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"Rare grouping of 3 classes of the Order of the Rising Sun, complete with citations"---Really?

Article about: "Rare grouping of 3 classes of the Order of the Rising Sun, complete with citations"---Really? Groupies Beware Collectors generally love groupings, but if you are ever offered a Ja

  1. #1

    Default "Rare grouping of 3 classes of the Order of the Rising Sun, complete with citations"---Really?

    "Rare grouping of 3 classes of the Order of the Rising Sun, complete with citations"---Really?



    Groupies Beware

    Collectors generally love groupings, but if you are ever offered a Japanese grouping like the one described in the title, you need to know right away that it is not an original set, but one that has been put together.

    Also, collectors of Japanese orders love to indulge in identifying numismatic features that supposedly allow them to date the order to a specific era, and for this they rely on the date of the citation that came with the order, assuming they always belonged together. However, one needs to bear in mind that many citation and order sets are put together and never saw each other before landing in a dealer's site.

    For instance, if you have a 3rd class Sacred Treasure Order along with its citation, allegedly belonging to the same person, and you further know that he eventually also got the 1st class of the Sacred Treasure, you automatically need to dismiss the 3rd class order as not genuine to the citation.



    That is, any grouping with more than one Rising Sun, Sacred Treasure or Golden Kite decoration in it is bogus, and the sole remaining example must be the highest class of that series that the individual had been awarded.



    Trading up, a Japanese tradition in autos as well as Orders

    That is because, unlike the practice in other countries, Japanese orders were, in principle, awarded on a basis of trading in your previous award. However, you did get to keep your old citations. So by nature of the system, there have always been more citations in circulation than orders.

    This practice was finally ended on 1st October 1973, but had been in effect for 84 years ever since it became law on 21st March 1889. Edict Number 38 issued at that time stipulated that those who had been newly awarded a higher class of an order needed to return to the Decoration Bureau the previous grade of that order. That meant that a person being awarded a 2nd Class Rising Sun had to return his 3rd Class Rising Sun, but could keep his Sacred Treasure Order, as that was a different series.



    Return Protocol


    In order to enforce the above Edict, a Cabinet Order was issued in the name of Prime Minister Kuroda on the same date which defined the protocol as follows.

    1.Those being awarded a higher class of an order were required to return the lower class of that order to the Decoration Bureau within 1 week.

    2.Those receiving a higher order by delivery from the Bureau were to immediately send back the previous grade along with a receipt for the new decoration. When received through a government office, the return was to be made to that office and they had to forward it to the Bureau. (Returning deadline for Tokyo residents was within 2 weeks from receipt of the new decoration, and for those residing elsewhere, 30 days).

    3. Foreigners were no exception. For those abroad, the returns were to be made to the nearest Japanese Embassy or Consulate.

    4.Embassies or Consulates were to forward the returned decorations to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which should forward them further to the Bureau.

    5.The cost of delivering the order back to the Bureau was to be borne by the individual.

    Promptly on 29th March 1889, an Army regulation followed up, saying that army personnel were to return their lower classes to the Ministry of the Army. This was to be done by attaching a label to the case containing the order, which was to state the “name and class of the order and presence or absence of the lapel rosette along with the name and rank of the individual”.
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    Last edited by nick komiya; 05-27-2016 at 08:05 AM.

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    Exceptions


    So during the war, a soldier generally did not have in his possession more than one order in the same series, unless the latest was a posthumous award, when, as an exception, the previous order was not required to be returned.

    Another exception you need to keep in mind is that 1st and 2nd class orders for a time came with the lower class order combined as a set.

    For instance, a first class sash order also came with a breast star identical to the 2nd class, and the 2nd class breast star came in combination with a neck order identical to the 3rd class (Sacred Treasure 2nd class was an exception and was presented without a neck order). In these cases the combination represented the class and was not regarded as wearing of two classes. So you returned your Golden Kite breast star when you won first class, which meant one got a sash order as well as a new breast star through the trade-in deal. This practice of presenting combination sets continued for first class orders, as sash orders were not to be worn with service uniforms and only the breast stars were worn in their places. However, the practice got phased out for Golden Kite 2nd classes for awards dated after Pearl Harbor. This regulation change actually only got introduced on 25th September 1942, but as all award presentations had been on hold since 29th April, 1940, they could apply this regulation retroactively.


    So if Clint Eastwood ever wins his 2nd class Rising Sun, he can now keep his 3rd class he won in 2009, but that was not the case before ‘73
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    Last edited by nick komiya; 05-26-2016 at 09:15 PM.

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    I forgot to mention further exceptions made for the Golden Kites in 1941 and 1942, so here they are.

