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 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, 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 $1,000.00 to support the National Honor Flight Network. I thank you and so do those who have benefited from your generous contributions. 

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.

New Listings

! 05-18-19 ! Another image was added to the “Feature Image Gallery” today along with its quote; enjoy!  FOWM

! 05-12-19 ! Today we updated the “Feature Image Gallery”.

! 05-07-19 ! The “Feature Image Gallery” was just updated with another marvelous vintage image and quote! Thank you for having a look. Ja ne….  FOWM

! 05-01-19 ! Greetings to everyone on the first day of May; summer is nearly here! Today I have added a terrific tiger belt or tiger knotted senninbari to the “One-Thousand Stitches” category. The most recent 1000 stitch belt is knotted with red cotton thread in the form of a pouncing tiger; 3, ten-sen good luck coins are evident in the center. I have also added an off-to-war banner (1 of 2), that were presented to the same soldier. That nobori may be seen in the “Banners” area of the website. Thank you for having a look and thank you for the comments with regard to the wonderful images posted in the “Feature Image Gallery“! Fortunes Of War Militaria

! 04-30-19 ! The “Feature Image Gallery” was updated today. 

! 04-26-19 ! A recent post was made to the “Feature Image Gallery“. In addition, we have added a very nice, clean Japanese Battle Flag on its original pole to the “Flags” category. Take a look for this flag under the “Battle Flags” sub-heading. Enjoy your weekend! Ja ne……

! 04-22-19 ! Today I made a post to the “Articles” category with the addition of a good luck flag historical study that I wrote and just recently updated. It’s a fascinating look into the past by examining an art painted good luck flag. 

! 04-19-19 ! The “Feature Image Gallery” was updated for the weekend. Ja ne……FOWM

! 04-16-19 ! Updates were made on FOWM today. Under the “Amulets of Protection” category, 2 attached charm pouches with their paper and wood charms (ofuda), were added. The translated grouping is most interesting in that there are also 2 bullets ( large and small caliber projectiles), attached to the pouches. A very colorful display! We also placed a number of Off-To-War Banners in the “Banners” section of the site. Two of the banners listed belong to the same soldier. We have also listed his good luck signed parade flag as well. Ja ne! FOWM

! 04-15-19 ! There was an update to the “Feature Image Gallery” today.  In addition, an iconic, wind-whipped good luck signed flag was placed in the “Flags” section and a colorful, pre-printed senninbari with good luck coin was added to the “One Thousand Stitches” category. There’s a lot there, so thank you for having a look!

! 04-11-19 ! There was a flurry of activity on the website today! I posted a number of Good Luck Flags to the “Flags” category, including a tough to find signed parade on its original flag pole. In addition to this flag, I will be adding 2 nobori banners presented to this same soldier. I also added more Off-To-War Banners to the “Banners” section. Finally, I added a very nice, named Senninbari to the “One Thousand Stitches” category. We will continue to post more flags, banners and 1000 stitch belts over the next few days. Thank you for checking back!

! 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. !

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 simple process! If interested, please contact me here for further details. Regards, Dr. Mike