Imperial Japan Aviation Association 1930s part 5

Finally, I’d like to show some insignia from this aviation group and then a final few words. The student pilots and even mechanics and associated members would wear this insignia on the uniform collars. They are too small to be sleeve insignia. The design is similar to the member badge but it isn’t detailed.

As I mentioned in the first post, the Imperial Japan Aviation Association was established as a corporation in 1913 (just 3 years after Japan’s first powered flight) and became a foundation in 1914. It merged with the Greater Japan Aviation Association in 1940. In 1945 SCAP (the American occupying authorities) banned all civilian aircraft operations, and when the Americans left in 1952 the association sprung up again with a new name, the Japan Aeronautic Association. The group continues to operate today and is quite large.

There were other wartime aviation groups in Japan, most notably the Army-run Greater Japan Aviation Student Group (DaiNippon Hikou Shonen-dan 大日本飛行少年団), but the group discussed here seems to have been the largest.

Published in: on February 27, 2010 at 9:41 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Imperial Japan Aviation Association 1930s part 3

Today I’ll show you an interesting paperweight or medallion given by the Imperial Aviation Association.

The design here is striking: a plane flies above some mountains. In the background are the rays of the rising sun slicing through the air. A few clouds break up the lines. At the top is a kanji for ‘Prize (Shou 賞),’ which indicates this was an award of some sort, probably for a competition within the group.

The reverse:

The member badge is at the top and the inscription reads ‘Foundation, Imperial Aviation Association (Zaidan Houjin, Teikoku Hikou Kyoukai 財団法人 帝国飛行協会). Sorry to say, it doesn’t say why this was awarded.

Published in: on February 25, 2010 at 7:57 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Imperial Japan Aviation Association 1930s part 2

Today two Merit badges from the Aviation Association, one from the pre-1940 group and one from the post-1940 merger.

This is marked ‘Merit Member Badge, Imperial Aviation Association’ both on the box lid and on the reverse of the badge. As you can see, the member badge design is present in the central element, but the enameled field and decorated edge makes this a much nicer badge. Merit badges like this one were given for large donations.


Note that the inscription on this box reads ‘Special Merit Member Badge, Greater Japan Aviation Association,’ a post-1940 group as I mentioned in my previous post. The enamel field on this one is green and the inscription adds the word ‘Special,’ which probably indicates a higher class of merit than the blue badge.

More in my next post.

Published in: on February 24, 2010 at 10:49 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Imperial Japan Aviation Association 1930s

The Imperial Japan Aviation Association (known under a few different English names) was established in 1913. It cooperated with the Ministry of Education and instructed young men in various aviation matters. Eventually, of course, these men would be encouraged to continue their careers as pilots in the Army or Navy.

The Japanese name of this group is Teikoku Hikou Kyoukai 帝国飛行協会, which you will see inscribed on a variety of different badges and commemorative items. In 1940 this group merged with the Great Japan Aviation Association (Dai-Nippon Hikou-Kai 大日本飛行会).

The basic member badge looks like like:

It is small but well-made. A Special Member badge has the same basic design:

Usually more enamel work and gold gilt plating is evident on the Special Member badges.

Who wore these? Well, most likely officials and supporters of the group did. Although it is possible that student pilots would have received a regular member badge, it is more likely that people who donated money to the group or worked for the group got these badges.

More items from this group in the next few posts.

Published in: on February 24, 2010 at 4:49 am  Leave a Comment  
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