The national flag of Japan is called Nisshoki, meaning sun flag; however, it is more commonly known as Hinomaru, meaning sun circle. The flag was officially adopted by the civil ensign with Proclamation 57 on February 27, 1870 during the Meiji Restoration. It wasn’t adopted nationally though, until August 13, 1999 by the Law Concerning the National Flag and Anthem.
Japan’s flag protocol calls for the flag to be flown from sunrise until sunset; however, a business or school is allowed to fly the flag from their opening to closing hours. The Cabinet Prime Minister of Japan is the official with authority to place the flag at half-staff.
The flying of the Japan flag is primarily limited to buildings associated with national and local governments, such as city halls. It is rarely connected with private homes or commercial businesses; although that is changing somewhat as time goes by and some citizens are advocating for exhibiting the flag on Japanese holidays.
When flying another country’s flag with the Japanese flag, Japan’s flag should take the position of honor and the other country should be flown to the right at the same height. If more than one other foreign flag is presented, the arrangement is in alphabet order prescribed by the United Nations.
Japan’s flag has a red circle within a middle of a white flag. The red circle symbolizes the sun and Japan is said to be “The Land of the Rising Sun.” The white of the flag denotes honesty and purity while the red “sun” signifies brightness, sincerity, and warmth.