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Richard LaTondre

China Incident Commemorative Medal

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was going through my miscellaneous Japanese collection and ran across this beautiful Japanese China Incident Commemorative medal. Peterson says: "This extremely rare medal was founded by Imperia; Edict No. 658 of September 26, 1942, for award to those that made outstanding contributions to the war effort in China, but who were not eligible for the China Incident War Medal. As this medal is practically unknown in Japan, and almost anyone could be eligible for the war medals, it seems probably that this was intended as a reward for Chineses collaborators." The questions that I have, are two-fold. Has anyone ever seen a case for this medal, and why would it be practically unknown in Japan?

Richard

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Very nice! The ones that I have seen for sale, and they are few, have never had cases but the majority of them have been for sale in Japan! I'm not sure what exactly that means - "unknown in Japan" - would seem to indicate that it was not awarded to Japanese, so the medals must have made their way back to Japan from, I'm assuming China. In Rich Catalano's eBook, "The Imperial Ordinances for War and Commemorative Medals of Japan and Manchukuo" (4th Edn.), it is also stated that neither cases nor award documents have been observed. I think it is safe to conclude to that a case does not exist.

We know this is a rare medal, but I'm wondering just how may might have been made? And are they rare out of being destroyed so the recipient would not be found with one (certainly not a good thing to be discovered by the forces fighting the Japanese!) - or were they really made in few numbers?

Thanks for sharing this wonderful piece!!

Oh - and a picture of the reverse would be great if you can!! :)

Edited by Dieter3

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What an interesting medal in excellent condition! Can only imagine what other treasures you have.

Last time I rifled through my storage drawers, I found some paper clips, a batch of expired Penadol and an old take-away brochure from the local Italian pasta joint. No Third Class Auspicious Clouds or China Incident Commemorative Medals ...

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Very nice! The ones that I have seen for sale, and they are few, have never had cases but the majority of them have been for sale in Japan! I'm not sure what exactly that means - "unknown in Japan" - would seem to indicate that it was not awarded to Japanese, so the medals must have made their way back to Japan from, I'm assuming China. In Rich Catalano's eBook, "The Imperial Ordinances for War and Commemorative Medals of Japan and Manchukuo" (4th Edn.), it is also stated that neither cases nor award documents have been observed. I think it is safe to conclude to that a case does not exist. We know this is a rare medal, but I'm wondering just how may might have been made? And are they rare out of being destroyed so the recipient would not be found with one (certainly not a good thing to be discovered by the forces fighting the Japanese!) - or were they really made in few numbers? Thanks for sharing this wonderful piece!! Oh - and a picture of the reverse would be great if you can!! :)

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Hmmmmmm....I seem to recall there was a thread about these somewhere earlier. I know there are a number of fakes of this medal, but have no idea how to spot one.

The last one of these I saw was here on June 4, 2009 that Paul had helped StuW obtain. In that thread it stated that boxes were not with the medal-only bags- maybe a wartime shortage issue?

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Well my old age must be catching up with me as I certainly missed that thread. This would be a very difficult specimen to reproduce due to the intricate relief engraving of the blossoms on the obverse of the planchet. I have never seen a reproduction of this medal but I suppose they will attempt anything when it commands a high price. A bigger problem in reproducing one of the 'war medal' series in the intricate design of the suspension swivel which allows the planchet to swivel 360 degrees. I think these medals may have been introduced durring the early puppet state period in occupied China by the Wang-Ching-wei clique.

www.thegoldenkite.com

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...was going through my miscellaneous Japanese collection ....

How many of these "miscellaneous drawers" do you actually have? ... :lol:

Peterson says: "This extremely rare medal was founded by Imperia; Edict No. 658 of September 26, 1942, for award to those that made outstanding contributions to the war effort in China, but who were not eligible for the China Incident War Medal. As this medal is practically unknown in Japan, and almost anyone could be eligible for the war medals, it seems probably that this was intended as a reward for Chineses collaborators." The questions that I have, are two-fold. Has anyone ever seen a case for this medal, and why would it be practically unknown in Japan?

Richard

Personally I've never seen the box, or heard about it. Chances are pretty high that there was no box at all...

