Various information
about Japanese medals & orders
page 4
YEAR
# of
awards
1937
9
1938
0
1939
0
1940
4
1941
0
1942
0
1943
7
1944
6
1945
0
1946
6
1947
0
1948
5
1949
8
1950
7
1951
7
1952
7
1953
6
1954
5
1955
7
1956
7
YEAR
# of
awards
1957
7
1958
4
1959
4
1960
4
1961
6
1962
5
1963
2
1964
5
1965
5
1966
3
1967
5
1968
4
1969
7*
1970
2
1971
4
1972
4
1973
5
1974
5
1975
5
1976
5
YEAR
# of
awards
1977
5
1978
5**
1979
5
1980
5
1981
6
1982
5
1983
5
1984
5
1985
5
1986
5
1987
5
1988
5
1989
5
1990
5
1991
5
1992
5
1993
5
   
   
total
266
* This number includes the 3 American astronauts
who landed on the moon: Neil Armstrong, Michael
Collins, and Edwin Aldrin, Jr.

** One of these was
Yoichiro Nambu, a Japanese
who took American citizenship in 1970
Below is a chart documenting the number of people who received the Cultural Medal each
year, from its inception to 1993. This award is shown in almost every medal compilation,
but rarely will you see one for sale. (It may be illegal to sell these, though. I'll have to
confirm that.)

Only 266 people received this medal up to 1993, a very small number.

Source for the first three columns (1937 to 1993):
Eiten no Shiori
This is an official publication of the Medals and Awards Association. It is given to those
who have received an Order or Medal of Honor. It was not offered for sale.
If you can read Japanese, the Japan
Wikipedia site names each recipient for each
year. Click
HERE.
YEAR
# of
awards
1994
5*
1995
5**
1996
5
1997
5
1998
5
1999
5
2000
6
2001
5
2002
6
2003
5
2004
5
2005
5
2006
5
2007
5
2008
8***
2009
6
   
   
   
total
85
Wikipedia figures for
the years after 1993
* Oe Kenzaburo was offered but refused
this award, so he is not included in the
number.

**
Sugimura Haruko was offered but
refused this award, so she is not
included in the number.

*** The American
Donald Keene was
one of the recipients.
1964
1965
1966
1967
1968
1969
1970
1971
1972
1973
1974
1975
1976
1977
1978
54
51
35
29
33
38
36
43
38
21
19
15
15
27
35
1979
1980
1981
1982
1983
1984
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993
23
27
17
29
25
24
34
32
26
20
18
14
14
10
13
Year
Number of sake cups awarded
Official Sake Cup Awards
1964-1933
Sake cups were awarded in lieu of medals for the following reasons. First, a person had to have been awarded a medal
previously. (That is, no one could be awarded a sake cup before having received a medal. See exceptions that follow.) Then, the
deeds of that person were meritorious but were not deemed sufficient for a promotion to the next higher level of medal. In these
cases a wood or silver cup was given by the government.

In addition, someone who has an esteemed rank in society--for example a religious leader--may receive a sake cup award for
educational or societal work. In these cases, a previous medal award is not required.

Olympic medal winners, Nobel Peace Prize winners, and other internationally acclaimed persons may receive a sake cup award
without having previously been awarded a medal. In fact, all Nobel and Olympic winners receive sake cups.

The cups were awarded twice a year (spring and fall) at the medal award ceremonies, but I just added the numbers to get a
yearly total. I only found information for the years 1964 to 1993 as of this writing.

Both silver and lacquered wood cups are presented. These are divided further into cups with the Chrysanthemum Crest and
those with the Paulonia Crest. Generally speaking, the Chrysanthemum Crest belongs to the category of Orders while the
Paulonia Crest belongs to the Medals of Honor (Merit Medals). The silver cups bearing the Paulonia Crest are given to the
bereaved family of a person who, if alive, should have been awarded a Merit Medal; the wood cups are often given along with the
Dark Blue Merit Medal when the donation exceeds a certain amount. This amount varies year by year.

(Some of this information is from
Decorations of Japan, page 7)
Medals and orders are awarded twice a year, in the spring and fall. It is really an elaborate affair, and records are kept of all the recipients
both in the official government records and also in publications. The Merit Medals recipients are recorded in one volume and all the other
orders are in a separate volume. I am not sure exactly why this is, but perhaps the sheer number of people recorded is too large for one
volume. Here I'd like to introduce a volume from autumn, Showa 51 [1976].

First, a word about the book. It has a high-quality wrap-around cover with the imperial mum in gold. The book itself is softcover bound with
ties and glue. The cover reads 'Record of the Medal Recipients of Great Japan.' The use of the latter phrase is uncommon in post-war
Japan.

The chapters are divided according to the class of medal received. Note that the 8th Class medals are not recorded. I believe 8th Class
recipients were not invited to the ceremonies because there were so many of them.

Each page shows information about each individual who received an award. It is highly detailed and very useful for people who are
investigating a certain year. However, since there are two of these published each year and another for the Merit Medals, it would take a
large bookshelf to hold them all.

Here are some pictures.
Slip cover
Cover
First chapter heading
'1st Class Orders (National)'
A typical page, somewhat more detail for the
higher class medals.
A 1st Class Medal entry. Translation according to the red numbers added
in the photo (the numbers are not on the actual page). CAPS are my
explanation. The rest is a translation.

1. MEDAL AWARDED: 1st Class Sacred Treasure

2. PREVIOUS MEDALS RECEIVED: 2nd Class Sacred Treasure, Culture
Decoration, Purple Merit Medal

3. SHORT DESCRIPTION OF DEEDS:  For many years he has worked as
a university professor and head of department. He is distinguished in the
study of kanji and has devoted himself to the development of academics
and culture. Previous posts: Tokyo University of Education Professor,
Tsuru University President

4. NAME: Morohashi Tetsuji

5. AGE: 93

6. HOMETOWN: Niigata Prefecture

7. CURRENT ADDRESS: Tokyo Shinjuku Nishi Ochiai 1-5-5
Pre-war medal bars looked like the one pictured to the right. These seemed a bit unwieldy for the
modern person and a new design has been widely accepted. It is metal, gold-plated, and has
Imperial mums on either end. The medal ribbons can be attached easily over the bar, and the bar
is attached to the coat by two pins that resemble necktie pins.

I don't have one so I have taken a picture of a picture. This catalog was printed in Heisei 10 [1998]
and the price of a single medal bar was 3000 yen and a two-medal bar was 3800 yen. The one
pictured below is the latter.
Medal Roll Book
Post-war Medal Bar
Pre-war medal bar.