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Japan’s National Things

Ewa Nowogorski

When talking about symbols of nationalism, in the USA one might picture fireworks and the American flag being displayed pretty much anywhere. These days it also seems that wearing caps with the current President’s campaign slogan is a sign of nationalism. There are also symbolic animals, such as the American eagle, which is the national animal of the USA. While Japan is not as nationalistic a country as America may be, there are still symbols that carry significance for the country.

Probably the most iconic symbol in Japan is a red circle, which symbolizes the sun. Japan is considered the “land of the rising sun”. And watching the sunrise is a very important activity for many people. Watching the first sunrise of the year, whether it be in person or live on TV, is done by most people, who

believe that the sun goddess Amaterasu created the world.

The national bird of Japan is the green pheasant, although you probably wouldn’t have guessed that. While cranes are extremely popular in Japan, it is the pheasant that has won the title. One look at their vibrantly colored feathers and you will understand why.

The national symbol of Japan is the chrysanthemum, and it is used by the emperor and the federals or members of the royal family. In ancient times nobody except the Emperor had the right to use this symbol.

Both the national tree and flower are the cherry blossom, although with how much Japanese people love these trees and the flowers they produce, it is obvious to see why.

Some other notable symbols include the national fruit, which is the persimmon, the national mountain, which is Mt. Fuji, and the national fish, which is koi. And did you know that Japan even had a national microorganism? Aspergillus oryzae is what it’s called, and it is used in the fermentation of rice to make food such as miso, soy sauce, and sake, which happens to be Japan’s national alcohol.

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