DESTROYER HAMAKAZE Escort to Emperor and Crown Prince of England

Today I will show you an extremely rare matched set of named warship cups. Not only do they have an inscription, but the inside label notes exactly who received the cups and when they received them. This kind of detail is rarely found for any military sake cups.



The label reads ‘The Origin of these Commemorative Sake Cups. In Showa 4 [1929] May 20 the
Crown Prince of England visited Japan to receive a medal and while here he visited Kure, Etajima, Miyajima, and Kobe. Those who accompanied the Prince in his voyages received 50 yen. Also, from June 1st to the 8th in the same year, they escorted His Imperial Highness the Emperor on a tour through Kushimoto, Tanabe, Osaka, and Kobe. For this good conduct, each member of the crew received an additional 50 yen. In addition to the monetary rewards listed to the right, all crew members received these pewter cups to eternally commemorate  their glory. Showa 4 [1929] July, Celebratory Day. Captain of the Destroyer Hamakaze, Yasutomi Yoshisuke.’katakana on the ship picture say ‘Hamakaze.’

The

the Order of the Chrysanthemum in 1929. He also visited Yasukuni Shrine on May 5th of that year.

 

The cups are inscribed ‘Showa 4 [1929] Good Conduct Escort as well as Patrol Commemorative. Destroyer Hamakaze.’The Isokaze-Class Destroyer Hamakaze was built in 1915 at the Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Yard in Nagasaki. It was struck from the lists in 1935.

The Crown Prince referred to here is Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester. He received

Made of Satsuma pewter. The original cotton, cheesecloth, and period newspaper padding were all intact! What a treasure!

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JAPANESE WW2 SAKE BOTTLE 1940 Maizuru Artillery

Here is an interesting artillery shell bottle with sake cup top. Normally these are decorated with some sort of military design such as a cannon, helmet, flags, or something of that nature. This bottle has no design at all except for silver trim.

On the base, though, is a date and a place of issue, both of which are fairly rare on these kinds of bottles.

The inscription reads ‘Imperial Year 2600 [1940], Maizuru Fortification Headquarters, 40th Anniversary Commemorative.’  (The embossed white inscription that you may be able to see under the blue writing is a trademark.)

The date seems a bit off since construction on the Maizuru Naval District began in 1901, not 1900. However, perhaps the dating begins from when the building plan was approved.

Another interesting example of an Artillery Shell bottle and cup set.

Inner Mongolia Nat’l Foundation Medal 1939

Today’s medal is much more common than the medal I showed in my previous post. The English name is the National Foundation Merit Medal and Peterson states that it was awarded to commemorate the establishment of Mengjiang in 1939.

The obverse:

And the reverse:

And the case:

Peterson claims that this was a Japanese-made medal. The quality is fairly high (case, ribbon, and medal), so he is probably right.

Although this medal was freely awarded and doesn’t appear to be rare, the common perception of people is that itis very hard to find. When this medal appears on ebay, for example, the price often skyrockets over 300 USD, much to the delight of sellers from Japan. However, as people abroad (i.e., not in Japan) pay more, the price in Japan goes up as well–sellers competing for the high-profit items.

Published in: on February 5, 2010 at 9:48 am  Leave a Comment  
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3rd Mongolian Grand Council Medal: Japanese Puppet Empire

The next medal from Inner Mongolia is called the 3rd Mongolian Grand Council Commemorative Medal. I am not exactly sure what this medal commemorates, but the flags on the obverse are the Mengjiang flags used before 1939.

Here is the obverse:

The quality of the medal is not very high, so I don’t think it was Japanese-made, although the Japanese controlled this government. The inscription reads ‘3rd Mongolian Grand Council Commemoratie (第三次蒙古大会記念).’ The reverse:

I cannot read Mongolian. Perhaps some extra information is included here. But the medal probably commemorates a merger of various areas into a unified government. I’m sure there are people out there who know more details. Please comment on this blog and let us know!

The medal and case:

1930s Inner Mongolia puppet empire of Japan MILITARY MEDAL

For the next few posts I’d like to show a few items from Inner Mongolia. As you may know, Japan spread her influence through Manchuria and up into Mongolia in the 1930s and 1940s. There seems to have been a number of Japanese-led puppet governments in Inner Mongolia, but I am not exactly sure how many, the names of each, and how long each lasted.

Peterson states that a Free Mongolia government was established in Chahar. A short web search shows that from 1937 to 1945 Japan controlled Chahar and also established the Mengjiang United Autonomous Government. And I think that government issued the Military Merit Decoration that I will show you today.

The medal has pin backs–no ribbon. It was designed and made in Japan, and resembles the Type II War Wound badge in its broad design. However, Peterson states that this is a Military Merit award corresponding to the Golden Kite.

The reverse is gold gilt:

And the case is a pasteboard:

Peterson doesn’t mention what the Mongolian inscriptions on the reverse and on the case say. The two Chinese characters do say ‘merit,’ though. Peterson also mentions that two other versions with blue enamel have been seen, though he includes no pictures of those in his book. I suppose, though, that there would be different classes of any military merit award.

Ship Launching Commemorative: AXES

My final ship launching commemorative post. I hope I haven’t bored you…

Today I will show two post-war items that are in the shape of axes. I am not sure why this shape is used, but I have seen pre-war launching commemoratives in the same shape, so there is some sort of tradition with the axes.

Here is an axe dated July 4, Showa 50 (1975) and the ship was called the 55th Mitake-Maru. Built by the Southern Japan Shipbuilding Corporation.

And another from the same shipbuilder. This is the 57th Mitake-Maru, launched on August 7, 1980.

Well, that’s all for the ship launching items. I still have a handful of post-war postcards to show you, but for now I will head back toward badges and medals.

