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W.Unland

Japanese General Full Dress

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Hello,

I know these full dress uniforms seem to generate little interest in the collecting community. This example is presented to point out the peculiaities of a general officer's uniform as opposed to that of a lower ranked officer.

Firstly an over view of the uniform. This example probably dates to the Taisho period, roughly WW1 era. That's a period print of this guys boss....Emperor Taisho, wearing exactly this type of uniform, and family on the wall behind him. The only thing missing is the sword belt and sword. Unfortunately as a "foreigner" I am not allowed to own swords over here in Japan!

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This next photo clearly shows the difference between a general officer's cap and that of a lesser rank. The cap itself is much taller and the feather is considerably more "full" and higher standing. No doubt who is more important here.

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Edited by W.Unland

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The next photo is a closer view of the sleeve braid. The number of braids denoted rank with the emperor wearing 7 strands, this example is a major general, who wore 5. This photo also demonstrates the proper wear of the shoulder cord. There is a "pocket" built into the shoulder seem that accepts the attachment tab of the cord itself.

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This photo shows the distinct pattern of a general officers collar braid.

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Edited by W.Unland

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The braid pattern was repeated on the cuffs as shown here.

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This next photo show the fine detail on a general officer's grade shoulder cord.

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Next is a photo showing the difference in size between a general's shoulder boards and those of a company grade officer. The generals are HUGE. Once again, no doubt left as to whom is the more imprtant.

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Finally, here is an overview of the very rare general's dress sash in gold and red. These sashes were used to conceal the leather sword belt which was worn beneath. There is a buttoned flap on the tunic which went around the belt where the sword would be suspended to hold the weight of the sword.

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Edited by W.Unland

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A close up showing the general officer's "star" on the tassels of the dress sash/ belt cover.

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This photo shows the fine detail on the sash buckle. Very high quality befitting rank.

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A close-up of the medal bar, typical of a WW1 serving field grade officer. Not necessarily a general, but a field serving company grade officer. As with most high ranking officer's field awards were earned as young men. This tunic has loops for three breast badges which would have been earned as a general. Unfortunately the seller had sold off the high grade awards for the big bucks before selling the uniform, and they are missing, and with my income will probably remain missing .

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Edited by W.Unland

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And lastly a 3/4 view to show the red striped trousers of a general officer.

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I really like these full dress uniforms. Quite impressive. This guy was quite large and rather heavy. Obviously rank has privilages and this guy didn't miss any meals!

Thanks for looking,

Bill Unland

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Hi Bill

Impressive uniform :cheers:

2 questions:

What would a uniform like that go for, and are they hard to find?

What would happen if you had a japanese sword in your possesion, would bought overseas make a difference? i.e you brought it to japan

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The Japanese had some very colorful and ornate dress uniforms. How difficult are such groupings to find in Japan?

Paul

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Hello,

These things are VERY difficult to find here in Japan. The Japanese themselves have NO interest in collecting or preserving these things. Most were "thrown out" after the war. I know my wife's sister's father in law used to wear his old imperial naval officer's uniforms to the old boys meetings, medals, dagger and all. He had the only original "great south asia war medals" I have ever seen, actually issued, not bought after the war. All those you see for sale were made and sold by Yasakuni shrine for the old boys in the 60's. When he died it all went in the trash before I had a chance to tell them NO DONT DO IT. Probably 10K out with the garbage.

If you can find one of these ensembles in good shape over here it would be in the 4-5K range from a dealer. I know some pickers working off the military bases swear they find stuff cheap at flea markets and make a good living on ebay, but in 10 years living here I have never found a bargain. I don't know where they find stuff. Japanese items are cheaper in the USA than over here!

As far as swords go, if the cops caught me with one I would go straight to jail. At best I could hope to be deported at worst a few years at hard labor. We "gaijin"(foreigners) are not to be trusted you see. Actually even for the Japanese they need a special license from the ministry of education to own swords. They were outlawed when Meiji began and the laws have never been changed. Only Yakusa and rich old men collectors own swords over here.

