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Prince Sanetsune Tokudaiji and his documents for “25th” and “Constitution” Medals

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Prince (at the time of awarding he was simple :whistle: Marquis) Sanetsune Tokudaiji/徳大寺実則 (January 10, 1840 –June 4, 1919) was a Minister of the Imperial Household and Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal of Japan during the Meiji epoch.

Basic info about this important figure in the history of Japan can be found here


Information about the post of the Keeper of Imperial Seals can be found here


Edited by JapanX
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Naturally our Prince was a cavalier of two early Japanese medals - 1889 Imperial Constitution Promulgation Commemorative Medal and 25th Wedding Anniversary Medal. Thanks to our colleague Pieter we have an opportunity to examine two documents for these medals that belonged to Marquis Sanetsune Tokudaiji.

Document for 1889 Imperial Constitution Promulgation Commemorative Medal

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Wow! This guy takes the prize for the most bling worn at any one time. He even beats Emperor Bokassa I and his 16+ breast stars!

He probably walked very ... very ... slowly ...

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This guy takes the prize for the most bling worn at any one time. He even beats Emperor Bokassa I and his 16+ breast stars!

Emperor Bokassa stays unbeaten - our Keeper has only 15 breast stars ;)

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Bokassa might beat Tokudaiji in numbers, but most of Bokassa's grandcross stars were of his own creation, whereas marquis Tokudaiji was recepient of many prestigious European orders such as the White Eagle of Russia, the Red Eagle of Prussia, Iron Crown of Austria, St. Maurice & St. Lazarus of Italy, Legion 'D Honneur of France,Royal Victorian Order of the United Kingdom, as well as some high orders from Asia such as the First Grade of the Double Dragon of China, The White Elephant of Siam, the order of the Plum Blossems of Korea and of course the order of the Chrysanthemum of Japan.

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... seems to have Imperial Korean award amongst others. Thank you for posting this great image!!

Should we have a separate thread full of Japanese high-ranking officers with Korean awards? ;)



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Definitely! The Korean Orders weren't common at all but very interesting.

The Order of the Eight Trigrams occasionally pops up on Yahoo Japan Auctions but often it is of local (Korean) manufacture and suffering from "enamel pest".

Maybe one of the high-ranking officers is wearing the mysterious and unknown Order of the Purple Falcon or Order of the Auspicious Phoenix!

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First, I believe that Nick’s suggestion to establish a thread for sharing images of persons [Japanese and others] awarded Imperial Korean awards is a terrific idea. Written accounts & decoration groups suggest that, in addition to Japanese nationals, at least one U.S. minister to Seoul, Danish and/or Swedish businessmen, a French consul or consul-general, several Balkan states’ [military?] officers, and Russian officials received Imperial Korean decorations. Surely other foreigners also qualified for them. Images of these individuals actually wearing the insignia would be truly interesting.

On the question of Jean-Bedel Bokassa’s ‘self-awarded’ decorations……….. Bokassa most certainly was not a saint but he wore just one Order that he created and ‘through action of the Central African government’ [viz. himself] received. Whether he loved ‘bling’, was insecure, or whatever the cause, he apparently also enjoyed showing off his awards. Bokassa’s hardware display was not much different from those in images we scrutinize in attempts to discover what decorations 1880s-1920s personalities held, invidious comparisons notwithstanding.

His other awards include mainly ‘3rd world’ African, Asian, and Middle Eastern nations’ honors but at least one of the exact same caliber as Marquis/Prince Sanetsune Tokudaiji -- the French Legion of Honor. Many governments likely decorated Bokassa with the aim of appealing to his personal vanity/obsession and thus influencing him or for reciprocal award acknowledgement and some may have had other motives. It is worth remembering, however, that Bokassa won a Black Star of Benin chevalier and later a Legion of Honor chevalier plus other French medals and decorations while serving as a French soldier.

Edited by 922F
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