Imperial Japanese Army KIA Next of Kin Badge

When a Japanese soldier was wounded in battle, he received the war wound badge, which I have discussed in a previous post. When the soldier was killed in combat, his family received a badge from the Soldier’s Next-of-Kin Association. In Japanese this group is called the Gunjin Izoku-kai (軍人遺族会). Here is a photo:

japanese army KIA badge medal

The badge has a simple cherry blossom design. There is a thick purple cord and a pin at the top. The award usually came in a paulonia wood box. This badge was awarded by the Izoku-kai, but this group was sponsored by the government and the award document that accompanied this badge (see tomorrow’s post) had the Ministry of the Army (or Navy) listed as the awarding authority.

japanese kia badge army navy ww2

The reverse is inscribed ‘Soldier Next-of-Kin Badge.’ No individual names were inscribed.

As far as I know, even though there is a pin attached, this badge was rarely worn. It is possible that people would have worn it for a special ceremony honoring the deceased, but that is only conjecture.

In addition to the badge, the family of the deceased received a pension supplement (the amount depended on the soldier’s rank), a one-time payment, a government award payment, funeral expenses, a free (or discounted) railway pass, and help for school tuition if the deceased had children.


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