Various information
about Japanese medals & orders
Some interesting information about monetary benefits associated with the orders.
Originally the Japanese government decided that a monetary award would be appropriate when
someone received an order. The money would be issued as part of the pension program, so
the award would be continue until the pension payments stopped. This obviously increased the
prestige of receiving an order. Here is a breakdown of the pension supplements:
(
NB: These are figures taken from Wikipedia. I am checking these against my Japanese
sources and will make necessary changes.)

(August 2009) NOTE: I overlooked the obvious fact that these amounts changed from year to
year. I don't know what from which year these figures are from, so I will have to come back
and revise this later.
1st
Class
2nd
Class
3rd
Class
4th
Class
5th
Class
6th
Class
7th
Class
 
900
yen
650
yen
400
yen
210
yen
140
yen
90
yen
65
yen
 
1st
Class
2nd
Class
3rd
Class
4th
Class
5th
Class
6th
Class
7th
Class
8th
Class
max
840
yen
min
740
yen
max
600
yen
min
500
yen
max
360
yen
min
260
yen
max
180
yen
min
135
yen
max
125
yen
min
115
yen
max
100
yen
min
85
yen
max
75
yen
min
60
yen
max
50
yen
min
40
yen
Order of the Golden Kite
Order of the Rising Sun
Order of the Sacred Treasure
1st
Class
2nd
Class
3rd
Class
4th
Class
5th
Class
6th
Class
7th
Class
8th
Class
max
840
yen
min
740
yen
max
600
yen
min
500
yen
max
360
yen
min
260
yen
max
180
yen
min
135
yen
max
125
yen
min
115
yen
max
100
yen
min
85
yen
max
75
yen
min
60
yen
max
50
yen
min
40
yen
This pension award system was abolished on April 29, 1940. Instead, a one-time
cash payment was instituted. (I am now researching those cash awards and will post
upon confirmation.) Those who had received a medal before this date, though,
continued to receive the pension payments.

In 1945, during the occupation of Japan, all pension payments were terminated. One
source claimed that a select few Golden Kite recipients were awarded a one-time
100,000 yen payment. That is a huge sum and must have been given to those who
had received a higher class medal. No other details were given in that book.
(
Japanese Medals, a 100-Year History by Date Munekatsu, pg 30)
Some interesting information about minting and re-issuing medals.
From Showa 4 [1929] all medals and orders were made at the Japan Mint in
Osaka. Before this date, a number of private manufacturers in Tokyo,
Nagoya, and other cities handled the duties. However, there was some kind
of scandal named
Baikun Jiken (Selling Medals Incident) that prompted the
government to consolidate the production. You can read about that incident
HERE.

Although the medals were all made at the Mint, I am not sure about the
presentation cases. Since these continued to vary in some design
elements, it is safe to assume that private manufacturers still made cases.

When one loses a medal, it can be re-issued. Proof of receipt must be filed
with the Japan Mint and I can guess that the paperwork is substantial. An
award document is necessary (or some other official proof of issue). The
cost must be born by the individual, and although I don't know the prices, it is
most likely cheaper to find a used medal.

War Medals and Commemorative Medals cannot be re-issued under any
circumstance.

Award documents cannot be re-issued, either. However, a proof of receipt of
a medal can be issued, but it bears no resemblance to the actual award
document.
Some interesting information about medals at the end of the war.
Medals and orders are made in certain numbers so that any award can be
issued promptly. Since the number of applications for medals declined
dramatically during the final war years, there was a large stock of unissued
medals kept in the Cabinet Temporary Office Building. This was bombed in
May 1945 and the surviving medals dispersed here and there. Some were
hidden in the basement of a government office building located in the vicinity
of Toranomon, an area of Tokyo.

More medals were lost in other bombings, but the Cabinet Ministry Awards
and Medals Department (the official government body that operates the
medal system) allegedly still preserves over 1,000,000 pre-war medals that
will never be released.

In
Japanese Medals, a 100-Year History the author Date Munekatsu claims
that a worker said that they are still beautifully arranged in their original
paper wraps (pg 32). Wouldn't it be nice to see that...

The awarding of medals came to a halt at the end of the war. However, the
Awards and Medals Department secretly issued medals until they were
discovered by the SCAP authorities in February 1947. At that time they
complied with the official order to desist.
Some interesting information about medals given to war dead.
After the war (in 1946) all awarding of medals and orders was suspended.
However, there were a lot of people who were in the process of getting a
medal and there was also a large number of war dead who had not yet
received a medal. This prompted the government to institute the War Dead
Medal program in 1964, upon the rebirth of the medal system. The program
lasted for 3 years, during which time the Awards and Medals Department
accepted applications for these medals.

During the 3 years 2,120,000 applications were submitted and 1,900,000
medals were awarded by 1970. Generally speaking, these medals were
most often the lower classes of the Rising Sun. As far as I know, no
post-war Golden Kite medals were issued.

The Awards and Medals Department also searched for the next-of-kin of the
war dead, knowing full well that many families would never apply for a
medal. Because of this there were some cases of war dead medals being
sent to soldiers who were still living and others (living and dead!) were
awarded the same medal twice. The number of recorded errors was 460,
which is not too bad considering the awarded medals almost reached two
million.
Since medals (or more specifically, orders) are a mark of honor bestowed by the
nation, they can be taken away if the owner commits a crime. This rule was
established on Meiji 41 [1908], December 1st. Imperial Edict #291.

If one must give back the medal, both the medal and the award document must be
physically given back to the authorities. I am not sure how often this actually
happened, but regardless the Awards and Medals Department made a record that
the medal was revoked. In addition, if one had received a medal from a foreign
nation, one was prohibited from wearing it.

This harsh punishment happened when one was convicted of a crime and received
one of the following punishments: Death sentence or imprisonment of over 3 years.

For lighter crimes (less than 3 years imprisonment) the medals could be revoked if
the authorities believed that the crime committed was offensive enough. Otherwise,
the offender was prohibited from wearing medals throughout the time of
punishment. After that time expired, he had to get permission from the authorities in
order to wear his medal again.

These kind of punishments are rather rare today, but right after the war ended,
crime was rampant and these punishments were more common.
In Date's book
Japanese Medals some statistics were given:

From 1946 to 1950 there 300 to 500 people punished in this manner every year.
Many were returning soldiers who had no job or regular income, and they often had
to operate outside of the law in order to survive.

From 1951 the numbers declined rapidly as the economy got stronger. In 1954
less than 100 people had their medals revoked.

For the twenty years after the war (1945-1965), here are some interesting numbers:

3,320 people had medals revoked. In the first ten years of this period 83% of the
total number occurred. In 1965 only 23 people had medals revoked.

80% of the medals revoked during these 20 years were the 8th Class medals. Most
of these offenders were military men. 16% were 7th Class, 4% were 6th Class.
Very few of the higher classes were revoked.

(I don't think that these punishments would apply to commemorative medals,
though. Just the orders and perhaps the Merit Medals.)
Some interesting information about medals being rescinded.