Nishiki no mihata (The Imperial Standard) (錦の御旗)

The Imperial standard is the banner of the Imperial court army. Its abbreviated name is Kinki, and its another name is Kikushoki. The Imperial standard is a pair of banners made of red brocade with a gold sun (Hi no mihata) and a silver moon (Tsuki no mihata) embroidered or pictured on each. It was customary in Japan that an emperor bestowed it on his military commanders as proof of putting down emperor's enemy. The Retired Emperor Gotoba bestowed it on his warrior in the Jokyu War (1221) for the first time in history.

The Boshin War and the Imperial Standard

In January 1868, the Imperial standard was unfurled at Toji Temple, which had been the headquarters of the Satsuma clan at the Battle of Toba-Fushimi. This Imperial standard was entrusted to be prepared when Toshimichi OKUBO of the Satsuma clan and Yajiro SHINAGAWA of the Choshu clan met Tomomi IWAKURA at Tsuneyuki NAKAMIKADO's second house in Iwakura Village, Otagi County on November 1, 1867.

The design of this Imperial standard was based on the plans of Misao TAMAMATSU, a trustworthy assistant of IWAKURA. OKUBO got Yamato-nishiki type silk and red and white damask silk in Kyoto City and had one of a pair of the banners made secretly at the residence of the Satsuma clan in Kyoto. A few days later SHINAGAWA took the remaining materials to Choshu Domain and had the other Kinki made up. The army of the Satsuma clan and the Choshu clan put it up at many battle fields of the Boshin War. While the banner of the Imperial army helped boost the morale of the soldiers of its army very much, it gave a serious shock to the soldiers of the Edo shogunate's army, who came to feel that their army turned into the rebel army.

Mitsuaki TANAKA, who joined the war as a retainer of the Tosa clan and later became Minister of the Imperial Households and Secretary of the Cabinet, witnessed the white-faced soldiers of the Edo shogunate retreating at the sight of the Imperial standards in the battle fields, saying, 'We'd better stop fighting, otherwise we will become the enemy of the Emperor.'

After Meiji Restoration the Imperial standards and battle flags used in the Boshin War were kept in Yushu-kan, a treasure house of Ministry of Army and in Zusho-ryo, a library of Imperial Household Ministry. In 1888 the Meiji government ordered Kasei UKITA, a painter of Choshu Domain, to draw the Imperial standards. He painted thirty-four paintings of seventeen types of banners, which were compiled into a book in four volumes named "Boshin shoyo Kinki oyobi Gunki-shinzu" (Pictures of the Imperial Standards and Battle Flags Used in the Boshin War).

Kinki Revolution Coup

Against the communist revolution, Shumei OKAWA argued for 'Kinki Revolution' that aimed to steer Japan in the right direction with an emperor at the top.
Thus, the October Incident in which OKAWA participated, plotted by the military officers of Imperial Japanese Army, was also called 'Kinki Revolution Coup.'

[Original Japanese]