Now that we're up to Gen 8 with the release of Pokemon Sword/Shield, the World of Pokemon has grown to cover a great many different regions. But what always found strange was how regions in the Pokemon world seemed to lack the kind of unique symbols that are common with places in the real world. Where are all the flags? National anthems? Heck, I'll even take those oval country stickers used on cars, but they don't even seem to have that either!
Don't get me wrong, I get why none of this is focused on much in the games; Pokemon is supposed to be something that brings us all together, something that is supposed to transcend our artificially imposed divisions, and instead finds the community form sharing such a common interest. But at the same time, I think that kinda ignores the value that our differences actually bring! Because we're not all one people, we all see things differently, and that in turn allows for a variety of new ideas and experiences which can be shared. To me, the greatness of Pokemon is how we can still unite DESPITE our differences, as well as use our differences to help enrich the lives of others and help them see in a new way.
So with this in mind, I want to take some time to explore what the unique symbols of each Pokemon Region might be. Of course they wouldn't be official in any way, just my own personal take on it. And maybe if it strikes a chord with people, I can figure out a way to get these symbols in the hands of everyone. But we'll cross that bridge when we get there.
Another thing to note is that these symbols might not be TOO "realistic". Like, they might reference the fact that a particular region is form a particular Pokemon Video Game, even though the people of that region don't think themselves as actually living in one (anymore than you or I would). So just kick back and enjoy the artsy fartsy!
Flags of the world of Pokemon
Perhaps the most obvious symbol that each Pokemon Region SHOULD have, but definitely does not, would be a flag! A flag is super important, don't you know! Because no flag, no region! That's the rules... that... I've just made up! ... Actually, I THINK Galar might be the first Pokemon region that actually DOES have its own flag... assuming the flag I saw in Hammerlocke—quarterly, or and gules—represents Galar as a whole and not just Hammerlocke (or even just the Castle itself).
Regardless, I've thought about what kind of flag might suit each Pokemon region, tho mostly from a real world perspective... for me, it had to be easy to design, utilized limited colors, and symbolized that region (and its generation) adequately. And maybe reference its real world inspirations as well. Enjoy!
- (NOTE: The flags are sketches at the moment; I plan on making them look far better in due time.)
|Kanto||I based the flag of Kanto on the actual flag of Tokyo. The symbol on the flag of Tokyo is intended to be a representation of the sun, a traditional symbol of Japan, and of which Tokyo is in the center of. It's also apparently a stylized version of the character ? kyo, as in Tokyo, but that doesn't seem to be very official.
For Kanto, I altered the symbol to include a Pokeball, thus implying that Pokemon is in the center of this world. The four quarterlied colors were added, representing the games of Gen 1, Pokemon Red, Green, Blue and Yellow. I placed the colors such that you can either interpret Red & Green "above" the other two, or Red & Blue "before" the others, depending on which of those two you played first.
|Johto||The flag of Johto is based on the flag of Osaka Prefecture. In the Osakan flag, the symbol—sennari byotan ("thousand gourds")—was the personal crest of Toyotomi Hideyoshi. For Johto, however, I reinterpreted it to be a representation of Entei, Raikou, and Suicune fleeing Ecruteak City. The fourth circle, however, is also a Pokeball.
Finally, I made the flag a tricolor, choosing gold, white, and blue to represent... the flag of New York City! I mean, surely there's a reason why NYC also chose to represent the Gen 2 Pokemon games, Gold, Silver, and Crystal (respectively), right?
|Hoenn||Despite the general pattern of my flag designs, the flag of Hoenn is sort of an odd one out. Although its colors represent the Gen 3 Pokemon games—Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald—it isn't based on any actual flag from any of Kyushu's prefectures. Instead, I made a three-sided circle to represent Gen 3, while the symbol in the middle is a mix between the English letter H and the Katakana character Ho (?).|
|Sinnoh||Going back to the pattern; the flag of Sinnoh is a tricolor representing the Gen 4 games—Diamond, Pearl and Platinum (which is represented by yellow because Giratina)—with the cross based on the seven-pointed star on the Flag of Hokkaido, albeit with only four points to represent Gen 4.|
|Unova||The flag of Unova was actually the easiest... I kinda wish it wasn't so easy, but whatever. Anyways, although Unova is based on New York City, since I totally already referenced NYC in Johto's flag (see above), I figured I'd just represent the United Stated in general. Therefore, the single star is a reference to the US, while the five-pointed star and the five black-and-white stripes represent the Fifth Generation of Pokemon games, Black and White.
Its resemblance to the Flag of Brittany is purely coincidental.
|Kalos||The flag of Kalos was one that I kinda feel most proud of. Namely, it references both the flag of Paris (Blue and Red at the top) as well as the flag of France (Blue-White-Red at the bottom), with both Gen 6 Pokemon games incorporated into the White bar of the French tricolor: the Y of Pokemon Y merges with the White bar, while the X of Pokemon X is merged with the Y. Finally, the six triangle segments (three blue and three red) represent Gen 6 itself, while the five white "rays" represent Lumiose City and it's five main gates.
So much symbolism with such a simple design; this is what great flag design is supposed to do.
|Alol||The flag of Alola is the first flag to reference another Pokemon regional flag, as both it and Unova are based on locations in the United States. But it's more than just that. The "white star and stripes" is a nod to the flag of Unova, but the fact of its stripes, as well as their arrangement, is a reference to the flag of Hawai'i, which instead cycles between three colors instead of just two.
