Imperial Japan Middle School Sharpshooting Badge 1

For the next three posts I’d like to show some sharpshooting  badges from the 1930s. What makes these a bit different is that they are from schools, not from the Army. Of course, most middle school boys in the 1930s would go on to become IJA soldiers or IJN sailors.

In the 1930 Japanese middle schools the military arts, including rifle training, were given as much emphasis as academic subjects. If I remember correctly, girls attended school up to the 6th grade, so the middle schools had only boys. (There were a few private schools that educated girls, but these were uncommon.)

Japanese children today are amazed to see these militant badges made for 12- and 13-year olds because they have a hard time imagining such a militant culture. Presently firearms are outlawed in Japan (except for some hunting guns, which are rare), so the idea of young boys shooting rifles in school is shocking to Japanese youth. (I may be overstating their reactions, though. )

First up is a badge from 1935.

obverse

obverse

The central design shows a boy in uniform aiming a rifle. In the distance there is a Japanese castle.  Since this tournament was sponsored by Kansai University (see translation of badge below), the castle is probably Osaka Castle. Of note is the rectangular suspension device, which indicates not a badge but a watch fob.

The reverse:

reverse

reverse

The translation is ‘[Imperial Year] 2595 [1935], 9th Annual Middle School Sharpshooting Tournament, Sponsored by Kansai University Alumni, Sharpshooting Club.’

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Published in: on October 14, 2009 at 8:26 pm  Leave a Comment  
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