This panel has a combination of the patriotic theme of a Japanese flag, and the symbol for fuku (good fortune) through which extends a bundle of noshi. Noshi is an abbreviation for noshi-awabi, which is made by slicing and stretching awabi (abalone) meat into ribbons and drying them in the sun. It was a custom in Japan to attach noshi-awabi when people sent gifts or congratulatory presents to others. The noshi represents a wish for the happiness of the occasion to be “stretched out,” as "noshi" is a homonym of the word "to stretch."

Great Victory

The Japanese ended centuries of isolationism in the 1850s and then focused a concentrated national effort toward modernizing and industrializing the economy and the military. When Japan defeated Russia in 1905 it was a source of great national pride. In this panel, the top kanji characters represent Japan and Russia, and in the center, “Great Victory”. Japan’s navy was crucial to this victory and here a naval flag is paired with the national flag.

Copyright 2006 Jeffrey Krauss and Ann Marie Moeller