WW2 Imperial Japanese Army Regiment Badge

I’ll switch focus from Manchukuo for a few posts. Today I’d like to begin to introduce some IJA badges from the WW2 era. Actually, the tradition of making commemorative badges goes back at least to the Taisho era (1912-1926), but I am sure one can find Meiji badges, too. There are plenty of Meiji-era medallions, medals, and other similar items, so IJA badges can probably be found.

In the 1930s, though, there seems to have been an increase in the number of military badges being made. They were made for many different occasions, and indeed civilian badges often have the same look as the military ones.

The badge I’d like to show you today belongs to a broad group of regiment badges. Since badges were small (portable) and fairly inexpensive, they were often given by regiment commanders as a way to reward the troops. And since they were inscribed with the regiment unit name and/or number, they were personalized as well. However, very rarely was the name of the individual soldier inscribed. The only ones I have seen were names hand-carved, probably by the recipient.

Among the regiment badges, I have identified two broad groups: one with a specific unit number recorded on the badge and one with only the regiment commander’s name. The former are fairly easy to research; the latter are almost impossible to discover information about, especially if the commander’s name was common. To give an example for comparison, one would be inscribed ‘Infantry 24th Regiment’ and another may be inscribed ‘Koga Regiment.’  In the case of the former, since we know most of the regiment movements, we can figure out where the soldier may have been when he got the badge, and if it is dated, well, that gives a lot of info. In the case of the latter, though, one would be hard-pressed to find all the units that had a commander named Koga.

Speaking of Koga, the badge today is inscribed ‘Koga Regiment.’ Here it is:

obverse

obverse

The design is quite impressive. The border is covered with Army stars, and the center design shows Japanese soldiers battling at the front. One carries the regiment standard. Clouds of smoke with stylized explosions are in the background, as are some hills. Above is a fighter plane with another explosion.

The reverse:

reverse

reverse

A simple border with the IJA star above. The inscription reads ‘Koga Regiment, Blood-Stained Regiment Standard.’ The latter phrase is a bit poetic and was no doubt meant to inspire the troops by acknowledging the sacrifice they made. Too bad we may never know more about the Koga Regiment.

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Published in: on October 8, 2009 at 12:05 am  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Since John Basilone virtually took out a Japanese Regiment in the battle for Guadal Canal, I am curious
    how many men made up a Japanese Army Regiment in WWII?

    • Sorry, Larry, I don’t know much about the numbers. Cheers, Rich


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