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Old 04-08-2009, 03:08 AM   #31
Nick Komiya
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Thank you, for your compliments. I'm glad I could offer something new to people whose interests go beyond the hardware. I didn't get into the research on the recipients, but that adds another exciting dimension to these things.
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Old 04-08-2009, 05:45 AM   #32
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These are simply exquisite! And the history and explanation that is beyond me as I cannot read the text. Thanks Nick!
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Old 01-26-2011, 01:48 PM   #33
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Since writing this article, I made a couple of new discoveries that are worth mentioning here as updates. The first is that documents that have emperorís signatures also come in a different wooden case from those of regular citations.
The photo below shows from left to right cases for the 7th Class Golden Kite citation, 5th Class Golden Kite, 3rd Class Golden Kite, 1st Class Rising Sun and 1st Class Sacred Treasure. The 7th Class citation naturally was not signed by the emperor and the case has a sliding lid. All the other cases are for signed citations and they come with a conventional lid with a light green tie ribbon. The ribbon is built into the wooden case as evident in the second photo.
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File Type: jpg Ribbon.jpg (101.8 KB, 259 views)
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Old 01-26-2011, 01:54 PM   #34
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The second discovery is that most likely in 1936, when the wording for ďEmperorĒ was changed, they elevated the status of first class citations visually by changing the chrysanthemum crest on top to a gold embossed one. The examples I had before were 1934 and earlier, so I didnít catch the change. The photo below is a 1st Class citation for the Sacred Treasure awarded in November 1937 to Field Marshal Erhard Milch when he was General der Flieger of the Luftwaffe. It is duly signed by Hirohito and features the golden mum. Initially, I thought this may have been a special feature for presentation to foreigners, but I learned of another example awarded to a Japanese that has it, too. As my examples establish that the switch occurred between 1934 and 1937, the occasion of the citation update of 1936 is the most likely timing. Examples of 1st class citations are rare, so I currently do not have physical confirmation, but one can safely assume that 1st class awards of the Rising Sun and Golden Kite had the golden mum as well from 1936.
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Old 01-26-2011, 01:56 PM   #35
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For comparison, the mum from an earlier 1st Class citation
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Old 01-26-2011, 04:12 PM   #36
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Great new info! thanks Nick
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Old 02-02-2011, 11:06 AM   #37
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Excellent post! Great job!
Thanks.
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Old 11-15-2011, 06:46 AM   #38
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In the course of my recent research I came upon a document dated Dec 13th, 1940 which gives full background on why it became unavoidable to limit the emperor’s signature to 1st class orders and Golden Kites 1st and 2nd classes only at that time. It does this by giving interesting statistics. Up until that time the emperor was required to personally sign order citations for 1st and 2 classes, and Golden Kite citations from 3rd to 1st classes. Since this rule went into effect in April 1921 the number of citations that the emperor had to sign had gradually increased. In 1922 there were 144 citations, in 1923 it increased to 163 citations. And by 1938, it had doubled to 300 citations and still increasing to 367 for 1939. For 1940, it was estimated that the emperor was required by law to affix signatures to as many as a 1000 documents just in connection with the mass awarding for the China Incident.
As a matter of fact, the massive load of administration work put on the clerks at the Awards Bureau in 1940 became the paper pusher’s nightmare, finally causing the whole idea of handing out formal citations to be abandoned. A huge mess was caused by the fact that all the awarding for the China Incident had a nominal award date of April 29th, 1940. However, besides such war related awards there was the routine awards that came with number of years of service , because Japanese orders are partly years-of-service medals in nature . So every month there was be someone becoming eligible for the next order. The combination of routine service awarding and the awarding of special merits for the China campaign was too much to reconcile. As a result, some who got a 4th class Rising Sun for his action in the campaign could be up for a 5th class Rising Sun the next month for his service merits. The Army had to issue a notice on 22 May, 1940 explaining that when such reversals happened, the lower class order will automatically be regarded as void. They expected many such examples, so not to waste time, they decided not to issue formal citations for the routine awarding, only the order and a provisionary certificate, and sort out official citations later after the dust had settled.
They were never able to catch up and kept issuing provisional citations. This expedited paperwork was supposed to be limited to routine awards, but I suspect it became general practice until even the provisional citations were discontinued in 1945. Citations with dates later than 1940 should be quite rare for this reason.
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Old 11-15-2011, 07:38 AM   #39
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This is one darn rare document you`ve got there Nick!

To say nothing about this real breakthrough in no-documents situation!

