Manchukuo Emperor 2nd State Visit to Japan: Sake Cup

In 1940 the Emperor of Manchukuo made his 2nd and final official state visit to Japan. In 1940 the occasion was the 2600th Anniversary of the Founding of the Japanese Nation, which was dated from the reign of the mythical Emperor Jimmu. Anyway, in an effort to bolster the national identity, celebrations were held all over the country. An official medal was minted and you can still find a wide array of badges, cups, and assorted items made to commemorate this event.

So the Manchukuo Emperor came to pay his respects, as did representatives from other Asian countries like Thailand and the provisional puppet government of Nanking.

Pu-Yi arrived in the Port of Yokohama and was met there by Prince Takamatsu, a younger brother of the Showa Emperor. It is interesting that on Pu-Yi’s first state visit he was met by the emperor himself–and at the common Tokyo Station, no less. This time a person a bit lower in the hierarchy greeted him.

However, the Showa Emperor treated Pu-Yi as an equal, one reason their being close in age. They visited Ise Shrine together on this 2nd visit.

Today I’d like to show you an item from 1940 that commemorated the Manchukuo Emperor’s visit. It is a sake cup, often used in Japan to celebrate important occasions. Here is a picture:

Manchukuo Emperor Pu Yi sake cup

This is a lacquered wood cup. In the center in silver gilt is the Imperial Orchid crest of the Manchukuo Emperor. Very few cups can be found with this crest, so this is really a treasure.

The inscription reads ‘His Imperial Highness the Emperor of Manchukuo, Visit to Japan Commemorative, Imperial Year 2600 [1940].’

On the reverse: ‘Showa 15 [1940] June 30, [zaiin:在院], Tokyo 3rd Army Special Hospital.’

Zaiinmeans someone closely associated with the hospital, either a doctor or nurse, or perhaps someone in an administrative post. It does not refer to a patient in a hospital, which is usually rendered nyuuin (入院).

So either Pu-Yi himself or a member of his Imperial Party visited this Army hospital. On this prestigious occasion, some sort of dinner or other event was held, and probably those who attended were given a sake cup to commemorate the event.


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