Manchukuo Bayonet Skills WW2 IJA Badge

Today’s badge is quite interesting. First the obverse:

The design has a kanji for ‘Prize (Shou 賞)’ at the top so we know this is an award of some sort. The center design has a kendo (Japanese swordfighting) mask, but neither of the two figures behind it are swords. One is a rifle and another is a rifle shape with a circular object on the tip. This indicates that the skills practiced here are not swordfighting skills but bayonet skills. The former is called kendo (剣道) and the latter jukendo (銃剣道), the kanji  ju prefixed to the other two meaning ‘gun.’

Kendo is still quite popular here in Japan and abroad, being one of the traditional martial arts. However, one may be surprised to learn that jukendo is also being practiced in Japan here today, although it is a minor and relatively unknown sport. You can see the short Wikipedia article HERE and if you’d like to see the All-Japan Jukendo Federation page, click HERE.

Back to the badge: The figure below the mask is the insignia for the Manchuria Railroad Defense Unit. Two crossed rifles superimposed on a rail. These were IJA units stationed in Manchuria and assigned to defend the railways.

The reverse:

The design is rather plain, having just an inscription. It reads ‘Kantou-shou 間島省, Yanji 延吉 [City], Moribe Unit 森部隊.’  (Moribe is a family name and designates the commander of a unit.) I placed the first term in italics since this is the Japanese reading of a Manchukuo province that of course no longer exists. Now the area is called Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture, and though located in China is mostly populated with Koreans.

So this badge was given to a winner in a jukendo competition held within the Moribe Unit, or perhaps the competition was between different units and the Moribe Unit gained a prize, each contributing member receiving a badge.


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