Published in: on January 29, 2010 at 8:51 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Ship Launching Commemorative: 1938 Touyou-Maru

Another ship launching commemorative. Today’s item is a wooden plaque measuring about 21 cm diameter. The quality is not exactly high, but it is an interesting example. Here is the plaque:

And a close-up of the inscription:

It reads ‘Teishin-Shou [逓信省], Touyou-Maru Launching Commemorative, Kawasaki Shipbuilding Corporation.’ I didn’t translate the first phrase because I wasn’t sure how to render it in English. But it is the name of a goverment ministry before the war. It regulated the postal system and communciations.

I found an online Japanese source that stated this ship was launched on June 25, 1938 and retired (or perhaps removed from the lists) in 1945 (reason not stated). It was a cable-laying ship.

Published in: on January 28, 2010 at 7:36 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Ship Launching Medallion 1929 Tatsuta-Maru Mitsubishi

Back to ship launching commemoratives. Just a couple more…

Today I will show you a wonderful commemorative medallion made at the Japan Mint. It is a large heavy medallion and the design here is detailed and very attractive. As with other Japan Mint medallions (to be covered at a later date in this blog), this was probably offered for sale not only at the ship launching ceremony but also at department stores nationwide.

This was made for the Tatsuta-Maru (龍田丸), which is famous not only because of its status as a major passenger liner but also because it was requisitioned as a troopship by the Japanese Navy in 1941 and was sunk in 1943. Read more about her HERE on Wikipedia.

And here is the medallion:

Isn’t it striking? Inscribed at the top: ‘Tatsuta-Maru Launching Commemorative.’ Here is the reverse:

Inscribed ‘Mitsubishi Nagasaki Shipbuilding Company, Showa 4 [1929] April 12. Made by the Japan Mint.’

1942 Russia Manchukuo badge revisited

A week or so ago (perhaps more) I posted a badge showing the Manchukuo flag and a Russian inscription. I didn’t know what it was until a few people offered suggestions. Then my friend in Khabarovsk sent me this great information (it follows the picture of the badge). Thanks, Alex!

Inscribed ”Manchukuo 10-Year Anniversary” and ”Health is the Power of a Nation” (Здоровье – сила нации). A flag is the old Russian Imperial Flag which was used by monarchist white-guardian Russians after 1917.

Many thousands of Russian people lived in Manchukuo including my three great-grandpa and their mothers. They all escaped from Bolsheviks to Harbin which was a center of Russian emigration.

… In the 1920s Harbin was flooded with 100,000 to 200,000 Russian White émigrés fleeing from Russia. They were mostly officers and soldiers involved in the White movement, members of the White governments in Siberia and Russian Far East. There were both the intelligentsia and ordinary people. Harbin held the largest Russian population outside of the state of Russia.
From 1932 to 1945, Harbin Russians had a difficult time under the Manchukuo régime, then the Japanese occupation. Some Harbin Russians initially thought the occupation was good, hoping that the Japanese would help them in their anti-Soviet struggles and provide protection from the Chinese, who were desperately trying to restore the sovereignty of Harbin.
..Some Harbin Russians moved to other cities such as Shanghai, Beijin, Tianjin and eventually left China. By the 1930s, Shanghai’s Russian community had grown to 25,000. (From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harbin_Russians).

There where several political parties and movements in Manchukuo. Among them where the Russians movements, which had official status:
– Russian Fascist Organization (the White Russian fascist association in Manchukuo);
– White Russian Fascist Party (later the Russian Fascist Party; White Russian anticommunist party in Manchukuo, used the swastika as symbol, guided by a Russian fascist “Duce”);
– Bureau for Russian Emigrants in Manchuria (BREM) led by General Vladimir Kislitsin;
– Monarquic Party (White Russian Tzarist Monarchic party with Japanese approval).

Here is another link for inform. about Konstantin Rodzaevsky, the leader of Russian fascists in Harbin. I think you will find it interesting: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Konstantin_Vladimirovich_Rodzaevsky.

Published in: on January 27, 2010 at 5:28 am  Leave a Comment  
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NEWS Japanese Suicide Bombers: Kaiten, Kamikaze, and the Kewpie Doll

Recently in the news here in Japan was the recall (or rather cancellation) of the sales of a certain Kewpie doll. The Kewpie is cute and therefore extremely popular in Japan, so one company decided to make a Japanese Soldier/Sailor series of cell phone straps using these dolls. These were only sold at small shops outside of the Self-Defense Forces bases, but the shops are open to the general populace. In addition, the straps were available online.

A few different versions came out last year without any trouble, but the release of the Kaiten sailors and Ohka soldiers drew the wrath of a number of high-ranking politicians as well as a small public outcry. Here is a photo of the offending toy:

The little doll has ‘Kaiten 回天’ written on his shirt and he also wears the IJN headband (Imperial Japanese Navy 日本帝国海軍). Why the fuss? Well, depicting a Kewpie doll as a Japanese soldier or sailor caused no stir, but the Kaiten sailors were young men coerced into suicide missions. You can read more about them HERE. They were the men who propelled the small torpedoes into whatever target they could find.

Another version also cancelled (no picture) is a kamikaze soldier wearing a shirt saying ‘Cherry Blossom 桜花,’ the name of the kamikaze pilots’ plane. This is commonly known as the Ohka. Read more HERE.

Making light of the suicide torpedoes and the kamikaze pilots did not go over well, and the straps were cancelled, shops returning any remaining stock.

No doubt these will appear on the secondary market for astronomical prices. They originally sold for 500 yen.

Published in: on January 20, 2010 at 11:51 pm  Leave a Comment  
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