Please visit my medal site

It seems as though these blog posts are still attracting new viewers and subscribers; however, I haven’t written a post in 8 years. Thanks so much for your interest, but I will not be posting anything in the foreseeable future. You can see some posts on the Dai Nippon Military Antiques Facebook page, or you can see 100s of badges and medals on my site:

Published in: on February 12, 2018 at 1:13 am  Leave a Comment  

1930s Japanese WW2 3-Piece Ashtray set

Here is a wonderful porcelain set from the 1930s. Sometimes you will find these inscribed to a soldier, and other times there are just general inscriptions. I am sure these were attractive to civilians as well. Here are some photos:

The top has a nicely molded bird. It is a bird of prey, such as a hawk or kite, but it seems a bit delicate.

The set consists of three pieces. The top is a lid, the center holds cigarettes, and the bottom is the ashtray. The center part is inscribed ‘The Glory of the Country’ while the ashtray says ‘Commemorative.’

Published in: on March 3, 2010 at 7:41 am  Leave a Comment  

Imperial Japan Aviation Association 1930s part 5

Finally, I’d like to show some insignia from this aviation group and then a final few words. The student pilots and even mechanics and associated members would wear this insignia on the uniform collars. They are too small to be sleeve insignia. The design is similar to the member badge but it isn’t detailed.

As I mentioned in the first post, the Imperial Japan Aviation Association was established as a corporation in 1913 (just 3 years after Japan’s first powered flight) and became a foundation in 1914. It merged with the Greater Japan Aviation Association in 1940. In 1945 SCAP (the American occupying authorities) banned all civilian aircraft operations, and when the Americans left in 1952 the association sprung up again with a new name, the Japan Aeronautic Association. The group continues to operate today and is quite large.

There were other wartime aviation groups in Japan, most notably the Army-run Greater Japan Aviation Student Group (DaiNippon Hikou Shonen-dan 大日本飛行少年団), but the group discussed here seems to have been the largest.

Published in: on February 27, 2010 at 9:41 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: ,

Imperial Japan Aviation Association 1930s part 4

A few more member badges (pins) from the Imperial Aviation Association.  Today I’ll show some pins, and it is really unclear to me how these differ from the member badges.

This looks to be fairly cheap, and although it is labeled as a member badge, I think it was offered for sale to members, not given as an actual member badge. Here are a couple similar pins:

Similar pins… The quality is not very high, so as I said these were probably small commemorative items.

More next post!

Published in: on February 26, 2010 at 8:09 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: ,

Imperial Japan Aviation Association 1930s part 3

Today I’ll show you an interesting paperweight or medallion given by the Imperial Aviation Association.

The design here is striking: a plane flies above some mountains. In the background are the rays of the rising sun slicing through the air. A few clouds break up the lines. At the top is a kanji for ‘Prize (Shou 賞),’ which indicates this was an award of some sort, probably for a competition within the group.

The reverse:

The member badge is at the top and the inscription reads ‘Foundation, Imperial Aviation Association (Zaidan Houjin, Teikoku Hikou Kyoukai 財団法人 帝国飛行協会). Sorry to say, it doesn’t say why this was awarded.

Published in: on February 25, 2010 at 7:57 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

Imperial Japan Aviation Association 1930s part 2

Today two Merit badges from the Aviation Association, one from the pre-1940 group and one from the post-1940 merger.

This is marked ‘Merit Member Badge, Imperial Aviation Association’ both on the box lid and on the reverse of the badge. As you can see, the member badge design is present in the central element, but the enameled field and decorated edge makes this a much nicer badge. Merit badges like this one were given for large donations.


Note that the inscription on this box reads ‘Special Merit Member Badge, Greater Japan Aviation Association,’ a post-1940 group as I mentioned in my previous post. The enamel field on this one is green and the inscription adds the word ‘Special,’ which probably indicates a higher class of merit than the blue badge.

More in my next post.

Published in: on February 24, 2010 at 10:49 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

Imperial Japan Aviation Association 1930s

The Imperial Japan Aviation Association (known under a few different English names) was established in 1913. It cooperated with the Ministry of Education and instructed young men in various aviation matters. Eventually, of course, these men would be encouraged to continue their careers as pilots in the Army or Navy.

The Japanese name of this group is Teikoku Hikou Kyoukai 帝国飛行協会, which you will see inscribed on a variety of different badges and commemorative items. In 1940 this group merged with the Great Japan Aviation Association (Dai-Nippon Hikou-Kai 大日本飛行会).

The basic member badge looks like like:

It is small but well-made. A Special Member badge has the same basic design:

Usually more enamel work and gold gilt plating is evident on the Special Member badges.

Who wore these? Well, most likely officials and supporters of the group did. Although it is possible that student pilots would have received a regular member badge, it is more likely that people who donated money to the group or worked for the group got these badges.

More items from this group in the next few posts.

Published in: on February 24, 2010 at 4:49 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

One-Year Anniversary of Manchukuo Badge

To celebrate the one-year anniversary of the establishing of Manchukuo, a variety of commemorative items were made. Most of these were sold in stores, not given as an award. Here is one example:

The center enameled piece is the Manchukuo national flag, and on either side are branches of sorghum, the national symbol. I have seen many examples of this badge that are missing the enamel flag, so this must have been glued in.

The reverse:

It reads ‘Great Manchukuo Empire, Daidou 2 [1933], National Foundation 1st Anniversary, March 1st.’ In Japanese it reads ‘大満州国 大同二年 建国周年 三月一日.’ As I mentioned in a previous post, Daidou was the era name given to the period 1932-1934, specifically March 1st 1932 to February 28th 1934. On March 1st of 1934 Puyi was enthroned as emperor so the era name changed to Koutoku (康徳) , which is rendered Kang Teh in many English language sources.

Finally, the case:

A simple paulonia wood case with yellow padded interior. The case inscription is the same as that on the badge. This badge had no ribbon nor any other suspension device.

WW2 Japanese Army Soldier Sake Bottle (Tokkuri 徳利)

A break from Manchukuo medals, which I’d like to get back to…

Today, though, I am happy to introduce an interesting soldier-shaped sake bottle. First I’ll show the pics, then a short explanation.

The shape, as you can see, is an Army soldier. He wears a cap with Army star, has shoulder rank tabs, and also buttons and belt. Very nicely made. You may be able to see a series of cracks in the glaze. These do not extend to the pottery. They are done purposefully as a nice textured touch. It is called crazing. I believe it happens when the firing is at a higher temperature than normal.

The soldier stands in some blossoms, and an inscription has been embossed into the pottery. It says ‘Health Bottle’ or Kenkou Tokkuri 健康徳利 in Japanese. Kenkou means health, so this could be (and most probably is) a bottle given to wish one good health or good luck even. It seems an appropriate gift for a soldier newly inducted or even for a discharged soldier. Anyway, a rare item for sure. I don’t think I have seen one like this before, but my memory is getting a bit blurry on some days.

Published in: on February 17, 2010 at 11:52 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

Manchukuo Red Cross Member Medals, part 2

Here is a member medal in its original box of issue:

And here is the document that was given along with the medal for a Full Member:

This is dated Koutoku 8 [1941]. Finally, here is the Special Member medal in its case. The large ribbon rosette shows the Special Member status: