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timboo Offline OP
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I've just ended up with three flags from a sale that are supposed to be WWII era. Is the black light test of any value with Japanese flags? I could post pics, but I'm not sure if they would be of any help. It's fairly easy to soil and age a flag to get that aged look.

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Hi Timboo,You have asked a valid question.I personally am at a loss for an answer.As a newbie to Japanese militaria I am not familiar with the processing methods of silk and cotton in wartime Japan.It is a given in the German fabric community..that "If it glows"it is post war.I cannot say if this is true or not.It is my understanding that an original item may be tainted by something as simple as being washed in a modern detergent.Best of luck Geoff.

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timboo Offline OP
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Geoff,

I appreciate your response. I was surprised nobody had any any input to either of the two questions I'd posted on this forum.

Perhaps there is no good way to verify the age on Japanese flags.

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Timboo,If you could post some pictures of your flags it could provide a little more information for you.some people are afraid to post photos for fear their items may be suspect.In my opinion the area of Japanese militaria is a growing interest area.There are many questions and unknowns especially for the "New" guys,myself included!our best option is to work together and help each other through the minefields of this collecting stuff!!With the help of people like Jareth and others like him.. You know who you are!!!We attain priceless information,All for the cost of an E-Mail.Less than a 99 cent heart attack!Ask the questions,Post the photos.You never know..It might not be what you hoped but..what is a flag from a field kitchen on Saipan worth??? WinkHope I can help.Best wishes, Geoff

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I have never black lighted a silk flag. I only trust signed flags that can be translated with info on them pertaining to use during WW2. Any unsigned meatball flag is suspect. Next to impossible to tell if it's not from the 1950 - 1960's ++ I'm fairly certain there still made today.

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timboo Offline OP
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I would think it would be fairly easy, at least for anyone who can write Japanese, to sign whatever they wanted to the flag. How would you tell a basic message was written in 1942 or 1972?

I'll dig those flags out tonight and post some pics. I'm assuming all three are fake, but you never know.

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Yes your correct. A Japanese could copy an original BUT on an original there are many different hand writing examples. Not all done by one signer. The phrasing/terminology is different now then during WW2. There are other ways to tell.I have to depend on two good Japanese friends when I need translation.

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timboo Offline OP
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I guess it's like anything else. Any cloth items could be reproduced to the point of not being able to tell repro. from original if the faker has the knowledge and time to do it correctly. Older fabrics and threads that don't glow can be used, stiching styles can be reproduced, and as many handwriting styles as needed can be used Frown

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timboo Offline OP
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O.K. Here's pics I snapped tonight. I wouldn't be surprised if all three were post war, but of course the story was "these came from WWII".

Here's the larger flag. It appears to be nylon or silk.


The corners appear gold colored paper or cardboard of some kind. The me I'd think the gold should be more faded.


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timboo Offline OP
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The first of the smaller flags.




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The last small flag.




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The black light test does work on Japanese flags but keep in mind that it's not always dead on. In the case of silk flags, try using the black light on the stitching. In many cases, the stitching is made of cotton so it should not "glow". Please keep in mind that if the flag has been washed with detergent, sometimes it will cause it to glow when in fact, it's an old piece. This is caused by residual detergent chemicals that do not get washed out in the rinse cycle. I've seen many people fooled
by this and they passed up on authentic items. Also, many Japanese WW2 era flags exhibit hand stitching (especially large Naval flags). There are many other "little things" you can use to tell if it's period correct. However, it pays to examine as many known good flags as you can and after awhile, you will be able to better spot reproductions.
Regarding your flags, I would need to see them in person to give you an accurate opinion, however, I would bet that at least the first flag (with the corners)is a good one. I see no for sure problems with the other two flags however, that opinion is only based on the pictures so it might not be of any value.

Gary

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timboo Offline OP
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I tried a black light on them. Nothing glows on the first one, not even the stiching. The two smaller flags are slightly "brighter" but don't have a bright glow.

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I'm not surprised by the black light results on the first flag as I think it's a good piece. The other two flags might be good. It's not uncommon to see flags that were produced later in the war, have runs and splotches. After all, the colors were just printed on. In any event, I would take them to a few military shows and see if anyone has an opinion after see them hands on. By the way, do they have the "old" smell to them?

Gary

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I think the flag with gold foil corners is period. I don't like the other two flags because of the seamed edges. Just too much folded over material.

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timboo Offline OP
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quote:
Originally posted by Hayabusa2:
I'm not surprised by the black light results on the first flag as I think it's a good piece. The other two flags might be good. It's not uncommon to see flags that were produced later in the war, have runs and splotches. After all, the colors were just printed on. In any event, I would take them to a few military shows and see if anyone has an opinion after see them hands on. By the way, do they have the "old" smell to them?

Gary


Maybe I don't have a good sniffer, but I can't say they smell old as in mold and mildew, but they don't smell new either.

I appreciate everyone's input.

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Timboo, I understand the difficulty in using the smell test. Smile I figured it was a least worth a try. In any event, hear is a close up pic of a Japanese flag showing the hand stitching that I was talking about. Also, you will notice that this flag still has remains of the sewn on paper issue tag. Although you don't see this very often, it's just another indicator that you can use in helping to determine authenticity of some Japanese flags.

Gary

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Gary,they have not reproduced sewn section navy flags only silk screened printed flags.

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Jareth, I agree, I haven't seen a reproduction multi-piece Japanese flag. My intent was to show some traits of period correct flags so that someone starting out in this hobby would be armed with more information.

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A couiple of points i've noticed. Black lighting the flags can be useful. The strings that are attached to the grommit may be a rayon type material, but some of that was being used war period on flag ties as it draggd on. The one piece silk flags that i've seen that have been post war almost seem to have the "meathball" too cleanly applied to the flag. Period Hinomaru examples, seem to have some bleeding or a non-perfect circular shape. This is from my expereince handling both period and post war examples, all made from various materials.

Regarding synthetic materials, do we all agree that various vicil flag were produced pre45 that were comprised of synthetics? Determining if a piece was made in 1944 or 1946 can be very difficult. That's why a signed flag can be much easier to ascertain it's era. The totality of the piece. The last post45 peice I had was of silk construction, had golden foil reinforcement triangles, and synthetic ties attached sloppily through the foil reinforcing corners. The flag was silk, other components were nylon/rayon/poly of sorts. The meatball was just too crisply applied to the flag. Unlike the other 1 piece examples I have.

Sorry for jumpng around on the thread. Hope it makes sense. If I were to guess on these, i'd say "perhaps" the flag with golden reinforcers is period (id like to inspect it before signing off on it) and I would have concerns about the other two for the reasons Jareth listed. Even though I like the material the ties are made of, even though there is no reinforcing bits, like pig leather. The meatball shows signs of bleeding, which is also a good thing. Those folds are bigger than i'd expect to see. That's the kicker on that piece.

Contact MikeB (mike Bortner) from WAF. He just finished his flag book and he's quite educated in the area of flags. He's a great guy and always willing to help out a collector.


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