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The War Medals

Article about: Hi Folks, I see a few of you are now including medals in your collections and as I wrote some info on them for another now defunct forum some years ago I thought I'd post it here for the aid

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    Default The War Medals

    Hi Folks,

    I see a few of you are now including medals in your collections and as I wrote some info on them for another now defunct forum some years ago I thought I'd post it here for the aid of anyone just starting to collect in this area.

    I hope to have this thread pinned when it's done so ask that you reserve comments, either good or bad, so as not to break up the thread as I'm building it.

    Thanks very much,
    Stu

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    Lets start off with the 1874 War Medal.

    In 1874 LT. General Saigo Tsugumichi set sail from Japan with 3000 samurai intent on avenging the deaths of Japanese sailors shipwrecked on Formosa and later killed by the native inhabitants.

    The mission, initially sanctioned by the Japanese Government, was considered a good way to keep the restless samurai from causing domestic problems at home due to their way of life being having been cast aside during the recent Meiji Restoration.

    The Chinese, who claimed sovereignty over Formosa at the time yet would not address the issues surrounding the killings, sent 10,000 troops to counter the Japanese force.

    In the end China paid reparations, the samurai went home, and battle between the two was carefully avoided. Some skirmishes between the samurai and local natives took place but the natives put up little resistance which saved them from annihilation by the samurai.

    This medal was subsequently awarded to those taking part in the campaign.

    These photographs are of a medal in the collection of Paul L. Murphy, noted author and expert on Japanese awards, and are provided by him for our reference section.
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    Next in chronological order was the 1894-1895 War Medal.

    This medal was given for service in the Sino-Japanese War of July 25, 1894. Japanese forces entered Korea in an attempt to control the government. After successfully battling with Korean and Chinese troops they accepted a peace settlement in which China relinquished sovereignty over Korea and ceded Formosa to Japan. Cessation of hostilities came about April 17, 1985 through the Treaty of Shimonoseki.
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    The 1900 War Medal, often called the Boxer Rebellion medal, was the next one in line and issued to those who served during the Allied Relief Expedition of 1900 in which foreigners besieged in the Legations in Peking were rescued. Although issued primarily to soldiers of the Army 5th Division recipients also included members of the naval forces involved in the campaign.
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    Last edited by Stu W; 08-31-2013 at 12:34 AM.

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    The 1904-1905 War Medal was the next in line and came about as Japanese anger built over the increased Russian encroachment into Korea. This anger boiled over on February 8, 1904 when the Japanese Navy attacked Russian warships at Chemulpo and Port Arthur as well as blockading the Russian Asiatic ports.

    Japanese land forces, involved in several long and bloody battles, managed to drive Russian troops out of Korea in the end. During that time the Russian fleet was also destroyed by Japanese naval forces commanded by Admiral Togo.

    Hostilities came to an end on September 5, 1905 when the Treaty of Portsmouth was signed in which Russia ceded both land and rights, with regards to Korea, to Japan.

    Of further interest is that the then President of The United States of America, Theodore Roosevelt, brokered the truce that lead to the treaty.
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    Japan's entry into World War One came in stages, the first of which began in August of 1914. At that time a combined Japanese-British force captured German concessions in Tsingtao and the Japanese Navy occupied Germany's South Seas Island possessions.

    Having accomplished that task the Japanese military went into a holding pattern without any intention of entering the conflict in the European Theatre.

    Members of the military serving in this first phase were awarded the 1914-1915 medal.
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    Japan's involvement in the First World War came about in stages. Having participated early on, then held back, they later dispatched a fleet to the Mediterranean in return for British and French promises of support for their claim to China. In 1918 Czech troops stationed in Siberia were in need of protection and the Allied Forces, including Japan, sent in a large contingent to stabilize the region. Japan's long range goal was to gain Siberian territory for itself. Remaining till 1922 they eventually withdrew. This further involvement in the war lead to this subsequent 1914-1920 War Medal issue for those involved in the later portion of the conflict.
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    Japan, with their Kwantung Army based on occupied territory of the Liotung Peninsula, had long coveted Manchuria, a semi-autonomous region under the rule of a Chinese warlord at that time.

    Invading Manchuria on September 18, 1931, in response to an alleged attack upon a Japanese holding, Japanese troops quickly overrun the region. Although resistance was minimal it did continue for some time in the form of scattered skirmishes with those loyal to the warlord Marshal Chang Hsueh-Liang.

    As there was no formal declaration of war this conflict is often referred to as an "incident".

    This is the 1931-1934 War Medal.
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    The China Incident War Medal is next in line.

    On July 7, 1937 Japan invaded China where they remained till 1945 at which time their surrender terminated the occupation.

    Often thought of as Japan's World War Two medal it is in fact not. The Japanese military initially thought of this as a separate incident and upon their attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 they began what they referred to as The Great East Asia War. The Great East Asia conflict has a war medal of it's own which will follow here shortly.
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    The Great East Asia War, as Japan referred to it's World War II activities in the Pacific, began with the attack on Pearl Harbor.

    This award, made from a tin alloy, is a dull gray color differing significantly from the other war medals made from bronze.

    Approximately 10,000 were made but few were awarded. They have become quite rare, as a result of the destruction of the unissued stock held at the Osaka Mint, by the Occupation Authorities after Japan's surrender in September 1945.

    These photographs are of a medal in the collection of Paul L. Murphy, noted author and expert on Japanese awards, and are provided by him for our reference section.
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