Manchukuo Red Cross Member Medals, part 2

Here is a member medal in its original box of issue:

And here is the document that was given along with the medal for a Full Member:

This is dated Koutoku 8 [1941]. Finally, here is the Special Member medal in its case. The large ribbon rosette shows the Special Member status:

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.

Japan and Manchukuo: South Manchuria Railroad Badge 3

Today I’ll introduce a Mantetsu worker’s badge. Notice that it doesn’t have the exact same emblem. This emblem has the rounded ‘M’ superimposed on a straight line. I suppose the latter figure is a simplified version of a rail (which is more detailed in the more common emblem–see yesterday’s post and the sake cups below), but it is possible it has a significance of which I am ignorant. Here it is:

And from another source are some commemorative sake cups from Mantetsu:

If I remember correctly, these are post-war cups made by a group of ex-Mantetsu workers. Even so, it is very hard to find this insignia on sake cups.

Imperial Japanese Army: Type II War Wound Badge

In 1938 the Type I War Wound badge was replaced by a new style badge. I am not sure of the reason, but the new badge is certainly more colorful and perhaps the change was meant to bolster the spirits of the millions of troops in China, far away from home.

I showed some photos of the Type I badge in my last post. Here is the Type II:

ww2 japanese war wound badge medal

The design incorporates some red enameled pieces shaped like a traditional Japanese shield. The metal rays are spear tips, and the central figure is Kusunoki Masashige, a samurai heralded for his heroic spirit.

So the design elements have changed dramatically. The kanji indicating the kind of wound badge have been shifted from a prominent place on the obverse to a place hidden behind two pins on the reverse:

pins down

pins down

 

pin up reveals 公傷

pin up reveals 公傷

It seems clear that one reason for the design change was to reduce the distinction between the two kinds of badges.

There was a variety of presentation cases, but unlike the Type I badge case, there was no indication of different badges being given to officers. I think that disappeared with the Type II badge. And the variety of cases probably indicates only that a few different manufacturers were used to make the case–and perhaps the badges, too, but there is very little, if any, variety between badges of the same type. Here are three cases:

paulonia wood case

paulonia wood case

 

cardboard case with gold kanji

cardboard case with gold kanji

 

cardboard case with white kanji

cardboard case with white kanji

Published in: on October 18, 2009 at 8:44 pm  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Imperial Japanese Army: North China Dispatch Badge

Here is a badge that is not only aesthetically pleasing, it documents the regiment number and area of dispatch. This badge is a higher quality than the previously posted badge, not so much in the detail of the design but in the materials used. The previous badge was a base metal, but this one is marked jungin (純銀), which means pure silver.

Let’s view the obverse:

obverse
obverse

The design shows a row of soldiers with rifles in an attack pose. Very cool. The inscription reads ‘North China Dispatch Commemorative.’

The reverse:

reverse

reverse

The design shows the Great Wall of China, which is often seen on other kinds of Japanese WW2 commemorative items such as sake cups. It seems to have been used as a general symbol of China since it was easily recognized.

The inscription reads ‘Infantry 26th Regiment.’ A quick bit of research shows that the 26th Regiment belonged to the 7th IJA Division, its call sign being the ‘Bear Division.’ This regiment consisted of troops from Hokkaido, specifically the city of Asahikawa. The Bear Division has a long history, which you can read a little bit of on WIKIPEDIA.

In 1934 this division went to Manchuria and participated in the Battle of Nomonhan. (More on that in my next post.)

According to Wikipedia, most of the Bear Division ended the war in a home defense garrison, so this badge dates from 1934 to 1945. However, since this is a pure silver badge, a later date seems highly unlikely. The probable time frame of issue is 1934-38.