Peterson couldn't be more wrong when he wrote "...medal is practically unknown in Japan" and "it seems probably that this was intended as a reward for Chinese collaborators". Both statements are false.

Edited by JapanX

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No case has been seen nor have any award documents. But we should be a bit kinder to Peterson since he was writing in the 1960s or 70s. He didn't think it was known in Japan. However, this was made at the Japan Mint and is listed in most of the related publications (pre-war and early post-war books as well as 1970s) so he probably should have known if he had read the Japanese literature. I don't think he did, though. (BTW, any bio info on Peterson anyone?)

But his theory about being for Chinese collaborators seems correct, Nick, and has been re-iterated by some Japanese medal enthusiasts. If you read the ordinance that establishes the medal (which Peterson obviously had read), you will see that almost no Japanese would have been eligible for it since those who got the 1939 China War medal could not receive the commemorative medal. And almost everyone got the 1939 medal. So who was left to get this 1942 medal?

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Nick Komiya did some amazing research on this medal and kindly gave me a permission to post it here in this very thread.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Shattering a Myth, the China Incident Commemorative Medal

by Nick Komiya

The China Incident War Medal is the most common Japanese war medal on the market today, but its sister, the China Incident Commemorative Medal intended for acknowledging the contributions of those who did not qualify for the war medal is extremely rare and totally misunderstood, thanks to the book written by James W. Peterson.

The medal that originally had the name "China Incident Home Front Service Commemorative Medal" has won notoriety as the medal for Chinese Collaborators! This ridiculous morphing of a medal of a most banal nature into a medal sought for its cloak and dagger image was all because of a single sentence in Petersen's book. He said of the medal, "As this medal is practically unknown in Japan, and almost anyone could be eligible for the war medals, it seems probably that this was intended as a reward for Chinese collaborators". This unscholarly speculation unfortunately caught on and even Japanese collectors came to believe this fantasy. As a matter of fact, I haven't seen a single introduction to this medal that correctly describes its purpose, so it is time to set the record straight.

The truth is that this medal was originally to be issued in the millions to those who made contributions on the home front such as financial institutions selling war bonds, to youth organizations, religious organizations, railroad personnel, civil defense, the press, government officials, business men etc, whose collaboration was necessary to achieve total mobilization of Japanese society in the war effort. It was based on the recognition that modern wars could only be won by engaging the support of the entire socio-economic infrastructure. The original cabinet discussion papers dated July 6th, 1942 called it the "China Incident Home Front Service Commemorative Medal", but by the time it finally got released as an edict on 26th September, the name had been shortened to "China Incident Commemorative Medal". Despite the curtailed name, the minutes of the morning conference of September 16th resided by the Emperor himself clearly explains the purpose as a "home front medal", though its name had already been shortened.

The idea to create this medal simply came from the realization that there were many home front activities behind the incident that went unacknowledged by the war medal established in 1939, and as the war medal would be awarded to even trivial involvement in the military action, not acknowledging weightier home front efforts seemed increasingly inappropriate. However, expanding the award criteria of the war medal to include home front activities seemed equally insulting to those who won it on the front line. In other words, like the Germans added the war service cross to cover the contributions missed by the Iron Cross, Japan belatedly decided to address those they had been neglecting for the past 3 years.

The instigators were against simply calling it the China Incident Commemorative Medal and award it generally to those who contributed, as that would mean the redundancy of awarding it to soldiers twice: the war medal and the commemorative. They wanted to limit the award to noncombatants by stressing the Home Front. Neither would it work to award it automatically to all home front efforts that contributed to achieving the goals of the incident, as military personnel who also engaged in home front activities would have received both medals, while their comrades, spending all that time in the front lines would only qualify for the war medal, as if they had done less.

Petersen cites the rarity of this medal in Japan, as a reason to assume that it was mainly given to foreigners, but he was obviously looking in the wrong places, as Japan was the main subject for the medal. However, in instituting the medal there was keen awareness of contributions made by those in other territories such as Korea, Taiwan and Sakhalin, of which Korea was to receive the most number of medals outside Japan followed by Taiwan.

