|Meiji Shrine Athletic Meet
At the prestigious Meiji Shrine athletic meets were held on a regular basis from 1924 to 1943.
The stated objective was to honor the Meiji Emperor while strengthening the bodies and spirits of the populace. It was included in the shrine's
religious event calendar.
The 1st and 2nd meets were sponsored by the Home Ministry (Naimushou), the 3rd through the 9th were sponsored by the shrine itself, and
the 10th through the 13th by the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare (Kouseishou). The 14th and final meet only had local athletes so there
was no official sponsor.
The meet was held in November, and was held on the grounds of the shrine. However, it was not held consistently every year. Here is a
breakdown of the meets and the years held:
1st Meet: Taisho 13  2nd Meet: Taisho 14  3rd Meet: Taisho 15 
4th Meet: Showa 2  5th Meet: Showa 4  6th Meet: Showa 6 
7th Meet: Showa 8  8th Meet: Showa 10  9th Meet: Showa 12 
10th Meet: Showa 14  11th Meet: Showa 15  12th Meet: Showa 16 
13th Meet: Showa 17  14th Meet: Showa 18 
The participants consisted of members of the Patriotic Youth Brigade and also the general populace, students included. The Patriotic Youth
Brigade athletes were chosen from each of the prefectures, about 10 members from each. The general populace representatives were
selected from one of 12 districts: Hokkaido, Tohoku, Kanto, Hokuriku, Toukai, Kinki, Chugoku, Shikoku, Kyushu, Taiwan, Korea, and Kanto-shu
The 11th meet was held in 1940, and since that was the 2600th National Foundation Anniversary, the official title of the meet was 'Imperial Year
2600, Celebration, 11th Meiji Shrine Athletic Meet.' You may encounter a badge or something with that inscription.
As for the badges, below you will see some. The reverses are sometimes the same from year to year, but the obverse design is different. By
the suspension device, one can assume that these are watch fobs. I think the bronze fobs were given away or sold at the meet. I am not sure if
there was a badge for each meet, but I have seen other badges before. See also MEIJI SHRINE PAGE 2
For the modern (post-war) version of the tournament, the National Sports Festival was established.
Obverse has the Meiji Shrine gate and Imperial mums.
Imperial Sacred Mirror outline.
'Imperial Year 2587 , 4th Meet, Meiji Shrine Athletic
Obverse has the Imperial Sacred Mirror surrounded by
'Imperial Year 2586 , 3rd Meet, Meiji Shrine Athletic Meet
Obverse has the shishi (protective lion) in front of the Meiji
'Imperial Year 2589 , 5th Meet, Meiji Shrine Athletic
Designed by the famous artist Hata Shoukichi.
Obverse has a Roman-looking athlete.
'Imperial Year 2585 , Meiji Shrine Athletic
Meet Association, Naimushou.'
This would be the fob for the 2nd Meet.
The first meet.
'Meiji Shrine Athletic Meet, Imperial Year 2584 , Prime
'7th Meiji Shrine Athletic Meet, Showa 8 .'
Designed by the famous artist Hinago Jitsuzou (1892-1945).
The figure is Nomi no Sukune.
'6th Meiji Shrine Athletic Meet, Showa 6 .'
Designed by the famous artist Saitou Sogan (1889-1974).
Saitou studied at the Royal Academy in Britain from 1913 to
1916. He was awarded the 3rd Class Order of the Sacred
'8th Meiji Shrine Athletic Meet, Showa 10 .'
Same as above, but this one appears to have been made with a silver tint.
I have two fobs attached to a metal piece and ribbons.
The latter are inscribed 'Meiji Shrine Athletic Meet
Participant.' This may have been how these fobs were
originally presented. I haven't seen a case with these,
but one might exist. However, they could have been
just given to participants upon registration.
Here is a Meiji Shrine Athletic Meet commemorative watch fob in a case. I had
thought this was original to the fob, but now I'm not sure.
'9th Meiji Shrine Athletic Meet, Showa 12 .'
Meiji Shrine Athletic Meet Ginza 10 Year Festival Participation Badge. Fitted cardboard backing with original paper
Dated Showa 5 .
6th Meiji Shrine Athletic Meet, 1931.