Lesson 7.8: Social Studies Connection

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Circle of the Sun

The Japanese flag is very easy to draw. That is because it is a simple red circle on a white background. The red circle stands for the sun, which is a symbol of Japan.

The Japanese call their flag Hinomaru, which means “circle of the sun.” Because Japan is in the eastern part of the world, and the sun rises in the east, Japan was called “the land of the rising sun,” or Nippon.

Japan is a small group of islands. Japan is slightly smaller than the state of California in size. But Japan's population is more than 3 times the population of California. That's a lot of people!

Most of the people in Japan live in crowded cities. Fewer people live in the mountains and wooded areas.

In the past few decades, Japan has produced cars and many of the things you use every day. If you read the label on your favorite radio, watch, or computer game, you might find that it was made in Japan.

Map of Japan
  • Size: Japan is slightly smaller than the state of California.
  • Capital: Tokyo
  • Money: Yen
  • The Japanese call their country Nippon or Nihon, which means ‘Land of the Rising Sun’

Word Wise

The part of a picture that looks as if it is behind something: The photograph shows my brother and me with the Grand Canyon in the background.

Number of people that live in a place: After my brother was born, the population in my town was 500.

To make or create: The workers at the toy factory produce board games and coloring books.

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The population of a town, city, county, state or country is the number of people that live there. What, do you think is the population of your state? Write your guess on a piece of paper. Then use an almanac to find the answer.

Data Hunt

Hinomaru, the Japanese national flag, is a very simple design. The flag is a red circle on a white rectangle. The circle stands for the sun, which is a symbol of Japan.

Design a flag to represent something that is important to you. Your flag might represent your favorite sports team, your family, or your group of friends. It might even represent your favorite book or movie.

Design your flag using simple shapes and colors. Draw your flag on a piece of paper using colored markers. On a separate sheet of paper, write down the meanings of the colors and shapes that are used in your flag. For example, you might use four red circles to represent each of your best friends. Or you might use 12 triangles to represent the 12 chapters in your favorite book. Share your flag and your description with your classmates.