Published in: on October 8, 2009 at 10:31 pm  Comments (2)  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Manchukuo Empire Foundation Commemorative Badge

On the occasion of the founding of the Manchukuo Empire, a wide variety of commemorative items were made. And on subsequent anniversaries, similar items were produced. These kinds of badges and other items were most likely put on sale at department stores. Here is a very nice enameled badge celebrating the 1st anniversary of Manchukuo.
Manchukuo Empire Foundation Commemorative Badge 
And a close-up of the obverse. You will notice that there are two branches around the enameled national flag. These are sorghum branches and buds, and this plant was used often on Manchukuo items. Although the official imperial crest is the orchid, the sorghum was used as a symbol of the nation, just as the cherry blossom is used as a symbol of Japan.
obverse

obverse

 And the reverse:
reverse

reverse

The inscription on the reverse reads ‘Manchukuo Empire, Daidou 2 [1933] March 1st, National Foundation 1-Year Anniversary Commemorative.’ The paulonia wood box lid has a gilt inscription that reads ‘Manchukuo Empire, National Foundation 1-Year Anniversary Commemorative.’ Here is a photo:
box lid

box lid

These kinds of badges were probably never worn even though there is a suspension ring. I think that their function was purely decorative, and I suspect that most people bought them as a gift for a friend.
Published in: on October 7, 2009 at 7:43 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Manchukuo Commemorative Stamps from Japan

Since I mentioned two posts ago that four postage stamps were issued to commemorate the Manchukuo Emperor’s visit to Japan in 1935, I thought I would post a picture of them. Note that these are Japanese stamps, used for postage in Japan. Here they are:

1935 Manchukuo Emperor Visit to Japan stamps

1935 Manchukuo Emperor Visit to Japan stamps

In 1942 the Japanese government also issued four stamps to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the founding of Manchukuo. Here they are:

Manchukuo Founding Commemorative stamps

Manchukuo Founding Commemorative stamps

Manchukuo Emperor 2nd State Visit to Japan: Sake Cup

In 1940 the Emperor of Manchukuo made his 2nd and final official state visit to Japan. In 1940 the occasion was the 2600th Anniversary of the Founding of the Japanese Nation, which was dated from the reign of the mythical Emperor Jimmu. Anyway, in an effort to bolster the national identity, celebrations were held all over the country. An official medal was minted and you can still find a wide array of badges, cups, and assorted items made to commemorate this event.

So the Manchukuo Emperor came to pay his respects, as did representatives from other Asian countries like Thailand and the provisional puppet government of Nanking.

Pu-Yi arrived in the Port of Yokohama and was met there by Prince Takamatsu, a younger brother of the Showa Emperor. It is interesting that on Pu-Yi’s first state visit he was met by the emperor himself–and at the common Tokyo Station, no less. This time a person a bit lower in the hierarchy greeted him.

However, the Showa Emperor treated Pu-Yi as an equal, one reason their being close in age. They visited Ise Shrine together on this 2nd visit.

Today I’d like to show you an item from 1940 that commemorated the Manchukuo Emperor’s visit. It is a sake cup, often used in Japan to celebrate important occasions. Here is a picture:

Manchukuo Emperor Pu Yi sake cup

This is a lacquered wood cup. In the center in silver gilt is the Imperial Orchid crest of the Manchukuo Emperor. Very few cups can be found with this crest, so this is really a treasure.

The inscription reads ‘His Imperial Highness the Emperor of Manchukuo, Visit to Japan Commemorative, Imperial Year 2600 [1940].’

On the reverse: ‘Showa 15 [1940] June 30, [zaiin:在院], Tokyo 3rd Army Special Hospital.’

Zaiinmeans someone closely associated with the hospital, either a doctor or nurse, or perhaps someone in an administrative post. It does not refer to a patient in a hospital, which is usually rendered nyuuin (入院).

So either Pu-Yi himself or a member of his Imperial Party visited this Army hospital. On this prestigious occasion, some sort of dinner or other event was held, and probably those who attended were given a sake cup to commemorate the event.

