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Battle Carried: Imperial Japanese Tiger Art Good Luck Flags of World War Two

Battle Carried: Imperial Japanese Tiger Art Good Luck Flags of World War Two, by Michael A. Bortner details the history and use of tiger art that decorate Japanese good luck flags found by collectors. Bortner’s aim is to give a deeper understanding on a subject that generated a lot of interest from his book hinomaru yosegaki – Imperial Japanese Good Luck Flags and One-Thousand Stitch Belts.

Bortner’s book has a forward, by Carla L. Funk, which I think is an excellent introduction to Bortner’s book and really helps set the tone for the rest of the book.

Bortner uses a quote at the beginning of each chapter that ties in with the topic of the chapter. Chapters 1 through 5 covers the history of tigers and tiger art in Japan with very detailed information. Chapters 6 through 12 cover the good luck flags. Bortner breaks it down by how the tiger is painted, whether it’s just a head portrait or the tiger is attacking. The last chapter covers smaller good luck cloths and paper amulets. As the title implies, these items were carried into battle by Japanese soldiers of World War II and these types of detail, to me, is what sells the human aspect of this book. I walked away feeling like this was more than just imagery, this is a part of our culture.

Bortner uses some stunning classical art pieces, along with some photographs, to help illustrate the points he makes in each chapter and bring a deeper understanding of the art. He describes each flag in detail bringing out the significance in each piece in a methodical and engaging fashion. This is somewhat of a history book as well as any historical aspects of the flags are also delved into with succinct details that provide some intriguing context for the piece. This information ranges from legends to historical figures to religious figures.

Bortner uses simple language throughout the book which helped me understand a topic steeped in culture and history. This information feels accessible and is easy to follow. The author does a great job of keeping the subject matter succinct and covering only the most interesting parts, which helped to keep me engaged throughout the book.

Battle Carried: Imperial Japanese Tiger Art Good Luck Flags of World War Two, by Michael A. Bortner is a highly informative piece of literature that will serve to educate and entertain anyone that has an interest in Japanese culture, flag collectors, or anyone interested in military history memorabilia.

Pages: 196 | ISBN: 1943492573

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