Union Jack becoming increasingly popular on Japanese clothing

By Julian Ryall for BCCJ ACUMEN

The unmistakable red, white and blue of the UK’s Union Jack flag has become de rigueur in Japanese fashion circles, usurping the Stars and Stripes of the U.S. as the design in which to be seen.

The flag has been integrated into numerous corporate logos over the years, including those of sports brand Reebok and clothing shop Next. In recent months, the distinctive design has exploded onto the streets of Japan.

From bags, bras, flip-flops, T-shirts and socks, to stationery, mobile phone covers and even kitchen utensils, the Union Jack is big in Japan.

“The Union Jack is a readily acceptable fashion look and has been put to use for longer than just before the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games,” said Roy Larke, professor of international marketing and Japanese business at Tokyo’s Rikkyo University.

“But I would say that the current interest we have seen in Britain from around the world has certainly pushed it along.”

It has been a big year for the UK with the celebrations of the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II and the success of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

According to airlines flying between the two countries, more Japanese have visited the UK so far this year than in 2011. Historically, there has been a mutual interest in, and respect for, the history and culture of the two nations.

As a result of Shinji Kagawa recently having joined Manchester United, students who would never before have turned up at Larke’s lectures in football shirts have suddenly emerged wearing the team’s color: red.

In recent years, Britons have not been ones for waving their flag at every opportunity. However, it’s good to see the Japanese doing it on their behalf, especially as they used to consider the U.S. flag a fashion statement.

© Japan Today

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Union Jack becoming increasingly popular on Japanese clothing

Is this article about 20 years old?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Flags are supposed to be flown from flag-poles - not used as clothing...

0 ( +4 / -4 )

If my nation's flag can become a fashion statement in Japan then who am I to complain? Personally I get a little lift when I see Union Flags here and there. Incidentally, the colours are called the Union Flag... Union Jack is what you call the flag flying from the bow of a warship, Union Flag is the correct terminology.


Flags are supposed to be flown from flag-poles - not used as clothing...

Tell that to the Americans, lol

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The Union Flag has been popular here for years, at least to those who like good music.

I just wonder if people outside of music trends actually know its even a flag and not just a pattern.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I want that bra.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It's disrespectful to use a national flag as as part of an article of clothing.

That hasn't stopped the practice for many years, and it's unlikely to do so in the future. I wouldn't do it myself, but I'm not enough put out by others doing it that I spend a lot of time worrying about it, nor would I avert my gaze from a cute young thing in a mini with the Union Flag on it. Or the Stars and Stripes. Or whatever.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Tell that to the Americans

Hypocrisy doesn't negate fact. I don't like it when my fellows wear the flag. But then again I was raised to respect my country.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I'm going to make a T-shirt with the Japanese flag, but instead of the hi-no-maru in the middle, I'll put a red-faced kitty chan, see how they like that !

-1 ( +0 / -1 )


0 ( +0 / -0 )

The Union Flag has been a fashionable image since the 60s... so I don't see a reason why it shouldn't still be popular. Since the Jubilee in the summer it's become even more popular.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

In recent years, Britons have not been ones for waving their flag at every opportunity.

Have they ever? Not in my memory. That said, there are a lot more St. George's flags (red cross, longer across than down) on white background) up on private properties than there were when I lived there.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Here in Scotland there are a fair few Satire's flying around.

As far as the Union Flag goes, I have a few T-shirts with it, one on my backpack, a mug... other things. I know that English people are more prone to flying their flag than we are, but still not a patch on America. O.o

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I'm glad to see that Hello Kitty has the Union flag the right way up. Many Brits don't know there is a right way up, let alone which way it is. You'd think it would be taught in schools...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As an American, I like the Union Jack flag, think it looks cool, of course, I love my flag, but as a fashion piece, I'm a bit old school, I sometimes feel people forget the flag is technically a living symbol and as such, should be treated with respect. So I am in the middle on this issue. Sometimes, it gets a bit too much, Seeing the Union Jack or the Stars and Stripes on everything, but a flag. A little bit is ok, but now I would say, it's a bit much now.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

JonathanJo... if you are British, and I think you may be, you seem to have a very poor view of Britain and its people. If you're not, then please don't keep running us down... there's a good chap.

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