This is really something

Only question - why there are sacred treasures documents (rising suns?) and no golden kites?
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Old 11-15-2011, 08:33 AM   #40
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Let's be happy that we solved one mystery and leave some for Kite Man 2. My guess, however, is that it had something to do with the fact that the sacred treasure and rising suns were orders that were directly tied to your social standing in the form of court rank, whereas kites were for bravery and did nothing to your court rank. The classes for the former two were counted as Kunto, but the Kites classes were counted as Ko, so in Japanese there is a clear distinction.
I personally do not have any order citations dated after 1940, so I do not have any specific cases I can look into. One needs to be careful, because there are post war issued citations with war time dates on them as well. Kites were outlawed, but suns and treasure citations were issued. One can see this because they are done on the post war format citation with different wordings, but with war time dates.
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Old 08-22-2015, 11:49 AM   #41
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Introduction to documents unsigned by emperors


When I wrote the original thread in 2009, I was already aware of quite a few citation examples that should have been signed by the emperor, but were not. These citations clearly said that the ďEmperor has affixed his signature in person and has had the stamp of Japan appliedĒ, so the absence of his signature, was glaringly conspicuous. Yet these were citations that actually had been awarded and one can imagine the look of embarrassment on the face of the Prime Minister that had to hand these out.

I just discovered several documents in the archives that shed light on these incomplete order citations and solves their mystery, so here is an update for those interested in order citations。

The emperor himself had enacted the law that required him to honor winners of higher orders by affixing his signature on the citations. And when a personal signature is called for in Japan, they mean it, and they never used facsimile signatures, as done by the Germans with Hitlerís signatures on formal Knights Cross documents. So when the emperor himself broke his own law I imagined there had been some kind of force majeure circumstances that prevented him from doing his duty, most likely serious health problems. They were indeed health problems, but these embarrassing incidents were in fact not rare at all. In fact when Emperor Meiji had signed the Official Format Act (公式令Koushiki Rei) on 31st January of 1907, which said he was to personally sign Golden Kite citations 5th class and above, and for other orders (Rising Suns, Sacred Treasures, etc) 3rd class and above, he had already been writing checks that his body couldnít cash. Hereís what the documents reveal, put into chronological order.

10th April 1875
The Order of the Rising Sun was established

October 1885 (A total of 109 citations were signed in 1885)
Emperor Meiji decreed that only citations for orders above 3rd class were to be signed by him.
Up to the previous year, he had been signing Rising Sun Citations down to 6th class.

4th January 1888 (A total of 50 citations were signed in 1888)
The Order of the Sacred Treasure, Order of the Sacred Crown and Grand Cordons were added to the lineup.


11th February 1890
The Golden Kite was established as an order

July 1895
Emperor Meiji himself added Golden Kites 5th class and above to the citations requiring his signature.
When I wrote the initial article, it was not clear when the practice of signing citations of the 5th class and above of the Golden Kite had begun, but now we have confirmation.

31st January 1907
Emperor Meiji enacted the Official Format Act, which confirmed the ongoing practice of requiring Golden Kite citations for 5th class and above, as well as 3rd class and above for other orders to be signed by him. However, at this time he was holding up citations as old as 1904 still waiting for his signature, so in hindsight, instead of just carrying on with the previous practice, the government should have taken this as an opportunity to review the Act to ease the paper-pushing burden on Emperor Meiji.

2nd September 1914 (A total of 613 signed citations were issued in 1914)
Things finally hit the fan when a report to the Cabinet revealed that Emperor Meiji, who had passed away on 29th July 1912, had left behind a huge backlog of as many as 2,377 unsigned citations, going back as far as 9th February, 1904! These had been held back by the government in the hope that the emperor would be able to catch up some day. The law required them to be signed by the emperor, so they just could not be presented until signed. But now the Cabinet was left with no choice, but to issue these citations without the signatures.

It was not that the emperor hadnít signed any citations during those years, because he did, as evident from the photo in post 9, but some from each year didnít get signed. He seemed to have given priority to order citations for the still living versus those for posthumous awards, and it is also obvious that higher class Golden Kite orders were given prompt attention. You will see in the charts below that there were respectable numbers of first class to 3rd class Golden Kites awarded in the Russo-Japanese War. Yet they are not in the listing of unsigned citations. Of course, the orders would have been presented without any delay with the promise that the citation would come later when ready.
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Old 08-22-2015, 12:09 PM   #42
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25th November 1919 (A total of 718 signed citations were issued in 1919)
Prince Hirohito (later Emperor Showa) was appointed Regent to take over some of his sickly fatherís responsibilities, including signing order citations (double signature citations). This situation continues until 26th December, 1926 when Emperor Taisho passes away.