Why is it so rare then? That is because by 1942 when this medal was established, turn of events such as the Battle of Midway had made the China Incident somewhat irrelevant to what Japan was then facing. The purpose of national mobilization had shifted from the China Incident and had escalated to a Greater East Asia War. It was not the time to sit on laurels and gloat over past glories when things were now going downhill for Japan. So in 1944, when they instituted the Greater East Asia War medal, the edict for both China Incident Medals were amended at the same time and for the China Incident Commemorative Medal this amendment excluded awards to the following two groups.

1. Those who had been awarded the China Incident War Medal

2. Those who made significant contributions to the China Incident since April 29th 1940 and who qualify for the Greater East Asia War Medal.

The Greater East Asia War Medal had expanded its award threshold in a way that could award home front activities that took place from where the China Incident Commemorative Medal left off. As a result, the long list of candidates nominated for the commemorative medal at its inception was drastically reduced and the remainder who were to receive the Greater East Asia War medal were made to wait in vain, as Japan had lost the war before it could be issued.

The end

Edited by Ulsterman

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Excellent info. As usual, Nick Komiya comes through with fantastic stuff. He really should write a book. Thanks Nick K, and thanks Nick from Russia for this insight.

Still a bit strange that no cases nor award documents have surfaced. Or have they? The medal was esatblished in 9/42 and the later medal in 1944, so at least some 1942 medals were awarded. Where are the cases and documents?

Edited by fukuoka

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Hmmmmmm....I seem to recall there was a thread about these somewhere earlier. I know there are a number of fakes of this medal, but have no idea how to spot one.

The last one of these I saw was here on June 4, 2009 that Paul had helped StuW obtain. In that thread it stated that boxes were not with the medal-only bags- maybe a wartime shortage issue?

Hi Ulsterman

here is this thread you mentioned and a nice photos of this medal inside :)

http://gmic.co.uk/index.php/topic/37292-china-incident-commemorative-medal/

As for fakes - are you sure? Because I've never seen these... Maybe you are talking about The Greater East Asia War Medal and not about China Incident Home Front Service Commemorative Medal? There are no fakes of the later one, but a lot of replicas/fakes of the first one. Not to mention "secrets" of the original The Greater East Asia War Medal ;)

By the way both medals share "no-box-around" diagnosis.

Best regards,

Nick

Edited by JapanX

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Still a bit strange that no cases nor award documents have surfaced. Or have they?

As far as I know

NO boxes, NO documents (sounds like a title for another Jos Stelling film :))

for both medals ("Greater" and "China Incident")

And no persuasive explanation around.

Cheers,

Nick

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Well no I am not sure. I seem to recall these being one of the "faked" ones- since they command such high prices. Third Reich paranoia creeps in- and old age ...memories fade....

Komiya should definitively write a book!

Excellent thread chaps!! Top notch!

I think this will "article of the month" ...it has my vote.

p.s. sorry- I edited the thread above and made the font a bit bigger so we older guys could read it. No offense.

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Excellent thread chaps!! Top notch!

I think this will "article of the month" ...it has my vote.

Where is voting?! :lol:

Or we will use buttom "like this" ;)

And another thing - let`s hope this thread won`t upset Japanese medal enthusiasts who has been reiterated Peterson "collaborators" theory ;)

Cheers,

Nick

P.S. As for fakes - price is important factor, but the real driving force behind market for fakes - popularity of this or that piece. I don`t think that this piece that popular (I mean "iron cross" popular).

Edited by JapanX

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Fantastic revelations here! Is it possible to get more information on the amended edict? Nick, Nick K. found it somewhere obviously, can you ask him if he has the info for posting here?

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Hmmmmmm....I seem to recall there was a thread about these somewhere earlier. I know there are a number of fakes of this medal, but have no idea how to spot one. The last one of these I saw was here on June 4, 2009 that Paul had helped StuW obtain. In that thread it stated that boxes were not with the medal-only bags- maybe a wartime shortage issue?

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I think he found this information in Japanese archives. Here comes original spec drawing attached to the China Incident Commemorative Medal Order signed by the Emperor and Tojo on 25th Sept 1942 (I ask him about it and he kindly posted it).

