Manchukuo Empire:
Pillars of State
2nd Class Breast Badge
I'd like to take a closer look at the Pillars of State 2nd Class Breast Badge. Since
these rarely appear on the market, perhaps some people would like a more detailed
explanation and pictures of the various areas of the badge.

First, this breast badge was awarded alone as the 2nd Class and also as part of the
1st Class set, which also came with a shoulder sash and badge. Peterson states
that from 1936 to 1940  only 47 1st Class sets were awarded and 97 2nd Class
badges. So for the first few years of manufacture, 144 were made. However, awards
from 1941 to 1945 (when the order was abolished) are not accounted for. I would
imagine that the number for those years would be a bit smaller than for the previous
years because of the shortage of metal and also the deteriorating political scene.
Certainly the final two years (or rather 1 1/2 years) saw few awards.

The table to the right (also shown on
THIS PAGE) shows the numbers of medals
made by the Japan Mint. The far right column shows the Manchukuo medal
numbers, but the kind of medal is not specified.

But if 1937-1940 saw a total of 85,547 Manchukuo medals made and only 144 or so
were 1st or 2nd Class Pillars of State medals, we can imagine that the years 1941 to
August 1945 (80, 887 Manchukuo medals made) saw fewer than 144 2nd Class
Breast Badges manufactured.

The latter is only conjecture by looking at the numbers, but certainly the number of
2nd Class Breast Badges is small. 300 or so by the figures noted above, but
probably much less (and possibly a bit more).

So let's take a look at the badge itself.
1937
942
80,948
48,641
1938
1,867
421,451
2,810
1939
2,811
701,975
13,220
1940
3,011
1,010,979
20,876
1941
3,207
725,709
10,955
1942
4,142
668,582
23,525
Year
# of Workers
Japanese
medals
Manchukuo
Medals
1943
4,899
1,093,386
26,612
1944
3,996
975,433
18,749
1945
2,555
751
1,046
The badge is heavy and seems to be made of steel. It weighs about 115 grams (on my
inaccurate kitchen scale) and measures about 8.3 cm across. I measured from the tips of
the longest rays.

It is a two-piece construction with the center piece attached to the larger piece with four
screws.

The design elements are as follows: 48 fluted rays on the larger piece. The central rays
(running up and down and sideways) number 7 in each group of four and are silver. The
diagonal rays number 5 in each group of four and are gilted gold.

The center attached piece has enameled red posts and a center enameled in the colors of
the Manchukuo flag. The rectangles at the outer ends of the red posts are silver with edges
gilted gold.

Also present are four diagonal bars that end in circles within which nest pearls. There are
also 8 smaller pearls inset near the center.

Aesthetically, it may suffer when compared to an
Auspicious Clouds or Illustrious Dragon
design. Although these two also have the large fluted ray piece, the center design elements
are smoother and have softer lines.
Auspicious Clouds
2nd Class Breast Badge
Illustrious Dragon
2nd Class Breast Badge
A close-up of the center.
The badge I have is missing one of the larger pearls, which is not a good thing except that we can
see inside. The three side projections grasp the pearl tightly. There may have been some
adhesive applied to the underside of the pearl, but I can find no traces.
Note that the diagonal rays are gilted gold, though in
this example the gold is faded in places.

You can also see the edges of the rectangles gilted
gold, but there is a bit of fading here, too
The reverse has a three-prong attachment
device. The two outer prongs do not move,
but the center prong is hinged. None are
sharp.
Hook device in the center.
Hinge, top view.
Hinge, side view, upraised prong.

You can also see the single-slotted screw.
One screw is missing, so we can see a close-up of the
inside. Not much to see--a simple screw attachment.
The four engraved characters read 'Order of Merit Decoration.'
The octagon center enameled in the Manchukuo flag
colors: yellow, black, white, blue, and red. The outer edge
is white with gold painted dots.
Convex construction.