Welcome to Fortunes of War Militaria

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 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 1000 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, by novice as well as advanced collectors, for genuine items. It is my intention to satisfy all of those goals.

F.O.W.M. – Proud Financial Supporter of
the National Honor Flight Network
We donate a minimum of 10% of net sales to this organization. To date, FOWM has donated $1,500.00 to support the National Honor Flight Network. I thank you and so do those who have benefited from your                                              generous contributions. (the use of this video was granted by permission from Honor Flight  Network). 

About Dr. Michael Bortner

My name is Dr. Michael Bortner. I first became interested in Japanese good luck signed flags more than fifty years ago, when I was in grade school. A passion for flags in general, later developed into a specific interest in finding and then acquiring an authentic, vintage hinomaru yosegaki. As luck would have it, a chance encounter with a dealer at the Orange County Fairgrounds in Southern California, led to that early purchase. My first one-thousand stitch belt or senninbari came a few years later, when I discovered a beautiful tiger stitched example at the old Great Western Show in Pomona, California. I still own both items; each form the center of a collecting passion that burns brightly today.

As my collection of signed flags and senninbari belts developed, so too did my interest in Japanese military send-off culture and customs. After years of study and research, I was led in 2008 to write the book, Imperial Japanese Good Luck Flags and One-Thousand Stitch Belts, (autographed copies available for sale on this website). That 286 page hardcover book along with its numerous illustrations, photos and translations made available for the first time some of the important history and meaning behind the development, fabrication and presentation of the good luck flag and one-thousand stitch belt.

This website is an outgrowth of the expanding interest in the continued study of 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 pertained to military send-off celebrations.

I am currently a member of the following research or collector based organizations: The Company of Military Historians, The North American Vexillological Association, Textile Society of America, The American Historical Association, The Society For Military History, The Ohio Valley Military Society and the MAX Certified Dealer Program.

                        Recent Updates

!11-30-2020! Today we updated the “Feature Image Gallery“. Thank you to everyone who has contacted me over the last week. It’s been great to touch base with you all. FOWM

!11-26-2020! Happy Thanksgiving, One and All! FOWM

!11-22-2020! Today, we would like to announce that we are back in operation! Thank you again to everyone who has encouraged me through my health issues and offered your best wishes! It has meant a lot to me to have such friends.

Today, we have posted quite a few Good Luck Flags within the “Flags” category of the site. We have also added some colorful Senninbari to the various “One Thousand Stitches” categories (“Belts” and “Caps“). In addition, we once again updated the “Feature Image Gallery” with a beautiful image and quote. So many of you have mentioned how much you appreciate this aspect of the website, so I will continue to do this for as long as the images last.  Please enjoy the updates and Buun ChokyuFOWM

!11-19-2020! ***I wanted to make a couple of announcements today: New additions will be posted to the website on Sunday, November 22, 2020 (12 Noon, West Coast Time.) At that time, the mailbox will be reopened for orders. No orders left before that day/time will be accepted. After that, we will be open as before- business as usual. Due to health issues, I have been unable to respond to emails, accept/fill orders, etc. Because of that, I am asking for your understanding. With the extended delay on my part, I am asking that anyone who tried to make a purchase while I was away, to resubmit those orders, if you’d like, after Sunday-Noon. All new and previous orders will be filled after that time, first come, first served.***     

***In celebration of the reopening of the website and the soon release of my new book, Battle Carried: Imperial Japanese Tiger Art Good Luck Flags of World War Two, I will be offering discounted, autographed copies of my first book, Imperial Japanese Good Luck Flags and One-Thousand Stitch Belts for $65.00 plus postage. The book normally retails for $79.95  That offer will expire on January 1, 2021 or sooner, if all of the books have been sold.***  

***Finally, the “Feature Image Gallery” was updated today with a fresh image and quote- enjoy!*** FOWM 

!11-12-2020! Book Release Update: I wanted to update you with the most recent information on my latest book- Battle Carried: Imperial Japanese Tiger Art Good Luck Flags of World War Two. The 196 page volume will include approximately 210 illustrations. More than 60 Imperial Japanese tiger art good luck signed flags and good luck amulets will be shown in full color. The 8.5″ X 11.” hard cover book will be offered at $59.99 plus postage. For anyone who has wanted to more fully understand the cultural and symbolic context of the tiger within the Japanese military, this book will help you to better understand that. The publisher tells me that the release date may not be before Christmas, but shortly thereafter.  I will post further updates when I hear anything new. Thanks to all for the many inquiries. FOWM  

!11-10-2020! Greetings from FOWM! After a lengthy delay due to a serious injury, I am getting back in the saddle and will be re-opening the website. Over the next few weeks, I plan to conduct an inventory of our stock. Because of that, at this time I will not be taking any orders and the mail box will remain closed. Once I have finished, I will begin to stock new items.  In the meantime, I have updated the “Feature Image Gallery” and will soon be posting an update with regard to my latest book, Battle Carried: Imperial Japanese Tiger Art Good Luck Flags of World War Two. Thank you to everyone who has written me with well-wishes, it has meant a lot. I would also like to wish the United States Marine Corps a Happy 245th Birthday-Semper Fi! FOWM

! 08-28-2019 ! Today I am posting a link to my friend and fellow Elm Grove Publishing author, Ron Werneth’s website, (www.ronwerneth.com).  Ron is the author of two acclaimed books on Japanese World War Two aviation. The first book is, Beyond Pearl Harbor: The Untold Stories of Japan’s Naval Airmen. His second volume, published this year is titled, Fall of the Japanese Empire: Memories of the Air War 1942-1945. Ron spent a number of years living in Japan, where he had access to some of the last surviving Japanese airmen from the War. His interviews with them combine to make fascinating and poignant “reads”. In addition, about 3 weeks ago, Ron was invited to give a guest interview at the National World War Two Museum in New Orleans, LA (www.nationalww2museum.org) and to discuss his latest book. That interview makes for another terrific insight into the lives of both Japanese and U.S. airmen of the Second World War. You can view that program by following the link here: (https://livestream.com/nww2m/events/8752971)  Thank you for having a look!  FOWM

! 08-16-2019 ! ***BOOK NEWS*** I want to thank everyone for the many messages and well-wishes sent my way with regard to my latest book, Battle Carried: Imperial Japanese Tiger Art Good Luck Flags of World War Two. Many of you have expressed an interest in purchasing a copy of the book or in placing a pre-release order. The book’s publisher, Elm Grove Publishing has been extremely helpful to me in readying the manuscript as well as in preparing all of the marvelous illustrations. They are excited to get the book finished but like many things, it is in the queue, with other author’s books ahead of mine. As updates come to me, I will send them along to all of you. I would like to thank everyone again for your interest and communications; they are all much appreciated!  Regards, Michael Bortner

! I am always interested in purchasing Japanese Good Luck Flags with Tiger Art on them. Before deciding to sell to someone else or taking your chances with online auctions, please consider contacting me here first.