Manchukuo Emperor State Visit to Japan Medal

The Emperor Pu-Yi (often called the Last Emperor) made two state visits to Japan, once in 1935 and again in 1940.  The first was certainly the more celebrated since the purpose was to formally present himself as the Manchukuo Emperor to the Showa Emperor–and of course to Japan. The Japanese government made a great deal of this visit and of the new nation simply because Japan had a huge stake in its success.

Four commemorative postage stamps were issued, the mainstream media (radio, newspapers, magazines) inundated the public with propaganda about Manchukuo, and many important people from a variety of organizations assembled to welcome Pu-Yi to Japan. (The still-lauded trip of the Showa Emperor all the way to Tokyo Station also publically demonstrated the warm relationship between the empires.)

Subsequently, Pu-Yi became a celebrity.

The Japan Mint made an official medal to commemorate the 1935 visit. This medal was awarded by the government, though. It was not put on sale like some other Japan Mint items. Here is a photo:

manchukuo emperor visit to japan medal

And a few close-ups:

obverse

obverse

obverse (close-up)

obverse (close-up)

Spearhead shape with cherry & orchid blossoms, symbols of Japan and Manchukuo, respectively. There is an inscription in the banner at the bottom that reads ‘One in virtue and spirit.’ (I found this translation in James Peterson’s book on Japanese medals.)

The reverse:

reverse

reverse

The reverse is inscribed ‘Kang Te 2 [1935], Manchukuo Empire, Emperor’s Visit to Japan Commemorative Medal, April 6th.’

And here is the case exterior:

manchukuo emperor state visit to japan medal

Published in: on October 4, 2009 at 11:45 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Rare Manchukuo National Foundation Imperial Medal

I’d like to start out showing one of the rarest of the Manchukuo medals. This is the Manchukuo National Foundation Imperial Medal, not to be confused with the more common non-Imperial medal that was freely awarded.

Most medal experts do not have much to say about this medal except that it may have been a personal award from Emperor Pu-Yi himself. Since the titles of this medal and that of its common counterpart are similar, they were both given on the same occasion: the establishment of the Manchukuo Empire. But since the common medal was awarded to many people, this rarer version must have been limited to a select few. Let’s look at this fine medal.

National Foundation Imperial Medal

National Foundation Imperial Medal

 

And close-ups of the obverse and reverse:

obverse

obverse

The image shows Pu-Yi. On either side of him are kanji that read ‘National Foundation Commemorative.’ The kanji below read ‘Daidou Year 1 [1932], March.’ I have given the Japanese reading for the era since I cannot read Chinese. In Peterson’s book Daidou is written as Ta-Tung, so that may be the Chinese correct reading. The kanji are 大同.
A brief side note: The era name Daidou refers to 3 years: 1932-1934 (strictly speaking March 1st, 1932 to February 28, 1934). These were the first years of the puppet empire Manchukuo. However, when Pu-Yi formally took the throne on March 1st, 1934, the era name changed to Koutoku (康徳), which Peterson transcribes as Kang Teh. The Koutoku era ended on August 18, 1945.
reverse

reverse

The reverse shows the Manchukuo national flag in the center, and on either side are birds commonly called feng, or fenghuang. (Read about them by clicking on the Wikipedia link.) The medal itself is a gold-plated bronze.
interior of case

interior of case

The case is really nice and of a high-quality. The inscription on the inside lid:
lid inscription

lid inscription

It reads ‘National Foundation, Imperial Event Commemorative.’ The phrase I translated as ‘Imperial Event’ is Taiten (大典), which is usually used in Japanese to refer to an event involving the emperor or associated royalty. The bottom kanji show the maker, but I cannot read the first two kanji well. The whole phrase may read ‘Made of gold’ instead of the maker’s name, but again I am not sure.
Finally, the ribbon is in the colors and design of the Manchukuo national flag. The reverse hook and latch device is the same as that on Japanese medals.
reverse with ribbon

reverse with ribbon

Next up–another interesting official Manchukuo award.
Published in: on October 3, 2009 at 9:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,