As for asking.. Nick is a member of GMIC... ;)

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Dear Mr. Ulsterman,

It appears I owe you an apology. You have a memory that is working. Forgive me for suggesting it never happened. I do that quite a bit these days much to the consternation of my friends. Please forgive me.

Richard

www.thegoldenkite.com

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Interesting stuff. Jim Peterson's work was certainly not definitive, but has mostly stood the test of time for 40+ years. I suspect that it will take another 40 years for this information to replace Peterson's version.

As a junior officer, Jim Peterson served on MacArthur's G-2 staff for several years at the end of the war. His duties included examination of war booty for intelligence value, so he saw all sorts of things. He also dealt with the Imperial Board of Decorations on the subject of awards. Jim did not read Japanese at more than a rudimentary level, as far as I know. His wife, Midori, was Japanese and was probably his translator, although there was still a language barrier problem.

I'll see if I can find Jim's research notes on the subject and maybe those will show the origins of his statements.

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I have a copy of his handwritten notes on the Chinese Medal Book he was planning to publish plus his article on 'some ambiguos Chinese Medals" If desired I could post them.

Richard

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Interesting stuff. Jim Peterson's work was certainly not definitive, but has mostly stood the test of time for 40+ years. I suspect that it will take another 40 years for this information to replace Peterson's version.

Hi Jeff

Peterson book was, is and will be the first book on the subject (nobody will take it away from James W. Peterson). As for the time testing ... I don't think that there was any real testing activity ;)

Mostly faith...

Regards,

Nick

P.S. Special thanks for Peterson CV.

Edited by JapanX

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I have a copy of his handwritten notes on the Chinese Medal Book he was planning to publish plus his article on 'some ambiguos Chinese Medals" If desired I could post them.

Richard

"Handwritten notes on the Chinese Medal Book" - that would be great Richard!

Regards,

Nick

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As I promised here are Peterson's notes on 'Chinese' medals:

Some Ambiguous Chinese Orders

When James W. Peterson wrote his dissertation “Orders and Medals of Japan and Associated States”, it immediately became the ‘bible’ for many collectors as it was the first and probably only, scholastic treatise on the subject and also became The Orders and Medals Society of America’s Monograph Number 1. Some material that he had written on the subject was omitted for the final printing and in order to bring to light his views on some more or less controversial awards, I have decided to publish these notes that dealt with this subject in the hopes that it may clarify some of the ambiguity involving some awards such as The Order of United Glory, Order of the Brilliant Jade, Decoration to Japanese Comrades, and Peaceful National Commemoration Medal.

The notes that follow below are in Mr. Peterson’s handwriting:

Reorganized National Government of China

Following the Japanese invasion of China in 1937, local administrations were set up in the Japanese controlled areas of China. The Provisional Government of the Republic of China was established 14 December 1937 in Peking and the New Reformed Government of the Republic of China was set up in Nanking on 28 March 1938. On 30 March 1940, these governments were merged into the Reorganized National Government of China under the traitor Wang Ching-wei. This regime claimed to be the true national government of China, and used the Kuomintang flag. On 9 January 1943 this government declared war on the U. S. and Great Britain.

Order of United Glory

Tung-Kuang –Hsun-Chang (the translation is my own JWP)

According to one source, this order was established 14 March 1943 in a special class ans classes 1 thru 5. According to a Japanese encyclopedia, it was established 5 March 1943 in 9 classes “to commemorate the return of the national government to Nanking on that day.” Another Japanese reference book gives the date of establishment as 25 February 1943.

The order is of typical Chinese design and manufacture, as is the sash and also the presentation case, which is of brocade silk. It is very rare in any class.

The badge of the Special Grand Cordon has a 5 point star in white, in a red ring bearing nine gilt stars, in a blue ring with nine white clouds, on an 8 point star of narrow rays, on 8 large double-pointed rays enameled alternately and it is suspended from a gilt cloud design which is suspended from a gilt ball-tipped 5 point star. The sash is 100mm unwatered raw silk(?), red with 19mm yellow edges. The breast star is (blank) mm, gilt, and has a (blank) mm silver 5 point star on white in a red circle bearing 9 gilt stars, in a blue ring bearing 9(?) white clouds on an 8 point star of 32 double-pointed, white enameled silver rays, superimposed on 8 large double-pointed gilt rays enameled alternately blue and white, and with (blank) rays in the angles.