That said, the seven stripes of the flag of Alola represent the Gen 7 Pokemon games, Sun and Moon. Of the colors themselves, orange represents Sun while purple represents Moon, while black is a reference to the added black accents to Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, as well as a nod to Unova.
|Galar||Unfortunately, I'm still in the middle of playing Pokemon Sword/Shield, so I don't have a flag for the Galar region just yet. That said, here's some ideas I've been considering:
Anyways, I still have a lot to find in this game, so I won't get around to designing this flag until later.
|Orange Is.||Although the Orange Islands aren't an "official" region—being exclusive to the anime and only manga title—an idea for its flag was just too good to pass up. Therefore, the flag of the Orange Islands is a unique design, but one that is similar to the overall flag design of each Japanese prefecture: specifically, a simple symbol which represents the prefecture over a field of a single color. And since the Orange Islands are likely based on Okinawa—which is also a chain of tropical-esque islands south of the Japanese Home Islands—giving it a "prefecture-esque" flag seemed fitting.
In this case, the color of the field would naturally be orange, with the symbol in the center being both an English "O" as well as a Japanese Katakana O (?), as well as the idea of the "O" representing both an orange fruit and the natural shape of an island. Again, a simple design but one flush with meaning.
|Orre||This design for the flag of Orre is one that I MIGHT change, on account of how unoriginal it is. Because Orre was based on the American state of Arizona, all I did was just use its flag and replaced its copper star with a Pokeball. I honestly didn't even change anything else, so there is no other Pokemon-related symbolism within it.
Unless I'm convinced to keep this design for Orre, I'll end up designing a new flag which incorporate these elements:
Past that... well, maybe I'll get around to it when I work on Galar's flag.
|Ransei||???||The flag of Ransei from Pokemon Conquest is... well... it might be difficult. It might even be doubly-difficult (aka doubly-FUN) because Ransei itself is split up into 17 kingdoms, and they probably all should get their own flags as well. Or at least mon.
Of course the easiest thing to do would to just take the first kanji of the Kingdom's Japanese name, place in inside a circle, and then put it in a field that is colored according to that Kingdom's type... but that would be BORING.
Ransei's flag, likewise, could just be Nobunaga's cherry blossom mon on a field of white or black, or a tricolor of white-black-white like the flag of the Tokugawa Shogunate.
I'll get back to this one soon, promise!
Other regions I have considered making flags for include the Sevii Islands (from FR/LG), Fiore, Almia and Oblivia (from the Pokemon Ranger series), and Holon (from the TCG sets dealing with Delta Species Pokemon).
Other symbols to come...
Enjoy it so far? Sweet! I've got a few other ideas up my sleeves, including:
- that oval country code sticker placed on cars, but for Pokemon regions
- My initial choice is listed in italics, but it may already be associated with an ISO 3166 international country code. So maybe I'll keep it, or maybe I'll change it.
- Therefore, anything in BOLD means that it'll likely be what I'll officially choose.
- Kanto K, KA, KN
- KN is already associated with Saint Kitts and Nevis
- KA is free
- Johto J, JO, JH, JT
- JO is already associated with Jordan
- JH and JT are free.
- Hoenn H, HO, HE, HN
- HN = Honduras
- HO and HE are free
- Sinnoh S, SI, SN, SH
- SI = Slovenia
- SN = Senegal
- ...actually EVERY combination of "S" and the other letters in "Sinnoh" is already used. So maybe I'll use a alpha-3 (3 letter) code for this?
- In that case, SIN, SNN, SNO, SNH are all available
- Finally, if I do stick with an alpha-2 (2 letter) code, I'll choose one from the country with the smallest population. In that case:
- SI = Slovenia (2.081 million)
- SN = Senegal (15.85 million)
- SO = Somalia (15.01 million)
- SH = Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha (0.005661 million)... I think we have a winner.
- Unova U, UN, UV
- UV is free!
- Oh yeah, UN = United Nations
- Kalos KL, KS
- KL and KS are free
- Alola A, AL, AA
- AL = Albania
- AA might be the best choice in that case. Even though AA = Alcoholics Anonymous
- If I need to go alpha-3, maybe ALO or ALA. ... Oh wait, ALA = Åland Islands
- OK, so if I do the population thing with Alola like with Sinnoh, then...:
- AL = Albania (2.846 million)
- AO = Angola (3081 million)
- AA = Alcoholics Anonymous ("close to" 2 million members of AA)... OK, I guess I'll use that one.
- Galar G, GA, GL
- GA = Gabon
- GL = Greenland
- GR = Greece
- I may need to go alpha-3 for Galar too; maybe GAL or GLR
- Population breakdown:
- GA = Gabon (2.119 million)
- GR = Greece (10.72 million)
- GL = Greenland (0.056025 million)... OK, there we go.
- Orre O, OR
- Oman is literally the only country starting with O. Or at least one with a alpha-2 code starting with O.
- So OR is 100% A-OK
- Orange Islands OI
- Same here; OI works perfectly fine!
- regional coat of arms (or mon for the Japanese-based regions)
- sports teams
- both for the region as a whole and for each major city
- specific sports teams and logos for baseball, basketball, football, REAL football, hockey...
- ...and that's it, there are NO OTHER competitive team sports out there at all, period. The end.
- mottos and nicknames
Part of the fun of this is because I enjoy world building, and it'd be nice to help fill out some of the gaps in the games... but also because, well, let's be honest, you know you'd wear a "Kanto Electabuzz" or 'Johto Magikarp" baseball cap, or maybe a "Motostoke Engine FC" football kit. If only I can think of some place that can make them for me...