I heard from a local resident with a good knowledge of history that this island held the roots of the Hinomaru.
It was an unexpected place to encounter the origin of Japan's national flag.

I think people around the world think of Japan nowadays when they see the Hinomaru, but originally it was actually the maritime flag of the Tanegashima family.
Documents indicate that the Hinomaru used by the Tanegashima family was adopted by the Shimazu family of the Satsuma domain, then spread to the Edo Shogunate.

It is not known for sure why the Tanegashima family started using the Hinomaru.
The flag also appears to have been used long ago in battles in different parts of Japan.


It seems to be a symbol that has been familiar to Japanese people for many eons.
A few days on this island, however, made me aware of something.
The sun rises over the ocean in the morning and then sets again over the ocean in the evening.
The presence of the sun has symbolic significance in daily life on Tanegashima.
So, it makes sense that an island with such a close connection to the sun used the Hinomaru for a maritime flag.

I encountered historical roots that I had not known.
This, too, is one of the joys of travel.
Tanegashima appears to hold many more unforeseen discoveries.

Note: The Teppokan-Gun Museum has material on the origins of the Hinomaru flag.
Definitely stop by if you are curious.

Teppokan-Gun Museum

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