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Story of the Golden Kite

Article about: Story of the Golden Kite Foreword There are many books devoted to the German Iron Cross, and there are books in Japanese dedicated to the Rising Sun Orders, but I don’t know of any on the Or

  1. #61

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    That's very interesting information about the template used to align the seal to just barely touch the emperor's signature.

    Thanks, Nick!

    --Guy

  2. #62

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    I didn't bother to explain, but there's the Emperor's Seal and there's a national seal, both prepared in 1874 and having the same size. The Emperor's Seal is the one that needs to touch his signature and that is the seal he affixes on laws he promulgates ike the various Edicts I show in articles. The seal for the citation is the national seal. Both seals look pure gold, but are alloys to prevent wearing out.

  3. #63

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    Having the Emperor's Seal slightly overlap his signature appears to be a purely post war practice, as none of the Edicts including the one from 1946 cancelling the Golden Kite Pension payments (post 50) show the seal touching the signature.

  4. #64

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    Nick, thank you for this excellent research. I recently lucked into a Golden Kite 4th or 5th class. It's really beautiful! One question I have is how to tell the difference between 4th or 5th. They seem to have identical designs, the only difference being gold or silver backing. Since there is a lovely patina on the piece, I'm not sure which it is, although it seems more gold than silver. The other thing is that this came without a ribbon, which I would love to locate. I did find a 4th class lapel pin for sale on eBay for $39, so I bought it. Thanks for any direction you can give me. Steve

  5. #65

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    You should regard yours as a 5th class, unless you can clearly discern it's gold. Unlike the Rising Suns, which had different flower counts between 4th and 5th, the two classes of Golden Kites were produced from identical dies and only the finish was different. 4th could only be won by ranks from NCO to Colonel, while 5th was for EM to Captain, so odds are definitely against it being 4th class. The companies who made original ribbons still make them, including the rosettes, which is probably what you got. The seller should be able to get you a ribbon as well.

  6. #66

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    Nick, I understand that the 4he class is much rarer, but it does look more like gold than silver. Again, the patina makes it difficult to tell, but it's not silvery at all. Maybe I'll have to do some sort of test on the metal.

    Meanwhile, the person I bought the rosette from just had that item; nothing else along those lines. I had already done some searching around for the ribbons and came up empty. Can you point me in the right direction? Whichever class it is, I would love to complete the look with the ribbon.

  7. #67

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    Showa Type Golden Kites Finally Explained


    I explained earlier in the text that Golden Kites were generally divided into Meiji/Taisho and Showa Types by the difference in the configuration of the wing design. I have also suggested that new press dies that exhibited this design change must have been introduced at the time of the Manchurian Incident.

    I now have a clear picture of how this came about.

    Those who read my pinned thread on commemorative medals
    would remember that the Decorations Bureau was involved in a bribery scandal related to assigning production of the Showa Enthronement Grand Ceremony Commemorative Medals to private medal manufacturers and that the Bureau chief was sentenced to 2 years in prison in 1933, because of this incident.

    This scandal also gave the government a timely excuse to cancel all private industry contracts for national medals and orders and hand all that over to the Japan Mint in Osaka, which was experiencing a lull in its production work.

    Back in 1925, the Japan Mint got a contract to mint coins for China, but this deal fell through when the Japanese Ministry of Finance disapproved and forced the mint to drop the project. However, the trip to China gave the mint officials a chance to see China’s state-owned order production factory, which gave the Japan Mint the idea to solicit the same type of work from its own government. So with the aim of gaining such work, they established a new Sculpturing Study Institute within the Mint on 17th February 1927 and installed the famous Shokichi Hata as its chief.

    Finally, as the new Hamaguchi Cabinet got established in July 1929 and the new administration appointed Yasumaro Shimojo as the new Chief of the Decorations Bureau, he happened to be a close buddy of the head of the Japan Mint. Thus the collaboration between the two government agencies became virtually a done deal.

    The only obstacle to this deal was that the mint did not possess any skills in working with cloisonné enamel necessary to make orders completely in-house. But as luck and coincidence would have it, the new head of the Hirata family, the master enamel craftsmen, also happened to be an old grammar school classmate of the Chief of the Japan Mint and readily agreed to let 10 of his apprentices work at the mint from October 1929, thus completing the workforce to let the Japan Mint take over all medal and order production, which used to be given out to the private sector before the scandal was made public in September 1929.

    In this way, all production of Sacred Treasure Orders got turned over to the Mint from 1929, followed by the Order of the Sacred Crown in 1930, and finally from 1932, all Orders of the Rising Sun as well as the Golden Kite Orders shifted to Japan Mint production.

    Only a total of 17 Kites needed to be produced at the mint in 1932, as the Decorations Bureau had substantial stock of Golden Kites still left in their vaults from the last 1915 presentations as we had seen in post 35. But within 1933 this increased to 3,337 Kites, because of the start of full-fledged Ronkoh Kosho Awarding for the Manchurian Incident. In this manner, the small Order Manufacturing Workshop of only 37 workers established at the mint in July 1930 rapidly expanded to more than 150 workers by June 1933.

    Thus it was the new production arrangement at the Japan Mint in Osaka that gave birth to the Showa version design of the Golden Kites in 1932. It is very probable that the wording on the case lid also got changed when the Japan Mint took over production.

    The chart below shows Golden Kite production quantities at the Mint for each year by class. Note that most numbers from 1940 onwards were all posthumous awards to the dead.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Story of the Golden Kite  
    Last edited by nick komiya; 01-01-2018 at 07:37 PM.

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