What is a Big catch flag? The fascination, meaning and history behind it!

What is a Big catch flag? The fascination, meaning and history behind it!

Japanese maritime culture is steeped in many traditions, of which the Big catch flag is a special one.
These brightly coloured and designed flags have been used since ancient times to celebrate successful and bountiful catches in the fishing industry.
They also feature prominently at many festivals and events.
This article details the origin, meaning and fascination of Big catch flags.

Origin and history of the Big catch flag

old fishing port

This traditional Japanese flag, known as the Big catch flag, is used to celebrate successful fishing.
Its origins date back to the Edo period and are deeply connected to Japanese history and culture.
Big catches were particularly important to fishermen, as fishing played an important role in the Japanese diet and flourished as a major industry for earning a living in many regions.

Big catch flags developed in this historical context as a way of communicating a big catch to family members and officials on land by flying it over the bow or stern of a fishing boat.
The flag is also used as a symbol of celebration, displayed during the year-end and New Year holidays and as a gift.

About the design of Big catch flags

pattern design

Many people may associate Big catch flags with brightly coloured designs using many colours.
Big catch flags, which are used as a symbol of celebration and joy, are decorated with auspicious designs such as cranes and turtles, pine, bamboo and plum, sea bream, the rising sun and Fuji, and the Seven Gods of Good Luck.
In addition, the name of the ship and the word 'celebration' are often depicted in bold, impactful characters.

In recent years, their patterns have diversified as they are used in a variety of situations, and new forms of Big catch flags have been created, such as those with names and photos printed on them for children's birthdays.

How to tailor a Big catch flag

Big catch flag

So, how are such Big catch flags made?
Here we show you how Big catch flags are made.

1. Drawing letters and outlines with a tube drawing

First decide on a design and draw a rough sketch on the fabric.
Glue mixed with various materials is placed in a tube, and the pattern is drawn by squeezing it out of the tube as if tracing over the draft.
This is a very delicate process, as the glue mixture changes in proportion depending on the weather and other factors.
The tube drawing itself is also a very difficult process and can only be completed by skilled craftsmanship.



The patterns are dyed with animal hair brushes.
The drying process is fast and requires quick and accurate work.

3.Wash off the glue

The glue used in the tube drawing is carefully washed off by hand.
The washed-off areas remain undyed, so the vivid colours stand out even more.

4.Drying in the sun

sky and sun

After washing, dry the Big catch flag in the sun.
The key is to dry it with the fabric stretched tightly to avoid wrinkles.

5.sew the edges and complete.

Big catch flags of larger sizes are often made in several pieces.
Big catch flags made in sections are sewn together in this process.
Big catch flags made in this way are a combination of traditional culture and technical excellence.

What are Big catch flags used for?

What are Big catch flags used for today?
Here we explain the uses of Big catch flags.

Displayed on fishing vessels

image of fishing boat

Big catch flags used to be primarily used to convey the celebration of a big catch, but this purpose has now diminished.
However, the association between fishing vessels and Big catch flags remains unchanged and they are often used at auspicious times.
Examples include the unveiling of a new vessel, launching ceremonies, first fishing trips and sailing on milestone dates.

For celebrations and good luck

shopping street

Big catch flags are also meant to bring good luck and are sometimes given on occasions such as life milestones, longevity celebrations, marriages, births and other ceremonial occasions.
They may also be flown during sports cheering and play a role in creating an atmosphere in shops.
Big catch flags' bright, eye-catching and colourful pattern lines are loved by many people as a good luck charm.

As material for remakes.

remake pants

Activities have also started to remake Big catch flags into new forms such as clothing and accessories.
The unique patterns, auspicious characters and designs of Big catch flags are utilised to the maximum, and the unique designs are very eye-catching.
It can also be said that the culture of Big catch flags is being passed on to the next generation, helping to create a sustainable society.


big catch flag

Big catch flags are an important tradition deeply rooted in Japanese maritime culture and fishing communities.
Their vibrant design and significance celebrate the success and safety of fishermen and are enjoyed at many festivals and events.
Seeing Big catch flags is an opportunity to show respect for Japan's maritime culture and fishing industry.
By experiencing its beauty and meaning, you can renew your appreciation for the wonderful Japanese culture and traditions.
It is also important to pass on this tradition to the next generation and pass on its charm to future generations.

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