One-Year Anniversary of Manchukuo Badge

To celebrate the one-year anniversary of the establishing of Manchukuo, a variety of commemorative items were made. Most of these were sold in stores, not given as an award. Here is one example:

The center enameled piece is the Manchukuo national flag, and on either side are branches of sorghum, the national symbol. I have seen many examples of this badge that are missing the enamel flag, so this must have been glued in.

The reverse:

It reads ‘Great Manchukuo Empire, Daidou 2 [1933], National Foundation 1st Anniversary, March 1st.’ In Japanese it reads ‘大満州国 大同二年 建国周年 三月一日.’ As I mentioned in a previous post, Daidou was the era name given to the period 1932-1934, specifically March 1st 1932 to February 28th 1934. On March 1st of 1934 Puyi was enthroned as emperor so the era name changed to Koutoku (康徳) , which is rendered Kang Teh in many English language sources.

Finally, the case:

A simple paulonia wood case with yellow padded interior. The case inscription is the same as that on the badge. This badge had no ribbon nor any other suspension device.

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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  
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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  
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Manchuria (Manchukuo) Army Dispatch Badge

Continuing in my series of Manchukuo-related badges, the next one I will introduce was made to commemorate one IJA unit’s service in Manchuria. Many different regiments and companies made badges for their soldiers as a way to keep their spirits up. Anyway, during the 1930s most Japanese soldiers in Manchuria were in good spirits because the war was going so well for them. The following badge is one of the better examples. Here is the obverse:

manmedals 007

The design is quite impressive. On both sides are cherry blossom branches (a symbol of Japan) and at the top is a gold Army star. The two flags are the Japanese national flag and the Manchukuo national flag, both of which appear on many Manchukuo items. The central kanji say ‘Manchuria Dispatch Commemorative.’ Here is the reverse:

 

manmedals 008

 

Although I’m not sure, I think the top two kanji say ‘sincerity’ or something of that nature. The next ones say ‘Gift, 6th Infantry 7th Company Association, Showa 10 [1935].’ I suppose these were given to the men of this regiment. Most likely this kind of badge had a simple paulonia wood case.

Next post I’ll begin to show some of the rare official badges and medals of Manchukuo.

Published in: on October 3, 2009 at 4:11 am  Leave a Comment  
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