Canadian Mongolia, Russian Japan and Chinese Ireland: the alternative flags of East Asia

By Ryan Kilpatrick, February 5, 2015

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Flags are brilliant. They can be breathtakingly intricate, masterpieces of minimalist design, and sometimes just a bit ridiculous (we're looking at you, Isle of Man). A nation's flag tells the world about its history, expresses its values, and can even define how it sees its role in the world.

There's just one problem: there are only so many out there. There are close to two hundred independent states in the world today; but even when you look at the flags for all their sub-national divisions, all the international organizations they participate in, and the historical flags of all the polities that once stood on the land they claim today, you still hit a wall. And it's never quite enough.

So how do history, geography and politics nerds cope? They invent new ones. The Redditors over at r/vexillology have compiled a treasure trove of imaginative new standards that combine the flags of existing states or look at geo-political "what if?"s that range from the absurd to the thought-provoking. Here's a collection of the fine works their users have contributed relating to China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and our many regional neighbors:

North Korean redesign of United Nations flag

Democratic People's Republic of India

Democratic People's Republic of India 2.0

Democratic People's Republic of Iceland

Democratic Papal's Republic

Democratic People's Republic of Italy

Soviet Socialist Republic of Korea

Korean unity flag #1

Korean unity flag #2, in style of Austro-Hungarian Empire

Korean unity flag #3

Korean unity flag #4

Korean Israel

Israeli Rising Sun Flag

Imperial Mexican Army

Imperial Irish Army

The Rising Sun never sets on the British Empire

Imperial Canadian Army

Imperial Korean Army

Imperial Norwegian Army

Imperial Papal Army

Imperial French Army

Japanese Kenya

Japanese Wales

Japanese Canada

Japanese Netherlands

Japan as a Russian Oblast

China + Taiwan mashup

Another China and Taiwan combination

Taiwan Province, People's Republic of China (in a world where Chinese provinces are allowed to have flags)

Republic of China (1912-1928) plus Republic of China (1928-present)

People's Republic of Uruguay

People's United Kingdom of Germany

People's Democratic Federation of China-Russia-North Korea

Japanese, Mongolian, South Korean and Taiwanese Union

The Sinophone world

Sinosphere again

Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the Republic of China

Macau Special Administrative Region of the Republic of China

Ireland Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China

Scotland Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China

Wales Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China

Cascadia Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China

Netherlands Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China

Canadian Mongolia

Scottish Japan

Soviet Socialist Republic of Tibet

British Crown Colony of Tibet

Himalayan Empire

[Images via Reddit]

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