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Inter-Allied Victory Medal, Japanese official issue, 1914-1920, in original fitted embossed wooden case of issue and with two associated contemporary army booklets, one with fold-out illustrations on setting up telegraph lines
Circular bronze medal with laterally-pierced barrel-shaped suspension; the face with the full-length figure of Take-Mikazuchi-No-Kami, a spear held across his body; the reverse with a terrestrial globe centrally within a beaded border imposed on a five-petalled cherry blossom, the petals each with a standard bearing the Japanese characters for Japan, France, Great Britain, Italy and the United States of America, the characters for ‘and the other allied nations’ below, circumscribed in Japanese characters ‘The Great War for Protection of Civilisation, Taisho 3rd year, Taisho 9th year’ (1914-1920); on original ribbon with hook and eye fitments, the green and yellow bands pale in typically Japanese style for this ribbon; in original fitted embossed wooden case of issue - as Alexander Laslo states in The Interallied Victory Medals of World War I, the medal and case are not an exact fit; with two associated contemporary booklets, one text only, cloth bound and with a leather closure, the other with text followed by a series of delightful fold-out illustrations showing how to set up telegraph lines (the fold-outs are twice the width of the illustration shown here), the binding now loose. The idea of an inter-allied medal to commemorate victory in what was termed ‘The Great War for Civilisation’ is credited to the French Field-Marshal Foch. It was agreed that each of the Allies should issue a medal to their nationals featuring a figure representing ‘Victory’ on the front and have a symmetric double rainbow ribbon with red, the colour of courage and sacrifice at the centre, representing the colours of the allies flags and presenting an allegory of calm after storm. The Japanese medal substituted the legendary warrior Take-Mikazuchi-No-Kami , since a Victory figure would have had no significance for the Japanese. The medal bears the date ‘1920’ since Japanese action in Siberia, following the Russian Revolution, continued after the end of the war in Europe in 1918. The medal was designed by Masakichi Hata (1882-1966) and manufactured at the Osaka Mint during 1920. It is becoming rare, especially in case of issue. A very good example.
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