Japanese Army Medal: NCO Merit Award Badge

Today I’d like to show you one of the more uncommon IJA badges, not really uncommon because of its rarity (though it is somewhat scarce) but because of its design. While other Japanese Army badges have a military design or an enameled pattern of some sort, this badge is a bulky cherry blossom with thick branches on either side. Of course, judging design elements of a badge is necessarily subjective, but I do not find this badge to be visually appealing. Although I like flowers as much as most people, this blossom is too thick and bold for my tastes. Anyway, whatever my personal feelings, it is what it is.

It is called the NCO Attendant’s Badge in most English sources. The Japanese title for this badge is Rikugun Kashi Kinroushou (陸軍下士勤労章), which translates as Army NCO Labor Badge. The labor in this sense may also be translated as ‘merit’ since this badge was awarded to NCOs who had served 6 or more years without a major blemish on their records.

It was established in either Meiji 37 [1904] or Meiji 41 [1908], according to two different Japanese sources I found. Peterson’s English language book shows the badge but doesn’t give any dates. Here are two examples:

You can see that they are slightly different in color, both the center blossom and the branches. Since there was only one version of this badge, this difference was the result of having different manufacturers. The reverses of these two have different shaped pins as well:

Most badges you will see have the wider pin (left) without an inscription. This inscription identifies the maker : Made by Wada Hiko, Osaka.

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Published in: on January 1, 2010 at 10:13 pm  Leave a Comment  
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