This is nicknamed the 'Golden Kite Badge for Industrial Warriors.' It was awarded to those who displayed
exceptional merit and diligence in the factories, including those who died in raids. It was instituted on
September 18, 1942 by Imperial Edict, and the higher class badge was supposed to be hand-given to the
recipient by a government minister.
The larger badge was a national award and the smaller badge awarded by the local government.
These badges were made by the Japan Mint and were designed by Hinago Jitsuzou (1892-1945), a famous
sculptor and designer. This gentleman also designed the 1939 China War Dispatch medal, the 1944 Great
East Asia War Commemorative medal, and, unrelated to medals, the logo of the Japan Football Association
(the three-legged crow design). He may have designed others, too, but I'm not sure.
The design has enameled tomoe crest figures and four pearls. The central figure is a goddess holding a bag.
I am not sure who this figure is; the ordinance only identifies her as a 'god figure.' The circular device around
the goddess looks like a gear or some sort of machine part.
The reverse of this badge is inscribed 'Labor Merit Badge.' The lower class badge is inscribed 'Labor Badge.'
See a fantastic Feb 1943 newsreel showing an award ceremony for the Labor Merit Badge. Given by Hideki
Tojo; the first 3 minutes are concerned with this ceremony. WATCH. (See 1:15 and 2:26 for close-ups of the
badges and 2:07 for a close-up of the presentation document.
Paulownia wood case, unlacquered.