Rare Souvenirs from the Japanese Navy.
Without immersing to deeply into history, let’s just say that the trip to Japan by the Navy’s new Great White Fleet was designed to ease the growing tensions in the Pacific Region between the two countries. Japan had just soundly defeated the Russians in there war a few years prior to Americas’ visit in 1908. The U.S. had gained new possessions in the region after the victory over Spain, thus the two emerging powers feeling pressure and concern with their own political and financial interest in the area, chose to ease these tensions with a visit by our navy. We were out and about anyway flexing our own muscle and displaying our new navy’s prowess.
In preparation for this historic visit, the Japanese Navy had made up some small mementoes to present to the members of our fleet. Along with two of these items are two other U.S. medals that came together. The grouping being offered here belong to (presumably) an American Naval officer as of yet un-named. The lot consists of Mexico Service Campaign Medal, 1911-1917, No. 607; U.S. WWI Victory Medal, boxed enameled lapel pin with another pin with a ribbon that combines the American and Japanese National Colors; and a boxed medallion on pin also commemorating the visit.
I mentioned earlier I presumed the campaign medal belonged to an officer, due largely to the low number. The boxed enameled lapel pin is federal shield of silver that has each of the national colors incorporated to it. An shield is superimposed over an anchor. The back reads, “WELCOME U.S. NAVY, A.F.A.” The shield is about ¾ inch high. The exterior of the 3 inch box, made of a light colored wood, repeats what is on the back of the shield, but we find out what A.F.A. is; “America’s Friend Association.” The interior of the box lid has the maker information, ONISHI KINRYODO, Manufactures & Dealer In Watches, Jewels, etc…..; The other boxed medallion is a small octagonal gilt medal, suspended from a ring on pin and bears the busts of Admirals Sperry and Togo. The reverse reads, “ On Arrival Of U.S. Fleet, Yokohoma, Oct 1908.” An American warship fills the lower half of the medal. The leatherette box about 2 inches long, and has gilt stamped Japanese letters on the lid, the silk lid interior of the box reads, “PRESENTED By The Navy Of Japan, October, 1908., Made By Miyamoto-Shoko, Ginza Tokyo.
Condition overall is excellent, with just the slightest wear to the ribbons on the American medals. We have not had either of the Japanese pieces before, and have to assume they are quite rare. I do not know if the enameled pin was given to all officers and seamen, or just to the officers. Regardless the total number of naval personnel would not be an exceedingly huge number.
A great little grouping from a small but significant international event in our history.