Rare Manchukuo National Foundation Imperial Medal

I’d like to start out showing one of the rarest of the Manchukuo medals. This is the Manchukuo National Foundation Imperial Medal, not to be confused with the more common non-Imperial medal that was freely awarded.

Most medal experts do not have much to say about this medal except that it may have been a personal award from Emperor Pu-Yi himself. Since the titles of this medal and that of its common counterpart are similar, they were both given on the same occasion: the establishment of the Manchukuo Empire. But since the common medal was awarded to many people, this rarer version must have been limited to a select few. Let’s look at this fine medal.

National Foundation Imperial Medal

National Foundation Imperial Medal


And close-ups of the obverse and reverse:



The image shows Pu-Yi. On either side of him are kanji that read ‘National Foundation Commemorative.’ The kanji below read ‘Daidou Year 1 [1932], March.’ I have given the Japanese reading for the era since I cannot read Chinese. In Peterson’s book Daidou is written as Ta-Tung, so that may be the Chinese correct reading. The kanji are 大同.
A brief side note: The era name Daidou refers to 3 years: 1932-1934 (strictly speaking March 1st, 1932 to February 28, 1934). These were the first years of the puppet empire Manchukuo. However, when Pu-Yi formally took the throne on March 1st, 1934, the era name changed to Koutoku (康徳), which Peterson transcribes as Kang Teh. The Koutoku era ended on August 18, 1945.


The reverse shows the Manchukuo national flag in the center, and on either side are birds commonly called feng, or fenghuang. (Read about them by clicking on the Wikipedia link.) The medal itself is a gold-plated bronze.
interior of case

interior of case

The case is really nice and of a high-quality. The inscription on the inside lid:
lid inscription

lid inscription

It reads ‘National Foundation, Imperial Event Commemorative.’ The phrase I translated as ‘Imperial Event’ is Taiten (大典), which is usually used in Japanese to refer to an event involving the emperor or associated royalty. The bottom kanji show the maker, but I cannot read the first two kanji well. The whole phrase may read ‘Made of gold’ instead of the maker’s name, but again I am not sure.
Finally, the ribbon is in the colors and design of the Manchukuo national flag. The reverse hook and latch device is the same as that on Japanese medals.
reverse with ribbon

reverse with ribbon

Next up–another interesting official Manchukuo award.
Published in: on October 3, 2009 at 9:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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