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.


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:

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

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:

Published in: on January 27, 2010 at 5:28 am  Comments (1)  
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WW2 Japanese Army: Machine Gun Unit Merit Badge

Today I have a 1930s Cavalry badge on display.

The design shows crossed machine guns, a gold Army star above, cherry blossoms tucked into the side areas, and a gold kanji that reads ‘Merit (Kou 功). Those with good eyes may notice that the kanji in the picture and the kanji I typed in the previous sentence do not match. You are right–in one sense. Actually, they are both the same kanji, but the one on the badge is written in a classical style. This style is notoriously difficult to read (for me at least), but when a single kanji appears, the task is less daunting. Anyway, also in the design is a rim of circles. This may indicate a round of ammo, though that is speculation.

The reverse:

An upside-down horseshoe frames the inscription, which reads ‘Manchurian Incident Participation Commemorative, Cavalry 1st Brigade, Machine Gun Company.’ This, too, is written in a difficult script. Here is the modern way of writing it: 満州事変参加記念 騎一旅  機関銃中隊. Since this incident happened in 1931, this badge dates after that, probably within the following five years. This badge was most likely commissioned by the unit commander and awarded to soldiers attached to this unit.

It measures 3 cm diameter.

By the way, an upside-down horseshoe in Western symbolism means bad luck. However, that meaning does not carry over into the East. It is merely a horseshoe, no matter in what direction it hangs.

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:


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

The 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)  
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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.


 And the 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  
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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 (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:



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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