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

!03-08-2021!***BOOK NEWS*** Pre-release copies of my new book, Battle Carried: Imperial Japanese Tiger Art Good Luck Flags of World War Two should be available within the next few weeks. If you are interested in purchasing a copy, prior to the standard release date of April 30th, please send your contact information to me, via the email form, listed under the “Reference Books” section on the toolbar. Be sure to let me know which book you would like to order. I appreciate the terrific support on the project from everyone! FOWM

!03-06-2021! Today we made updates to the “Flags” category by adding a few new Japanese good luck flags; including one that is dated.  In addition, new belts were placed into the  “One Thousand Stitches” category, including a tiger senninbari, with good luck coin and a colorful 1000 stitch belt named to a Japanese Medical Officer.  We also added another intriguing image to the “Feature Image Gallery“. FOWM

!02-27-2021! There was an update to the “Feature Image Gallery” today. There will be a larger update to the website on Saturday, March 6, 2021 at 12 noon, Pacific Coast Time. At that time, we will be making additions to the “Flags” and “One Thousand Stitches” categories. All orders will be filled on a first come, first served basis. Be aware that many orders come in at the same time for the same item, so please wait for confirmation that your order was accepted. Sorry, no orders will be accepted before 12 noon, Pacific Coast Time. FOWM  

!02-20-2021! Today we updated the “Feature Image Gallery“. Thank you for all of the great comments following our recent weekly additions.  There are more to come; stay tuned!  FOWM

!02-13-2021! Hello from FOWM! The website will be updated today in the “Feature Image Gallery“; “Flags-Good Luck Flags-National Flags“; “One Thousand Stitches” and “Miscellaneous” sections. Today I have posted a number of battle carried good luck signed flags and other very nice hinomaru yosegaki. I have also posted some nice 1000 Stitch Belts, including a beautiful tiger belt with a second silk knotted stitched panel, with good luck coins inside it. There is also a nice patriotic, home front style wooden fan that bears the image of a lovely and popular wartime Japanese actress. These are just some of the highlights; enjoy the update and thank you for having a look! FOWM 

!02-06-2021! Greetings and best wishes from Fortunes of War Militaria! I hope this message finds everyone healthy and well. I wanted to let you know that there will be an update to the website on Saturday, 02-13-2021 at 12 noon, Pacific Coast Time. At that time, new items will be listed and will be available on a first come, first served basis. Updates will be posted to the “Flags”, “One Thousand Stitches”, “Miscellaneous” and “Feature Image Gallery” sections. There should be something new for every collector’s taste! As always, I would like to thank each of you for your messages and communications; I enjoy hearing from everyone. Have a great weekend and I’ll see you next Saturday! FOWM

!01-20-2021! Today we updated the “Feature Image Gallery“.  FOWM

!01-01-2021! Happy New Year! I want to thank all of my friends for making last year so successful.  While 2020 presented me with some health issues, we are returning strong in 2021 to bring you more colorful and rare Japanese Good Luck Flags, One-Thousand Stitch Belts, and Banners. Whether you are looking to expand your collection or begin a new one, please consider us in your search.

Today we made additions to the “Good Luck Flags” category, to the “Banners” category and to the “Featured Image Gallery“. Thank you having a look!  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

! 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.