Regards,

Bill Unland

Edited by W.Unland

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Dear Paul,

Weapons of ANY kind are strickly prohibited. Hotels have a copy of the sword control act in every room, just in case a yakusa shows up so that they can claim no knowledge if a gang fight breaks out :blush:

Most of the murders over here are with kitchen knives and baseball bats. I have a can of pepper spray that I snuck into the country to keep around for house protection. My Japanese cop friends aren't really sure if it is legal or not. They tell me it is probably OK to have, but if I use it I could be in trouble. I told them I would rather face the judge than the nut case with a kitchen knife, but this is a strange land I live in :P

Regards,

Bill U

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Bill,

An absolutely beautiful uniform! :jumping::jumping::jumping: It's very, very sad that the Japanese have become so anti-war/anti-military that they are throwing away their history! :(

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Dear Mr. Haynes,

I assure you that this post meets the appropriate criteria for inclusion under this topic heading. I should have been a bit clearer.

This particular example is presumed to be Taisho as I can't find the general's name on the WW2 lists, but I assure you that this exact uniform was worn by general officers throuout the war until 1945, so YES this post would be representative of an AXIS period uniform............but thanks for asking.

Regards,

W.Unland

Edited by W.Unland

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Fair enough. I just worry that, being hidden away as if Japan existed only as an Axis sub-set, a lovely post like this will be missed by those (like me) with an interest in Things Japanese, but who could care less about The Axis.

It may be a shame we don't have a "Japan" sub-forum under "World".

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Thank you,

I was a bit surprised that Japan gets rather slim billing here on the forum. I have some Meiji caps and helmet to show but I really don;'t know where to do so.

Rest regards,

Bill Unland

Edited by W.Unland

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Bill,

As a foreigner living in Japan you are allowed to own the type of sword that went with these full dress uniforms. The ban on sword ownership only relates to swords with a hand forged blade since that is how a sword is defined in the Japanese civil code. The parade swords that went with these uniforms have a blunt machine made blade and do not fall within the ban. I have purchased a number of them in Japan, for company and field grade officers, and brought them out of the country (including customs checks) with no problems at all.

This is an excellent example of the uniform, I have one in my own collection and it is one of my favourite pieces. Given how attractive they are I never understood why they were not more popular. Still I suppose that leaves more for the likes of you and me !

Regards,

Paul

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Dear Paul,

Thanks for the clarification. My Japanese has never gotten good enough to really understand the rules "first hand" and quite frankly the cops don't know. I have a lot of friends from patrolman through deputy director and none of them really seem to know much about the laws, I guess they do it different over here :blush:

If you ever happen across another general's parade sword please keep me in mind. I know you are THE authority on medals and orders, never knew you collected cloth as well. We have talked before via e-mail regarding finding some breast badges for the general.

Thanks again,

Bill U

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Hi Bill,

Many thanks for the compliments, you are making me blush !

Regarding cloth, I only dabble in it. I like the full dress uniforms but that is about as far as it goes. Apart from the general's I also have a very nice dress uniform for an ambassador level diplomat (covered in embroidered pawlonia leaves) and a nobleman's court uniform. They are very impressive and rare. I also have a few other army officer full dress uniforms and one naval full dress uniform. Unless I come across something else unusual my cloth collection is pretty much as big as it is going to get.

There are still a few Japanese orders I do not have which I need to add so they, and the various certificates I am still chasing, will blow my budget for the next few years !

Cheers,

Paul

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This particular example is presumed to be Taisho as I can't find the general's name on the WW2 lists, but I assure you that this exact uniform was worn by general officers throuout the war until 1945, so YES this post would be representative of an AXIS period uniform............but thanks for asking.

Hi,

Does this mean that you have acess to complete lists of WW2 Japanese generals? If so could you give me the bibliographical info on these publications. I would love to have acess to such lists.

Thanks in advace.

Kind Regards

Steen Ammentorp

The Generals of World War II

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Steen,

There is a book published in Japan (and in Japanese) called "Nippon Rikugun Shokan Jiten". There is also a list of admirals called "Nippon Kaigun Shokan Jiten". The ISBN number of the army book is 4-8295-0273-8 and for the naval book is 4-8295-0272-x. They are entirely in Japanese so unless you can read that language they would be of no value to you. The admirals' list is 421 pages and the generals' is 817 so getting it translated is not an option.

Best regards,

Paul

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