Greater Japan Air Defense Association Badge

In the 1930s Japan readied herself for military air raids. The largest association dedicated to the training of civilians is the Greater Japan Air Defense Association (Dainippon Boukuu Kyoukai 大日本防空協会). This was a non-profit foundation (zaidan houjin 財団法人), and this 4-kanji compound is usually prefixed to the association name.

This group held lectures and training exercises such as evacuation drills, lighting regulations, fire prevention and fire extinguishing drills, gas mask use, and other ways to cope with air raids. Despite the connotations of ‘air defense,’ I don’t think they were trained in anti-aircraft artillery. That was left to the homeland defense military. Some English sources claim that this group was related to aviation, but that is obviously incorrect.

I’m not sure what one needed to do to become a member, but it probably concerned a monetary donation. Badges were given to different levels of membership, so this usually corresponded to the amount of money given by the member. Merit badges also were given when a substantial amount was donated. Of course, the members of the group organized the non-members in the drills and exercises, and I imagine that participation in these activities was close to mandatory.

There seem to be a variety of badges from this group, but I will show just two today. All of the badges are variations on the same design theme: a cherry blossom in a red circle, with yellow and silver rays behind. Most badges are of a low quality, with a simple paint applied for the color. The metal seems to be aluminum. However, the highest merit badge may be silver and the enamel work is nice.

This is a special member badge:

japan air defense badge ww2

It has a simple pinback. Here is the merit badge:

japan air defense badge ww2

And the reverse:

japan air defense ww2 badge


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