WASHINGTON – I recently saw a small exhibit of Japanese ancient military gear. There were swords with exquisite decorations and painted sheaths, elaborate uniforms, and various helmets. Among these, I saw one that had a beautiful, green dragonfly right in front. To me It looked strange, incongruous. An insect, a dragonfly, on military gear?
Symbol of military virtue
Yes, a dragonfly on a helmet. And the description attached explains the connection between the dragonfly and military virtue.
In Japan the dragonfly is a symbol of bravery. And here is the reason. The Japanese believed (mistakenly) that the dragonfly does not fly backward, but always advances, never retreating.
Therefore the dragonfly that never abandons its ground was named kachimushi, “victory insect”, by the Sengoku era warriors, As a symbol of courage, it was often placed on helmets and swords.
Intrepid dragonfly, always flying forward.