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Richard LaTondre

China Incident Commemorative Medal

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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

Yes. That would be correct.

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Posted · Hidden by Richard LaTondre, February 29, 2012 - No reason given
Hidden by Richard LaTondre, February 29, 2012 - No reason given
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

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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.

I hardly think that things were going 'downhill' September 26th 1942 when Edict 658 promulgated this medal. At that time Japan had captured/invaded Burma, The Philippines,Borneo, Alaska, all of North China down to the south of Shanghai, the Solomons (Guadalcanal), Kualo Lumpur, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Netherland East Indies, New Guinea, Ceylon, Plus sinking a major portion of the US Fleet at Pearl Harbor. They attacked Darwin Australia as well as Sydney. They even sank an allied ship in the St. Lawrence River. They dropped incendiaries on Oregon and shelled the coast of California. Japan was riding the crest of an euphoric wave of victory that had no precedent! I also do not see any relationship between this medal and the Great East Asia War Medal that was established two years later.

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.

I would have thought that this award would have been given to thousands upon thousands of Japanese civilian contractors, administrators, contract workers and others needed to assist in this war effort. If so, where are they?

question 2, above is not quite clear to me.

Best Regards and thanks for your input.

Richard

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They even sank an allied ship in the St. Lawrence River.

This is a story I've missed! Do you have more info?

Hugh

Edited by Hugh

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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.

Is this a generalization about medals, or is this specific to the China Incident Commemorative? If it is with regards to the later, then wouldn't Peterson be somewhat correct about being for Chinese collaborators (but then incomplete in it being awarded to contributors in several of countries/terrirtories)?

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.

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?

It is strange - I know a LOT of you blokes have been collecting for a long time - and nobody has claimed a sighting of a case or a document - you'd think SOMEBODY would have seen one over the past, what are we talking with some of you guys - many decades of collecting!!

So, RE: the amendment to the edict cited above by Nick K., Point #2 - still does not account for th period Rich has mentioned - not quite 2 years - but a very significant period of time. I still don't think this expains why so few were given out, particularly if it was intended for Japanese. That the China Incident medal continued to be issued into 1945, I assume with cases, we certainly know the capacity to make cases was still there at the time when this medal was established - or did they put a hold on production for whatever reason - and it ended up in a similar fate as the Great East Asia War medal? - Few and far between, and without cases (or did in fact the original GEAW medals have cases?).

Something still doesn't add up, at least not for me. Somebody help my inability to understand this. :lol:

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There is currently one on eBay being offered by Gunjinantiques.

Yep, nice specimen with 1500$ "buy it now" price :whistle:

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Hi Nick,

I thought that you would have snapped that up by now. It will be interesting to see what it does. I sold one last year for about 1k at the OMSA convention.

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Hi Richard,

I thought that you would have snapped that up by now.

That's a good one :lol:

I sold one last year for about 1k at the OMSA convention.

Sounds like a (more or less :)) reasonable price.

It will be interesting to see what it does.

It sure will be interesting ;)

Regards,

Nick

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These medals usually sell for $800-$900--in Japan as well as the country of ebay.

But some people need to fill a hole in their collections, regardless of price. If he can get that price, more power to him.

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Agree, doesn't hurt to try and get as much $$$ as you can! :) Still, too rich for blood and income at this time. The one I've monitored on Yahoo! Japan over the past few years average 45,000-60,000 yen, so like Rich said, pushing $800.00 with the horrible dollar/yen exchange rate. :(

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Money, money, money ...

You guys are way too mercantilistic ...

Simply look at this beauty and push the "buy it now" buttom :lol:

Obverse

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Some of these medals have marks on tab from the press as we saw at other "incident medals"...

Obverse

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Hi Dick (La T...and Others), Thanks for starting this interesting topic. It's great to know the real story about these rare medals, though so many have been posted, maybe not quite so rare after all. Here's mine, so the census rises by one, making them yet less rare. A nice specimen with splashes of mint red still existing under the 70 year old age tone.

But a sad story re: its acquisition 10+ years ago at one of the early re-incarnations of the post-Great Western era militaria shows at Pomona, Calif. I unfortunately had to pay "full retail"...yep, the whole 35 bucks as marked on the price tag! I usually ask for my student discount, but this time, I didn't have the heart. And this from a nationally televised medal and militaria "expert."

I foolishly assumed posting a photo here would be as easy as it is on Ebay...but I can't figure how it's done right now, so no pic gents, sorry about that.

Changing topics...if any medal collector should find himself in the Los Angeles area on the last Sunday of any month, please join us at a meeting of the Southern Calif. Orders & Medals Society, for a few hours of fun medal chat and always impressive show & tell segments. Contact me at fdraskovic@hotmail.com for further info. See you at OMSA.

Frank Draskovic

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...though so many have been posted, maybe not quite so rare after all.

You get that right Frank ;)

I foolishly assumed posting a photo here would be as easy as it is on Ebay...but I can't figure how it's done right now, so no pic gents, sorry about that.

Push "more reply options" button (it is located right after "post" button).

A new window will open in which you'll find (and push) "attach this file" button.

Then simply choose the pic you want to post.

The size of your pic per one post should be less than 200k.

Cheers,

Nick

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