11th January 1921
A report was submitted, recommending that the Official Format Act should be revised in order to reduce the number of citations that must be signed by the emperor/regent. It shows the rise in numbers of orders 3rd class and above by providing the following numbers
1883------------59
1884------------188
1885------------109
1886 -------------52
1887--------------46
1888--------------50
-----------------------
1908------------392
1909------------202
1910------------374
1911------------369
1912------------329
1913------------391
1914------------613
1915------------589
1916------------319
1917------------372
1918------------753
1919------------718
1920------------563

It further reasons that, in view of article 17 of the Format Act, which only requires the emperorís personal signature on citations bestowing the 1st Court Rank, it was reasonable to reduce the burden of signing citations by raising the threshold. Put in this way, they had indeed gotten carried away, being overly generous with order citations. This exact knock-out argument will once more be taken out of the archives and be dusted off for use in the 1940 revision of the Act.

6th April 1921
Based on the recommendation above, the Official Format Act was revised to require citations of Golden Kites 3rd class and above as well as 2nd class and above of other orders to be signed.

11th January 1922 (A total of 144 signed citations were issued in 1922)
Although it does not mention this time how many citations were affected, once again, a backlog of citations had developed not signed yet by Emperor Taisho (actually Prince Hirohito, serving as Regent) . These should have been awarded before 25th November 1921, but now the government decided it had no other choice, but to issue them without signatures. One can assume by looking at the chronological degeneration of the situation above that these unsigned citations go back at least to 1919 when the failing health of Emperor Taisho required Hirohito to stand in.
This meant that although Hirohito has had 2 full years of his Regency to catch up on his fatherís paperwork, he still couldnít recover the delay, so like in 1914, they now felt those unsigned citations would have to be presented without the signature.
This means that there were unsigned citations from Japanís first two major conflict victories of the 20th century, namely the Russo-Japanese War and WW1.

13th December 1940
Once again a report was submitted in favor of raising the bar even further. It cites the following numbers of citations requiring the emperorís signature..

1922-------------144
1923-------------162
1938-------------300
1939-------------367
1940-------------more than 1000 estimated, due to China Incident mobilizations.

Since 1922, the peace time awarding of orders had been a manageable flow, but things accelerated since Japanís involvement in the China Incident and a Tsunami of paperwork was about to paralyze the whole business of issuing citations.
This recommendation was almost a verbatim copy of the 1921 recommendation, only the numbers have been updated.

28th December 1940
Only 1st class orders and the first two classes of Golden Kites would now come with a citation signed by the emperor. In fact, the deluge of mass awarding of medals and orders of 29th April for the China Incident had strained the bureaucracy so much that they virtually gave up on the whole idea of official citations for campaign medals and such for the rest of the war.

Hope you enjoyed the update.
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Old 08-22-2015, 01:17 PM   #43
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Here are two 1906 Army Golden Kite 5th class citations missing the Emperor's signature. Compare these with the signed example in post 9 of the same date. The signed example has serial number 41,354 while the unsigned ones are 47,542 and 48,250. (Photos courtesy of Japan X)
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Old 08-22-2015, 01:25 PM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Komiya View Post
Hope you enjoyed the update.
You betcha!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Komiya View Post
Although it does not mention this time how many citations were affected, once again, a backlog of citations had developed not signed yet by Emperor Taisho (actually Prince Hirohito, serving as Regent) . These should have been awarded before 25th November 1921, but now the government decided it had no other choice, but to issue them without signatures. One can assume by looking at the chronological degeneration of the situation above that these unsigned citations go back at least to 1919 when the failing health of Emperor Taisho required Hirohito to stand in.
Don`t have these in my collection.
In fact, I've never even seen one.
Makes me wonder how many of them are out there
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Old 08-22-2015, 01:32 PM   #45
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Just being earlier than the ones above did not win you the signature either. Here a navy one dated 1905, from the Great Sea Battle of the Russo-Japanese War. (Courtesy Japan X)
To make comparisons easier, here's also the signed 1906 one from post 9. Notice that these two citations have a different word-wrap arrangement in the first few lines compared to those two above, suggesting a different print run.
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File Type: jpg 9. Kite 5 1906.jpg (105.1 KB, 119 views)
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