WW2 Japanese Army Soldier Sake Bottle (Tokkuri 徳利)

A break from Manchukuo medals, which I’d like to get back to…

Today, though, I am happy to introduce an interesting soldier-shaped sake bottle. First I’ll show the pics, then a short explanation.

The shape, as you can see, is an Army soldier. He wears a cap with Army star, has shoulder rank tabs, and also buttons and belt. Very nicely made. You may be able to see a series of cracks in the glaze. These do not extend to the pottery. They are done purposefully as a nice textured touch. It is called crazing. I believe it happens when the firing is at a higher temperature than normal.

The soldier stands in some blossoms, and an inscription has been embossed into the pottery. It says ‘Health Bottle’ or Kenkou Tokkuri 健康徳利 in Japanese. Kenkou means health, so this could be (and most probably is) a bottle given to wish one good health or good luck even. It seems an appropriate gift for a soldier newly inducted or even for a discharged soldier. Anyway, a rare item for sure. I don’t think I have seen one like this before, but my memory is getting a bit blurry on some days.

Published in: on February 17, 2010 at 11:52 am  Leave a Comment  
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Japanese WW2 era Molded Design Sake Bottles

Some of the most interesting military commemorative items from Japan are the decorated sake bottles, called tokkuri (徳利) in Japanese. You can see a variety of designs on my Imperial Japan Sake Cups website, but I’d like to take a few posts to examine some of the embossed designs on these bottles.

Of course, a variety of images and designs were painted on bottles after they were manufactured, and these are really spectacular when done well. But some of the designs have been embossed onto the bottle and are part of the mold.  Today I’ll show two examples. The first is a discharge commemorative bottle and the main design is probably the painted battle flag and cherry tree.

However, complementing this painted design are embossed figures. On the obverse is a plane, gun, and anti-aircraft artillery. The reverse:

Here we have more images: a plane, warship, and tank. And a bullet-shaped area within which the inscription is written. So on this bottle the embossed figures are important but they seem to be secondary to the painted design.

This next bottle has a large embossed and painted cannon, so this figure is obviously the most important.

The embossed decoration above and below the cannon highlight it nicely.The reverse is here:

The embossed designs here frame the inscription which, though not visually impressive, is quite important: ‘Artillery, 5th Regiment, Discharge Commemorative.’

Published in: on December 20, 2009 at 9:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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