use name of WW2 at that time.
the value of this one is less than toilet paper
this one is not Good Luck Flag by friends
only one person wrote it without name
 
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Mike Cash

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I think it is just a souvenir in south east asia?
the Japanese did not use name of WW2 at that time.
the value of this one is less than toilet paper
this one is not Good Luck Flag by friends
only one person wrote it without name

It is MUCH better than the last one. Did you see that thread?
 

MPaws

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20141114_224036-1.jpg
20141114_224036.jpg
20141114_224036.jpg 20141114_224036-1.jpg 20141114_224036.jpg 20141114_224036-1.jpg 20141114_224036.jpg 20141114_224740-1.jpg Majestic, here are photos of the seals on the flag. There are two seals present. One is near the red circle and the other is in the upper right corner. The seals are faint but I think I got a few good shots. Even if it is fake, it is part of the family history and it's worth something to me. The help I have received here proved to be very valuable. Thanks
 

Mike Cash

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I think you first have to figure out what it was meant to be before you can determine if it is fake or not. It probably is a genuine whatever the heck it is, but it certainly wasn't a flag given to a soldier by his friends or unit mates.
 

Majestic

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Thank you for the sending the clearer pictures of the seal. Unfortunately I couldn't read any any part of them. Your flag does look suspiciously similar to the flag that caster55 posted a link to. The similarities are;

1. Red cartouche-type seals around the flag
2. Incongruous phrasing on the flag. Yours has a reference to "World War II", which is atypical of how a Japanese person at the time would refer to the war. The flag in caster55's link has the name "Tojo Hideki" in huge letters on it. Both of these are unusual, and would seem to be phrases placed by - or for the benefit of - a non-Japanese person.
3. Similar cursive writing for all phrases of both flags. Usually the flag would be signed by different people and you would have some elegant writing mixed in with less refined writing.
4. Same odd vertical orientation.
5. Same slogan above the red circle, and three slogans written in large letters underneath the seal on the left, center, and right (with slogans written in smaller letters in-between).

All of these are weird coincidences. As a layman I would conclude that both of these flags are produced by the same person. They could both be fake war souvenirs produced by the same person, or produced from the same pattern. But what you say is very true, even if your flag was a fake souvenir brought back by your grandfather, it has value as a family memento.
 

MPaws

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Thank you gentlemen for all of your help. My memento Wil look nice next to my father's picture.
 

Mike Cash

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Thank you gentlemen for all of your help. My memento Wil look nice next to my father's picture.

In a way, I think you may have a better memento flag than any of the many others we have been asked to help translate.

1. He brought it back himself, so you know it isn't a recent fake,
2. You know he didn't take it off a dead soldier.
3. You know he didn't steal it from a prisoner,
4. You never have to wonder if there are living relatives in Japan it should be returned to.

Looks good, and 100% guilt-free. I don't think you could ask for more.
 
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