Welcome to Fortunes of War Militaria


! 06-01-18 ! FOWM made a brief update to the website today by adding a very rare Senninbari hat cover and its visor hat. The hat cover was custom made for the visor, and looks like a Japanese national flag, inside and out. It also sports a "Samuhara" mantra inked inside the cover. The visor is named to its former soldier owner. A very attractive set and the only one that I have ever seen. Have a look...!

! 05-29-18 ! Today's update on Fortunes Of War Militaria came with the addition of a number of senninbari belts ("One-Thousand Stitch Belts" category), and a senninriki vest ("Amulets of Protection-Senninriki Vests" category). One belt was made from an unusual, yellow cotton material, and has good luck coins sewn to its front; another senninbari is unit marked, with an interesting history that could be fleshed out more extensively with further research; and another named belt has multiple lines for the mantra, "Samuhara" covering its front and back, as well as a large 10-sen good luck coin and ofuda pouch with charms. The senninriki or power vest, is finely made and a beautiful example of this rare, off-to-war accessory. Thank you for having a look!

! 04-26-18 ! Today FOWM added a beautiful Good Luck Signed Flag to the "Flags" Category. This particular flag has 3 large red stamped, and identified shrine seals. In addition, the flag contains an interesting proverb written along the right-hand side edge, along with the signatures of family members. Thank you for having a look!

! On a separate but important note: ! I have received many questions with regard to reproduction flags. All I can say is that they are out there in greater profusion, and variety than ever! The fact that so many are being encountered, would seem to point to different reasons. Two that quickly come to my mind could be: there is an increase in demand for an article that was made in finite numbers during a specific period of time; or perhaps there has been an attempt to create uncertainty among collectors by flooding the market with non-vintage pieces. Standard good luck flags containing a myriad of signatures done in one hand are being commonly reproduced, and sold on different auction sites. In addition, flags being signed at the same time by a hand full of signers in order to mimic multiple well-wishers, are also turning up. All manner of artwork related "fantasy" flags are being produced too in order to fill that demand and/or confound buyers. The best general advice that I can provide is for collectors to first study their subjects well and over time, before they attempt to fill their walls with anything. It will make the appreciation for the item more profound, and the search more enjoyable.

Further Website Details Please note: For those who want to offer their Good Luck Flags, One-Thousand Stitch items or related Japanese World War Two era militaria, please consider us when thinking about a consignment option. Fortunes Of War Militaria may provide exposure for your items to a broad range of collectors. It's a really process! If interested, please contact me here for further details. Regards, Dr. Mike

Welcome to Fortunes of War Militaria! This website is an outgrowth of my interest in the study of Japanese World War Two era military history, and of its material culture. More specifically, we present Japanese good luck signed flags, one-thousand stitch/good luck articles, off-to-war banners, and other items that pertain to Japanese World War Two era military send-off celebrations. In addition, we include post-war G. I. souvenir of service flags, and other flag related items of the period.

As my appreciation of and passion for Japanese good luck signed flags (hinomaru yosegaki) and one-thousand stitch belts (senninbari) grew, I was disappointed by the lack of primary research material available on the subject. That void led me to write the book, Imperial Japanese Good Luck Flags and One-Thousand Stitch Belts released in 2008 by Schiffer Military Books. The publication's release caused a burgeoning of interest among a disparate group consisting mainly of military and art historians, textile aficionados, and militaria collectors. Following this, inquiries and/or the desire to obtain authentic items started to come to me from all over the world. This site developed as a natural progression in the search for genuine items. It is my intention that the goals of the novice as well as the advanced collector will be satisfied.

Michael Bortner

More About Japanese Militaria

The Book
This is the first book of its kind that focuses solely on IMPERIAL JAPANESE GOOD LUCK FLAGS AND ONE-THOUSAND STITCH BELTS and answers many of the questions collectors have.  click for full text

Japanese Good Luck Flags
The World War Two era Imperial Japanese Good Luck Flag was a gift given to a departing soldier, sailor, or airman.  click for full text

One-Thousand Stitch Belt
The Japanese Senninbari, or One-Thousand stitch amulet of protection, evolved in its form over time.  click for full text

Off-To-War Banners
World War Two era off-to-war banners, also known as shussei nobori in Japanese, are quite colorful and come in various sizes.  click for full text

Feature Photo Image Gallery
This vintage wartime photo shows a man posing outside, his "Good Luck Flag" or Hinomaru Yosegaki suspended from a wooden pole. Notice the thick and bold vertical kanji ideograms that characterize this  click for full text


Specialists in:

Imperial Japanese Good Luck Flags, One-Thousand Stitch Belts, Banners, Amulets of Protection

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