|The Proclamation of the
Constitution of Japan
Commemorative Medals, 1946
'Proclamation of the Constitution of Japan Commemorative, 1946.'
Of minor importance is the pull string of the case. It is red, but most are
white. Probably no significance...
OBVERSE: Dove, representing peace. In the background is a disk with stylized rays, probably a sun.
Inscribed 'Proclamation of the Constitution of Japan, 1946.'
REVERSE: The Japanese Diet building is in the center. Four figures (scenes) surround it, and I'll give a
guess at what they are: a palette with paint brushes and tubes of paint (ARTS); rice stalk
(AGRICULTURE); gear, tool, and metal shavings (INDUSTRY); and fish in water (FISHERIES).
There are two official Japan Mint commemorative medals that celebrate the American-imposed constitution of 1946.
One is a small watch fob and the other is a larger medallion. The designs are completely different, though. An
interesting story behind these two medals. In 1928 on the occasion of the Showa Emperor's enthronement, the Japan
Mint produced one medal and three commemorative medallions. These sold so well that the officials at the mint
anticipated the same thing for these constitution medals. So the Mint produced a large number of the items, of which
most of them went unsold.
Perhaps it was merely wishful thinking because these were put on sale on January 1, 1947--just when Japan was in
the middle of a horrible inflation.
As one can imagine with hindsight, sales were of course very low. The numbers follow. Note that the yen right after the
war is valued at a far different rate than the current yen.
Commemorative medal (watch fob) NUMBER SOLD: 10,174 ORIGINAL PRICE: 283,349 yen
Commemorative medallion NUMBER SOLD: 23,007 ORIGINAL PRICE: 303,378 yen
The Mint also made a commemorative brooch in three colors and obi fastener, but I don't have pictures of the latter.
Commemorative brooch NUMBER SOLD: 11, 460 ORIGINAL PRICE: 314, 977 yen
Obi fastener NUMBER SOLD: 2, 184 ORIGINAL PRICE: 62, 997 yen
In 1947 the Mint also produced a commemorative medal called 'The Sundays of 1948' (see below for a picture), and
since the constitution items sold so poorly, they made few of the Sunday medallions. However, strangely enough,
these sold very well and they had to strike more copies, no doubt from the melted down, unsold constitution
Also note the case of the medallion. It is paulownia wood, not elaborate like the previous Japan Mint medallions. No
doubt this was to cut costs as well as keep the retail price low.
SOURCE: 'Japan Mint 100-Year History [Zouheikyoku Hyaku-nen Shi]' pg 335
The 1946 Constitution medal.
OBVERSE: A mother hen and baby chick. Symbolizing the relationship
between the U.S. and Japan? The Japan Diet building is in the
background and the rays of the sun stretch across the sky. Inscribed
'Proclamation of the Constitution of Japan Commemorative, Japan Mint.'
REVERSE: A plant shoot just beginning to leaf. Probably symbolizes the
new birth of Japan.
The medallion itself is marked with 'Japan Mint' by the chick.
The gold gilt kanji on the lid of the case read 'Proclamation of the
Constitution of Japan Commemorative, Japan Mint.'
SIZE OF MEDALLION: 5.5 cm diameter, 0.5 cm thick.
'The Sundays of 1948'
Enamel badge. The box is inscribed 'Japanese Constitution Proclamation Commemorative.'
I have seen three versions of these. All three have the white bird in the foreground, but the color
of the bird in the background differs.
You can see the green, red, and blue versions here. I'm not sure if they mean anything. I
suspect that three versions were made just to sell more.
|Medal and fob: