When an award, order, badge, or medal was presented, it was almost always given with a
document. Japanese medals (with the exception of some Merit Medals) do not have personal
names engraved on them, so any details about the medal and its original owner must be
reliant upon these documents. Although there are no fake documents, one must be aware
that documents are often mated with medals haphazardly. This is probably not an issue with
the war and commemorative medals, but for the orders, date of production is always an
issue. No one wants to have a Meiji-era document mated with a 1960s-era medal.
Many of the documents also have a picture of the medal near the bottom. Some of the
documents do not (for example, the enthronement medal documents), so one should
possess a rudimentary ability to read Japanese in order to know what medal the document
I hope to make a separate page for each medal's document (and have documents from
different eras to show differences), but that will take a bit of time. You can see some of the
other documents on the separate medal pages as well as on the various document pages.
Some of the documents are rarer than the actual medals. And some of the higher orders
have the personal signature of the Emperor.
For more details about these documents, here are two incredibly useful and informative
links, written by two men who know quite a bit about medals:
Paul Murphy's certificate introduction
Nick Komiya's Introduction to Order Citations Signed by Emperors.
Both are superb!
For the award documents, there are two basic kinds of boxes. There may be
other types, too, but these are the major varieties.
There are also cardboard tubes covered with decorative paper (see below).
Paulonia wood box with a slotted lid. No ties.
Paulonia wood box with a fitted lid. Cloth ties.
A Navy Appreciation document given to a company named Yamato Tickets
(Stocks?). The representative from this company named here is Mimaki
Bankichi. The document shows that the company donated an unnamed
amount of money for consolation packages for both officers and sailors. This
is dated July, 1939. The awarding authority is Navy Minister Yonai Mitsumasa
(later Prime Minister of Japan).
Two War Wound documents given to the same soldier, Army Captain Ichinose [??]. The
document to the left is for the Type II War Wound badge, 1st Class (war in battle senshou )
variety. Ichinose was wounded in China, and this badge was given to him on January 31, 1945.
The awarding authority is Army Minister Sugiyama Hajime. The document to the right was given
to Ichinose in 1943, when he had the rank of Lieutenant. It is an official award for a War Wound
cane, so Ichinose had sustained a war injury before the one noted on the other document. This
war wound cane document is dated April 14, 1943 and the awarding authority is Army Minister
Given to recognize some sort of achievement at the 40th Founding
Anniversary of the Kumamoto Branch. This document is dated April 8, 1941.
Large document with a thick silver gilt imperial
crest at the top. Awarded with the official seal of
the Ministry of Justice Iwamura [??].
Awarded to Hachiuma Kensuke on Showa 19
 March 18.
It appears that Mr Hachiuma was made a
committee member of an organization that
collected funds to build military planes. The
document not only made his position official, but
commended him on his patriotic duty.
Hachiuma Kensuke was the head of the
Hachiuma zaibatsu in Kobe, which established a
number of banks, financial institutions, a railroad,
and Hachiuma Steamships Co., Ltd.
Document from the Niigata Prefecture Soldier Welcoming Home Association.
Awarded to Sakai Sakuzou on Meiji 39  February 11.
This is the award document for a commemorative sake cup, given for appreciation of
war service in the 1904-5 Russia War.
Set of five Imperial Rank promotion documents. Awarded by the Imperial Ministry.
All awarded to Hiroe Soujiro. Included are
Promotion to Junior 7th Rank. Dated Showa 6  April 1.
Promotion to Senior 7th Rank. Dated Showa 7  June 15.
Promotion to Junior 6th Rank. Dated Showa 10  June 15.
Promotion to Senior 6th Rank. Dated Showa 14  June 15.
Promotion to Junior 5th Rank. Dated Showa 18  December 15.
Three documents given to the same soldier, Tanaka Kousaburou.
These are all related to the Korean Annexation.
1. Order of the Rising Sun 6th Class. Meiji 41  December 1.
(RANK: Special Duty Sergeant Major)
2. For bravery in the suppression of Korean violence, the Order of the Rising Sun
6th Class and a cash prize of 180 yen is awarded. Meiji 41  December 1.
3. Japanese Government Permission to wear a Foreign Decoration document.
This allowed Tanaka to wear the Korean Order of the Eight Trigrams 5th Class.
Meiji 43  August 28. (RANK: Special Duty Sergeant Major)