The badge of the First Class Grand Cordon is 82mm, heavily gilded, and has 9 gilt stars on a red medallion, in a blue ring with 9 white clouds, on an 8-point star of narrow beaded silver rays, on a larger 8-point star of narrow beaded silver rays on a larger 8-point star of narrow fluted gilt rays,, and is suspended from a gilt cloud design which is ib turn suspended from a gilt ball-tipped 5-point star. The sash is 100mm unwatered of the usual Chinese type, red with 19mm white edges. (Another specimen has been seen which has the sash of the Special Grand Cordon). The breast star is 93mm of the same design as the badge without the suspension.

A lower class badge, probably the 3rd class, is 79mm gilt, similar in design to the First Class but with only 7 stars on the medallion, and has the same cloud and star suspension. The reverse has characters giving the name of the order.

Order of the Brilliant Jade

Tsai-Yu-Hsun-Chang. It appears that this order, which was established 2 December 1933 by Nationalist China, was adopted and awarded by Wang Ching-Wei’s regime, and probably for this reason seems to have been suspended after 1943 by the Nationalists.

According to a Japanese encyclopedia it was the 2nd ranking order, to Chinese only with classes to foreigners without class and different ribbons; in 9 classes, the 1st class with red and white ribbon, 2nd class white and red, 3rd class blue, 4th class red, white and blue, 5th class white, red and blue, 6th class red, white and blue, 7th class blue and red, 8th class light red, and 9th class the Military Order Pao-Ting.

The Military Order of Pao-Ting (Precious Tripod) was established by Nationalist China in 1929.

Decoration to Japanese Comrades

This decoration which was probably awarded by Wang Ching-Wei’s government, is a 57mm silver 12 point star of 60 narrow rays on which is superimposed a smaller 12 point star on 72 red enameled rays, and in the center of this is a man’s head, full face in silver on silver, in the center of a blue and white Kuomintang sun emblem (as on the Nationalist flag). The reverse is plain, with in the center an inscription in 4 vertical lines of characters, “National Government, Japanese Comrades assistance, China Nationalist foundation commemorative medal, conferred by Chief of State.” The badge is suspended by a ring on a 33mm watered ribbon of equal blue/white/red, on an ornamental 4 x 41mm silver clasp. This decoration is very scarce.

Peaceful National Foundation Commemoration Medal

These very rare medals should also probably be attributed to Wang Ching-Wei’s government. The medal is approximately 36mm silver, circular with an ornamental figure on each of the 4 sides and in the center a monogram of 4 characters on a blue medallion which is encircled by a silver wreath and an ornamental border. The ribbon is about 36mm of red plush silk with a bue and white Kuomintang sun on a blue circle in the center. At the top of the ribbon is a silver clasp with seal characters “Peaceful National Foundation Commemorative”. A lower class is in silver and gilt without enamel on a plain red, plush ribbon with the same clasp.

A medal which was probably awarded by the government is about 50mm of dark bronze, with on the obverse a blue and white

Enameled Kuomintang sun encircled by two sprays of flowers. The reverse has an inscription. The ribbon which was made made in Japan, is 37mm watered of equal purple/white/red/white/purple.

JWP

I believe that Mister Peterson was faced with a dilemma. Are these truly Chinese medals, or are they Japanese medals that were given to the Chinese by the Japanese Occupational authorities? What is the answer?

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I have a copy of his handwritten notes on the Chinese Medal Book he was planning to publish plus his article on 'some ambiguos Chinese Medals" If desired I could post them.

Richard

Thanks Richard.

As far as I remember you posted this material in "china" section of the forum couple of years ago.

So naturally I assume that "handwritten notes on the Chinese Medal Book" contain some new additional material to

"his article on 'some ambiguos Chinese Medals"".

No?

Regards,

Nick

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