The flag of Japan consists of a rectangular field of white with a red disc at its centre. The flag's ratio is 2:3. The flag of Japan is officially called "Nisshoki" (meaning "flag of the sun"). The flag is also sometimes referred to as "Hinomaru" (meaning "circle of the sun").
The present day flag of Japan became the official national flag on August 13 1999 by way of the Act on National Flag and Anthem. The same flag design had however been in use as Japan's national flag dating back to February 27 1870.
The symbolism of the sun has featured strongly in Japanese history, religion and mythology for thousands of years. The Emperor of Japan is said to be a direct descendant of a sun goddess by the name of Amaterasu. The country of Japan itself is often referred to as the "Land of the Rising Sun".
The national flag of Japan flying at the Meiji Memorial in Tokyo, Japan