    24th June 1941:
    Multiple classes of Kites were now permitted to be worn at the same time. The reason was that the wearing of only the last awarded class could not convey how frequently the individual had displayed meritorious valor on the battlefield. So to allow Kite winners to show they had performed repeated feats of valor, lesser Kites could now be worn together. Quantity now became important as quality.


    July 1942:
    Further to the above, more than one Kite of the same class was now permitted to be worn at the same time. If your most recent act of valor was in the same magnitude as that, which won you the previous Kite class, you got the same class awarded again. So a soldier could own more than one 5th class Golden Kite, for instance, in which case you could now wear them all together.

    The above two revisions to the law automatically assumes that one was allowed to keep older Kites, but strangely there is no sign that Edict 38 was amended to make the Golden Kites an exception to the return rule .
    Last edited by nick komiya; 05-27-2016 at 12:54 PM.

  4. #4

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    Because Japanese orders have largely remained unchanged in design from their institution in the late 19th century to this day, collectors having the desire to find ways of dating the award have tried to tie certain design traits of orders to certain eras.

    What generally is done is to date the orders by the citation date and try to find a correlation between era and numismatic features, as they obviously needed to renew stamping dies at regular intervals due to wear and tear. This would unavoidably introduce minor variances from die to die. Thus design traits such as the vein pattern on paulownia leaves on Rising Suns and the angle of the Kite's wings in Golden Kite Orders are often used as rule of thumb features to date awards.

    However, this method is of questionable reliability, as it is based on two shaky assumptions.

    One is, of course, to assume that the citation and order had always belonged together and are not sets put together by the sellers. Order citations were actually serial numbered and this got entered in the awards log at the Awards Bureau. So had they engraved that number also on the awards, citation and award sets would have been easily verifiable. However, unfortunately it was not done, leaving no means to prove authenticity as a set.

    As explained in the above text, one had to return the previous class order when receiving a higher class, so one always ended up with many citations no longer accompanied by the award it came with. This is a huge temptation for sellers to match up these orphaned citations with the lesser classes of orders they have on stock to create big groupings.

    Another inherent assumption is that, already assuming that the citation and award did indeed belong together, one is further assuming that the order was struck from the die more or less close to the date on the citation.

    However, the fact is that the timing of manufacture of the order and its awarding along with a citation in many cases were almost 20 years apart! This is fact and this was possible, because Japanese orders remained unchanged in design, giving them unlimited shelf life.

    What they did was, they stamped huge quantities in war time and what remained unawarded simply went into years of storage in vaults to await future awarding opportunities.

    A recent purchase I made of an early IJA pay book happened to come with a small bundle of old newspapers from the early 1930s, and a paper dated 4th May 1932 revealed that 25,000 Rising Suns and Golden Kite orders they took out of 10 vaults in May 1932 for presentation were actually those produced at the time of WW1 awarding in 1915. In other words, they were giving out Taisho era awards for the Manchurian Incident well into the Showa era.

    Thankfully Meiji orders also came with different style lettering on the cases and further came with different design lapel pins, which together help to date the order to the Meiji period, so Meiji vs Taisho/Showa comparisons can be largely valid, but trying to draw a finer line between Taisho and Showa eras, becomes highly suspect and should always be taken with a grain of salt.
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  5. #5
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    Hi, Nick!

    Yes, old types of orders (from 1900-1920 time period) indeed were issued during 30s.
    Empirically proven fact

    Quote by nick komiya View Post
    Thankfully Meiji orders also came with different style lettering on the cases and further came with different design lapel pins, which together help to date the order to the Meiji period, so Meiji vs Taisho/Showa comparisons can be largely valid ...
    Yep, but the problem remains.
    You see, during 30s these old orders were issued in old cases (with meiji/taisho style lettering) and sometimes even with old lapel pins.

    A few authentic groups are known today

  6. #6
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    Quote by nick komiya View Post

    24th June 1941:
    Multiple classes of Kites were now permitted to be worn at the same time. The reason was that the wearing of only the last awarded class could not convey how frequently the individual had displayed meritorious valor on the battlefield. So to allow Kite winners to show they had performed repeated feats of valor, lesser Kites could now be worn together. Quantity now became important as quality.
    Here comes a nice illustration
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  7. #7
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    Quote by nick komiya View Post
    However, the practice got phased out for Golden Kite 2nd classes for awards dated after Pearl Harbor. This regulation change actually only got introduced on 25th September 1942, but as all award presentations had been on hold since 29th April, 1940, they could apply this regulation retroactively.
    Nice 2nd class from Meiji epoch you have Nick.
    Here comes 2nd class that was issued after september 1942 (from my collection)
    These are super rare
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  8. #8
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    Quote by nick komiya View Post
    ... but as all award presentations had been on hold since 29th April, 1940 ...

  9. #9
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    5th kite from 1941

  10. #10
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    Hmmm
    Third attempt to attach the picture
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