Patriotic March

(between 1937 and 1941)

IHL Cat. #2671


A color lithograph patriotic fan sample print, likely created between 1937 and 1941 during the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945)[1], with a depiction of a young girl wearing a vest bearing a design of the Imperial Army flag supplicating herself (or kneeling in amazement) before the appearance of Ametarasu, the Shinto Sun Goddess, mythical progenitor of the Imperial Family. Ametarasu is shown with the necklace (yasakani-no-magtama) given to her by the god Izanagi when he entrusted her with the rule of heaven and from which her brother, Susanoo, created five male deities. Most interestingly, she is depicted as the guardian angel (an entity not normally associated with Shintoism) of Japan with two crimson red suns adorning each wing. In the background rises Mount Fuji while two Japanese warships ply the waters protecting the homeland.

Above Ametrasu appears the first stanza of the "Patriotic March" (愛国行進曲 Aikoku Kōshinkyoku). 






Look at the bright eastern sky,

The sun rises high;

The true spirits of the sky and the earth

fill all the hearts of Oyashima.

Beyond the clouds of dawn

Fuji's peak rises.

Unwavering and beautiful,

It brings pride to my Japan.

This military song (gunka) was composed by Tōkichi Setoguchi 瀬戸口藤吉 (1868-1941) with lyrics by Yukio Morikawa 森川幸雄 (?-2003), in response to a government sponsored public competition for a "national song that the people will forever love to sing" in September 1937.[2] Immensely popular, "Patriotic March" was released in December 1937 on six record labels and sold over a million copies within a year.[3]

See IHL Cat. #2675 for another fan sample print bearing the first two stanzas of Patriotic March.

The print carries the sample catalog number そ印 參百七拾九號 (so in sanbyaku nana jū kyū gō [379]). These numbered fan prints (uchiwa-e 団扇絵) were gathered into a sample book (uchiwa mihonchō 団扇見本帳, or uchiwa gachō 団扇画帖.) to show wholesale customers the range of available designs.

[1] The Second Sino-Japanese War is referred to in China as the "War of Resistance Against Japan."

[2] Translation of 「国民が永遠に愛唱し得べき国民歌」Japan wikipedia [accessed 9-15-23]

[3] It is unclear whether each of the original six record companies releasing the song sold over a million copies in the first year of release or whether this is a combined number.

[4] Transcription from Wikipedia [accessed 11-14-23]

Print Details