Copy of Allied Victory Medal 1914-1918 (Japanese), 1920
Obverse, a warrior facing outwards holding a staff athwarts
Reverse, five flags bearing pictograms around a globe, all in a border
Copy of Allied Victory Medal 1914-1918 (Japanese), 1920 (Great War 1914-1918)
When the Great War of 1914-1918 had ended, there was a genuine feeling among the victorious Allies that their military efforts had been instrumental in preserving modern civilization, and this and the united spirit of the Alliance were commemorated in a combined issue of medals to those who had seen active service during the conflict. 13 nations in all issued a variety of this medal; all shared the rainbow ribbon and suspension.
The Japanese issue of the medal, of which this is probably a French copy made for collectors in 1920, was different from all the others in that it did not feature a type of the goddess Victory as its obverse emblem; this symbol, meaningless to Japanese culture, was replaced with an archetypal ancient warrior, barefoot and brandishing a quarterstaff.
This medal is unnamed, presumably because, being an imitation, it was not actually awarded. Lester Watson purchased it from the London dealers Baldwin at some point before 1928.
The Museum must thank Mr Sawyer Rank for his information on this medal.