Imperial Japanese Army: Type I War Wound Badge

In 1913 the first official war wound badge was established by the Japanese government. It is now called the Type I War Wound Badge because in 1938 a completely new type (called the Type II War Wound Badge) replaced it.

These Type I badges are fairly rare as is documented information on them. But as far as I can tell, there seem to be 4 different badges: 2 wound badges given for battle injuries and 2 wound badges given to soldiers who sustained injuries outside of battle (contracting a disease, for example). That there are two different kinds of badges is obvious because of the inscriptions on the badges themselves. One is labeled ‘War Wound’ (戦傷, senshou ) and the other ‘Public Wound’ (公傷, koushou).

However, the inscriptions on the lids of the presentation cases indicate that within these two categories there was another division: that of officer and NCO. The badges were the same except for the size, the officer’s badge being larger.

Let’s take a look at the Type I War Wound badge. The shape of the badge is that of a traditional Japanese shield:

Japanese Army War wound badge medal


Written in two large gold kanji is ‘War Wound.’  The box is labeled with a kanji that means ‘superior’ or in this case, ‘1st Class’ (甲, kou). The NCO version is similar:

Japanese ww2 wound badge war medal

Note that the size of the boxes are the same but the badges are smaller. Both are labeled as war wound, but the box of the smaller badge is labeled ‘NCO and below’ (下士以下).

The badge itself is a thick metal, probably steel, and the obverse has a black pebbled background. The reverse is plain:

ww2 japanese war wound badge medal

The above are the Senshou (戦傷) types; below is a Koushou (公傷) badge:

ww2 japanese war wound badge medal

Two differences one should notice between this badge and the senshou (戦傷) variety. First, the kanji on this badge are silver while the senshou (戦傷) badges have gold kanji. Second, the box indicates that this is not a kou (甲) 1st Class badge, but an otsu (乙) 2nd Class badge. This distinction shows that wounds suffered during battle were considered to be worthy of a higher-class badge. And perhaps the soldier would receive more money in the form of a bonus or a monthly stipend.

Published in: on October 17, 2009 at 9:42 pm  Leave a Comment  
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