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Original Japan WWII Imperial Japanese Army Commemorative Ceramic Sake Cup - Unissued

Regular price $95.00

Item Description

Original Items: Very Few Available. Sake, a Japanese alcoholic beverage made from fermented rice, plays a central role in traditional culture and even religion. The Imperial Japanese military harnessed this tradition to validate ceremonies ranging from the celebration of victory to a final toast for kamikaze pilots about to embark on suicide missions. According to Dan King, author of Japanese Military Sake Cups 1894-1945, some sake cups (sakazuki) were officially commissioned by the military for various purposes, but most often they were commissioned by the men or officers themselves to commemorate various milestones from enlistment to return from overseas assignment to completion of military service. Most military sake cups date from the 1920s and 1930s when Japan was fighting in China, but some go back as far as the Russo-Japanese war in 1894-95.

Sake cups seem to come in two main sizes, small ones 6-7cm (about 2.5”) and large ones, 9-10cm (about 4”). These sake cups are of the smaller sized set and measure across at 6cm. The shaded star at the top is the symbol of the Imperial Japanese Army (the Navy used a fullered anchor). The two flags are the normal, hinomaru or “meatball” national flag on the left and the army "rising sun" flag with rayed sun on the right and has a gold gilt rim. The Kanji characters on the cup are probably 記念 - for "Anniversary" or "Commemoration". This means that they are a generalization set of cups and were not issued to a specific unit in the IJA. Usually when issued, the name of the soldier would be marked on the inside of the bottom, however these are all identical and unmarked, indicating that they were never issued.

These cups came to us still wrapped in a late 1930’s newspaper, and are offered in excellent condition. Some have some residue from the newspaper and packaging, which can be seen in the photographs.

Ready to display in your Imperial Japanese collections!

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