Please help me identify this (possibly) Chinese brooch
March 21, 2015 9:01 AM   Subscribe

I recently came into possession of this brooch. I would like to know what it is. Any ideas?
posted by mortimore to Writing & Language (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
It appears to be Japanese -- the label on the box lists a Tokyo address. Based on the traditional characters, it's probably pre-1940s. Other than that, I'm not sure.
posted by bradf at 10:33 AM on March 21, 2015

Response by poster: There are also some characters on the back of it.
posted by mortimore at 11:10 AM on March 21, 2015

Red? Star? Communist. Made in Japan, maybe, but almost certainly for the Chinese market. These were super common in (soviet) Russia and were called 'snatchki' or 'znachki' (you could try Googling various spellings), available everywhere and worn like you would those poppies on memorial day. Except, instead of one holiday, every damn day was a holiday. Like 'day of the worker' 'Lenin's birthday' 'triumph of communism day' etc etc. Every day of the year. It's small right? About an inch?
posted by sexyrobot at 12:15 PM on March 21, 2015

Best answer: The front and the back of the badge are in "seal script," which I am not great at reading, but the character on the front is, I think, 森, (mori, forest), which is a fairly common family name.

The label on the box says that it is "for all government and scholastic purposes" or words to that effect in the arcing text at the top, and that it is made by the Nikko Badge Company.
posted by adamrice at 3:29 PM on March 21, 2015

Best answer: This badge is most likely from imperial Japan.

The back of the badge says 森町 ("Mori Town") , then I can't read the next two characters, then 軍人(soldier) then on the left side 後援團 (relief/assistance organization).

My guess is this is a badge given to people who donated to the soldier's relief organization of Mori town.

You can see all sorts of Japanese wartime badges given out by "soldier relief organizations" at this website: Example 1. Example 2. In fact, if you ask nicely, I'm sure the person who runs that site will identify it for you. Let us know what they say, I'm curious.

The badge 100% has nothing to do with communism - stars were quite common in Imperial Japanese iconography (example) - and it would make absolutely no sense for the Japanese to be manufacturing badges for Chinese communists.
posted by pravit at 3:47 PM on March 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for the great answers!
I contacted the person who runs the site pravit linked to. I'll post an update as soon as I hear from them.
posted by mortimore at 10:16 AM on March 22, 2015

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